In a world where excess can be a good thing sometimes you have to know when to draw the line. Resident Evil 6really wants to please the millions upon millions of fans it has gained since the first release in 1996, but can it?
I am a diehard for this series and have played through some gems like Resident Evil 4 and some stinkers like Resident Evil: Survivor. One thing I have noticed is the progression into an action game versus a standard survival horror game. Blending the two is a careful art which is bound to piss off survival horror purists. Let’s take a look into the title some are calling a complete “survival horror flop”.
The 6th installment revolves around a number of characters from past games. Chris Redfield, a former BSAA team member who is now a drunk, Leon Kennedy, initial survivor of Raccoon City, Jake Mueller, son of super villain Albert Wesker, Sherry Birkin, childhood survivor of Raccoon City and Ada Wong, secret agent being framed for the bio-terrorist outbreak. These and other characters must combine forces and stop the C-virus before it’s too late.
To begin the single player campaign you must chose from three different story arcs involving the aforementioned folks. Each one is able to be played co-op or solo with a computer controlled character. Each story is unique and all cross paths at different points or boss battles. Once you have completed the initial three, a fourth campaign opens up featuring Ada Wong.
The kicker here is the amount of single player game play. Each campaign can take up to 10 hours to complete, give or take. This alone is an excellent value as each of these plays different and seems to nod toward different gameplay elements or games in this series.
Leon’s portion felt the most traditional, featuring the original infected zombies and that sense of claustrophobic fear. Jake’s scenario had a real solid action vibe and would satisfy anyone looking for an Uncharted-type vibe. Chris’s campaign had a feel similar to Jake’s but seemed a little more akin to military or war-type titles like Call of Duty or Gears of War. I have yet to play Ada’s scenario but it is a solo affair and at this time, cannot be completed via co-op. There is an update coming to bring her campaign to the co-op world.
Each of the stories felt unique enough to separate one from the other. At times a campaign would drag and the get-this, do-that missions seemed repetitive but the boss battles helped to break things up. Capcom also tried to inject more multiplayer into the story by allowing you to team up with other random players if you both happened upon a boss at the same time.
Speaking of boss battles, I love a challenge but in Resident Evil 6 the big battles are just overkill. Each time you waste the boss it comes back and furthermore, it seemed to me like you had to “do a certain amount of time” in a scene just firing away until the boss went down. I tested this theory by preserving ammo and just dodging attacks and sure enough I waited a few minutes, fired one bullet and the beast fell. This added a cheap gloss to these already annoying battles.
For the multiplayer must haves out there we have Agent Hunt and Mercenaries mode. The first allows you to enter someone else’s campaign as an enemy and try to take them out as they are trying to complete the single player story. Mercenaries mode sees players pitted against wave after wave of enemies. The objective here is to survive as long as possible ala Horde Mode from the Gears of War franchise.
I did not spend a boatload of time on the multiplayer because I really believe it has no place in games like Resident Evil. We never needed it before and still can live without it now. Agent Hunt reminded me of a cheap Left for Dead 2 ripoff without the same satisfaction of stopping the other team. Mercenaries will be popular and played pretty well as you haul ass around the map picking up time to extend your survival time. Both modes overall are forgettable and there did not seem to be a lot of people playing.
Controls and camera have always been somewhat of an issue and that does not change here. Each of the characters now has a somewhat ridiculous finishing move that can be executed when in close with the enemy. These are very over the top and wrestling move like, that is if they work. Most times melee was nothing more than frustrating when in close quarters. I died many times because my character would do nothing more than a weird shrugging motion when they should have been kicking or punching.
This series has been notorious for the horrible camera angles and such. You will be cornered and attacked because of the camera. It is unavoidable and extremely frustrating. Couple this with the super dark scenery and you have a recipe for “one smashed controller” soup. I expected both of these issues because it is almost a series mainstay at this point. Operation Raccoon City had some of the same issues.
Who the hell decided we need a QuickTime event every 10 minutes? For the uninitiated, a QTE or QuickTime event involves following on screen prompts to push or hammer buttons on the controller. In this case the QuickTime events are deadly meaning if you fail, and you will, your precious character is done for. I have no idea how many times I died from these but it was enough that I could memorize certain sequences and pass the event.
Outside of the fact that this game suffers from the same darkness that plagued Operation Raccoon City things are still gorgeous. Do yourself a favor and adjust the game’s darkness level right away in the option menu. This makes seeing all the creepy and detailed things so much easier. The look of the game really helps to bring the story to life. The usual Resident Evil detail is here and covered in a very nice HD glaze.
A few other gripes were tied to the save system and your idiotic teammate A.I. The save system requires you to complete a full chapter in order to save. I tried many ways to save through shorter checkpoints but always ended up at chapter start when firing the game back up. Where are my typewriters and ribbons? A great save system like Resident Evil’s of the past would have really helped.
The game allows you to play as either person in the campaign. This does not change the outcome or objective but only allows for a little more variety. Depending on your character choice I noticed the A.I. just going off on it’s own or not doing their part when an objective required both characters to physically do something. This screamed buggy and broken all too often.
There is an update en route to address the camera issues, fix some bugs and make Ada’s campaign a co-op affair. Currently this patch is slated for a mid December release.
Good graphics and audio
Lots of classic Resident Evil nostalgia
Solid gunplay and co-op
Creative campaign options like 4 player meet ups for boss battles
Too damn dark
Melee is a mess
Camera just plain sucks
Who needs that many QuickTime events?
Horrible save system
Many fans were hoping for this to be the best Resident Evil game yet, unfortunately it is not. The game carries some serious flaws but diehard fans will be able to look past the issues and see the good stuff. Overall I had a pretty good time and would recommend this to fans of the series.
Resident Evil 6 is available on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 for $59.99.