Has the survival horror franchise returned to its glory days?
Posted 7 months ago By Vince - Vincent Deshaies
Resident Evil has reinvented itself a number of times during the popular series’ history. When it moved away from its Survival Horror roots in 2005 with the fourth installment, many people feared that the series would end up losing sight of what made the franchise so special. However, the game was received extremely well due to innovative and incredibly satisfying gameplay. Resident Evil 5, however, was a bit more polarizing. Moving away from horror and into action territory, it left some players feeling like it was a step back from RE4. This time with RE6, Capcom has decided to take a different approach, aiming to please fans of all gameplay types. Does it succeed, or was it a goal that was simply too ambitious? Let’s find out...
Resident Evil 6 offers a very unconventional narrative compared to other games in the series. This time around, the story takes place 10 years after the Raccoon City incident, and revolves around the development of the C-Virus. Without spoiling anything, I can say that it’s refreshing to see how the storyline is presented this time around. The goofy dialogue is kept to a minimum and the events are easier to follow. Not only does the story span several months, but it’s also told from four different perspectives, through entirely different campaigns. The first one puts you in the shoes of Leon Kennedy, the protagonist of RE2 and 4, accompanied by series’ newcomer Helena Harper. This campaign offers the most traditional RE atmosphere, though it remains a clear change of pace from previous entries. Mainly taking place in dark environments, this campaign is easily the most atmospheric. It offers the most genuine attempts at scaring the player, though most of them actually fall flat (more on that later). The second campaign lets you take control of Chris Redfield or his partner Piers Nivans. Chris’ story is much more action-oriented, and offers a pure third person shooter experience. The zombies in this one actually carry weapons and will return fire when attacked; the new cover system is the most useful in this campaign. The third story mode offering consists of a series of missions that put you in control of Albert Wesker’s son, Jake Muller, or his partner, Sherry Birken. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this campaign mixes elements from the previous two while increasing the focus on action setpieces, much like those found in the popular Uncharted series. After beating all three of these campaigns, players will unlock a fourth and final one starring Ada Wong. This final campaign offers puzzles and other more traditional nods to previous Resident Evil titles.
"Despite the incredible amount of effort and manpower that went into making this game, it unfortunately falls short of being the definitive RE experience Capcom had set out to offer."
Needless to say, Resident Evil 6 offers a lot of variety. It even gets to the point where the game feels like it can’t decide what it wants to be. There are many problems that stem from this, the first being that none of the campaigns actually manage to feel like Resident Evil. Long-time fans of the series are unlikely to feel at home with this one. The controls have been completely revamped; the character you control is now free from the camera’s movement and can face whatever direction without needing to change the camera’s position at all. After getting used to the controls in 4, 5 and Revelations, the change was a bit staggering at first, but I quickly managed to get past the feeling.
Some fans will be happy to know that the game finally features the ability to move around while aiming your gun, and certain archaic mechanics were changed or improved to suit the more action-oriented gameplay. However, some other changes are much more questionable. A lot of simple features that action game fans have taken for granted over the past few years are absent from this title, or are simply overly complicated. For example, the new dodge mechanic requires an unusual amount of steps to be completed successfully. The player must first aim their weapon for half a second or more, tap the sprint button (X or the left thumbstick on the PS3 version), and move the joystick in the desired direction. If the aim button remains pressed in after completing that action, your character will remain stuck to the ground, often vulnerable to attacks. In order to get up, the aim button must be released and the joystick has to be pushed up. Wouldn’t only tapping X be a simpler task to perform while you’re in the heat of the moment? This overly complex mechanic caused me to die unfairly more than a few times.
The cover system is also poorly implemented compared to what we’ve been seeing from the competition for years now. The cover action is mapped to the aim button, often causing players to unwillingly go behind cover when they simply meant to draw their weapon. Why not use the left thumbstick, which is instead used as a pointless alternative to the X button? Another source of headaches is the way the inventory is handled. While having to go through an expansive inventory screen felt natural in previous RE games, here it feels completely unnecessary. The healing system, for example, now consists of preparing health pills by mixing the classic green and red herbs from previous entries, then putting the mixture into a small container. Why not just have the player pick up pills directly from the ground? Having to prepare the health items adds absolutely nothing to the game and doesn’t seem to fit the fast-paced action gameplay. With all of these annoyances, I can’t help but feel like the gameplay is a clear step backwards from the brilliant Resident Evil 4. Sure, some tweaking had to be done to accommodate the new gameplay styles, but the overhaul was completely unnecessary and ended up hurting the overall experience.
If we go deeper into the gameplay experience, I must say that RE6 turned out to be a mixed bag for me. While the sheer variety provided by the different campaigns and gameplay styles is great to have, it makes the game feel like it has an identity problem. By trying to please everyone, Capcom ended up falling into the trap of creating a “jack of all trades, master of none” type of experience. The gunplay in Chris’ campaign does not feel as satisfying as other action games on the market, the Uncharted-like set-pieces in Jake’s story mode feel like pale imitations of their rolemodel, and Leon’s horror thrill-ride isn’t as effective as I hoped it would be. Mix that with the over-reliance on unnecessary Quick Time Events, and you get a game that could disappoint some people. Despite all that, I have to say that I did enjoy myself while playing through the game. In fact, given all of its fundamental problems, the game seems more fun than it has any right to be. Even as I was shaking my head at the various questionable choices made by Capcom, I still felt a strong desire to keep playing.
It is true that the amount of content Capcom put into this one is extremely impressive. Each of the four campaigns will last longer than the average Call of Duty entry, clocking in at about 7 hours each. This means you end up getting a monstrously long single player experience, which is made even longer by the replayability factor added through the cooperative mode. Various times throughout the game, you’ll find branching paths for you and your partner to explore, so you’ll want to play through each chapter as both characters to make sure you get the full experience. Because of the sheer amount of content, the single player experience ends up delivering a ton of great moments that can sometimes be buried under the weight of the less inspired parts. On top of that, the Mercenaries mode is back and just as addictive as ever, though it lacks any kind of meaningful improvements that you may have been hoping for.
In terms of presentation, the game is inconsistent, but very competent. While some parts of each campaign can look absolutely stunning, you will notice a rather large discrepancy between levels in terms of the quality of textures and artistic appeal. Although, this could be attributed to the immense development team (over 600 people have worked on this monster of a project). Overall, the visual presentation is very competent, though I can’t help but notice that Resident Evil 5 looked more consistently good. The setpieces offer plenty of eye candy for people who crave it, and the gorgeous pre-rendered cutscenes are a clear step-up from what was offered in previous entries. Another thing worth noting about the presentation is the absolutely gorgeous and inspired design of certain enemy creatures. Without spoiling anything, I can tell you that you’ll encounter several bosses that could be ranked amongst the best of the series in terms of design. For a series that was already well known for its high-quality enemy design, this is quite an accomplishment. In the sound department, things hold up very well. The musical score is uneven, but the good tracks can be an absolute delight to listen to. Gun sounds are detailed and realistic enough, while zombies and other creatures sound adequately threatening.
Despite the incredible amount of effort and manpower that went into making this game, it unfortunately falls short of being the definitive RE experience Capcom had set out to offer. Whether it’s the convoluted mechanics, wonky controls, uneven presentation, or its obsession with Quick Time Events and action setpieces, the game is bound to leave certain fans wanting more. Nostalgic Resident Evil fans may find it worthwhile to try out this chapter, if only to reunite with some of their favorite characters and follow the engaging storyline, but it’d be hard to recommend it to those who prefer the old-school Survival Horror mechanics from the classic games in the series. Overall, after playing this game, it may appear that the Resident Evil franchise has lost its way, as it struggles to find its own identity. Thankfully, the sheer value of the package and the amount of content offered ensure that the game offers plenty of memorable, fun moments. Some may feel like the score I’m giving is high compared to the amount of problems I have with the game, but quality should always prevail over quantity. Fortunately, the good parts this title offers make it all worthwhile. Despite the amount of issues, I had a great time with Resident Evil 6. At the end of the day, that’s what matters the most.
+ Great cutscenes
+ All-star cast of characters
+ Engaging storyline
+ Memorable moments
- Overly complicated controls and mechanics
- Uneven presentation
- Lacks any kind of real scare factor
4 weeks ago :: (PSN) Fuel Overdose
4 weeks ago :: (PSN) Darkstalkers Resurrection
1 month ago :: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
1 month ago :: (PSN) Alien Breed
6 months ago :: Assassin's Creed III
6 months ago :: FIFA Soccer 13
7 months ago :: NHL 13
8 months ago :: (PSN) The Expendables 2
8 months ago :: (PSN) Rainbow Moon
Download us here!
Game Junkies podcast and audio interviews
Release Date : 2012/10/02
System : PlayStation 3
Publisher : Capcom
Developer : Capcom
Category : Survival Horror
ESRB : M
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10