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Review: Resident Evil 6Resident Evil Resident Evil 6 Capcom Xbox 360 PS3 Survival Horror Action Leon S. Kennedy Chris Redfield Ada Wong
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Release Date: October 2, 2012
ESRB: M for Mature
This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game
Zombies. Zombies everywhere. I had just been thrown into a car by the powerful force of a massive explosion, and when I returned to consciousness, all I could see was the devastation that riddled the streets of Tall Oaks in what almost seemed like some sick re-enactment of the Raccoon City incident 10 years ago. It was like living a nightmare; like Hell on Earth.
This is, more-or-less, how Resident Evil 6 opens. As you can tell, this game certainly isn’t afraid to open up with a bang, nor is it afraid to throw “bangs” in anywhere else. There are times in which the game seems to go back to the series’ roots, pitting you against zombies in very dark places, while at other times it tries too hard to be an action-packed spectacle Michael Bay would be proud of that it falls flat in areas that would otherwise make it a truly frightening game. Resident Evil 6 definitely has a lot going for it that makes it quite solid, but with its overzealous attempt to be everything at once, you will sometimes find yourself more frustrated than frightened.
Our story begins with a little tutorial of sorts, throwing you into a part of Leon’s campaign closer to its end to make sure you have a good grasp at the game’s tone, controls, and co-operative play before truly sinking your teeth into the game. After the tutorial ends on a cliffhanger, you can finally start one of three campaigns, with a fourth one waiting to be unlocked once you complete the initial three. That’s right; Resident Evil 6 is a fairly lengthy game, featuring a larger-than-life storyline that is divided into four campaigns, each with a different story to tell.
And with all these stories coming together so seamlessly, it’s obvious that Capcom knows a thing or two about storytelling. It’s interesting to play through a campaign and arrive at a scene that leaves you with questions, and then have those questions answered in another campaign. It’s this kind of storytelling that makes you want to play through all four campaigns in order to fully understand the plot. Unfortunately, the stories intertwining like they do also results in a bit of unwanted repetition, since you will have to re-watch certain scenes and replay certain fights.
Each of the first three campaigns feature a dynamic duo, with Leon S. Kennedy teaming up with U.S. Secret Service newbie Helena Harper; Chris Redfield teaming up with fellow BSAA member Piers Nivans; and series newcomer, as well as series veteran Albert Wesker’s son, Jake Muller teaming up with Sherry Birkin from Resident Evil 2 (she’s also the child of an antagonist, by the way). These teams all take the co-op from Resident Evil 5 to new heights, which is definitely a good thing, because nobody likes a partner who mooches off of your inventory…
But what really makes the co-op so top-notch becomes apparent when playing with a human partner, whether locally or online. Once you decide which character to play as (during whatever campaign you choose), the other character becomes readily available for anyone else to just drop in and play as. And depending on your settings, the game will even search for potential partners whenever you aren’t fighting for your life. Of course, once you unlock the fourth and final campaign featuring Ada Wong, expect to go it alone, because… well, let’s just say she’s single.
This game not only manages to fit four whole stories into one game, but each campaign also plays differently from one another. Leon’s campaign feels like a throwback to Resident Evil 2, featuring the zombies we all know and love and an overall classic feel. Chris’s crusade, on the other hand, is much more action-oriented, and basically feels like they took Resident Evil 5 and updated it with darker, creepier locales (de-steroidizing Chris a bit, too). As for Jake’s journey, with the intimidating Ustanak chasing you down at certain points, it feels a lot like a modern rendition of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. Lastly, Ada’s adventure is pretty much what you might remember from her campaign in Resident Evil 4, just a little better.
Wait a minute, I’m sensing a pattern here… Resident Evil 2 throwback… Resident Evil 3: Nemesis throwback… Resident Evil 4 throwback… Resident Evil 5 throwback… Man, this whole game is just one big Resident Evil reunion, isn't it…?
The controls have been greatly improved for Resident Evil 6. Namely, you can finally walk AND shoot at the same time. This has been a bit of an annoyance for a while now, so it’s about time Capcom made this decision. There have also been a few additions to the Resident Evil moveset, including dodging, sliding, taking cover, and the ability to fend off enemies while lying on the ground. Basically, the combat in this game has pretty much been expanded upon, both with melee and firearms, and fighting the infected has never felt better. These enhancements might take a while to grow on you, but once they do, you’ll welcome them without question.
Unfortunately, though, these new additions support the fact that the game tries to be too much of an action game that the horror aspects suffer. Now, normally it wouldn't really matter if a horror game wants to add some pizazz, but Resident Evil 6 tries too hard to be everything that it often struggles from its own identity crisis. While Leon’s campaign likes reminding us of a simpler time when you fought your way through hordes of unarmed zombies, the other campaigns like to take a more Call of Duty-esque approach by giving the J’avo machine guns, rocket launchers, helicopters, and even tanks. And while this might frighten some, it’s more in the sense of “Oh crap, I’m getting shot at!” than classic psychological fear.
You will also be given more gameplay mechanics than is really necessary, such as swimming, riding motorcycles, and flying jets. I appreciate Capcom trying to diversify my gaming experience, but some of these mechanics aren’t exactly utilized well enough to really work as intended. Throw in all those quick-time events that just love causing us to die far more than we should, and the experience can get a little chaotic at times.
The visuals in this game are quite captivating, and work really well with the cinematic experience Capcom was shooting for. With some beautifully designed locales that offer some creative lighting effects, Resident Evil 6 really holds its own as a modern horror game, for the most part. But what’s even more stunning is the horrifically awesome creature design. Along with the simple zombies, everything else in the game has been given a unique design you’ve yet to see in any other entry that really adds something different to each encounter.
The cinematic experience of Resident Evil 6 is even further expanded thanks to some truly outstanding sound design. The music really helps to set the mood in every instance, including parts that have no music at all. In those scenarios, you start understanding how creepy the creature sounds can be. And the voice acting ain’t no slouch either. In fact, the game even comes with a “voice-over pack” disk, for whatever reason.
As long as the Resident Evil series has been around, it’s only natural for it to go through changes over the years. Most of those changes are highlighted and added upon in Resident Evil 6. Some of these changes work well, while others don’t. And with so many throwbacks to previous installments, this game also seems to pay quite a bit of respect to the series’ past. However, in trying to please everyone, the game also struggles with a bit of an identity crisis that involves a bit of fun, yet somewhat convoluted gameplay. But with such brilliant storytelling involving a fairly interesting storyline, horrifyingly beautiful set pieces and creature designs, and some very moody music and creepy creature sounds, Resident Evil 6 definitely has enough going for it to deserve the attention of old and new fans alike.
+ The story is masterfully told throughout four campaigns
+ Co-op is among the best of this generation
+ Visuals and sound design make for a pleasantly creepy experience
- Attempt to do it all hurts the experience
- Quick-time events can get really frustrating
Overall Score: 8 (out of 10)
In its overzealous attempt at doing everything, Resident Evil 6 has some uneven gameplay. But with its masterful storytelling, captivating visuals, and outstanding sound design, it ends up being a pretty great gaming experience.
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