Posts Tagged ‘resident evil 6’

Resident Evil 6 Review

Posted: October 9, 2012 in Review
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Resident Evil 6 Review

It’s all Shinji Mikami’s fault, really. He made Resident Evil 4 just too damn good, and now Capcom are trying to replicate his magic without the slightest understanding of what it was he did so well. It was simple: each chapter in the game had a standout moment that was completely unique, before the pace moved you swiftly on to the next bit. It was exciting, tense and most of all, fun.

Which is where Resident Evil 6 shambles into view, with Capcom’s most ambitious offering to date. There’s a colossal amount of content on offer here, with four full-length campaigns to play through, as well as online and offline co-op, and two bonus play modes. Alongside that is the service that keeps a record of your gameplay stats for the whole world to see. While all this is most definitely value for money, the main problem is the game’s lack of focus and general unwillingness to slow down for five minutes.

Parts of the game are genuinely stunning. For instance, the first hour of Leon’s campaign brings back the thrill of old-style Resident Evil, with you dispatching slow-moving zombies on a University campus. Most of Ada’s campaign puts priority on playing stealthily and avoiding confrontations. Jake has a section where you try and slip past an unkillable Nemesis-esque monstrosity. Also, the moments where the storylines interlink and offer up four-player co-op are fantastic. Strangely, many of the standout moments feel like tributes from the earlier games, such as the first time you saw a zombie in Resident Evil 1, or the mine cart sequence in Resi 4. But these are tiny jewels, lost admit a sea of samey gameplay and non-stop action sequences. For everything that stands out as being good, there are dozens of things that irritate, like a snowmobile chase down a collapsing mountainside, or a jet battle against an aircraft carrier, or an on-rails flight sequence in a helicopter. Every time the game draws you into its world, (something that occurs more frequently in Leon and Ada’s campaigns than Chris and Jake’s) it throws an explosion at you to make you remember that this is now an action franchise. Long gone is the brooding tension and slow-paced exploration. This is now all about sprinting and blowing things up and following objective markers through linear locations.

But this is not a bad game, that’s the important thing. For the most part, Resident Evil 6 nails exactly what it sets out to do. The new physical abilities are great, allowing you a variety of ways to create some room in a crowd, or just eliminate a single enemy in a stylish way. You can also now sprint, slide and roll across the ground, opening up a whole new way to take on the armies of grunts in your way. There’s also the new Skills that you can purchase, allowing upgrades of all the weapons, as well as your own health, your combat abilities and so on. Purchasing many of them requires a hell of a lot of skill points, so if you want to unlock most of the game’s content, you’ll need to put aside tens of hours.

Aside from the now-standard Mercenaries bonus game, there’s the new ‘Agent Hunt’ mode, where you play as a monster and attempt to kill people while they make their way through the game. While you can only jump in on specific sections (and only then when players have allowed access via the options menu), it’s a strange little distraction. Playing as the monsters isn’t as fun as it should be, killing players who are trying to navigate their way through the game can make you feel pretty bad about it and upgrading your monsters requires even more skill points – demanding even more of a time commitment from a game that already pushes past the thirty hour barrier.

But the game’s overwhelming problem is the pace. You aren’t allowed to enjoy the game at your own speed. Instead, you’re pulled along through the story at a breakneck pace, barely allowed time to gather your own thoughts or even explore the surroundings. For instance, one chapter in Chris’s campaign sees you battle an attack helicopter, chase an invisible snake through a building, flee a second attack helicopter, before jumping in a car for a ten minute chase sequence. It’s not providing players with relentless adrenaline, it’s throwing explosions at them until they actually begin to get bored of the pace. Worse, there’s so little difference in the campaigns that they all soon blur into one. Every character has a vehicle section, a run-into-the-screen chase, a slow motion gun battle, a maze full of invincible monsters and even a multitude of Quick Time Events. This latter is excruciating during the boss battles, as it highlights that the player can’t kill monsters as cool as the cutscenes can.

The big question, then: is Resident Evil 6 a disappointment? Undoubtedly the answer is yes, it’s a huge letdown. But it’s not, repeat, not a bad game – not like other Resident Evil titles such as Survivor or Operation Raccoon City. But it’s not great, like 4 or Revelations. Instead it’s distinctly above average, better than 5 was, but unable to scale the heights of even the original three games. It all comes down to your own preference – if your defining image of the series comes from the early days, you’ll be disappointed. If you preferred the fifth game, then this will blow you away.

At the end of the day, once the credits roll, you may well be left with a nagging sense of loss. This marks the end of the series as it was. It might even mark the death of the franchise as a whole – it’s been pushed so far, given so broad a scope that it’s impossible to think what could happen next. Whatever happens next, the action blowout has struck so deep that the series’ survival horror roots have been mangled and may never recover. And all this because Shinji Mikami made his swan song far too good.