Thursday, October 4, 2012

REVIEW - Resident Evil 6 (360/PS3)

Resident Evil 6, the latest in the long running series of monster filled spook-a-thons, is now upon us. Both hyped and hated before release in equal measure, I imagine this will be the most divisive game in the franchise. Which side of the battle line do I stand?

The Resident Evil franchise, though still beloved by many, has seen better days. After Shinji Mikami's departure from Capcom following the release of Resident Evil 4, the series seemed to lose direction.  Resident Evil 5 felt very much like a game with no identity of its own. At times it felt like it wanted to be a great third person shooter, but it lacked the confidence to go all the way with the idea. It was hampered by leftover gameplay quirks from the games before it. As a result it was neither a good shooter, nor a good horror game.

Resident Evil 5. Not Even Once.

Years later Capcom outsourced development of a Resident Evil game to Slant Six. The Result, Operation Raccoon City, managed to be an even worse shooter despite being developed entirely with great shooting in mind.

Now Resident Evil 6 arrives with three campaigns (well, four, but who's counting) in an attempt to please everybody. Mirroring different aspects of Resident Evil games past, the different campaigns manage to feel almost like separate games. It's entirely possible you could love one campaign and hate the rest, or vice versa, or any combination thereof. I'll speak about each campaign separately a bit.

 Leon Me, When You're Not Strong...


Leon's campaign in Resident Evil 6 was designed to be the "scary" one. What that means in practice is that every time you pass a dead body on the floor, it's going to jump at you. 

Without fail. 

The first time this happens, it may make you jump. The thirtieth time you will be expecting it, but you can't shoot the body until the game decides it's alive again.

"I was just resting my eyes!"

With his trusty female companion, Leon embarks on an adventure through graveyards, a booby-trapped castle, watery catacombs, an old mine (complete with mine cart sequence!) and abandoned laboratories. Sound familiar? It should. Leon's campaign desperately wants to recall memories of Resident Evil 4, arguably the series' apex. But even if they were as good here as they were in that game (and they're not), these sequences feel like a clip show version of RE4's.

One thing this campaign does that will surely delight long time fans is feature loads of zombies. Not Ganado, not Majini. Zombies. These little bastards may be everywhere these days, but it's still a load of fun blastin' their asses back to the grave.

Disappointingly though, this campaign is incredibly linear. At any time you can press a button to tell you which direction you need to go, but I can't imagine anyone needing to use this feature. I wasn't exactly expecting to be thrown into a giant mansion searching for statues and keys, but it really is a series of long hallways with a few monsters thrown in once in awhile.

There is one action segment that is literally just that part in Independence Day when the aliens shoots the city and a wall of fire chases everybody. Seriously, it's just that. I expected Will Smith to show up and rap or something.

The puzzles are also a disappointment. Usually they are a simple matter of "This door is locked, go find the key". But then immediately a marker will appear telling you exactly where it is. It's pointless busywork. In one instance, to progress I had to solve this little number:

Toll the five bells loud and clear. And thus the true path shall appear.

As if that isn't ridiculously obvious enough as it is, the words "Shoot the five bells" flashes on screen before my partner can even finish saying "How are we going to solve this one!?" There's five bells in front of me, I shoot them, problem solved. Why bother?

"And goeth the circle block into the circle hole. Noteth the triangle one, nor the square or pentagon" What the hell does that mean!?
As much as I may sound like I'm nitpicking, I did sort of enjoy this campaign. Even a watered down Resident Evil 4 tastes pretty good. It's the best in the game for sure.

Chris Me Baby One More Time

Chris' campaign in Resident Evil 6 is big and loud and dumb. It's a Michael Bay movie in video game form. And there's no problem with that, if it does what it does well. The problem is it doesn't, not really.

The enemies in this campaign are the J'avo, which are essentially just normal dudes with guns who will occasionally morph into shit. As the commander of a group of BAMF soldiers, it is Chris' job to eliminate the B.B.Ws.

To be honest, I wasn't really paying attention. Have you ever been reading, and after a paragraph you realize you didn't really read anything even if your eyes scanned all the words? That's Chris' campaign. I pressed all the buttons and pulled the triggers, but I wasn't really engaged. It's a pretty bland shooter peppered with action set pieces that fail to create any sort of excitement or tension.

This game features Chris in his Resident Evil 5 Boulder Punching Steroid form.

Every Breath You Jake

Jake's campaign will definitely bring back memories of Resident Evil 3. Just as Nemesis in that game chased your ass all over Raccoon City, Jake and Sherry just can't shake this bastard Ustanak. Every once in awhile this jerk will pop out and give you hell before you take it down and it runs away. Everything in between these moments is less exciting, but I was the most interested in Jake's story than any of the other characters. I'm sure you know why, but if you don't I won't spoil it.

"STAAAARRRRSS. I mean.....ummm....JAAAAAKE"

There is an unlockable fourth campaign, and again, I'm sure you know what it is, but I won't spoil that either.

Now about the game as a whole. 

As far as the controls are concerned, I found the aiming and camera to be too sensitive. Even changing the options, I never found a setting that felt right to me. And when the characters walk, the camera jerks forward a step at a time. Couple those things with an always pretty iffy framerate and the game never feels as smooth as it should.

The graphics are a mixed bag. The character models range from good to stunning, and the lighting is a highlight, but the environments themselves can look pretty ugly. Most of the time they look great, but once in awhile you'll find a texture that wouldn't impress on the PS2.

Like this shitty ground texture here.

Not that you'll get to see much of the environment anyway, your character takes up almost half of the screen at any time.

The voice acting is pretty top notch even if I I did think the three male leads sounded too similar. The lip synching is pretty all over however. Sometimes the characters' mouths match up exactly to what they're saying, sometimes their lips flap open and close at random, and sometimes they don't move at all, even if the character is speaking.

Another thing that bothered me is how in love this game is with the QTE. This thing is stuffed with them. I'm pretty sure the gaming world had decided those things were old years ago, but Resident Evil 6 delights in creating situations that have you pressing buttons in rhythm, mashing said buttons, and twirling your sticks as fast as you can.

If you do like this game, there's plenty of it. Multiple campaigns you can play with multiple characters, lots of collectibles to find, and alternative modes. This is a good value. Or it would be, if the whole game were worth playing.

Multiple campaigns was a mistake. Resident Evil 6 comes off even more unsure of itself than Resident Evil 5 (though it thankfully is more fun to play). If Capcom had focused on delivering one solid experience, I think it would have benefited greatly. The campaigns do all come together to create a bigger whole, but it's like putting together a jigsaw puzzle to discover it's a picture of a cat's asshole. This game is begging someone to love it. But because no campaign really has enough time to breath on its own, I don't know if many will.

Leon's campaign is kind of good though.

P.S: It must be said. Ada Wong fucking sucks. She shows up in every campaign over and over again and she does the same goddamn thing every time.

  • Show up at the most inoppertune time.
  • Smirk and say something cryptic.
  • Ninja away with a smoke bomb or hook shot or some shit.

I hate her.

P.P.S: Here's a drinking game for Resident Evil 6! Every time your character slowly gets up after an explosion knocked them down, take a shot! Every time your character loses their footing and wobbles around, take two shots!

On second thought, don't do this. You'll be fucking dead before the title screen.


  1. Gorilla With Human Halloween CostumeOctober 4, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    First review I've read on this title. It's all I need to know. Well done. Chris me baby one more time being the highlight for me.

  2. Having only played the demo I know what you mean by slowly getting back up. I got knocked around so much I barely finished Jake and Chris' campaigns. That on top of the camera being so close to the character you can barely look around made it very hard to finish some sections. Then there's the ever-so-wobbly camera and crosshair....