Author: Philip J Reed
Publisher: Boss Fight Books
Release Date: August 11th, 2020
Disclosure : An advanced copy of this book was provided by the author for the purpose of review.
There are few games that have impacted the genre of survival horror the way that Resident Evil has. First released in Japan in 1996 under the title Biohazard, the title has not only influenced gaming as a whole, but inspired fans around the world for almost 25 years.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never actually finished the game, regardless of version I’ve played. Still, I’ll never deny that this game left a major impact on those who played it…even if the game wasn’t entirely original.
Throughout the course of this book, author Philip J Reed takes a look at the iconic survival horror title from a few different perspectives. The first of these is personally. The story of the author himself is set in Tuckerton, New Jersey, in 1996. To most who read the book, that town name will mean very little. I lived in Tuckerton early in my life and have recently been spending a lot more time in the area, so seeing the story backdropped with an area I knew was pretty cool — even if the town isn’t the best in the state.
After introducing us to his own personal experience with the game, Reed then takes us into the nitty gritty of the book that includes everything from the game’s origins, to interviews with the game’s actors, to an analysis of why the game is scary to begin with.
In short: this book is really well written.
Throughout the book, Reed fills us in on details of the game’s story and that’s no easy task. The game features two campaigns: one for Chris Redfield and another for Jill Valentine. While the main story is the same regardless of who you choose, certain events and supporting characters are different. The differences that exist are just enough to encourage two playthroughs of the game, as opposed to one. Dividing the two even further is a branched ending that changes depending on choices the player made. Throughout the book Reed does a wonderful job of saying “Here’s what happened when I was playing, but here’s the way it could have gone had I done this different or I had I been playing as this character instead”.
I appreciated that quite a bit. When delving into the psychology of the game, certain tricks the game uses are exclusive to either Jill or Chris. Even if you’ve never touched the game a day in your life, Reed serves as an excellent guide to take you through the adventure that is Resident Evil.
There’s a lot to learn from this book, not just about the psychology of horror and the history of Resident Evil, but about the genre as whole. Horror is nothing new and this book never lets you forget that, giving you lessons on aspects of horror contemporary to the game, as well as long before a computer was even a thought in anyone’s mind.
Being a part of season five of Boss Fight Books, the title comes with cover art by Cory Schmitz, elegantly presented in the simplistic Boss Fight style. The cover of the book features a typewriter and I can’t think of an item more iconic to use as the cover image. I’d be remiss if I didn’t shoutout the great cover art.
At the end of the day, Resident Evil by Philip J Reed is book that presents a fantastic history of an iconic game that’s had a history, up to this point, that’s been fueled by plenty of speculation versus actual facts. The work put in by Reed gives the actors involved in the game a chance to finally tell their story and answer a lot of questions that have floated around for years. The dive into how the game’s horror works is fascinating and you’ll definitely put this book down having learned a few things you would never have thought to read about in the first place. If you’re looking for a great book on gaming to read, this is one that’s well worth picking up.
If this review piqued your interest about the latest from Boss Fight Books, be sure to pick up Resident Evil for Kindle here, or head over to the Boss Fight Books website! Also, be sure to check back Friday for my review with the author!