Highlight Reel is Kotaku’s regular roundup of great plays, stunts, records and other great moments from around the gaming world. If you record an amazing feat while playing a game (here’s how to record a clip), send it to us with a message confirming that the clip is yours at [email protected]Or, if you see a great clip around that isn’t yours, encourage that person to send it in!
Straight speedruns and feats of skill are always impressive, but sometimes it’s just as impressive to see a game completed where someone has found an interesting way to make things hard for themselves.
That’s what Manekimoney has done here with a Resident Evil 4 playthrough that was completed with 0% weapon accuracy. That means using the knife, of course, but also a range of weapons that deal area damage but don’t count against the player’s accuracy rating, like rocket launchers, grenades, and the mine thrower.
While that might make it sound a bit easier than a knife-only run, it’s far from it, as there are sections of the game where you need to handle things remotely without harming other characters (like Ashley when she needs defending), so using weapons like the mine thrower takes, ironically, a great deal of accuracy, since you need to be dealing splash damage only to enemies.
Also notable are some of the tricks involved in gaming Resident Evil 4’s ammo system, like stocking up on handgun ammo so that dead enemies won’t drop more of it, and how other types of ammo needed to be protected at all costs, since they’re needed to clear certain parts of the game where more traditional means aren’t available as part of the challenge.
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I’ll be honest. When Project Resistancewas announced, I was skeptical. A multiplayer Resident Evil? Surely, that cannot work, I thought. At the Tokyo Game Show, I got hands-on with Project Resistance, and from what I played, I realized that, yes, yes it can.
Project Resistance is a four-on-one asymmetrical co-op multiplayer game. Four players team up in hopes of solving puzzles and escaping from locked rooms. The other player does everything possible to make sure that doesn’t happen.
While Project Resistance is a temporary title, the game itself felt fully fleshed out. The four different Survivors each have a special ability. The character January Van Sant, for instance, can disable the cameras that exist throughout the rooms and hallways in Project Resistance. The character Tyrone Henry specializes in defensive moves; he’s also able to easily kick down doors and rally the others. Valerie Harmon can heal the injured, and Samuel Jordan is good on the attack. These are the Survivors. Each of these specialized skills means that players must work together to solve puzzles and escape from the rooms.
What makes Project Resistance interesting is that there is a fifth player who takes the role of the Mastermind, who tries to prevent the Survivors from escaping. The Mastermind can access the CCTV cameras to monitor the rooms and hallways. When a camera is selected, the Mastermind can then spawn zombies and creatures in that area as well as do other things to make life difficult for the Survivors such as lock doors, turn out the lights and set traps. Since the character January can hack the cameras, that means the Mastermind must toggle from camera to camera to prevent—or slow down—the Survivors.
The Mastermind can also take control of a zombie that’s been spawned, which keeps things interesting. When Mr. X is spawned for a limited time things get really interesting because he packs so much brute strength.
I found that playing as the Survivors was a solid Resident Evil experience, but with the added element of everyone working together, trying to evade the zombies and escape. Because the maps are cramped, however, sometimes it seemed like all the Survivors could get clumped up together in confined areas. The co-op experience is good, and there is the same sense of dread in traditional Resident Evil games. The way that is recreated in a multiplayer co-op was impressive.
What I really liked was how difficult the Mastermind experience was. Shooting a zombie in the face is satisfying in Resident Evil, but when you are the Mastermind, doing something as simple as turning out the lights was also equally satisfying—and for the players, unnerving and frightening. The Project Resistance demo understood what makes horror so effective for those who are being pursued and for those doing the persuing. What could be a deeper understanding of what Resident Evil is than that?
First teased earlier this week, here’s the first proper look at Project Resistance, an upcoming 4v1 “asymmetrical co-op experience” set in the Resident Evil universe.
Four players can team up as regular humans and play as survivors, where they can run around, interact with stuff together and try to escape a secret facility, while one player can take control of Nemesis Mastermind, the bad guy behind said facility, and just run around murdering everyone (with the help of security cameras, which he can use to track survivors).
There’s a beta next month in Japan. No word on a release date, but the game is coming to PS4, Xbox One and Steam.
In Resident Evil 4 players have a huge variety of weapons and attacks to choose from. But YouTuber Dante Ravioli decided to use something very different to kill one of the most famous enemies in the game. Instead of a shotgun or pistol, they kicked a door into the chainsaw guy’s face a few dozen times. Surprisingly, this worked.
Dante Ravioli didn’t think this would work. Using just a door to kill a tough enemy sounds ridiculous. It just sounded too improbable to him. However, his whole YouTube channel is dedicated to testing out crazy, impossible or strange challenges in games. “I had to at least give it a shot,” explained Dante Ravioli.
To pull this strange kill off, Ravioli lured the chainsaw guy towards a building with a door and then proceded to run into the building. Then he waited right near the door. Using the loud motor of the chainsaw, Ravioli was able to figure out when he should kick open the door, which damages any enemy directly behind it. Then he just did this over and over and over, until eventually, he had killed his target.
It took him around 30 minutes to successfully kill Dr. Salvador, the actual name of that chainsaw-wielding boss. The first half of that was filled with some mistakes and restarts. Once Ravioli got the timing down, he was able to kill the chainsaw loving doctor in about 14 minutes. He posted the whole unedited fight on YouTube.
It is quite comical to see such a deadly and scary enemy reduced to a bumbling idiot. He keeps falling for the same trick, over and over. Come on, dude. Quit falling for this door trick. You’re a doctor. You’re smarter than this.
This isn’t the only boss Ravioli has killed using a door in Resident Evil 4. A much more challenging opponent was the Verdugo. It took two hours of door smashing to finally kill that tough enemy. “This took so many attempts that my thumb was starting to hurt after mashing the ‘door open’ button for so long,” said Ravioli.
While Dante Ravioli would love to kill more bosses in Resident Evil 4 using just a door, it seems unlikely. The problem is that most bosses in the game aren’t near doors. However, Ravioli does believe that if a door was available near other bosses in the game, this could work. It seems nobody is immune to a door hitting them in the face a few dozen times.
Resident Evil is one of the biggest and most important names in video game horror. The first three games in Capcom’s survival horror series defined a genre and influenced generations of developers and players. So it’s strange how hard it is to play the original trilogy on modern hardware. It’s a problem that would largely remain unsolved if it weren’t for independent developers like Mathieu Philippe, who recently helped remaster Resident Evil 3: Nemesis in his spare time.
Philippe was an unlikely candidate for remastering Resident Evil games. His first Resident Evil experience was Code: Veronica, and he only played two other entries: Resident Evil 4 and this year’s remake of Resident Evil 2. But after many attempts to get his own projects off the ground, that remake inspired him to begin his work remastering classic games.
“Game development, like many creative endeavors, is mainly a long series of failures,” Philippe says. He had spent a year developing prototypes for a small independent game, grappling with the difficult realities of the creative process. “I needed to release something to prove to myself that I could finish a project. Even if it is something very small and specific like a tool.”
Striking out alone was a slow process for Philippe. Born in France, he graduated with a degree in game design in 2011 and was hired by Ubisoft, where he worked on the publisher’s Might & Magic games as a line designer: “basically the link between the top managers and the development teams for the creative aspects of the projects assigned to them.”
Staying in France, however, wasn’t an option. His girlfriend, a Chinese citizen, couldn’t remain in the country, and after maintaining a long-distance relationship for three years, Philippe was able to transfer to Ubisoft Chengdu in a new position as a game designer and move in with his partner in 2013.
“Over the years, my girlfriend and me got married, we had kids, my career was moving forward. I worked on many small projects like a Raving Rabbids mobile game and a Wheel of Fortune game,” he says. “Nothing groundbreaking, but I never wanted to work on big productions anyway. And unlike what we justifiably read about the game industry these days, my work conditions and compensations were great.”
Yet Philippe still wanted out, citing high turnover rates and a lack of mentorship opportunities, which capped his pathway to bigger and better projects. Management, Philippe said, was aware of and working to address these issues, but life was pulling him in another direction. At the end of 2017, his wife got the opportunity to start a school in another city, and together they decided that he would try his hand at making his own games for two or three years, supported by his wife’s income while he spent more time watching their children at home.
Then, in the summer of 2018, Capcom showed off the first footage of 2019’s Resident Evil 2 remake. Around the same time, Philippe began to take an interest in the growing popularity of machine-learning applications like ESRGAN and Waifu2x as a means of producing rough upscaled fan remasters of video games. Philippe, in need of a quick, clear goal to get his creative juices flowing, found his project: a machine-learning remaster of the original Resident Evil 2’s backgrounds.
But Resident Evil 2, it turned out, had an obstacle facing anyone who wanted to upscale it: mask textures.
“They are tightly packed sets of small rectangular sprites that are placed by the game engine on top of the background,” Philippe says. “They can be displayed on top of the 3D models (like the characters) to create the illusion of depth. They are key for making the players feel like their character is walking in believable scenery and not on top of a postcard.”
This makes algorithmic upscalers much harder to use, as the tightly packed mask textures get churned up as the upscalers blend pixels in the resizing process. “For example, a desk and a wall will be blended together,” Philippe says.
After working to solve this problem, he posted a video of his progress and was encouraged by the feedback. Slowly, a team formed from the modding community. Kayael, a texture-pack maker who had released HD textures for both Resident Evil 2 and 3, proposed they combine their work. Over Discord, Philippe and Kayael were joined by Saeed, who did quality control work from Saudi Arabia, and FrankWesker, who contributed art from Brazil. A programmer named Gemini, who worked on the Classic REbirth patches to get Resident Evil 1 and 2 working on modern PCs, offered advice.
In six months, Philippe and his team completed their Seamless HD remaster of not only Resident Evil 2, but also Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. The reaction has been positive, according to Philippe, and the team is currently working on applying their Seamless HD approach to the first game in the series.
Philippe’s work remastering games happened amid a growing fan effort to update and preserve older games. I asked him how he felt about fans remastering games themselves when publishers don’t.
“I would love old classics to be easily available and playable. I don’t believe the rare console ports of such games to be a good solution for preservation as they will only last as long as their digital distribution services,” Phillippe says. “Official engine reimplementation and remasters are always great news for fans. But we can’t blame publishers for not remastering their back catalog every 15-20 years. It is usually very hard to justify economically (as they can be creatively and mechanically tricky to sell to a modern audience) and it can be a real pain technically (when the source code or the assets are lost).
“Considering this, we can be thankful to fans for great unofficial reimplementation of games such as X-Com (OpenXcom) and Resident Evil (Classic Rebirth) which makes these games more playable but also allow their communities to express their creativity with better mod support.”
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is one of the more difficult Resident Evil games to get a hold of on current consoles. If you wanted to play it today, your only real option—short of tracking down a hard copy of the original game —is dusting off a PlayStation 3 or Vita to download the PlayStation Classic version. Regardless of the format, you’re going to run into the same problem: The game has never been remastered or optimized for modern displays. So some fan modders got to work.
Resident Evil 3 Seamless HD Project is an attempt to make the survival horror classic look better in high definition, and the results, as you can see on this showcase video, are pretty impressive.
Even in a YouTube window you can appreciate the clarity a remaster like this one provides: Sure, everything looks crisper, but you can also clearly read the faded signs and posters on walls and appreciate the work of Capcom’s background artists that much more.
It’s exciting to see this, since Nemesis shook up the Resident Evil formula in one memorable way. The sequel, first released on PlayStation in September 1999, was built around the eponymous Nemesis–a recurring boss that stalked protagonist Jill Valentine during certain portions of the game. Unlike other monsters in Resident Evil games, Nemesis could follow you into other rooms, and this made him absolutely terrifying.
Considering how influential it was—nigh-unbeatable monsters that stalk players are now a horror game staple—it’s bizarre that Nemesis has not been re-released on current consoles, especially since most classic ResidentEvil games are readily available.
The fan remaster uses machine learning to upscale the game’s graphics, a common technique in unofficial remasters of classic games and cutscenes. The Seamless HD Project team—programmer Mathieu Phillipe, quality assurance tester Saeed, HD texture artist Kayael, and an artist who goes by FrankWesker—goes a little bit further than just using an algorithm to improve the game resolution, manually retouching a few in-game screens and building a custom version of the popular Dolphin Gamecube emulator for running their remaster.
It’s also not perfect. A FAQ section on the remaster’s download page notes that some things, like the inventory screens, aren’t able to be upscaled using their current process. Algorithms are also prone to leaving lots of rough edges that can take “thousands of man-hours” to clean up by hand, something that’s clearly outside the scope of a free fan project.
While the Resident Evil 3 Seamless HD project is free, it does not make the game any easier to get a hold of. The remaster’s product page indicates that it includes the aforementioned modified Dolphin emulator combined with the new texture packs. Actually running it requires an ISO image file of the Resident Evil 3 Gamecube port, which of course means a user would either need a pirated copy of the game or the software necessary to rip a Gamecube copy they own.
It is a shame that it’s not easier to play Resident Evil 3 given how widely available the series’ most popular entries are. Perhaps Capcom’s next plan for Resident Evil is a full-on remake of Nemesis akin to this year’s Resident Evil 2. That’d be nice. It would also be nice if we could play the game on current hardware.
The Glass Staircase, released last week for PC and Mac, tries to capture the feeling of classic horror games like Clock Tower and Silent Hill. When I saw my coworker Luke Plunkett post the trailer on Kotaku, I was intrigued. My early time with The Glass Staircase has been tense, revealing a moody game that silently waits until you’ve finally relaxed before killing you.
Capturing the essence of fixed-camera horror games can be tricky. It’s not simply about having tank controls or adding a little bit of fog to your game. The Glass Staircase has those things, but it also understands the value of a good slow burn. You play as a group of children inside an run-down manor. One by one, you are made to explore and perform simple tasks: Grab this package that was delivered, light all the candles in the house.
But something’s wrong. A dark force lingers just out of sight, and when you least expect it, tragedy arrives. In my first hour or so with The Glass Staircase, two of my playable characters seem to have died, and I’m sure that more deaths are to come. It results in a sort of Groundhog’s Day loop. Each new day starts calm before slowly shifting to something more sinister. That cyclical structure might allow me to get to know the manor grounds better but it can’t prepare me for bloody monsters.
What I appreciate about The Glass Staircase most at the moment is how it uses space. One of the things I love about games like Resident Evil is how the fixed camera perspective is used to create a sense of alienation and dread. You don’t really know what’s down the hall or around the corner because you can’t see it. Games that shift perspectives, like the recent Resident Evil 2 remake, have their own tricks for keeping things tense—enemies that stalk you, gory combat—but they miss out on this particular brand of unease.
For instance, one early part of The Glass Staircase involves a hedge maze. The camera makes it all the more easy to get lost, which is uncomfortable and even a bit frustrating. It also means that the maze can shift off-camera, or add a terrifying monster right out of frame. It’s smart, using the limitations of early horror to create a memorable set piece.
I’ve not progressed far enough to get to the gorier bits teased in the trailer. I haven’t picked up a gun and shot a shambling husk-creature yet. But The Glass Staircase has proven a solid student of the slow burn. Whatever explosive confrontations await, there’s been plenty of silent wanderings to go with it. That’s some solid horror game design, sure to please anyone eager for a fresh scare.
Modder ZOMBIΞALI has done the world a favour/cursed us all by introducing Thomas the Tank Engine to the PC version of Resident Evil 2’s remake, where he replaces Mr. X.
Dropping Thomas into inappropriate video games is nothing new—it’s been done in everything from Skyrim to Fallout 4—but it’s the nature of Mr. X’s cold-blooded, relentless pursuit (and Thomas’ gentle chugging) that makes this so good. And by good I also mean utterly horrifying.
The intro for the original Resident Evil is something special. The cheesy acting, the low production values, and the clothing all combine to create something I still love watching. But one fan decided this video could be improved and made the whole thing into a sitcom intro.
Created by GreyGhost Mike, it works. It really works. Something about the way each character is given an introduction helps sell this as a strange and dark sitcom from the late 80s.
I know rumors of a Resident Evil TV show have floated around the internet for some time now and I can only hope that if it happens the show is half as fun as this intro.
After watching this video I started thinking who I would cast in a Resident Evil sitcom. The zombies are easy, you just grab random comedians and guest stars. But the main cast is trickier.
I’m thinking David Harbour from Stranger Things could be a great Barry Burton. Who would you cast in this totally fictional show I now want to watch?