With recent events concerning reviews given to Resident Evil 6, it has been brought to my attention that gaming world and gamers in general have become too hypocritical. Now, everyone is a little hypocritical in one way or another and nothing is wrong with that but when it comes to people’s conflicting and hypocritical opinions stop making sense and start hurting the industry.
The game in question, the game that brought all this to light, was Resident Evil 6. Let’s take a look at it’s scores (for the Xbox 360) on Metacritic:
- Metascore: 67 out of 100. Mixed or average reviews based on 61 critics. (Critic scores; Positive = 27, mixed = 28, negative = 6)
- User Score: 1.5. Overwhelming dislike based on 2361 reviews.
Interesting seeing as the game wasn’t that bad, at least not in my or most other people I have seen around the internet and talked to in person’s opinion. What is the problem? Here are a few excerpts from a few of the user reviews:
Shinji-Mikami: ”It is a game that has no identity, chooses to be so much that it ends up being nothing. But many are still on time to NOT BUY YOU THIS NEW RELEASE, DO NOT BUY SUCH AN INSULT TO THE SERIES.” (Score = 0)
mourad1111: “The just fails to fulfill its promises in many levels.” (Score = 3)
Lokizarro: ” An absolute mess of a game, you call this “Resident Evil”? what a horrible, HORRIBLE joke, this is nothing more than a cookie cutter, linear scripted third person shooter with HORRID controls, a HORRIBLE aiming system, a MASSIVE over reliance on crappy Quick Time Events, a LOAD of boring endurance rounds (hold out until the chopper arrives!) and the list goes on.” (Score = 0)
BADS: “By far the most dissapointing game of 2012. This game isn’t RE. Its Gears of Evilfield 6. Instead of fallowing the traditional RE formula, Capcom decides to spice things up a bit by adding QTE’s to everything and dumbing down the gameplay.” (Score = 5)
A few of these complains seem very logical and, although poorly written and/or worded, make a few valid points. There is nothing wrong with not liking the game for it’s obvious features and changes. Here is where the hypocrisy comes in though: Resident Evil 5. Resident Evil 5 was widely viewed (before Resident Evil 6 came out) as the worst Resident Evil game to date. This is mostly because almost every shred of the survival horror genre was striped from it and the game was made into an action game. Whereas I have nothing wrong with that, I find it weird that Resident Evil 6 is being called “horrid”, “an insult to the series”, “disappointing”, and a “joke” for changing it up and going back to the basics.
Survival horror is characterized on Wikipedia (yes, Wikipedia. I know it’s a bad source, but it was a great description of the genre) in this way: “Although combat can be a part of the gameplay, the player is made to feel less powerful than in typical action games, because of limited ammunition, health, speed, or other limitations. The player is also challenged to find items that unlock the path to new areas, and solve puzzles at certain locations.” Sound familiar If you have played Resident Evil 6 it does to an extent, but not if you have only played Resident Evil 5.
Regardless of what a user might say, Capcom tried bringing survival horror back in Resident Evil 6 while still keeping the good things about Resident Evil 5 in the game. Say what you will about Resident Evil 6′s gameplay being dumbed down and bad, but I have to say as a game reviewer, a gamer, and a human being that is was a vastly improved version of the gameplay in Resident Evil 5. So if Resident Evil 5 had good gameplay, how can the gameplay in Resident Evil 6 be bad?
Let’s take a look at the scored given to Resident Evil 5 (for the Xbox 360) on Metacritic:
- Metascore: 83 out of 100. Generally favorable reviews based on 91 critics. (Critic scores; Positive = 75, mixed = 15, negative = 1)
- User Score: 7.5. Generally favorable reviews based on 306 reviews.
A few excerpts from the user reviews:
gamesreflexoes: “Amazing game, the best Resident Evil ever, the best action game, horror game…” (Score = 10)
Ps3blaze22: “Resident Evil 5 is without a doubt one of the best games this gen! The mix between Horror and Action is spot on in this game.” (Score = 10)
doodlerman: “They vastly improved the graphics, they amped up the action, they have a great story, but sadly they forgot to put in the horror.” (Score = 9)
I had a hard time finding legitimate reviews that were below a 6 for this game, and most people failed to mention the lack of the horror aspect (except doodlerman and a few others). Overall, the game was rated well and the flaws were pointed out but seemingly overlooked whereas every little flaw and problem was racked over the coals in the Resident Evil 6 reviews. Another thing I noticed was that a vast majority of the 2361 user reviews of Resident Evil 6 were poorly written and poorly put together. They also were unnecessarily hateful, as if the game had hurt them on a personal level making sure everyone who reads them will get a negative feeling about the game. The majority of the user reviews for Resident Evil 5 were well written and factual, pointing out the pros and the cons of the game, not just the cons. They were written with what seemed to be honest and a general liking of the game, but admission to the fact that it isn’t perfect. It’s a pattern I’ve seen a lot in user game reviews lately, the “I don’t like it so I’m going to make sure everyone else thinks it’s awful” instead of being honest, giving an opinion that isn’t one sided, an opinion based on facts of the game. There was more survival horror in Resident Evil 6 than there was in 5 and whether or not people chose to see it, it’s a fact. Not my opinion, a fact. This fact wasn’t properly addressed in most of the reviews for Resident Evil 6, nor were many facts at all. Reviewing is mainly about opinions, sure, but what are opinions if they are one sided and make little sense? Nothing.
Why is the action loved and praised in Resident Evil 5 yet berated in Resident Evil 6? Why was the lack of survival horror ok in Resident Evil 5 but when it was brought back in Resident Evil 6 it wasn’t enough or was too little too late? It comes down to gamers wanting what they can’t have, knowing that they aren’t getting it, yet getting angry that it’s not there for them. Capcom stated shortly after Resident Evil 6 was announced that the survival horror market was too small and that the Resident Evil series was being moved in the action direction, away from survival horror. So why did people expect Resident Evil 6 to be purely survival horror when it was never advertised that way? I think it’s because human nature makes us want what we can’t have. When Resident Evil 6 turned out to be more survival horror than Resident Evil 5 it gave people what they wanted, thus making them upset that the struggle was over.
Back to the hypocrisy. It’s funny that a series like Call of Duty is talked about negatively for not changing, but a series like Resident Evil is in the same boat for changing. It’s hypocritical to give Resident Evil 6 and a bad review and Resident Evil 5 a good review for the same reasons: “Not enough survival horror, too much action”. I saw that sentence and others resembling it in both game’s reviews. Something cannot be bad for the same thing that makes another thing good, in this scenario at least. I am aware that the Resident Evil series isn’t what it used to be, but you have to admit that if it was the newest games would be getting negative reviews for not changing, not growing, and being the same tired old games over and over.
I bring up the Resident Evil series mostly in this article, but think about it: What other series is getting this same treatment for different reasons? Share your answer and opinions with me and let me know what you think about this issue.