Discussing: Capcom’s Game Design

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I’ve been playing Resident Evil HD Remaster and after numerous attempts to understand how the game is meant to be played, I’m starting to enjoy myself. I’ll talk about that more in my next Gaming Landscape but this got me thinking about Capcom and the types of games they make.

Capcom is one of the most polarizing companies for me. On one hand, they make two of my favorite franchises ever, Street Fighter and Mega Man, and in fact two of the games in these franchises are a couple of my favorite games of all time (Street Fighter Alpha 3 and Mega Man X). On the other hand, they’ve made two of my most hated franchises, Devil May Cry and Dead Rising. Hell, Mega Man and Dead Rising are made by the same person! In fact, I hated Resident Evil before I realized how the game was supposed to be played. And that’s the key point I want to make. I think as a whole that Capcom makes games that are hard to understand and play at first.

Take a game like Okami. The art design and presentation is beautiful and wildly creative but the opening cutscene and tutorial take so long and are so uninteresting, I’ve never been able to play past it. However, I’ve heard a lot of people both complain about the opening of the game but still love the gameplay and its somewhat awkward brush mechanics. As such, it’s regarded as a cult classic. Similarly, Devil May Cry has a very stiff and rigid combat system but does offer a diverse set of attacks and a lot of people enjoy that series. The original Mega Man is freakin’ hard and can be frustrating but the controls are tight and the level design is great.

Now this isn’t true for everyone who plays their games and there are a lot of players who understood these games right away. However, that actually helps my point. Not a lot of people are good at fighting games and Street Fighter is no exception. However, I picked up that game real easy as a kid and love that series to this day. I guess you can say that because Capcom makes so many different types of games, there will be a series Capcom makes that you can’t understand and will not be able to understand and there will also be a series that you can understand and will be surprised that others can’t. A good example is Monster Hunter. Not a lot of people get that game. That’s another one I have trouble with.

Of course there are exceptions. Mega Man X is one game that conveys its gameplay so perfectly in just its first stage, every game designer needs to study that game thoroughly. Another example of this is Resident Evil 6 and it’s extremely easy to understand the gameplay in that game as well. Unfortunately, that’s a dull game but at least it’s easy to understand why it’s bad. In a lot of ways, Capcom is a hardcore company that doesn’t cater to new players. They seem to expect you to figure it out on your own and reap the rewards when you do. Most of their games either have a steep difficulty curve or are hard to understand.

I will say this about Capcom games: they are always interesting. I didn’t like the Resident Evil series and I have played it in the past but I’m finally getting it and am now enjoying it. I hate Devil May Cry but I’m still interested in trying it again. I got Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate and got rid of it when I didn’t get it but the hype around the fourth game has me interested in the franchise again. Hell, I love Street Fighter and the Marvel fighting series but I do not understand Marvel vs. Capcom 3. However, I want to and I still go back every once and awhile and practice that game. This always happens to me with Capcom games. They are nothing if not interesting. That’s why Resident Evil went from being a game with stupid controls, awful shooting and jump scares to a fun adventure game with zombies strewn around.

Now I want to know what you think. Do you think Capcom designs games that are hard at first to grasp? Let me know in the comment section. I know there’s a lot of Capcom fans out there and I’d love to hear what you and anyone else has to say. Peace and love, gamers and players! Colorwind out!

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