Resident Evil 6 for the PS3, and 360 review

A while back, I realized that I had lost my fully typed review of Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City, and I was and still am rather upset about that. So, before I talk about Resident Evil 6, let me give you a quick paragraph-long review of Operation Raccoon City. That game is one of the top 5 worst games I have played in 2012. It had some really good potential due to having a unique setting within the Resident Evil universe. However, the developers never took it further than its original pitch. Terrible and bland story, bland and forgettable characters, brain-dead AI, bullet-sponge enemies, glitches up the wazoo, and it was all paced like the beginning of a much bigger story, rather than it ended up being. Sure, patches have come and made the game slightly better. There was some free DLC, and playing with friends made the experience better, but that doesn’t change ANYTHING! If your game isn’t ready and polished at the very beginning of its lifespan, then you SCREWED UP! I know this was a profitable game for Capcom, which shocks me even more since Dragon’s Dogma, Capcom’s other big title was having trouble, even when it’s a very superior game in so many ways. I even dare say Operation Raccoon City is WORSE than or as BAD as Resident Evil Survivor. If I was going to give it a score, it would be 2 out of 10 and is going on my black list of games! Here I am now talking Resident Evil 6 for the PS3 and 360. While this game did get mixed reviews with critics either liking it or hating it, I liked it. Sure, I might be in the minority in all this since I don’t review a lot of horror games, but as a game, I think it’s solid. It has a good story, some fun set pieces, and it is better than Resident Evil 5, which I also liked, but I would prefer this game over that one any day.

The story is big, spanning multiple campaigns that are linked to one another since parts of the story do connect to different parts of each campaign. Leon Kennedy is voiced by Matthew Mercer and not Resident Evil 4’s Paul Mercier. He is basically trying to stop another bio-hazard breakout happening in the US, but apparently not as much as, say, in China and Europe, but we will get to those plots in a second. He is joined by an agent of the government by the name of Helena Harper, who is voiced by Laura Bailey, and must chase down Ada Wong to stop Ada and this new Neo Umbrella organization from causing the whole world to turn into a clustered hellhole filled with zombies and other bio-organic weapons. The second campaign starts with Chris Redfield, who is voiced by Roger Craig Smith, and apparently had his muscular figure from Resident Evil 5 toned down. He is the captain of a team of anti-bio-terrorism soldiers that are taking out a breakout somewhere in Europe and China. Our third campaign stars Jake Muller, voiced by one of my favorite voice actors, Troy Baker, who is *SPOILERS* Albert Wesker’s son traveling with Sherry Birkin, voiced by Eden Riegel, who is now an agent for the U.S. Her job is to bring Muller back to the United States because he apparently has the cure for the new virus that has spread around the world. I probably shouldn’t say ‘world’ since it takes place in 3 different areas. It is like in Bart vs. the World, where Bart is only going to 5 specific places. The fourth and final campaign that unlocks after you beat the first 3 focuses on Ada Wong, who is voiced by Courtenay Taylor. Her story kind of fills you in on what the heck is going on, mostly for Leon’s campaign and this doppelganger that looks like her and was causing hell in Chris’s and his partner Pier Nivan’s, voiced by Christopher Emerson, campaign. Her story is also about stopping Neo Umbrella. There are, of course, other story elements, like Jake Muller is getting chased by this huge muscular bio-weapon known as Ustanak who is this game’s Mr. X or Nemesis, there is a governmental advisor who messed up and released one bio-terroristic attack, and caused another one to fix it which somehow doesn’t make sense, and many other things. The overall story however, is actually pretty good. While Resident Evil 4 and 5 had some good parts that were creative, their stories were more overly serious popcorn flicks that did have some scares. Resident Evil 6’s story is more thought-out, intense, and does have its corny moments from time to time. It made me invest my time with the characters, which not a whole lot of games can do for me. It does have its corny moments, like I said, and yeah, not all of the script is as strong in all of the campaigns, but it is a good story.

The gameplay, as we all know, has strayed far away from being a survival horror game to being more of an action/horror/survival/third-person shooter game with some puzzle-solving/RPG/stealth elements pushed into the equation. You play through 4 campaigns total, with the first two taking about 8 hours, and the other two taking about 6 or so to complete. At their cores, they are third-person shooters where you get a small, but more focused set of weapons and sub-weapons to take down the hordes of the dead and the bio-weapons that scientists thought would be a good idea. The main change comes in the form of two things, for me, anyway. One is that each campaign plays a little differently. Leon’s and Ada’s campaign are more old-school Resident Evil. Vibe-wise, Leon’s is more like Resident Evil 2 and 3 while Ada’s is much more like Resident Evil 1. Chris’s campaign is more like an action-shooter, filled with huge explosions, gun-wielding enemies, and epic moments. Jake’s campaign is more about melee combat and stealth. Ada’s is more stealth and puzzle-solving. There are little differences in each campaign, like Jake doesn’t get bigger weapons until halfway through, and Ada doesn’t get bigger weapons till the end. Jake has more melee combat abilities, which makes fighting certain enemies much better since you can go all Bruce Lee or Fei Long on them and give them a beat down. A lot of the campaigns though do have intense Hollywood-like action sequences that people have complained put Resident Evil 5 and 6 more into the Resident Evil film series territory, but I don’t think that is fully fair (by the way, those movies are terrible and are not good comparison points). I mean, the older games had Hollywood-like sequences near the end, like Resident Evil 1’s final boss is killed by a rocket launcher, and Resident Evil 2’s final sequence is a train escaping an explosion within the train tunnel. What about Resident Evil 4, one of the highest acclaimed games of all time? So many of its sequences are action-movie-oriented, right down to the final boss being killed by a rocket launcher, and yet, no one complains about those games. This game does not throw in the scares as much as other horror games, but usually the buildup to such terrifying moments is helped by having a rather tense atmosphere. I never stopped clenching my PS3 controller because of certain moments. It is like looking at Metroid Other M. Certain moments of that game does have a creepy atmosphere to them, and there is genuine intensity and suspense leading to certain scenes, and that is what works with Resident Evil 6. This comes into play, especially when you have to stealthily get away from the big bio-weapon that is chasing Jake in his campaign. There is a short scene where the only thing separating you and the giant being is a wall of ice, and he doesn’t know you are on the other side. I always kept looking to the side hoping that he literally wouldn’t see me. They also have these creepy regenerating beings later in on in the campaigns that have this obnoxious creepy groan when they die and shrivel up. The other thing that makes this game unique is the skill system. Each character can have up to three different skills to assist the characters in the different campaigns, like giving Chris more strength in his firepower, or giving Jake’s melee attacks more of a punch, and making enemies drop more items, which is a good idea to invest in early. Now then, let us talk about multiplayer. There are two main multiplayer modes people are going to be playing, Agent Hunt, and Mercenaries Mode. Agent Hunt is basically the “I’m going to drop into your single-player campaign and mess you up” mode, like in the Demon’s and Dark Souls games where you can get into someone else’s game as an enemy and can try to kill the main characters. Mercenaries’ mode has you teaming up with people to take down hordes of enemies and stack up the body count. You can also extend the time within this mode by smashing clocks. Overall, there is, of course, a lot of stuff to keep you playing the game over and over.

The graphics, while some people have complained look like a muddy version of Resident Evil 5, still look good. They fit the tone of the game, and a game like this should look a bit grungy due to all of the zombies and bio-weapons walking around. It isn’t going to be some clean Syndicate look to it. The music is also good. It fits the mood and can help push the intense moments. The voice acting, while solid, can be a bit silly at times, but come on, Resident Evil has NEVER had a silly or stupid moment, am I right? The voice actors are solid and do give off strong performances. A lot of the story elements are done well and I give Capcom credit for going in this direction even though everyone and their grandma is moaning and groaning about how Resident Evil is going in the wrong direction. Let’s move onto the bad parts in them and you fans are going to get a small whipping.

Let us talk about the bad moments, because there are a few. This game is filled with QTE’s, and while Resident Evil 6’s QTE’s are better than the ones in Resident Evil 5, that is not saying much. Some of them are tedious, and tedious expands into some of the segments in different campaigns. A few of the action sequences are not handled well and could have used a bit more polishing. I also think the fan and critic reaction of comparing this game to the Hollywood Resident Evil films is a bit much. It does have action sequences and very Hollywood-style moments, but, don’t all of the games have those moments? I am not saying that fans of the older games and critics are in the wrong, but I think it’s a bit silly to say that this game is no better than the Hollywood Resident Evil films. I just don’t think going back to the basics like the tank controls, fixed camera, and other design choices from the older games would, to be honest, work nowadays. I am not saying that Resident Evil should be designed like Gears of War, but maybe having a slight action element wouldn’t be a bad thing. Maybe they could design Resident Evil 7 like an isometric twin stick shooter game. I could see that happening. Mix in Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light’s gameplay and puzzle sequences with the scares and design choices of the older Resident Evil games could truly work. I mean, if you want to keep your nostalgia goggles on and keep thinking that the designs of Resident Evil 1-Veronica are still perfection then go ahead, but I’ll even admit that some of my favorite games of all time do have huge flaws that are showing, due to the game’s age. Maybe it’s time we all take off the goggles. If you do enjoy those old game design choices that’s fine, but I don’t think they would fly by today.

I can agree that Resident Evil is in a weird position where it needs to evolve, but still stay true to what made it popular in the first place, but I will say that I personally enjoyed this game. It’s not in my top 20 games of 2012, but I could easily recommend it to people who are still curious about this game and have not yet played it. The price has dropped and I would recommend getting it. Sure, it might not be what it used to be, but I think we need to welcome change and not be so negative about it. It might be fully scary, but it is one of the most intense games around, it isn’t a poorly designed game like Rule of Rose, it is a fun, intense, and solid experience, so, go check it out if you are curious.

This game gets a 7 out of 10