Third Impressions: Resident Evil 6

Posted: October 4, 2012 in Review

Dear God in heaven, what the hell happened?

The first hour of Leon’s gameplay genuinely threatened Resident Evil 4’s dominance as the king of the franchise. Everything after that sabotages all the goodwill built up, leaving a seriously sour taste in the mouth.

The summary of Leon’s campaign can be described as ‘moments of genius crippled by incessant explosions.’ Chapter two sees a wonderful return to basics with some old-fashioned puzzle solving in a spooky church. After that, it gets steadily further afield until the game makes you crash land a passenger jet in China. It almost comes back to greatness when the C-Virus nukes the population, but then you have a series of progressively more infuriating boss fights against the same villain, culminating in what might be the most absurd battle in the history of all gaming.

Chris’s campaign is everything that was wrong with Resident Evil 5, condensed and expanded upon. To describe it as ‘Michael Bay action’ sells it short, because one moment you’re slogging through waves of heavily armored enemies that can mutate in accordance with the damage you inflict on them and the next you’re jumping a military vehicle into an aircraft carrier. There’s a car chase (remember how bad it was last time? Yep, it’s even worse now) and a mental sequence where you fly a jet against a ship. To say that this campaign misses the mark entirely is an understatement. This campaign could only have missed the point more if it was set in space and Chris Redfield had metal limbs that all turned into different weapons, with a soundtrack provided exclusively by Metallica.

The question that remains is a curious one: did Capcom ever truly understand the popularity of this franchise? It used to be about tension, atmosphere – is there something up ahead in the shadows? Is there a monster in this room? – all punctuated by lovely cutscenes that featured hammy voice acting and poor translation. The early games were a lovely tribute to classic horror movies, and they all had bags of tension in them, even with the cheesy dialogue. Now players are being asked two set off massive explosions every five seconds, while cutscenes play out more explosions just so you don’t get confused by what’s going on.

Two campaigns down. Two more to go. Can Resident Evil 6 salvage itself from the weight of its own ambition?

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