In 2005, Capcom released “Resident Evil 4,” and gaming was never the same. The fourth installment of the long-running horror franchise was instantly recognized as a classic and pioneered many of the tropes, mechanics, and story beats that defined the action-horror genre for more than a decade.
The game still holds up almost 20 years after its initial release, but since many of the “creative” types working in the industry would rather siphon from the past than create new content, “Resident Evil 4” followed its predecessors, RE 2 and 3, to get a remake.
Unfortunately, like so many remakes or remasters or redos nowadays, the updated “Resident Evil 4” features a plethora of changes designed to make the game more “accessible” to modern audiences. Oof.
Far more terrifying than any zombie plague or mutated monstrosity is the “modern audience,” an excuse for game developers to remove all the fun from a piece of pop culture nostalgia and replace it with leftist-approved messaging. Looking at “Resident Evil 4,” that means removing all the campy fun from the original game, and replacing it with industry-standard dark and gritty realism.
Player-controlled protagonist Leon S. Kennedy has morphed from a too-cool-for-school action hero with hilariously bad one-liners into a brooding, cynical cyborg. And comically annoying sidekick Ashley Graham has been radically remade into what appears to be a “strong female character,” something gaming rags like Kotaku celebrated as an advance for women’s rights.
It’s worth noting here, I’m not taking issue with powerful female characters in gaming. Strong women in gaming like Ciri and Yennefer from The Witcher series or Samus Aran from “Metroid” are great. My issue comes with characters that are basically just men portrayed by women, something the new Ashley seems to embody.
It’s somewhat bizarre they decided to go in this direction for the “Resident Evil 4” remake, because those over-the-top character traits were part of what made the original game so memorable in the first place!
While I would love to talk endlessly about the boringification of cherished games from my youth, I must confess the reason I picked “Resident Evil” as the topic for this week’s episode is because I’m absolutely giddy to watch how the radical left will respond to the inevitable remake of “Resident Evil 5.” That game received a mountain of criticism from proto-leftists back when it came out in 2009, because it took place in rural Africa and many of the enemy zombies were black. Uh oh! Can’t have black people be the bad guys!
A think-piece from The Gamer website took the liberty of preemptively saying “Resident Evil 5” would have to be wholesale updated for modern audiences by saying the original Is “too racist for a remake.” Our deeply concerned author, a biological male pretending to be a woman, because of course, writes, “there was something uneasy about how the game depicted Africa, and the awkward marketing eager to focus on a white man waltzing into an impoverished town only to murder its inhabitants.”
Ironically, “Resident Evil 5” actually received praise for its secondary protagonist when it initially released. Players control not only “waltzing white man” Chris Redfield but a black woman named Sheva Alomar who serves as the player’s backup and can kick ass all on her own.
I can envision the “Resident Evil 5” remake now. The game begins with Chris apologizing to Sheva for his white privilege as she single-handedly fights back a horde of zombies. Sheva is wearing a Black, Trans Lives Matter T-shirt, and periodically berates Chris for being a straight white male. The game ends with a guest appearance by Ibram X. Kendi, who chastises the player for not being anti-racist enough.
In all seriousness, old games don’t need to be constantly updated to fit with current trends. In fact, the best old games are timeless because they don’t shoehorn in stupid messaging that placates San Francisco liberals who generally don’t play video games anyway.
I’ll take my Leon Kennedy with awful dialogue over a brooding modern snoozefest any day.