'Resident Evil Vs.' struggles to capture series magic

Shooting uninfected humans in a Resident Evil game? That hardly seems right.

Capcom has had some difficulty porting the true Resident Evil experience over to mobile devices. The publishers latest attempt sees them teaming up with GREE to reimagine a mode first introduced in Resident Evil 5. Resident Evil Vs., coming to Android and iOS later this year, focuses on human vs. human battles instead of human vs. zombie.

Resident Evil Vs. relies on touch controls which try their damndest to jam all the controls of a standard Resident Evil game onto a four-inch screen. It isn't pretty. While movement is pretty consistent, thanks to a digital analog stick on the left side, once you actually have to shoot something, things go pretty much off the rails. This would be less of an issue if you were up against the slow-moving undead, but against the Weskers of the world, you're going to have to deal with fast-paced dodges and sprints. This makes dialing in a shot near impossible unless your foe happens to have fallen asleep.

As you'd expect, Resident Evil Vs. supports online play, but there are also bots for the lonely. It seemed that bots were the only option for the show floor at Tokyo Game Show, and they often displayed brain dead techniques such as standing in a room, looking carefully at a wall. While this made them easy pickings, it didn't give me the pulse-pounding Resident Evil feel one would expect from the franchise.

once you actually have to shoot something, things go pretty much off the rails

On the bright side, Resident Evil Vs. does have some pretty sharp visuals, looking like a small step below Resident Evil 4. It's a shame the gameplay doesn't offer up the same fidelity.

Based on my brief time with the latest Resident Evil Vs. demo, I can't help but think that this series deserves more on mobile. When looking for inspiration, perhaps Capcom and Gree should turn their eyes to the excellent Dead Space mobile game that EA put out a couple years ago. Until then, perhaps it's worth taking a break from running one of the most popular gaming franchise through the mud.

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