Despite being able to watch the scariest movies unfazed, I cannot play five minutes of any horror game—but asymmetrical horror games are the exception. The popularity of the genre has greatly increased over the last few years, and for good reason. Asymmetrical horror games are incredibly fun; there’s nothing like screaming over the microphone with your friends as you’re chased by a killer, helping each other survive against the overwhelming odds. No two matches are their inevitable descent into chaos. The genre is known for having games that tend to be at least a little shoddy, but, having played most of the games in the market, I’ve come to expect this and even see it as a bit of a charming point.
However, Resident Evil: Resistance is charming without relying on flaws. It’s polished, dynamic, and fun enough that I don’t need to see any of its comparably light shakiness as endearing. I played the open beta every night with my friends since its release on Steam, and we had a blast every night. Now that the Resident Evil 3 remake—which this game is bundled with—is out, I’m thoroughly excited for the full game and its potential future. As someone who doesn’t vibe well with Dead by Daylight, which is the undisputed ruler of the genre, and has enjoyed games like Friday the 13th: The Game and Last Year: The Nightmare that ended up fading into obscurity due to lack of support, Resident Evil: Resistance is the asymmetrical horror game I’ve been wanting for so long.
Resident Evil: Resistance takes place in Raccoon City, where Umbrella Corps is kidnapping young people to gather data on how they respond to fear in extreme situations. These situations are led by the Mastermind, who is supposed to kill all test subjects and prevent them from escaping so that the experiments remain a secret. It’s a tad vague and the open beta doesn’t provide much of a hint as to whether the full game will delve into the lore too deeply, but it works well enough.
Asymmetrical horror games are true to their genre’s name in that they’re meant to be at least a little unbalanced. It’s a core part of the thrill and reward: facing an overpowered enemy with no real advantage but your numbers, and hoping that you can pull off the miracle of escaping. What surprises me about Resident Evil: Resistance is that it feels like the most balanced in the genre, which only serves to make it more fun. Balancing is difficult, especially for a genre founded on the concept of surviving against the odds. However, there are several games my friends and I have given up on because their rules were easily exploited without players having to technically cheat.
Resident Evil: Resistance pulls off what most of its competitors struggle to do, which is making every match somehow feel fair. The Mastermind is powerful in how he can surveil everything, summon numerous zombies and feral dogs, and even the iconic Mr. X; however, there are ways to defend oneself against his machinations. Mr. X is still undefeatable here like he is in Resident Evil 2, able to kill you in a moment if you let him grab you or a teammate; but he causes a rampage for a while before shutting down. And there are strategies you can use to survive, such as using long tables to dance around him or squeezing into tight rooms he can’t get into. Good strategies may help you, but if you’re facing a skilled Mastermind, you have to work together if you want to get out.
Something I love about Resident Evil: Resistance is that—like my favorite game in the genre, Friday the 13th: The Game—it’s unafraid to embrace the goofiness that is often married to horror. While there’s nothing funny about your circumstances and objectives, the Mastermind and survivors have plenty of silly and eccentric lines that made my friends and I, who love campy horror movies and games, often laugh.
It reminds me of whacking Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th: The Game; if you melee hit him enough times or with a strong enough weapon, he’d comically fall backwards like a plank. It was stupidly funny to watch and I can see hints of that here: Resident Evil: Resistance has not just a similar flair, but also a level of polish that my favorite was missing. Additionally, the updates Capcom released over the course of the beta to improve matchmaking and connection issues makes me hopeful the company will support this game the way it needs in order to thrive; it’s largely what has set apart Dead by Daylight from the rest, after all.
If there’s any game right now with the potential to one day dethrone Dead by Daylight, or to at least push it to keep expanding and offer more diversity in the asymmetrical horror genre, it’s Resident Evil: Resistance. If it grows to provide a wide cast of customizable characters, playable maps, creative objectives, and new exciting threats, it feels like a strong possibility. I know several people who are getting Resident Evil 3 just to play it, and I only hope Capcom makes use of this initial momentum.
Natalie Flores is a freelance writer who loves to talk about games, K-pop and too many other things.