Resident Evil’s stories have they outgrown themselves?

It’s remarkable how storytelling in video games have evolved over the years, but what started out as some tacky cliché lines of cheese has evolved into something so much bigger it almost defies belief. Whilst we can cast our minds back to classic dialogue in Resident Evil 1, and relish deliveries of “Don’t open that door” from Albert Wesker in the mansion, or Barry Burton telling Jill Valentine that she was almost a “Jill sandwich”, fast forward to Resident Evil 2’s more engaged plot and compare that with the latest trailer and it’s a massive contrast. Sure the graphics have improved and therefore a lot more can be conveyed, but when looking at the overarching storyline, the series has certainly evolved as much as the T or G virus could ever have proposed way back when.

Resident Evil 2 trailer:

What perhaps is the most stark contrast is within the characterization, especially from Leon S Kennedy, one of Resident Evil 2’s main playable characters. Whilst Claire Redfield opted to save William Birkin’s daughter in a pseudo older sister kind of way, Leon was more encroached in his love interest for double agent Ada Wong.

What’s really interesting when looking back to the scenes – and the game as a whole – is how it told of Leon’s fondness for Ada and how the presentation is incredible by today’s standards. There’s no real back story, nothing to really suggest why Leon would fall for Ada so readily. In fact looking back, the whole premise is pretty patronizing where the player is left to assume beyond what is actually presented. The whole scene at the end of the game where Ada is knocked over the edge of a walkway and Leon is left crying like a baby as he calls out her name in despair is simply grotesque and awe inspiring for all the wrong reasons. It’s perhaps factual that Leon’s character back then was designed to be wet behind the ears, but the story was never fleshed out enough to go deeper into his feelings.

Resident Evil 6 trailer

As of now we’re presented with over the top sequences, better looks, a more defining story and cinematic elements to enforce plot points and relationships with the cast. But it’s important to remember the simplicity of the series’ roots. Whilst Resident Evil 6 aims to juxtapose various plots and characters into an eclectic melting pot of ideas, the simplicity of its forebears should perhaps not be forgotten. Whether today’s approach actually works out in the game’s favour or offers confusion amidst convoluted ideas is yet to be seen, but one thing is for sure, the intensity and complexities of the Resident Evil stories have very much progressed especially when you cast an eye back to the classic one liners that are perhaps more memorable for the wrong reasons. Master of unlocking anyone.

Written by: Robert Cram

Robert Cram has hundreds of video game reviews and thousands of articles under his belt. He aims to remain objective and fair in his analysis. With years of experience, feels his gaming opinions are valid and worth sharing. Agreement is entirely optional.