Resident Evil 6

  • Type: TPS (Third Person Shooter) / Adventure
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Platform: Xbox360, PS3, PC
  • Release Date: 2nd October 2012
  • Version Reviewed: Xbox360

If you don’t know about the Resident Evil franchise, shame on you. SHAME! There have been a gazillion games (oh, only 5… Really? Feels like more), a bunch of films (a couple of which are worth watching), a load of novels and some comics. So to have failed to come across it before must have taken no small amount of effort on your part. Don’t think of this as a criticism. It’s just an explanation of why I’m going to gloss over any introduction or preamble and dive straight in.

RE6-4

It’s more of the same. Umbrella kinda broke Raccoon City, so they have moved on to pastures new (kinda. Not the same mob, but they fall under the same… er… y’know). But we still have loads of zombies, the world going to hell in a hand basket and faffing about with green and red herbs. Oh, and gun wielding heroes (and heroines, in supporting roles I know! It is 2012!).

I must confess… I’m not a big RE fan. Oh, I love the premise. And I enjoyed most of nearly all of the movies. But the games… not so much. And this was almost entirely down to the controls, the camera and the endless running along walls, hitting a button in an attempt to find stuff (mainly to stop yourself dying). But I played the demo of 6 and thought it may have promise. So I bought it.

RE6-5

Now, I should point out that I have played worse games. And Capcom have made vast improvements on the RE games I have really put much time into (1, 2 and a bit of 4 at my bro’s). But they have still missed the mark. Not by a great deal, but by three feet or three miles… It’s still a miss.

But before I sound like I’m slating it too badly, let’s start with…

The Good

It is, at times, reasonably fast paced. It seems to have borrowed quite heavily from the hugely successful Left 4 Dead games. The appeal of the frantic panic of those games, seems to have affected this release. But thankfully, Capcom haven’t created an L4D clone. They have simply boosted the adrenaline of their own machine. A bit. You still have the tense creeping through darkened hallways, with only a gnats whisker of health left. You still have the prostrate corpses littering your path, and you KNOW some of them will start chewing at your ankles as you tiptoe past. But some of the action scenes are ramped up way beyond my previous RE experiences. The zed movements are pretty damn sexy at times. Shoot the one at the front of a horde in the leg, and not laugh yer arse off when all his mates fall over him. I dare you. Oh yes… the shot impact effects, and resultant physics, are gorgeous.

RE6-1

Another nice touch is that there are three campaigns, featuring a couple of RE perennials. All of which run along (pretty much) the same timeline, and interweave with each other. In the campaigns you can play as Leon, Chris (you know them, right?) or Jake. They are partnered up with Helena, Piers and Sherry respectively. (Or you can play the partners if you prefer. Loadout is pretty much the only difference).

This is another plus point for RE6. The co-op play. You and a friend can face the zombie horde together. But if you don’t have a friend (available, I meant available), your partner will be AI controlled. Or just leap online and dive into someone else’s game, or wait til they jump into yours. You can even give an indication of your play style in the setup. Nice touch.

And the storylines (whilst a bit naive and contrived at times) stitch the gameplay together quite nicely. I’m actually looking forward to finding out what happens further down the line.

Finally, with the introduction of skill sets (ability boosts that you unlock by earning skill points during play) and a bunch of medals and achievements, some thought has been put into replayability. That said, each campaign has five chapters. And the chapters aren’t short. I’m not sure anyone other than die hard fans will want to go back and do it again.

RE6-2

The Bad

It’s a Third Person Shooter. I actually like TPS games. But when the character gets in the way of seeing the lurching minions of doom as they emerge from the shadows to eat your face, it gets a bit irritating. The camera is not far enough back to see what is going on around you, and not positioned high enough to see what is going on in front of you. You constantly have to work the right stick to stay alive. Not conducive to appreciate the pretty of the world, which is pretty. Dark, but pretty.

The tutorial is quite possibly the worst I have ever played and does not give you any real indication of what to expect. It is almost entirely reaction based interaction within an extended cut scene. You just have to hit the right button or waggle the stick at the right moment. Not good. Not good at all.

The storyline is, at times, almost childlike in its naivety. Hell, right at the start of the first campaign, Leon (a veteran of Racoon City) tries to talk down a zombified world leader that is about to chow down on his partner. Yeah, cos that has worked so well in the past. And this is but one, none spoilerific (it’s in the opening cutscene), example of Capcom forgetting that this is an 18 release. They really shouldn’t treat us like kids.

RE6-3

The Ugly

It’s a Resident Evil game. So it’s going to be the same as all the others… The camera, the controls and the ‘fannying’ around trying to find useful stuff. In their defence, all of these are a vast improvement on its forbears. But after umpteen years and several previous attempts, I’d bloody hope so. However, I do find it increasingly galling that Capcom have consistently failed in at least two out of three of these areas in all of their games that I have played. Other companies nail it, and yet fail on the depth and immersiveness of their universe. Capcom have got the bit that requires imagination and talent (although, their script writers could do somewhat better). Why can’t they get right the bits that they could just copy off other games (by which I mean take inspiration from, cos no-one likes a plagiarist)?

RE6-6

All in all, this is almost the game it should be. But sadly, it is ‘almost’ in virtually every area. There isn’t much here that you couldn’t get from a combination of a Romero film, a couple of zombie books (World War Z and Plague of the Dead spring to mind) and Left 4 Dead (1 or 2). They would last longer, be more fun and still probably cost about the same. But if you are a die hard RE fan, this is definitely the best so far.

Rating: ★★★★★½☆☆☆☆

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.