Tag Archives: resident evil

Q&A: Resident Evil

I always wanted to know if Ada Wong could really have survived after the tyrant threw her at the control panel in the original RE2, and how could someone survive the type of fall she suffered in the remake RE2, could you answer the doubt of an Ada enthusiast?

Going in reverse order, the remake is on my to do list. It’s installed on my PC right now, but I haven’t had the time. I’ve seen Ada do a lot of things over the years that are, flat out, not survivable. So, without seeing the fall your talking about, if you’re asking? Probably not. Or at least, not without serious injuries. That’s never stopped her before, but Resident Evil has always had a “tangential” relationship with realism.

The console in the original game? No. Mr. X chucks her into that with enough force to put a huge dent in it. The thing appears to be steel, and she goes in directly against her head and spine, so no, Ada should not be able to survive that.

When you slow down the animation, (for example: Because you’re watching it in a blurry .avi to analyze exactly what happened) it starts to look even less survivable, as the first point of impact is pretty clearly, her skull.

We do find out that, as an adult, Sherry can survive those kinds of injuries in RE6. Something about the specific G-Virus strain she’s infected with (I do understand the lore explanation, but, it’s not relevant), so she should be resilient and recover from injuries like those seen. (When she’s under player control, her health mechanics are consistent with the other characters in that game.)

I’m bringing this up, because I’m not 100% sure that Ada isn’t modified to some degree. To the best of my knowledge, the games have never tipped their hand to say that she might also be a carrier for some unique viral strain. I don’t think that’s the intended read, simply because it would have become a plot point by now, but it’s one of the only ways to justify Ada’s resilience, aside from just shrugging and saying, “action movie rules.”

That is the real answer here, by the way. Ada, Leon, and Claire all run on action movie logic. They take ridiculous amounts of punishment and keep going. I do like it when a setting has justifications for that kind of durability, (again, Sherry comes to mind in RE2 & 6), but it’s genre acceptable behavior. And, as much as they are horror games, even going to the original Resident Evil, there’s action movie DNA mixed in.

Also, having kinda trashed the original game over the console damage, it is worth remembering that Resident Evil 2 came out on the original Playstation, 21 years ago. At that point in time, the technology available was limited. The game used prerendered backgrounds, because the PS1 couldn’t handle rendering the entire image in 3d. That would have been over the hardware budget. The damage we see to the console is over the top and cartoonish, because the actual game hardware had a very limited polygon budget, and needed to convey to the audience that Mr X had damaged it when he threw Ada into it. Within that context, if we assume the damage to the console is grossly exaggerated for visual clarity, not to indicate the amount of force used. It’s possible Ada could survive that. Travel distance and speed are both pretty low in the cutscene, so the force shouldn’t be extreme enough to mangle the console like that. By extension, Ada hitting it like that drifts into the territory a potential for serious injury, but, one you could walk away from with superficial damage, if you got lucky on the impact.

There’s a weird bit of trivia here, and this could be an issue with watching the .avi at 60hz, when it was originally designed to be viewed at 24hz, but there’s a frame where Ada does not render when she’s being thrown. I suspect the version held by Mr X is swapped out for the normal Ada model roughly at the moment when you get the blood spray on impact, and the console swapping out. Someone who has more familiarity with the PS1’s architecture might be better able to better explain this, and it is possible I’m simply misreading the .avi compression blur. I’m only bringing this up, because I have been digging through that video while working on this post, and saw some weird things.

So, to the original question, “Yeah, maybe?” Looking at Resident Evil and asking about realism kinda misses the point. Ignoring RE6, the games usually start from a fairly grounded point, and gradually escalate into insane antics. This is a pretty common narrative structure, but when Resident Evil goes big, it gets really crazy. I’m not mocking either, because, to the series credit, it usually manages that escalation very well, to the point that you don’t realize just how insane its gotten until you’re punching boulders in a volcano.


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In Resident Evil 5 and the new XCOM 2, Chris Redfield and the Ranger class have a machete on their back and use them in combat, with Chris swinging it one-handed and the Rangers putting away their assault rifle/shotgun before going for a two-handed swipe. Everyone knows how unwise it is to wear and unsheath a blade from your back but how feasible is this actually?

The short answer is, this doesn’t really work. There are some very rare cases where someone will draw a weapon from the upper back, but neither RE5 nor XCOM2 really present situations where that’s a good idea.

Frequently, when you’re seeing a weapon sheathed on the back, it would actually be too long to draw or put away. This includes XCOM2′s Ranger, but also The Witcher’s Geralt (though I want to say at least one of the games used a mid blade grip and draw animation that would be technically possible), anyone armed with a two handed weapon from most Elder Scrolls games, Dragon Age’s… yeah, no, not even touching their, “yeah, throw everything on your back, it’s cool” approach.

You can carry firearms slung across your back, because you need to get the sling over your head, and the weapon is ready to use (or close to it). But, with swords, to actually use a back draw, you’d need to pull the scabbard off your back, draw the weapon, put the scabbard back, and then you can fight. To be fair, this would be an option to carry the weapons while traveling. But, not something you’d want to be dealing with in combat. With a straight draw, you can’t pull anything off your back longer than your arm. Unfortunately that includes most swords (including the XCOM2 Ranger’s “machete”).

From the perspective of someone in melee, having to go to your back for a weapon is a very bad idea, because it leaves the body open, and doesn’t draw into a convenient defensive stance.

It’s kind of telling that, for all the goofiness Resident Evil 6 kept, one of the changes the developers made was moving
Chris’s combat knife to the small of his back. Technically it’s possible to carry and draw a combat knife where he does. It would just be awkward to sheathe. The combat knife/machete he’s actually carrying is, as I recall, pushing the limit of what someone could easily draw from there, though.

Drawing from the lower back is a legitimate option. It’s still a
somewhat popular conceal point for handguns, since lose clothing, like
jackets will hang over it naturally. 

With XCOM, or, I should say, with Firaxis’ reboot of the franchise, it’s really more of a military superhero strategy game than realistic approaches to modern combat. Granted the Meld systems from Enemy Within do substantially color my perception of the franchise. Even though Meld is (apparently) out with XCOM2, psi powers aren’t, and there’s still some elements of that. Like giving your recon specialists a huge sword for killing aliens.

Within that context, having the sword on the back makes sense, sort of. It’s about creating a visually distinct character, not because it would be a good idea. When you’re working with a visual medium (games, comics, film, ect), it’s sometimes worth implementing some elements that wouldn’t be practical, simply to aid visual identification by the audience.

I suspect a lot of the class changes from Enemy Unknown to XCOM2 are either to support quick identification, or to expand player options. One of the big ones was an Assault class with an assault rifle equipped was visually indistinguishable from a Support class or a Rookie. So, I suspect, part of the reason the sword is across their back is to make it easier to distinguish a Ranger at a glance. I also suspect this is part of why higher ranks unlock distinct visual costume options. It’s there to help you know if the character you’re putting in harm’s way is someone you’ve invested time and resources in, or if it’s just another red shirt.

Easy identification is also part of the reason for the clean aesthetics that Enemy Unknown uses. It makes it a lot easier to identify, keep track of, and distinguish different enemies on the map. Even Exalt soldiers are visually distinct by class. If you’re drawing comics, then Firaxis’ overall art design from the last few years is probably worth studying. There’s a lot of good visual design work there.


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