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There is no game out there I want a development postmortem on more than Redfall. Somehow, one of the most beloved studios in the modern era fumbled what should've been the easiest "paint by numbers" game design ideas out there: making yet another Far Cry/Borderlands clone. Ubisoft, themselves have seemingly had a hard time keeping the formula going, with increasingly derivative releases of all their major franchises, while many studios have followed in their wake to produce increasingly long, vapid "open-ended" experiences that go on longer than they have any right to; Arkane is the latest and most unfortunate victim of this, with what many are rightfully calling the worst example of this open-world/looter-shooter genre in action.
Far Cry clones have been beyond stale to me at this point. I have picked up and dropped plenty of open-world titles this console generation because the investment they ask of the player isn't anywhere near rewarding enough to stick through for 20+ hours. So, when a studio you used to have fondness for - but hasn't released a good game since 2017 - attempts this formula, there's skepticism going in at the very least. The initial trailers of this game looked terrible to begin with, and it only looked worse as more was being shown off leading up to release. The state Redfall landed in is not surprising in the slightest if you had a modicum of smelling pre-release marketing horseshit. With bland looking trailers, annoying sounding characters, sketchy console performance/PC hardware metrics, and scant but bland gameplay showcases releasing, you only have yourself to blame if you went into this thinking it would be good. That's without mentioning the massive talent exodous in Arkane after Prey released.
I cannot think of a less appealing gaming experience than sprinting through a shallow open-world, picking up the same 5 guns but with slightly bigger numbers to make damage numbers slightly bigger, all while half of the enemies (who all look the same because there are maybe 7 unique enemy models in the entire game) will stare at you like a deer gazing at headlights and the other half will be clipping through the walls trying to run to you. This is all on top of terrible performance no matter the platform, and you're being spoon-fed a story that doesn't appear to be going anywhere with characters that throw around eye-rolling dialog. How is this appealing? How is one expected to suffer through the sheer boredom of shooting fish in a barrel for 20 hours to have a royalty-free trap beat (that will not age like milk in like 4 months) play to signal number get bigger? Is this fun to people? For the past 7 years it's seemed like it, but hopefully the massively negative response to this game can start sending a signal that these rinse-and-repeat open-world games are nothing than a minimum viable product. I wouldn't have a clue how I'd sleep knowing I released something this creatively bankrupt and fundamentally broken.
The game gets a whole single star because it technically boots up and "works."
Due to a recurring injury with my right hand, I unfortunately fell behind the discourse surrounding the Resident Evil 4 Remake. About everything that can be said about it has been said at this point, with people's fondness for this game stemming from how they juxtapose it with the original. Even though people threw out the pitchforks for the changes brought to the RE3make, the numerous tonal, gameplay, and side content changes to RE4 seem to be no issue (aside from the weird, brief uproar over Luis not attempting to be a child predator anymore). Just like the Resident Evil 3 situation, there are a few changes throughout the game that I feel build a stronger overall experience, yet there are almost as many that detract from what the original was.
Before the whining starts, I knew before Capcom even made the announcement official that there was an intended tonal change with this remake. Early leaked info stated that there was going to be a new spin given on the events of Resi 4. In my opinion, if you're not making any attempt to add additional flair or take a few liberties on a remake/adaptation, what's the point of doing so to begin with? On paper, this remake gunning for a darker tone works perfectly. The original setting and plot structure lends well to a straight-forward horror direction, yet of course we know there was a lot of camp to juxtapose the horror action. The problem this remake struggles with is that it's trying to hold onto the small bits of camp the series has had in the past while trying to play this story entirely straight. Leon will still suplex enemies, make superhuman leaps, and even occasionally throw a one-liner, but the attitude of the character and change in tonal direction makes this remaining silly stuff look even sillier in contrast; Leon will mumble grumble one scene then kickflip off a boss' face a few minutes later. Going for darker, more grounded tone is a noble objective for remaking something like RE4, but modern Capcom can't seem to fully commit to it. More often than not, moments like the "bingo" line feel like they are put in through obligation due to fan expectations, rather than play into the proper tone of the narrative. All of the fun and camp of the original game has either been reduced to referential one-liners or trophy messages.
Besides the so-so tonal changes to the game, additional structural things have been added for better or worse. Certain things like boss fights have seen an improvement, while the new "side quest" system sounds like it was added in as a last-minute executive boardroom choice to boost engagement. No Capcom, I do not find walking back to the area I just traversed to stab three to five rats at least three separate times throughout your game does not count for "fulfilling side content." Honestly, stabbing rats is the most ideal of these besides the blue medallion hunts, as artificially pushing the length of the game like this got annoying the first instance I was introduced to it. As is the case with the Resident Evil 4 Remake, the bad does come with a bit of good with a more robust shooting range, though with console controls and without the laser sights, I don't find it nearly as engaging as it otherwise would be like the original's.
"Wah wah wah" just play the original then!" Going forward, I might. I feel at this point these modern Resi Remakes have been a bit of a mistake, seeing a lot of the content and personality of these games stripped out for a more milquetoast experience; the RE2make seemed to be lightning in a bottle. Unlike others who aren't nearly as hot on this game, I still understand that the original is still widely available and playable on damn near everything. Resident Evil 4 Remake's changes didn't murder my childhood or whatever, just sort of disappointed me. Resident Evil 4 is a solid, modern 3rd person shooter but it isn't anything much else beyond that, now.
Aping "Survivors-like" gameplay structures with every hackneyed mobile game monetization scheme crammed in; energy meters, paid cosmetics, loot boxes, a battle pass, and multiple currencies for purchasing/upgrading weapons. Disgusting and desperate to hop on any sort of trend it could afford.
Mighty DOOM can be fun in small doses and can certainly be enjoyed without spending a dime, but I and many others are the key targets to spend money on this. Everything is meticulously designed to pry money from the player from the get-go and the psychological battle of horrid menus and pop up ads for loot boxes is too far for me to keep anything installed on my phone.