Capcom – Back on Top Again

Let’s call it what it is; Capcom is on fire. They have arguably been the most consistent publisher and it really hasn’t been close. While some titles are bigger hits than others, Dead Rising 4 was a bit of a disappointment, there is no denying that Capcom could teach a class in consistency and other studios would be wise to listen. They have a number of franchises well over 20 years old that are seeing continual success, if that isn’t a sign of consistency, I don’t know what is.

Being able to sustain this success in an ever-changing climate is difficult, but keeping old franchises relevant is something special. Resident Evil, Mega Man, Street Fighter, and Devil May Cry are all examples of series that had to be revived or rebooted so that the newest generation of gamers could enjoy them. All, even if you dislike Street Fighter V, have seen considerable success and this shouldn’t be overlooked in the slightest.

The Resident Evil franchise was in desperate need of a revival. After Resident Evil 4, Capcom ditched the survival horror genre for an action-oriented one and fans weren’t happy. While Resident Evil 6 sold well and had some interesting concepts, it didn’t feel like Resident Evil and it was trending toward become a generic cover shooter that just happened to feature supernatural elements.

Five years later, Capcom followed up with Resident Evil 7 and brought the series back to its survival horror roots. It was an immediate hit and the publisher was praised for the quality of the title. This entry acted as a soft reboot of the series and naturally, fans wanted more. While the next entry has yet to be announced, Capcom did something surprising and finally decided to remake Resident Evil 2, which received rave reviews from both critics and fans.

While rebooting Resident Evil was impressive, seeing Street Fighter and Mega Man stay relevant is probably Capcom’s greatest feat. Almost every numbered release of Street Fighter sees spin-offs that add to the original iteration of that game. There is always a championship edition or an ultra edition, but with Street Fighter V, Capcom did things a bit differently.

As gaming continues to trend to live services, meaning there are multiple seasons involved that will add and subtract features, it was only a matter of time before Capcom took one of its franchises in that direction. Street Fighter V, for better of worse, is that title. Since it’s original release in 2016, there have been multiple additions, such as a story mode, new characters, stages, and costumes. It’s a greatly improved title, even if it had its headaches at launch.

With Mega Man, it’s honestly a surprise that the franchise has lasted this long. There have been multiple iterations and spin-offs, with the series at one point being fully 3D and also an RPG, but the series never strayed too far from its hardcore roots and Capcom continued the original series with Mega Man 11. While on the surface, the game looks similar to other entries in the franchise, there were subtle additions that added more depth to the established formula.

A double-gear system that would amplify either Mega Man’s strength or speed was added, allowing players to choose how they would approach a level and its boss. You could also choose to activate both at the same time to release a powerful shot that would do incredible damage, but leave you vulnerable for a period of time. Mega Man 11 was a challenging and surprisingly accessible title, perfect for both established veterans and newcomers alike. It’s a great entry in the series and a prime example of Capcom dedication to its franchises.

It was only a matter of time before Devil May Cry saw a continuation to its original series. There was a soft reboot in 2013 in the form of DmC, which was a solid title, but the redesign of Dante and other characters left a bad taste in fans mouths. It wouldn’t be until 2019 when the latest entry, Devil May Cry 5, would be released and would set the series back on the path of relevancy with its trademark action and emphasis on stylish combos.

Capcom would take a different approach from this title and players would navigate the game using three different characters with abilities and skills unique to each of them. It has received strong critical reviews and should be considered one of the early games of the year. Its hard to make adjustments to titles that fall under the hack and slash genre, but Devil May Cry 5 has enough variety and insanity to keep players entertained through multiple playthroughs.

Beyond the reboots, Capcom has also seen great success through the expansion of its Monster Hunter franchise. While this series of games has generally been restricted in terms of console availability, Monster Hunter World was the first title to be released on the major platforms. It was easily one of the best titles of the year with some of the most exhilarating and intricate encounters in gaming.

Monster Hunter World could be enjoyed either alone or with friends, but to battle some of the toughest monsters, you would need allies. Capcom has been diligently adding new content as Geralt from the Witcher has recently found his way into the game world. If you haven’t picked up this title yet, I recommend you give it a go, the controls take a while to get used too, but once you immerse yourself in the world, it’s difficult to put it down.

With such a strong library at their disposal, Capcom can continue to reinvent their established series to keep pace with the varying trends in gaming. Nostalgia, it seems, will always play a part in the company’s strategy, but these titles are generally of a high quality. That’s not to say that Capcom won’t have their misses in the future, but as long as their next titles are given the care that recent releases have seen, Capcom will find itself as one of, if not the best studio today.

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