And I mean more. Capcom’s latest release in the title series promised us old-school zombies and a lot of nostalgic material along with brand new content in the RE storyline in 3 different campaigns (and another one after you finish those). But when you think about that statement, it may seem a lot to put in just one title. That’s exactly how playing through Resident Evil 6 will make you feel. I liken it to a kid given the freedom to put whatever toppings he wants on his flavored yogurt, regardless of whether the combinations taste good or not. But enough of food, let’s do a quick rundown shall we?
The Good Stuff
Thumbs up for Capcom’s creature design. Yes, they brought back the zombies you remembered as a child, but I like to point out that the RE series, also known as Biohazard, is not JUST a zombie game. It revolves around a virus, its evolution and the effect it has on living things. A new species called the J’avo are like the zombies but are capable of wielding weapons and planning their attack. Fighting with J’avo turns it into a Modern Warfare type of action only these don’t die after a headshot but instead grow a huge, slimy and deadly arm or maybe turn into a spiky acid-spewing creature. A lot of the enemies here will keep you on your toes since they aren’t that easy to kill. I was especially annoyed by that crawling hand.
Environment gets a +1 too. With these kinds of games, the atmosphere should be properly set and Resident Evil 6 does not lack. Tunnels, dark and foreboding city streets, even climbing down a ladder can make you tense. Camera angles kill the action packed running and shooting, there was even one time I was trying to save my buddy when a zombie appeared just beside my (Leon’s) face-it apparently crawled through window that I did not see.Still, I praise Capcom for the superb work on this.
We also have the Multiplayer and Online content. The more the merrier, right? In Resident Evil 6, a player can jump in while you are doing your campaign as the cohort character, a different main character from a different campaign or as a monster. Yes, a monster. One of RE 6 modes is Agent Hunt where you can play as a dog, a zombie or one of those things that eats up your face and throws up one of its slimy spawns inside you. Agent Hunt is turning out to be my favorite mode even if it is a bit difficult to score a kill. There’s also Mercenaries mode-think of it as a survival from endless hordes of zombies.
As Director Eiichiro Sasaki said, there is plenty of “human drama… The script is just so packed with stuff.” Better pay attention or you’ll get lost in all of it. Remember, there are 3 campaigns but all are intertwined at some point, which was really clever although sometimes the core purpose of it all gets lost in the small, almost-negligible parts that at first appear senseless. Going through missions are reminiscent of Dead Rising, there’s a lot of waiting especially if you’re playing with someone online.
Lastly, I’d like to include the gameplay here but before you start bashing let me explain. HUD is simple and serves its purpose well; same can be said for item inventory. The developers were obviously going for the quick-response kind of play to create the eerie and tense feel of the former RE games but you can actually see the Western influence in the shootouts, the melee combat-it was like Killzone meets GOW meets Resident Evil. Being able to shoot while running is definitely a plus and not being in the pause screen as you try to heal yourself makes you absolutely frantic. However, all the other factors in the gameplay made it lengthy and quite redundant. With that being said, let’s get on to…
The Bad Stuff
In continuation, the concept of reaction-based play was slightly stunted only because they wanted to go for so much more, which makes me think Capcom did not want to miss any of it. It’s all here-driving, stealth, shootouts, melee combat and treasure (key) hunting. The camera angles can get you confused until it is forcibly turned to a cutscene, an enemy or something else. The quick-time type of interaction- where the player is suddenly asked to push a button or move a stick- will definitely build up tension but after a while the overwhelming amount of these in between cutscenes drains the excitement and replaces it with frustration. I had a few moments where I would try to fix the camera and then BAM!
Also, I highly believe that the reason for having two characters per campaign is mainly to open doors. Surely taking on monsters and zombies can be done by a single player, like previous RE games, and I think that fact has not changed. Therefore, 2 characters must be utilized to manipulate these doors.
Finally, I think that singularly, all individual campaigns are pretty decent. But what they did was mash them all up without one unifying core piece which resulted in a pretty lengthy and repetitive game. It is physically and mentally taxing, don’t you agree?
In the End
Resident Evil 6 is a pretty solid game even if it challenges your patience without a definite sense of gratification after. Compare it to waiting in line for something you want to buy and when it’s finally in your hands you can’t remember wanting it. Capcom’s delving into different styles of gameplay is understandable since, like a virus, they need to evolve with the changing times and changing tastes of gamers. Sure, there can be mutations here and there but what really matters it that it lives on.
Resident Evil 6 is available now for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.
Image credit: Capcom’s Resident Evil 6