Not looking good people…
Demoed on the Xbox 360 by Henry Kelly
- Three short sections to play through (Leon, Chris, Jake)
- Solo or online coop
My virtual knives are by my side, cleaned, sharpened and lying comfortably on a velvet cloth. They are laced with an extra potent cynicism; I’m ready to play this so-called “Resident Evil”.
To provide some mercy for you that I couldn’t afford the game, I’ll cut to the chase – this game isn’t looking like a return to form for the horror franchise.
The demo gives you three sections to play that are taken directly from the three campaigns the final product will offer. You know that phrase “quality over quantity”? Keep it in mind while I continue.
By splitting the game into three campaigns, Capcom’s hope is that they can appease the ‘shooter crowd’, the ‘survival horror fans’ and people who are ‘somewhat in the middle’.
The problem with this method is it means the game doesn’t have a true identity. Genres exist because they attract a certain consumer base. Trying to get two in one go is a bit greedy and insensitive to the player. I like pizza and I like vegetable soup but I don’t tend to eat pizza with a side of soup, I have one or the other.
As a fan of the original series, I would put myself in the ‘survival horror fan’ group. The campaign designed (to appease) me is the Leon mission. After starting the campaign, you are treated to a cinematic of Leon hesitantly gunning down a freshly zombified U.S President. So the story is still classic Resi silliness; a good start.
Once I am put in control of Leon I can walk freely through the impressively spooky college campus setting. The camera is a bit tight, almost as if you are positioned to cower behind Leon and nervously look over his shoulder. The movement is extremely loose enabling some John Travolta spin moves without the man-fondling.
This does feel like the old Resident Evil in atmosphere. There are even a few scripted scares to get you in the mood and a lack of zombies makes every new room a tense proposition. The controls have some odd quirks. I couldn’t seem to make Leon run until the game deemed it necessary for him to run. This could have been to hide the run animations, which are really awful. It looks like Pinocchio running to the toilet.
There was also the always present way-point showing me where to go, which is so unnecessary for a game that is so linear. I hardly noticed my AI partner till I had to wait for her to come and help me open a door (for some reason?).
The mission involves looking for a lost girl and once you find her there is an elevator sequence that was quite impactful. If there hadn’t been a quick-time event icon, showing a waggling stick at me, I might have been quite gripped.
After this, the game allows you to fire your gun for the first time. The physics are extremely underwhelming. Resident Evil 5 had Zombies who would take bullets slowly and grudgingly like an ATM taking your debit card but these zombies fall like leaves off a tree. There is no feeling of power or weight, it’s almost like you are shooting ghosts. I hope this is addressed in the few months before release.
My impressions are moderately positive after the Leon campaign but then came the Chris Redfield mission.
This is the campaign for the ‘shooter crowd’ and shows Capcom at their weakest. The opening cinematic portrays Chris Redfield as ‘Max Payne style’ drunk slumming it in bars in China until someone comes along and says ‘hey stop being such a miserable bastard’. I’m paraphrasing but you get the idea. In fact the dialogue is actually pretty good considering the subject matter.
After the cinematic you have to get to an extraction point (shooter crowd) and shoot lots of zombies that carry guns for some reason. The looseness of the controls and tight camera prove really troublesome. If the enemy AI wasn’t so mind numbingly stupid I would have probably died numerous times. There are glowing ammo and health pick-ups all around you breaking any chance of immersion. Again your AI partner seems to drag behind you like a dog following you into the Vets. At one point you have to shimmy Lara Croft style along a metal beam, while zombies literally pepper you with machine gun ammo, the section was so head scratchingly awful I couldn’t help but laugh.
After the absolute bitterness of the Chris campaign I tried the last option. This campaign follows Jake and Resident Evil 2 character, Sherry. The mission begins with the two of your being chased by some behemoth intend on crushing you skull. Like many scripted events in games, I completely ballsed it up the first time, shooting when I should have been running for dear life. The second time, I got it and made it to an abandoned warehouse for a brief respite.
Soon the behemoth was back and I was tasked with bringing him down. A red flashing icon on his head tells you in no-uncertain terms about where his weak-point might be. This campaign is for the ‘somewhat in the middle’ people, there is action but a few tense moments to balance.
Overall Resident Evil 6 looks like it will leave you wanting. It currently doesn’t have the tightness of control to be an effective shooter and the linear hand holding combined with AI partner makes it limited as a survival horror. Unless many things change in the next few months this game looks like another failure for a Japanese game trying to siphon western wallets for cash. The Resident Evil franchise deserves better.