Resident Evil Degeneration Review

By on February 9, 2011

Stop walking around, sit down and blast that Zombie!…If you can.

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First Impressions
My reaction is

CAPCOM delivers a game that is visually appealing and challenging, using the limited abilities of the first generation iPhone with Resident Evil Degeneration (RE:D). The title loosely follows the events during the opening sequences of the movie, with Leon S. Kennedy returning for the ride. Unlike most games however, this game requires more commitment than the standard flair of on-the-go games for the platform.

Visually the game is very well presented, rendered completely in 3D, originally on the first generation iPhone. A huge feat at the time, when taking into consideration the difference between that iPhone, to the current iPhone 4. Levels are interestingly designed to present a set mood, gloomy areas appropriately lack lights, destroyed areas are illuminated by fires, and hallways are eerily narrow to induce a sense of panic when handling more than one zombie at a time.

So how do we play it you ask? RE:D features on screen controls, via a virtual analog stick and two “buttons”, one to melee with your knife, and the other to aim. CAPCOM tried to maintain a control scheme similar to Resident Evil 4 and 5, and frankly, we’re not sure whether this is the best decision for the iPhone, considering the screen size.

As you can imagine controls are a tad difficult to get used to, the analog is used to walk and look around, and there is no circle-strafing possible. Strafing, of any kind, is only possible while aiming, even then sliding the finger quickly left or right on the virtual stick merely makes Leon sidestep in that direction. Quickly sliding down will do a full 180 turn, and reloading can be performed by shaking or tilting the phone. There appears to be a partial auto-aim, for example, if you hit enemy the first time, then auto-aim will kick in, or if you have the zombie in your laser sight. Thankfully this feature is implemented at all, because of some harrowing moments, where it is ridiculously difficult to aim.

Considering the issues with controls, Resident Evil Degeneration isn’t a game to play on the move. Unlike racing games or other simple 2D games on the platform, which can be fired up while walking between classes or from one floor to another, or even just across the street, this game in particular requires you to sit down and be still, while playing. Certain enemies require precise headshots, or shots to the arm or leg, others may come charging at you and will require you to melee and switch back to your aiming. There are even sparse timed events that require tapping on circles on all four sides of the screen, as they appear, to succeed. Merchants are also available throughout the levels to upgrade your weapons, get ammo and purchase additional space to carry more items. And finally a timed Mercenary mode is unlocked upon completing the game, where you are up against hordes of zombies.

Clearly, Resident Evil: Degeneration is a great title at its heart. CAPCOM has made an honest effort to utilize the device and platform to the best of its capabilities, but we can’t help shake the feeling that somewhere during their testing phase, SOMEONE would have noticed that this game only works with its’ present control scheme while they are not moving around. Oh wait, isn’t that how all games are tested?

The Scorecard
This is tough, when you are stationary it can be an entertaining game, not when you are moving.
It’s great to look at for a game on the iPhone.
Crisp audio when using the speakers, but headphones are recommended for a better experience.
The game can be completed in about 3 to 4 hours if you do everything
Tedious control scheme gets in the way of actually trying to enjoy it, at least you don’t have to worry about dying often.
The title has been given lots of love during development, this is obvious from RE4-5 faithful controls and gameplay, just not meant to be used on this platform.
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