February 15th, 2013
Last year, my brother played Resident Evil 4 for the first time. After he finished the game, we discussed it over IM. Here are some of the key points from our conversation:
Moving and Shooting
Not being able to move and shoot does several things to the gameplay:
- it forces the player to find a spot and bunker down, creating a stop ‘n pop style of shooting.
- it makes Leon vulnerable, forcing the player to consider the surrounding environment and locations of the enemies and formulate a plan of attack.
- it creates a tug of war over the ground between Leon and the enemies (spatial dynamic). The player wants Leon to keep his distance, while the enemies attempt to close in on him. This push-pull relationship contributes to the inhale-exhale flow of the shoot-outs.
- it removes the clutter of moving while shooting (as moving throws off aiming).
Spatial Dynamic and Fly-Kicking
- The closer the enemies are to Leon, the easier they are to shoot, but the more likely they are to attack him (spatial dynamic and risk/reward).
- Leon can gain ground by stunning and then fly-kicking enemies, but they need to be close to him/he needs to run over to them to execute the attack (risk/reward).
- The cool down after the fly-kick, where the player has no control over Leon, balances the mechanic and extends the risk/reward.
The game builds tension by either:
- limiting the size of the play area and thereby the distance between Leon and the enemies
- adding more enemies to overwhelm the player
- increasing the Ganado’s armour (interplay)
- increasing the number of directions enemies can approach from (adaption skills, multitasking)
These methods squeeze more skill out of the player.
Camera and Viewpoint
- The camera is brought in close so that it’s both claustrophobic and functional. This is a neat throwback to the fixed camera angles of the original games.
- The laser sight helps to distinguish depth.
- Most shooters have weak interplay: you just shoot an enemy and they die, and if they don’t die, you shoot them a few more times to make sure. In Resident Evil 4, the player can shoot to stun, which then opens up opportunities to execute special attacks.
- The enemies also have interplay with one another. For example, if a Ganado is knocked into a group of other Ganados, it’ll push the whole group backwards.
- The organic interactions between enemies feeds back into the interplay between Leon and the enemies, creating deeper and more emergent interactions.
- Because each body part causes the enemy to react differently when shot, the body maps the potential interplay and strategic options. The designers can then tweak the availability of certain strings of interactions by covering up certain parts of the body (armour plates, for instance).
- The game speed is slowed right down so as to give the player enough time to deal with the hordes of Gonados. The large number of enemies make the relative time faster. So although the player has more time, they need to do more in that time.
Quick Time Events
- QTEs are only used in contextual situations or when regular interactions aren’t possible (ie. cutscenes). In this way, they add more interactivity to the game. Many games now tend to use QTEs to subtract interactivity.
If you liked Resident Evil 4, then you should totally check out Vanquish. It’s a different type of shooter, but you can certainly feel the lineage between the two games. I’ll be writing about that game soon enough.
October 26th, 2007
When Capcom announced that they were bringing an Okami game to the Wii last week, I was really excited. Finally the rumours were true, goodie. Although my excitement quickly waned once I got past the news headline to discover that it was a direct port of last years PS2 game. I was even more disappointed after discovering that there was going to be no extra content, nothing. Just Wii controls and thats it.
Its not just me that is angry, plenty of people are angry. Enough people to warrant this post from Christian Svensson(Senior Director of Strategic Planning and Research) on the Capcom America forum:
“A few points here… I get the issues, I really do, but people seem to be missing a few things. We selected Ready at Dawn to do the port. These guys are all ex-Naughty Dog and ex-Blizzard, and they have already shipped their own titles that have ridiculously high review scores and sales (and have more on the way). Their attention to detail and technical prowess is among the best of any team I’ve ever worked with.
If we wanted a cheap and dirty port, I could have turned around and picked any one of 50 houses and gotten it done for less and perhaps more quickly. Clearly, that wasn’t the approach we sought for a variety of reasons (for the fans, for the reputation of our company, for the potential of the product, etc.
Lastly, if this were a quick cash in, let’s face it, there’s TONS of other products that had higher sales on other platforms we could have chosen to port, quickly and cheaply. Okami, as great as it was, wasn’t a huge seller on PS2 such that its quick and dirty port would be assured “sales success” on a new platform. We picked a huge game (read: expensive, especially on testing costs), with a ton of moving parts.
So, on the contrary, we have a lot to prove with this game and I know we, and RAD are up to the task. I apologize if I bristle at the accusation that this is a cheap port, but I do.
Given that the only port we’ve done to date was RE4, which has a 90+ gamerankings score and provided AMAZING value for the platform, has this really been Capcom’s modus operendi such that this allegation should be leveled at us? Zack & Wiki is getting better reviews than just about anything you’ll see this year on Wii, except possibly Galaxy. Shovelware is not what we do.
As I’ve said in prior interviews, we’re getting the game up and running first. The game is enormous. If after we have everything working correctly, cleanly and as desired so as not to “break” the amazing experience that is Okami, we will worry about potential enhancements. As we are NOT at that point in the process yet, we are loathe to even mention any potential changes or enhancements for fear of disappointing the fans/media.
So for now, if you MUST assume the worst, assume that you will have an amazing 40-60 hour adventure that is one of gaming’s most impressive pieces of art to play in fantastic new ways. If you want to hope for the best, well, perhaps we’ll have more to say in a few months, but for now we’re going to have to ask for your patience.”
This whole topic is rather interesting because I think both sides are justified. This is a port of the original game, there should be some sort of benefit for people that have played it already. Resident Evil 4 players got a number of improvements over the Gamecube version:
- Seperate Ways
- Ada’s Report
- 480p and 16:9 widescreen support
- Movie Browser
- Search knife function
- Plaga Removal Laser
- New costume set
- A trailer to Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles
Capcom also should not get so defensive when gamers expect more from them. They are one of best developers in the world(second only to Nintendo IMO), so a port like this really isn’t their style.
On the flipside, it really shouldn’t matter if there is little in the way of additional content as this game is already ace. Bringing it to the Wii only ensures that the title gets the attention that it deserved(like RE4). Capcom chose an excellent studio to work on the game, which was a wise choice as this one isn’t going to be so easy to port across. My final point is that Wii owners should feel content with what Capcom are doing for the Wii: Resident Evil 4, Umbrella Chronicles(new trailer here, it keeps looking better), Zack and Wiki, Monster Hunter and now Okami. Over half a year ago I was concerned about Capcoms commitment to the Wii but now I am completely satisfied. Its a pity that other gamers haven’t recognised this yet. 🙁
To conclude I think that the most interesting part of this kufuffle is this quote:
“Zack & Wiki is getting better reviews than just about anything you’ll see this year on Wii, except possibly Galaxy.”
Its not like Capcom to boast about themselves in such a way. So this is very interesting indeed.
So what do you think about this whole drama? Be sure to hit us up via the comment box.