Resident Evil RE: Verse | Preview

Resident Evil RE: Verse | Preview
Presented during the Showcase streamed last January 21, RE: Verse is the new multiplayer title dedicated to the Resident Evil universe, as well as the first side project shown to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the series. Although the trailer did not leave us with high expectations towards this new production, also due to a history of multiplayer productions dedicated to Resident Evil not properly inspired or well made, we spent a couple of days with the closed beta of RE: Verse, hoping to find ourselves in front of something fresh and fun but finding ourselves, at the end of the trial period, with more doubts than certainties.

RE: Verse, in fact, is a third-person shooter that pits one against the other. 'other the various characters of Resident Evil, making them collide within maps set in iconic locations of the series. To revive a formula already seen, and revised, in numerous similar productions, we find a range of unique skills for each character and the possibility of transforming the latter into a B.O.W. (chosen from some iconic monsters of the series) following a death. Although the idea behind it may seem disengaged, fun and devoted to the most ruthless fan service, the hours spent in the "free for all" mode (the only one available in the closed beta) have shown us an overview that is not very reassuring and that it still needs a lot of work to be interesting in the long run.

A brief rundown of the characters available in the RE: Verse beta, fully demonstrates what has been said just now. We have six available (Leon, Chris, Jill, Hunk, Ada and Claire), all iconic and represented with the polygonal models used in recent Capcom productions. Each of them has two unique abilities, controlled by their respective cooldowns that will manage their use during matches, and an iconic secondary weapon. If the choice of characters is intriguing, and able to delight fans of the series, the differences between the latter affect, practically immediately, in the general balance of the game. Making us see how, a few hours from the start of the testing phase, there were already characters disproportionately more advantaged than others.

To give you a practical example, it is enough to know that Hunk has the ability to become almost invisible for a short period of time and that his second ability, a simple stab in the abdomen, is enhanced whenever the agent has become camouflaged with the environment. The obvious result of this is that those using Hunk find themselves running around the maps, becoming invisible when they notice an enemy, stabbing them and starting to run around the area, looking for resources, waiting to reload both skills before repeating. the operation. In the same way we find Jill's knife which, with a quick combo hit, can quickly eliminate even the worst of the B.O.W. , without even having to worry about waiting for both skills to be ready to use them in combo.

The balancing problem of RE: Verse, however, does not arise only from the disproportionate power of some skills but, above all, from not to be able to balance them in the best possible way among the other characters to avoid distorting the characteristics that have defined them in the previous two decades. So Leon's spinning kick, or his ability to fire two pistols for a short period of time, can't guarantee any defense, or real offensive, against characters like Hunk and Jill. The possibility, moreover, to let the player choose whatever character he wants, not going to limit the options based on what has already been chosen by the other participants, showed us some matches in which a sextet of invisible Hunks was waiting to win, or to lose, a fight to start fighting between BOWs

Just about the BOWs present in RE: Verse, we find five of them (a micomorph, a Hunter Y, Jack Baker, Nemesis and a Tyrant) and their operation is, in reality, very simple. In each game map, purple cylinders will appear cyclically, renamed "viral charges", each player can take up to two of them with him and their quantity will decide in which B.O.W. the hero will be transformed in the moment of death. An interesting mechanic in itself and that, at least on paper, would open up fun and potentially strategic scenarios. The problem, however, is that the B.O.W. they are linked to the number of viral charges in the player's possession but are chosen, randomly, between the two available for each level, making the scenarios where the B.O.W. are completely random, and consequently unbalanced. to steal the show.

Every player without viral charges will always turn into a Micomorph with physical attacks and the ability to detonate, dying, to generate an area explosion. A viral load, on the other hand, will generate a random transformation of your choice between Hunter Y (who can hit with his tail, spit out gushes of acid or try to gulp down opponents) and Jack Baker (who, at the moment, turns out to be the most rambling among those present, with his slow hits and completely busted hitboxes). Having two viral charges, finally, will guarantee the transformation either into the fearsome Nemesis or into an enhanced Tyrant, which follows the one seen in the first, iconic, chapter of the series.

The problem behind this system, however , is that the randomness of the transformations brings all the BOWs to have a chance to succeed in their sorties, thus making the Mycomorph's melee offensives able to frame a Nemesis in a “hit and stun” loop that allows them to emerge victorious from the clash. The differences of the BOWs, in fact, are limited to a greater resistance and to some extremely lethal skills in the higher level ones (the Tyrant and the Nemesis), completely annihilating any tactical range given by choosing your own BOW, perhaps in combo with the abilities of the character, and fight to recover the vital charges to carry out a pre-game strategy studied.

To this overview, already confusing enough in itself, are added secondary weapons (unique for each character) and the destructive ones (grenade launchers and rocket launchers) which should increase the plateau of guns available in RE: Verse but unfortunately only manage to make the game dynamics even more confusing and random. The submachine gun available to Hunk, as well as the assault rifle wielded by Chris, will prove to be much more effective choices than Leon's shotgun (designed for close range fights) or Ada's crossbow. The fact of not being able to choose them, or modify them during the game, leads them to be an additional element that leads the player to choose a character, exclusively, for his unique abilities. Regarding rocket launchers and grenade launchers, however, there is little to add as they are "single-bullet" weapons that will appear randomly on the map giving "an easy kill" to the players who collect them first.

The The final result is also afflicted by all those problems that are expected from a beta of a production of this kind: sporadic lag, hitboxes busted, random re-spawn points, period of momentary post mortem invincibility to be reduced and melee attacks of the BOW to be reviewed as, very rarely, they prove to be precise in their execution. RE: Verse, however, is not a disaster, but rather a set of original ideas that need to be amalgamated together with wisdom. Characters need proper balance, as do B.O.W. they should lose their randomness to reveal themselves as a strategic element capable of actually reversing the fate of a game. At the moment it is practically impossible to unbalance on an opinion but, undoubtedly, there is still a lot of work to be done to make RE: Verse an interesting production and not just a carousel of Fan Service, reminiscences from Mercenaries and "caciarona" action.

Technically, finally, RE: Verse has left us particularly lukewarm not so much for a poorly cared for technical sector (on the other hand we are facing a beta so it is also normal to find ourselves facing some "technical poverty"), the more for an artistic sector devoted to savings. It seems, in fact, that Capcom deliberately used the polygonal models it had available following Resident Evil 7, and the two remakes of the second and third chapter, not offering a real artistic direction as much as a collage of "what they already had ready in the drawer". Chris's model taken directly from the seventh chapter is disconnected from that of Jill from the remake of the third, while Ada, Claire, Hunk and Leon show an obvious affinity of lines and style.

A similar fate is also reserved for BOWs where the iconicity of the Nemesis and the Hunter clashes with the anonymity of the micomorph, Hunter Y and Jack Baker who clearly show how the monsters were chosen based on the ready-made models. We assume it will also be the same for the settings that we will see in RE: Verse since the only map available in the beta, the Raccoon City police station, is the same as seen in the remake of the second chapter, with some furniture elements placed for creating shelters and the obvious removal of doors to keep moving quickly.

At the moment, therefore, it is difficult to express oneself enthusiastically regarding RE: Verse. On the one hand there is a basic idea that could prove to be successful, and fun, which collides with a series of management errors that show an approximate production and, at the moment, not able to keep the player's attention high. long. It also remains to understand how this project will be distributed as it will be supported, as a stand-alone title, with Resident Evil Village but only for a limited period of time, leaving us with many questions about the nature, and the consequent direction, of this title designed for open the celebrations of the 25th year of the series.

Resident Evil Village can be booked here and, in the first few weeks after launch, will contain access to RE: Verse.

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