Yeah, firing a rocket launcher with Leon Kennedy is cool, but have you ever tried chopping someone’s head off with Jack Baker’s giant sheers? I have and I’m here to tell you it’s a lot of fun.
Over the weekend, I got hands-on with the Resident Evil Re:Verse beta, a free multiplayer only game that’s to be given to those who buy Resident Evil Village.
It’s hard not to give these spin-off Resi games a hard time, especially considering Capcom’s track record when they move away from the formula that makes their main entries so successful. You only need to look at the likes of Operation Racoon City and Umbrella Corps to see why people are anxious when a new Resident Evil is announced in the same vein of these online multiplayer shoot fests.
It’s with these swirling thoughts that I trod carefully with the beta. As a fan of the Resident Evil series, it’s really cool to be able to play as your favourite characters, good and bad, but as someone who’s played Capcom’s previous attempts, I was scared. I actually thought Resistance was good, albeit lacking longevity, but just a year later and it’s going to be superceded by Re:Verse. In that case, it better be a massive upgrade.
Right now, I’m not sure it is.
Re:Verse features four to six player, five minute deathmatches with everyone playing as their favourite characters from the Resi universe. Unless you like Piers… Sorry Piers fans, he’s not in it. You get to choose from Chris ‘Boulder Puncher’ Redfield, Jill Valentine, Leon Kennedy, Claire Redfield, Ada Wong and Hunk, each with their unique abilities and stats.
I got to try every character multiple times so got a really good feel of what each character could do. I was quick to come to the conclusion that Hunk is the meta. Hunk has an ability called Active Camouflage. This makes him temporarily transparent and silences his footsteps, meaning you can pretty much get away with what you want. Oh, and it also makes his second ability, Assassinate, a short ranged stabbing attack that does massive damage, do even more damage. Finally, Hunk’s passive grants him more time under Active Camo if he kills with Assassinate while invisible. You can see how this can get quickly out of hand. For a lot of the matches I played, the top three were always Hunk, Hunk and (you’ve guessed it), Hunk.
That doesn’t mean the other characters are worthless. I had a lot of fun using Claire Redfield, who comes packed with her signature Quickdraw Army handgun, a submachine gun, an Adrenalin shot for healing on the go, an electric trap she can place, and the ability to get a free reload on her handgun while she dodges.
Ada was sadly the character I seemed to click with the least. She has a somersault kick which will be instantly recognisable to fans of the series and the ability to grapple upwards, throwing a pipe bomb in the process. Her main failing seems to be her secondary weapon which is her trusty crossbow. Unlike the other characters who all come armed with either a powerful shotgun or some kind of automatic weapon, the Ada’s crossbow feels very weak. You’d think it would be a one shot kill, but I often found myself getting into an engagement, getting a direct hit with the crossbow and then getting blown to pieces.
There are other weapons scattered around the map that offer some serious firepower in the form of Resi’s signature monster destroyers. From the strange Spark Shot to the classic Rocket Launcher, there’s plenty lying around to even up the score.
Do not fear death in Re:Verse. Dying is what gives you access to play as the lovely villains of the series, though what monster you turn into depends on how many Virus Capsules you collect as a human. Collect none and you’ll turn into a Moulded from RE7 and have the ability to run after the humans, flailing your arms like there’s no tomorrow and exploding, if you wish. Collect one capsule and you’ll turn into either a Hunter Gamma or good ol Jack Baker, sheers an all, but two capsules is where it’s at, letting you turn into big lad Nemesis or the Super Tyrant.
Obviously, playing the monsters is super fun, especially the Super Tyrant who comes with the Dashing Strike ability, a devastating move which sees him scrape his claws along the floor while giving chase, ending with an upward blow.
The player with the highest score at the end of the match wins and points are scored by making kills. Getting more kills in a row gets you a streak bonus, earning more points. Get killed and your streak ends, but you can earn it back if you manage to get revenge on that player. Considering the ability to come back as a monster straight away, it makes killing players full of risk and reward. I found myself backing off as soon as I killed someone before moving on to the guy that was right behind them. Too many times I was caught out taking my eye off the player I killed, only to be obliterated by Nemesis seconds later.
It gave a nice flow to the matches and because of the way the score system works, you feel like you can come back from a bad score at any point. I remember one game I was playing terribly, only to kill the streak leader who had around six kills, netting me a huge bonus for taking out the best player and shooting all the way up to second.
Sadly, there was only one map to see in the beta which was the RPD. This was fine, I just wish I got to see more. Amidst the fears provided by the pop art style trailer, RPD looked very close to RE2 Remake which is a welcome relief. With the graphics fears being allayed, here’s hoping there’s a lot more options for arenas come the actual release.
Being a beta, there really isn’t much else going on to get a sense of the game’s overall progression. I couldn’t tell if you earned any XP, unlocked any rewards or anything, and it’s this that has me questioning longevity once again. You like to feel like your time investment should be getting you some reward at the end. That being said, it’s pitched as a free add on, so how much complaining can we really do?
You’re buying RE Village for the spooky story, creepy castle and tall vampire lady, so getting Re:Verse is surely a bonus? Only time will tell whether Re:Verse is a worthy investment of Capcom’s efforts, but for now, the jury is out.