Resident Evil : Degeneration tells the story of the zombie infested Harvardville Airport. You get to play as Leon, assisted by Hunnigan who brings you intel and mission updates. Stopping the T-virus outbreak as well as evacuating survivors are on your To-Do list. Your tools of the trade are the ordinary assortment of Resident Evil weapons, ranging from your standard handgun to the mighty Magnum. As usual you have limited ammunition and storage space. If you are too bad at conserving ammunition you have your trusty knife to slash with.
Resident Evil : Degeneration is a third person survival shooter. To enter aim mode you touch the aim reticule, and Leon steadies his weapon letting you aim to the best of your ability. Laser sight and a more or less automatic aim make it quite easy to aim. To add difficulty the game doesn’t let you move freely in aim mode, you can only sidestep a step at a time. The game also makes sure to corner you, and give you little room to manoeuvre.
Leon is controlled by a virtual joystick, and I find it to be really smooth moving about. Aiming is harder though as too hard movements makes Leon sidestep and dodge. At many times I find myself walking into an enemy when I wanted to aim for a headshot. The automatic aim also tries to locate heads which for the most part is fine but not when you are trying to aim at a nearby fire extinguisher. At those times I tend to sigh, and move in closer for the kill instead.
There are essentially just three kinds of enemies in the game; zombies, dogs and bosses. Zombies come in different clothes, and feel diverse in appearance. Some have body armour, or helmets making them tougher to take down. The classic vomiting zombie also returns with its green bile. I have always disliked the agile zombie dogs, and in Resident Evil : Degeneration I still do. There is something about dead animals that is deeply unsettling to me, especially when they sneak up on my character. Bosses are big, and that is all I say; no spoilers.
Besides the running about shooting already dead people you have to protect survivors in set situations. There is also a bit of exploration to find key cards, codes and switches to progress. Most of the time this is too linear to pose a challenge, and when your objective is marked on the map it is simply pathetic.
Something I really liked about Resident Evil 4 was the focus on finding treasure, and getting funds to upgrade your weapons. Treasure hunting is much less important in Resident Evil : Degeneration, you can buy a map to see where treasures are but you are not graded on how much you find. Upgrading your weapons is also a watered down aspect. There are mercenaries scattered around the airport who let you buy new weapons as well as tuning up those you have. Completely tuning up a weapon is really cheap making the hunt for cash that I experienced as really fun in RE4 obsolete.
Graphically I am having a hard time deciding whether it looks really good or really bad. It is the first really free third person shooter I have tried that doesn’t feel like it is on rails. It doesn’t look as good as Terminator Salvation. Characters in Resident Evil : Degeneration look blocky and low res. On the other hand it runs at a steady pace, and is a below 10 MB download.
I think the story is pretty boring and straightforward in Resident Evil : Degeneration, and it really doesn’t make me want to watch the CGI movie it is based upon. The mystery and drama is pretty much missing, and too often it feels like your handler Hunnigan knows exactly what is going on just leading you down a set path. The puzzle element is also missing that made Resident Evil 1-3 so great. Pushing statues, finding gems to place in correct spaces and combining objects into something useful are elements I sorely miss.
Despite a lacklustre story, and for the series lack of interesting puzzles I still feel like I am playing a Resident Evil game. It really boils down to one simple thing, do you want to kill zombies in a game that tries it best to scare you? I know I want to, and even though the game doesn’t bring any scares such as the first instalment did I appreciate it for trying.
Resident Evil : Degeneration is a short game clocking in at under two hours on easy and normal difficulties. It takes a bit longer on hard, and if you choose not to carry on equipment from earlier saves. You unlock the Mercenary mode upon completion on any level of difficulty. Mercenary mode lets you kill zombies in a limited amount of time. You can replay some of the maps in this mode with three different weapon configurations. Making the high score might attract some people but I think Leon is too slow to move about in a mode more suitable to a quicker game such as a FPS. Without anything to unlock it makes me tire after a couple of attempts.
I think Resident Evil : Degeneration is better than I had anticipated, while at the same time feeling like it has been watered down to fit the iPhone. Having played the original Resident Evil on the Nintendo DS I only hope Capcom will bring that to the iPhone as well. To enjoy Resident Evil : Degeneration you don’t have to be an old fan, actually I think those only familiar with RE 1-3 will be most disappointed. If you enjoyed RE4 you will probably like the gameplay found in Resident Evil : Degeneration.
Atmospheric environments and lighting effects from fires burning combined with blocky low-resolution character models. Hard to know how much to demand from the iPhone but to me the graphics is ok, and I never get annoyed or miss information playing it. Menus and user interface are easy to understand and use.
Great as expected. Fades out your own music, which is good as the sound of the game really enhances the experience.
Good touch controls with some nifty tilt to reload action.
Puzzles are too simple with just finding the correct item for the task. At times even marked out on the map, making it super easy. The aspect of saving money for upgrades is lost due to too much money available.
Playing through story mode takes short time, and most players won’t replay it more than once. I got three runs through totalling just over five hours completing it on the three difficulty levels. Of course you get graded upon completion but running through just to improve is something I won’t care to do.
The Mercenary mode felt more at home in the quicker Resident Evil 4; here it feels slapped on to a too slow game.
I enjoyed myself quite a bit in the short time it took to beat Resident Evil : Degeneration the first time, and then I enjoyed it again and again until I felt I had utterly beaten it. Even if you only play through it once you get more fun out of it than out of most movies on the big screen, and at a cheaper price. If you are looking for a game to play for some length of time this is not it. This gets the same kind of recommendation as Terminator Salvation, you will enjoy playing it but it will be over way too soon.