Ads are gone. We're using Patreon to raise funds so we can grow. Please pledge support today!
Google+   Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | DS | PS3 | PS4 | PSP | VITA | WII | WIIU | X360 | XB1 | All

Forums > Submission Feedback > Lewis's Resident Evil review

This thread is in response to a review for Resident Evil on the GameCube. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

Additional Messages (Groups of 25)

[01] [02] [03]

Add a new post within this thread...

board icon
Author: bloomer
Posted: January 22, 2009 (03:58 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

Disagree aggressively with everything - except the dialogue point. Which I don't care about. I'd elaborate but RSI arm rationing prevents me from typing the necessary essay here. Maybe in the future.


Not sure how to make a sig? While logged into your account, you can edit it and your other public and private information from the Settings page.


board icon
Author: Lewis
Posted: January 22, 2009 (05:54 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

Very obviously a contentious one. I vehemently despise this game (and, frankly, the whole series), and decided to throw objectivity out of the window. It's 'Honest' Gamers, after all.

I'd like to hear your thoughts. I can imagine what some of them might be, and they're reasonable and valid ones. I'm surprised you passionately disagree with some of the things I said, though: surely you find the camera and control mechanics of these dated, ugly games completely contemptuous? If not, you've got a lot more patience than me.


Not sure how to make a sig? While logged into your account, you can edit it and your other public and private information from the Settings page.


board icon
Author: Lewis
Posted: January 22, 2009 (08:19 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

"except the dialogue point. Which I don't care about."

I think that's an important point, actually. I think if I had a higher tolerance for woeful videogame storytelling, I'd have enjoyed this a lot more. As it stands, that's kind of my pet area, and an invigorating, well-told interactive narrative is pretty much the reason I play single-player games. I actually didn't mention the puzzles in this review, which I regret a bit - they're quite nifty, and if you play purely for the element of challenge, it wins marks back. I don't. I play to become involved in a well-realised world. Resident Evil's is horrible.


Not sure how to make a sig? While logged into your account, you can edit it and your other public and private information from the Settings page.


board icon
Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: January 22, 2009 (10:12 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

Resident Evil on the GameCube is the best title in the series pre-RE4. The graphics are well done and maintain the spirit of the original games while upgrading things for the era in which the remake was released, the control scheme that had been such an issue for the series up to that point is less irritating than normal (though still awkward, yes) and the campiness in the narrative--an intentional element that adds a lot to the games--is at its finest.

Remember that while we're trying to provide honest reviews on HG, a big part of that is a certain degree of objectivity. It's why you won't ever see me reviewing any WWE games. If I come into a game with baggage that's going to make me predisposed to dislike it--baggage that its target audience won't have--then I'm not really writing a useful review as much as I am polishing up a forum post and trying to make it sound more official.

Please keep in mind that I haven't read your review in-depth, Lewis, just your comments in this thread.


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


board icon
Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: January 22, 2009 (10:52 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

Well, I read the reiew (naturally, as it's his tourney entry, though I likely would have regardless), and I thought he backed up his points quite well. So even if he's the only one on this site (theoretically) who doesn't like the game, he shouldn't be knocked for it just because he seems too "subjective", at least not when he does a good job backing up his claims.


What espiga does in his free time
[Eating EmP's brain] probably isn't a good idea. I mean... He's British, which means his brain's wired for PAL and your eyes are NTSC. - Will


board icon
Author: Lewis
Posted: January 22, 2009 (11:28 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

The thing with trying to write completely objectively is that no-one will have the same experience as you describe. We (I mean games players, not critics) don't go into the medium thinking objectively about the good and bad points of the game. We go into it thinking about whether we're enjoying it or not.

For me, the most successful critics will discuss a subjective reaction to the game, and analyse it with reference to actual content and undeniable facts about how the game works. In this review, I discuss how my instinctive reaction was to think "I'm not engrossed or invested in this story-driven single-player game at all." My analysis is to put this down to the awkwardness of the controls and camera, and the poor quality of the characters' dialogue, which both served to destroy the immersion it tries so hard to create. I go on to credit the game for the things it does well - which, funnily enough, are pretty much the exact things you picked up on, JV - but I'm not going to pretend I had more fun with the game than I did, just because I can see its qualities. Funnily enough, I think this is one of the most analytically and critically detailed reviews I've written in a long time.

As for going into a game with baggage, I absolutely agree with you. I'd also point out that, if there's a very specialist area of videogames I consider myself knowledgeable and well-researched about, it's the narrative-driven single-player game, with a particular leaning towards the exploration and execution of interactive horror. Some of my favourite games in the world come under the loose banner of 'survival horror', but I really don't like the pre-4 Resi games. They're overly traditionalist, without considering why other developers were experimenting with alternate ways of telling a horror story through the medium.

(I'd also suggest that "Resident Evil on the GameCube is the best title in the series pre-RE4" is a far more subjective statement than almost anything I wrote in that review. And yeah, I know you haven't really read it yet, so that's not a dig. Hope you don't take it, or any of this, as such.)

In short: I can appreciate, I suppose, why people like Resident Evil. I'd just urge them to consider how fundamentally flawed it is, and how unacceptable these schoolboy errors really are. And I'm not going to pretend I can overlook them, because I can't.


Not sure how to make a sig? While logged into your account, you can edit it and your other public and private information from the Settings page.


board icon
Author: WilltheGreat
Posted: January 22, 2009 (03:23 PM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

Honestly I don't see what the problem is here. Lewis doesn't like this game. He wrote a review about it to explain why. Should we not write reviews about games we didn't like.


"Either, sir, you're an ass or you're masquerading as one."
- Nero Wolfe


board icon
Author: Felix_Arabia
Posted: January 22, 2009 (03:40 PM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

I thought Code Veronica was the best pre-RE4 game in the series???


I don't have to boost my review resume because I have a real resume.


board icon
Author: JANUS2
Posted: January 22, 2009 (04:37 PM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

You could invert the "objectivity" argument and say that my blind love of Ninja Gaiden and refusal to acknowledge its camera as an issue makes a strictly objective review of it impossible. Does that mean I shouldn't bother reviewing it?

The only way the WWE example is relevant is if Lewis hated zombies before playing Resident Evil and used that as a basis to criticise the game.


"fuck yeah oblivion" - Jihad


board icon
Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: January 22, 2009 (05:57 PM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

I agree with the first couple paragraphs of Lewis's essay on subjectivity.

However, I would contend that the way to establish a global "objectivity" is for everyone to review games regardless of their predisposition. Take WWE games for example -- most reviews are rather forgiving of the stilted, clunky gameplay because the reviewers enjoy seeing their poorly-rendered heroes parading around onscreen. If some people who *didn't* care for pro wrestling picked the games up and reviewed them as fighting games, then the overall internet review catalogue of WWE games might better represent the populace as a whole.

In other words, 99% of wrestling games would be labeled as flops, and wrestling fans like myself wouldn't keep wasting money on supposed "innovations".

Despite popular belief, it does convey meaning for someone to say "I played this game thinking I would hate it, and... I actually do hate it!".

//Zig


Unlimited Zig Works!


board icon
Author: zippdementia
Posted: January 22, 2009 (06:10 PM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

I think what you're missing here Lewis is that everything you've said you disliked about the game (and you defended your points well, a tip of the hat to you, sir), is exactly what everyone LOVES about REmake. Including the voice acting.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


board icon
Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: January 22, 2009 (06:22 PM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

And that shouldn't be a problem. Lewis shouldn't be railed against just because "Waaaah - he bashed my favowit game!" If he should be taking any criticism, it should be for his argument and his argument alone (which I don't see a problem with), not predispositions about a game.

I like Resident Evil as a franchise. I haven't played much of it, but I still like it. And I still looked at the review with an open mind without wetting myself because "OMG - he hates it!"

It seems like what's going on here is a bit of fanboyism, which, is about as subjective as it gets, ironically.

Now, that's not to say your points of objectivity aren't valid, but those arguments of objectivity really hold no water when the argument is strong (which I believe it is here). I also honestly believe that reviews of all types should be taken into consideration. I mean, really, isn't it kind of fishy if EVERYONE thinks a certain game is great? When I read game reviews, I like to read both the good and the bad because it gives me a better sense of the game as a whole. If we outlaw one thing or another because "it's subjective" - even if the arguments are valid - then aren't we eliminating a critical aspect to acquiring all the necessary and relevant information to make a decided and well thought-out purchase?

There are other, much more valid criticisms you can make about this review, but subjectivity isn't really one of them, I don't think, at least not when he actually has something to say in a rational, well-defended manner.


What espiga does in his free time
[Eating EmP's brain] probably isn't a good idea. I mean... He's British, which means his brain's wired for PAL and your eyes are NTSC. - Will


board icon
Author: zippdementia
Posted: January 23, 2009 (01:21 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

I think you missed my point. I wasn't getting into the whole subjective thing. I was just saying, like Jason, that it seems that Lewis simply doesn't like this genre of game, the niche that the original RE's fit. Crappy controls, dismal voice acting, no plot... it's all part of that niche and people go to RE looking for that.

When you end up reviewing a genre you don't like, sometimes your opinion can be totally justified, but also completely hold no water, because you're criticizing the things that people go to that genre to get. I thought Lewis' review was well-stated, well-defended, and well-written. I also think it doesn't matter, because people will ignore his opinion within the first few paragraphs when they realize the things he doesn't like are the things they love.

It's a thin line, but I do think there's a difference between not liking a game because it's bad and not liking a game because it doesn't appeal to your aesthetic.

It's like how it's really hard for me to review puzzle games, because I generally find them boring and a waste of my time (especially if they're on console system). When I wrote my Lumites review, I wrote three reviews that I scrapped because I realized I was complaining more about the genre and not really giving puzzle fans (people who would actually play the game) what they would want to know. It's actually one of the reasons I wanted to write that review, so I could learn to get over that particular bump.

Note: NOT WHAT THEY WOULD WANT TO HEAR. Rather, the things they would need to know when establishing whether this game was worth their time.

Lewis' review is an interesting and well written read (all his reviews are well written), but ultimately it doesn't help RE or the particular brand of Survival Horror fans that go for RE.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


board icon
Author: Suskie
Posted: January 23, 2009 (02:11 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

Enough is enough. I've been trying as hard as I can to restrain myself in an effort to keep my promise and never post anything on HG again, but the ridiculousness of this thread has forced me to intervene.

Jason's argument is one that he has used before, and it's one that I generally agree with. Of course, objectivity can't be the dominant theme of any review -- it is based on your opinion of the game, after all, and not your expectations of what someone else will think of it -- but the argument doesn't apply in this case. I, for example, do not like Madden games, but it's not a question of quality. I acknowledge that if a pro American football simulator is what you're looking for, Madden is your best bet. They're well-made games. They just don't appeal to me. It goes beyond quality; it's more a matter of genre.

Jason and Zipp seem to think that the same applies to Lewis's analysis of the RE series, that his gripes are rooted in the fundamental characteristics of the genre itself, but that's not true at all. I think what his review is saying (and this is a thesis I agree with) is that game developers have found smarter, more effective ways to instill fear into players without handicapping the game itself. His assertion that the tendencies of old-school survival horror games are "rubbish" is more a statement of where his interests lie. As he said, Lewis appreciates an involving narrative. This doesn't rule out the survival horror genre from his interests. Quite the contrary: He's illustrating his ideal survival horror game.

Zipp's argument is that all of the "flaws" attributed to the RE games can be excused as niches of the genre, yet I've played plenty of scarier games that didn't need to rely on imprecise controls and awkward camera angles to make their horror elements work. Just an example: Eternal Darkness. I don't know if Lewis has played that, but I imagine he'd love it. It's unquestionably a survival horror title, yet it breaks the conventions introduced by the RE series and uses unique tactics to inspire equally frightening results. I guess there's an audience for the old-fashioned mechanics of the RE games (excluding RE4), but dismissing anyone for not taking to such mechanics on the grounds that "they're not the target audience" feels more like an escape route for RE fans who don't want to admit that they're attracted to flaws... and then complain when Capcom fixes said flaws and actually produces a quality game for once (RE4).

It's true that all of the issues Lewis brings up in his review can be attributed to the series as a whole, and he even admitted that he dislikes the entire series. That might be a problem if he were to continue writing RE reviews (for the same reason I no longer take Cairo seriously when he reviews a MGS game), but I don't think he will. This review seems to be a retrospect on the series as a whole, his one chance to lash out on a franchise that he's always had some serious issues with.

I've said many times before that the opinions of the HG community differ greatly from those of the general majority, and it's true. Lewis, more often than not, takes the side of that majority, and he's had to put up with a lot of shit from us over the past because of it. (BioShock is the best example.) Now he's finally turned the tables and penned a bash review for a game he's always considered overrated. For him to receive so much flak for that -- being given the bullshit "objectivity" argument in such an out-of-place context (even RE's most ardent fans seem to admit that the series is hilariously flawed, intentionally or otherwise) -- is both unfair and poetically ironic.

And Lewis, if you're still listening... Welcome to the other side.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


board icon
Author: zippdementia
Posted: January 23, 2009 (03:43 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

Well, what can I say? I've been outgunned at 3:00 in the morning. Not much left to do but lie down and wait for the collection of wallets.

At least until reinforcements arrive.

I don't except the Eternal Darkness bit, though. Eternal Darkness is an extremely flawed game.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


board icon
Author: Suskie
Posted: January 23, 2009 (04:03 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

I brought up Eternal Darkness because it's extremely narrative-driven, which Lewis likes, and because it's a survival horror game that doesn't house the flaws that supposedly make up the foundations for the genre ("cinematic" camera angles, tank-like controls, etc.). You're free to dislike it for other reasons, Zipp, but then you're missing my point.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


board icon
Author: Lewis
Posted: January 23, 2009 (05:59 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

You know, it's funny. After I posted that thread about reviews and scores the other day, I toyed with the idea of creating a series of 'Games-journalism-journalism' threads, but then decided no one would be remotely ineterested. Then, by penning a mere 'review', I've inadvertently started one of the main discussions I wanted to raise. Brilliant.

I'm going to try to go through a lot of points here, fairly comprehensively. Apologies if I miss anything out, or, conversely, if I bore you to tears.

Jason sent me an email last night, outlining why he was disappointed with this particular review. I'm sure he won't mind my discussing it here, as it wasn't overtly personal, and was both a relevant and elegantly put argument that, as games critics (as opposed to the editor of a games site) may not necessarily pick up on as easily.

The crux of it was thus: if you're going to raise a contentious and controversial point about a whole genre of community-adored games, you have to be extremely careful how you present it, otherwise you're going to risk alienating the entire target audience of the review.

In the case of this review, Jason felt that I didn't go into enough analytical depth to justify this sort of reaction in a staff review. I'm paraphrasing here, but his words were something like "this is exactly the sort of critical analysis of a game I'd love to see more of in the User Reviews section, or on the forum, but perhaps not as the site's 'official word'."

He also made the undoubtedly true case that the review's target audience - essentially, survival horror fans and lovers of the Resident Evil series - obviously aren't too bothered about the flaws and inconsistencies I pointed out, or - essentially - they wouldn't be fans in the first place. And since I only dwell on the general, common faults of the genre, the review isn't saying anything worthwhile about the game to these people.

I touched upon this in the other Games Journalism Journalism thread, but it's particularly relevant here: I'm probably guilty of forgetting that the bulk of the site's readers aren't games critics. The fact that most of the active community contributors are clouds that vision a little, and I usually end up writing the sort of stuff that I, as a games writer, love to read. But then I'm the sort of person who reads entire reviews without so much as glancing at the score, and I'm well aware that this isn't the case for most gamers. Without meaning to alienate further anyone who may be reading this thread from outside the critical community, it's likely that gamers - as opposed to critics - aren't as likely to want to engage in this level of meta-criticism of a genre. They want to know if the new game in the series they love is as good as the previous ones. In this respect, the review has failed.

And that's undeniable. In retrospect, it's the sort of thing I'd love to read at - I don't know - Rock Paper Shotgun, or The Escapist, or somewhere like that, where the emphasis is on careful, critical consideration about wider issues relating to games. But I would be very surprised (though secretly delighted) to see it printed in a mainstream games mag. It's treading a dangerous tightrope between "review" (ie. buyers' guide, essentially) and "criticism" (ie. intellectual discussion about an art form). It's important, given the current readership of sites like this, to be able to separate the two. Personally, I'm geared towards the latter. But I should be aware that most are not.

(It's worth noting that I'd actually forgotten to even score the thing before WQ pointed it out to me, just before I submitted it. A '4' was completely arbitrary. The case didn't lend itself to a mark whatsoever - which is probably indicative of something that didn't quite work as a straightforward 'review'.)

Right. That's covered.

The criticisms about me not liking survival horror games holds far less weight. Particularly because A) I referenced a really good one in the review itself, and explained exactly why that game is, to the very core, a 'survival horror' game, pointing out that the only differentiation between that and Resident Evil is the abhorrent control mechanisms of the latter; and B) because I've said on at least a couple of occasions now that I do like the genre. This argument, however, was probably not best presented in the review, and I made a bit of a sweeping statement. But I'd equally make that statement about adventure games. I love adventure games when they're done well; most of them, in my humble opinion, simply aren't.

Zipp's point about the fine line between analysing a game's quality and analysing its aesthetic is a very interesting one. I know people like the oddball controls of traditional survival horror, but I genuinely struggle to understand why. The things that appeal to me about Resident Evil seem vastly more successful approached in different ways. I don't understand why people have grown comfortable with this reliance on cheap aesthetic tactics to add scare points. It's a bit like the film The Strangers. A load of my friends thought it was amazing "because it made me jump more than anything else I've ever seen." I thought this was a crippling negative. I didn't enjoy the film, because it cheated at scaring me. The narrative wasn't compelling, and I didn't care for the characters. Instead, I was just on-edge, for no real reason, which wasn't in any way fun. I can jump out from behind a tree and scream at you, and it'll get your heart racing. It doesn't mean I'm a genius of horror.

Maybe what I was trying to do is to get people to re-evaluate why they play these games, and consider for themselves whether or not it's just because they've found a comfort zone. I really, strongly believe that, if anyone was being honest, they'd have to admit this is partially the case.

Eternal Darkness is a fabulous example. Genuinely creepy and well-written, with innovative techniques, and still shamelessly 'survival horror'. With its heavy focus on resource conservation and puzzle-solving, from a third-person perspective, it simply couldn't be described as anything but survival horror in its purest form. The only thing that separates it from Resident Evil is the camera. And it's so much easier to get into as a result.

This would have been a far better example to cite in my review than a survival horror title that's poured into an eff-pee-ess-arr-pee-gee mould. But then Mike's a better human than me.

Conclusions, then:

I'd absolutely stand by everything I said in my article, while conceding it perhaps wasn't the most appropriate argument to make under the guise of Honest Gamers' "official word" on the game.

But I have no regrets, because it's stimulated the sort of brilliant games-journalism discussion I absolutely adore.

NB. I've actually been asked by Jason to make a few revisions to the review, in order to make it less alienating to its target audience, and to solidify a few points. So this piece will end up being altered, but I might post this version to the User Reviews section so it still exists in its original form. And I'll probably still use this one for the competition. God forbid I enter a 'normal' review, after my ethereal and awkward Half-Life 2 concept review and my vehement destruction of the obviously brilliant Oblivion.

EDIT: Amusingly, this forum post is as lengthy as most long-form reviews, and nearly twice as long as the article itself.


Not sure how to make a sig? While logged into your account, you can edit it and your other public and private information from the Settings page.


board icon
Author: JANUS2
Posted: January 23, 2009 (06:03 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

Does HG have an "official word"?

If by "official word" you mean reviews that are designed to be inoffensive to fanboys then I think I'll stop reading staff reviews. I'd rather people expressed their honest, unbiased opinion rather than sugarcoat it for the sort of readers who send death threats to gamespot when they give Zelda a 8.9.


"fuck yeah oblivion" - Jihad


board icon
Author: Lewis
Posted: January 23, 2009 (06:34 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

"No opinions expressed in any review, guide, cheat, fanfic, or editorial necessarily represent the opinion of the staff or any site sponsors."

Maybe this should just be bigger.


Not sure how to make a sig? While logged into your account, you can edit it and your other public and private information from the Settings page.


board icon
Author: Masters (Mod)
Posted: January 23, 2009 (06:58 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

Wow, you know a topic is a big deal when it stirs the sleeping Suskie.


I don't have to prove I'm refined - that's what makes me refined!


board icon
Author: goldenvortex
Posted: January 23, 2009 (07:41 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

This topic is silly.

Lewis seemed to convey his opinions pretty well, and while I don't agree with them, I wouldn't go out of my way to criticise him just because of that.


Not sure how to make a sig? While logged into your account, you can edit it and your other public and private information from the Settings page.


board icon
Author: Lewis
Posted: January 23, 2009 (07:45 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

Amusingly, I've just been sent a survival horror collection to review.

So far, this one's genuinely interesting and creepy, if a little rough around the edges. And, like Eternal Darkness, it stick pretty rigidly to the thematic and content conventions of the genre, without a reliance on shoddy mechanics.

Guess the game(s).


Not sure how to make a sig? While logged into your account, you can edit it and your other public and private information from the Settings page.


board icon
Author: Lewis
Posted: January 23, 2009 (07:47 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

"This topic is silly."

No it's not. It's a really, thoroughly interesting and highly relevant discussion. I don't mind being criticised at all if it leads to brain-engagement like this. I like a challenge.


Not sure how to make a sig? While logged into your account, you can edit it and your other public and private information from the Settings page.


board icon
Author: pickhut
Posted: January 23, 2009 (11:44 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

Hey, guys, can I post in this topic too?


I head spaceshit noises


board icon
Author: zippdementia
Posted: January 23, 2009 (11:46 AM)
Actions: Register for a free user account to post on the forums...

Indeed, Lewis. HG needs MORE of this kind of discussion.

Except that it goes away after a few months :(


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


Additional Messages (Groups of 25)

[01] [02] [03]


Info | Help | Privacy Policy | Contact | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2014 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Resident Evil is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to Resident Evil, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors.