Resident Evil Resistance is a conceptually intriguing spin off, offering fans of the recent remakes a chance to indulge in some asymmetric multiplayer action. Unfortunately, judging by our time with the beta, this one has wildly missed the mark.
As an elevator pitch, Resistance is hard to fault; a 4 v 1 third person escape-athon, with the solo "Mastermind" player attempting to thwart a squad of survivors as they make their escape under the pressure of a ticking clock. There's agency, a clear set of objectives, and class specific abilities, all wrapped in a nicely polished graphical finish with a mixture of classic enemies and familiar gadgetry thrown in for good measure.
It doesn't take long for the good will of such a solid premise to erode away, leaving behind an unbalanced, slapdash mess of a multiplayer that should be counting its lucky stars that it's not being sold separately.
Issues with the meta present themselves from the outset. The Mastermind player is able to spawn in various enemy types and traps that each have an associated cost. However, these can be dropped directly infront of players, out of nowhere, in almost any location.
Not only does this completely eviscerate any possible feeling of tension for the opposing team, but it makes currently occupied rooms a never ending factory of creatures that seem to beam in with reckless abandon.
The whole experience feels like more of a chore than a taut test of endurance, a slog through never ending waves of slightly alternative bad guys that only ends once you manage to fumble your way to unlock the next safe zone. If that isn't enough to put you off, then the obscenely overpowered, player controlled "Mr. X" will guarantee your misery, thumping around in impossibly tight quarters with no viable defence.
If the level design wasn't so restrictive, with alternative paths and less emphasis on swinging wildly into action, the ratio of scares to confrontation wouldn't be quite so overwhelming. We haven't even mentioned the machine gun cameras yet, which can be activated at a moments notice, and shred you in seconds, leading to a time burning respawn and one more trip unto the miserable breach.
There are some saving graces that help rescue what is, on balance, a sloppy effort. The controls inherit their logical rethink from the recent RE:2 (and upcoming RE:3) remakes, ensuring minimal transition from the single player campaign. Taking direct control of enemy units is infinitely more interesting, and works in much the same way as Left 4 Dead's implementation of the mechanic. It was also extremely easy to get into a match on Xbox One, which is handy considering the PS4 and PC beta's are thoroughly borked at the time of publication.
We'd almost prefer the spawning element to be stripped away, levels to be blown open, and the Mastermind player to take direct control of Mr. X, embracing an almost Friday the 13th vibe. The asymmetric concept would be preserved, the franchises staple tension restored, and a pervasive feeling of disappointment would have been eliminated.
Unfortunately, what we're left with is a beta for a multiplayer mode that is sorely lacking in almost every regard. Resident Evil Resistance is immediately forgettable, and in its current form, a painfully squandered opportunity.
Resident Evil Resistance launches on 3rd April 2020, for PS4, Xbox One, and PC, as part of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis.
We played the beta on Xbox One.