So, Resident Evil 6 is out there and I think it’s safe to say that not everyone is overly impressed. The franchise has veered away from its stated genre in the last couple of instalments and is ever edging towards the unit shifter that is action adventure. Now I’m not going to harp on about the death of whatever or the sorry state of this that and the other, instead I’m going to recommend a couple of games that you could, if you wish, play instead of RE6 to scratch that zombie itch. (Because as we all know there are not nearly enough zombie games around these days)
First up Deadly Premonition. When you first pick up Deadly Premonition you will probably think one or more of three things;
1. The game looks cheap and dated
2. the controls are horrible
3. gee this all seems an awful lot like Twin Peaks.
Lets start at the end and get this Twin Peaks thing out the way first. Yes, this game ‘borrows’ heavily from TP. In fact the setting, the characters, and large chunks of the story are lifted wholesale from the TV show, but if you’ve watched TP then you’ll know that it’s a pretty good show to steal from. Also, because the theft is so blatant it feels like the game is using it to welcome you in. saying to you “hey, remember that TV show you like? I’m just like that really, come play me.” Which is good, because you need to feel invited to get over the first 2 points.
So back to point’s 1 and 2. This game looks awful. Period. There’s no getting around it, it is a very cheap game and this shows in the last gen graphics and the general emptiness of the game world.
Along with the clunky and awkward controls it would be easy to give up on Deadly Premonition early on but once you push through these flaws you find a simply great game filled with twisting story, creepy atmosphere and exhilarating gameplay, and in the same way as early survival horror games such as Resi 1 or Silent Hill the poor controls often help to add a sense of urgency to any given situation. As for the game itself, you conduct investigations throughout the overworld of the city and then face of the living dead in a variety of creepy ‘dark’ locations as you edge closer to revealing and defeating the Raincoat Killer. The zombies are your classic slow stumbling fare, each one feeling like a challenge as you need to hit them with 15/20 shots before they finally fall. When they come at you in numbers it’s sometimes best to just run for it. As you push through the hordes of undead you are repeated hounded by the afore-mentioned Raincoat killer, or often just the sound of his heavy axe dragging alone the stone floor to let you know he’s near. This is one of the few downsides of the gameplay as your interactions with the killer often deteriorate into repetitive quicktime events The game is all tied together by bizarre boss fights and crime scene investigation puzzle sections that break up the pace nicely. As well some of the strangest deaths this side of a Saw movie.
The second game I want to recommend is frankly the scariest thing I have ever played, Siren Blood Curse. SBC is a classic zombie tale, pesky occultists in the woods doing a bit of a sacrifice and now the entire area is swarming with undead. The set in a dark menacing rural backwater it feels suitably claustrophobic and often like you’re being herded towards your doom. The show piece mechanic of Siren series is sight jacking where you essentially hack into the vision of people or zombies in the area. Imagine it like have a load of CCTV cameras at your disposal but the cameras want to kill you. You play a variety of characters split into their own episodes with the main aim of each being to simply escape. Though every so often you do get to go toe to toe with the enemy there are a few guns in the game, but it’s at its best when you have to fight with whatever you can find like a spade or a broken bottle. The sort of close combat where zombie games are at their best.
This is a survival horror game with the emphasis on survival and this is most evident in one level in particular. 3 or 4 chapters into the game, once you’ve mastered a few elements of the combat and are starting to feel confident the game decides to have you play and a young girl lost, alone and trapped in a hospital filled with zombies. You have no weapons and no way to defend your self, all you can do is run and hide. And it is simply terrifying. The atmosphere that this level creates in intense to say the least as you creep around corners trying not to make a noise or hiding in lockers, peaking through the gaps to see if they’ve spotted you, sight jacking an undead nurse and watching as she stumbles into the room, inches from finding you. This is what horror games should be and though it veers off into the world of strange Japanese games towards the end, this is a game that will have you on the edge of your seat throughout.