Capcom hasn't had the best of luck with multiplayer this generation. Umbrella Corps was a complete and utter disaster while Monster Hunter: World, the publisher's best-selling video game of all time, continues to be held back by a frustrating and nonsensical online infrastructure. So, when the Japanese team announced that Resident Evil Resistance would be a multiplayer-focused title prior to the reveal of Resident Evil 3, the level of apprehension found within its fanbase was largely understandable. However, now that the pack-in takes a backseat to the adventures of Jill Valentine, is the online offering shaping up to be something worth your time once the campaign is all said and done with? That's definitely a possibility, but it's not anywhere near as enjoyable to play as the package's main course.
For those who don't know, Resident Evil Resistance is a non-canon, asymmetrical multiplayer mode bundled with Resident Evil 3 that you'll be able to play at no extra cost. Four players must work together to solve puzzles and progress through a series of stages before escaping with their lives. However, a fifth person takes up the role of Mastermind to try and put a stop to that. It's a bit of mindless fun when you're fighting for your life as a survivor, but as the player setting up and taking part in the ensuing chaos, the game quickly becomes a thoroughly joyful and satisfying experience as you work to take down those with life still left in them.
Having said that, Capcom is going to need to make sure its matchmaking capabilities are up to snuff because we can see the role of the Mastermind becoming a firm favourite amongst the community. That's because as one of the four participants working together, there isn't that much in terms of gameplay mechanics to look forward to. We're sure a couple of rounds here and there would be entertaining enough, but the role of the survivor just isn't all that exciting.
Each and every match appears to play out far too similarly. A series of stages tasks you with collecting puzzle pieces to open a door, hacking into certain computers spread throughout the map, and destroying certain test tubes fit for a human named Biocores. Then you'll be able to make a break for it and win the game. Those are just the objectives we encountered on the Casino map, but if each level sticks to the same sort of rigid structure, it's probably not a multiplayer offering you'll want to invest more than a couple of hours into.
At least some variety can be found in the loadout and character you choose at the start of each match. All six playable characters come with their own set of skills to influence the course of a game -- a Fever ability acts as your ultimate talent while personal and passive skills flesh out the roles. Valerie is the healer of the group, Samuel is a melee specialist, and January can impact what the Mastermind sees. After choosing the character who suits you best, you'll be able to make up a simple loadout through the expenditure of Umbrella Credits and expand upon it between rounds as you accrue extra points.
It's enjoyable enough on the face of things, but the biggest problem the mode faces is that it doesn't play anywhere near as well as Resident Evil 3 does. Despite using the exact same control scheme, it feels far clunkier with 30 frames per second dictating pace and what almost seems like a small bit of input lag. Maybe it's something we'd be able to get used to after a couple more hours of practice, but going from the package's main course immediately into Resident Evil Resistance couldn't have presented a more stark contrast.
It's a good job then that taking up the role of the Mastermind lands on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Taking advantage of security cameras spread across each map, you'll be working to stop the survivors from escaping by laying traps, locking doors that lead to objectives, and spawning in all manner of terrors to give the group of four something to think about. That is done by activating the cards you carry at any one time and placing them on the map -- introducing the likes of dogs, zombies, and even Mr X to the battlefield. You can choose to sit behind the safety of CCTV or take control of the undead at certain intervals, which is something we thoroughly recommend doing.
The Mastermind is far and away the best thing Resident Evil Resistance has going for it. While you're most likely going to find some amount of entertainment in escaping the sort of scenarios each survivor finds themselves in, working against them is what's going to have you coming back for more. Setting up what is essentially certain death for an unsuspecting player as you plant traps, spawn in various members of the undead, and follow it all up with the mutated William Birkin is so, so much fun. How much time we invest in Resident Evil Resistance after launch is certainly up for debate, but it does have some trappings that are most intriguing.
We would like to thank Capcom for inviting Push Square to the preview event. Resident Evil Resistance releases as a pack-in alongside Resident Evil 3 on PS4 on 3rd April 2020, but are you excited about this multiplayer mode? Do you think it'll be better than Umbrella Corps? Spawn as a zombie in the comments below.