Resident Evil 6
Platform: PS3, Xbox
Reviewed On: PS3
Okay, let's get some things out of the way then:
Is it like Resident Evil 0 -4? – Nope!
Is it like Resident Evil 5? – Similar-ish!
If you are reading this review then I am going to assume you are familiar with the Resident Evil games already, and have been following our weekly series of retrospective articles about the series. So without further ado, let’s get the new game mechanics out of the way.
Resident Evil 6 takes place after the events of Resident Evil 5 and stars almost every character from the past few games (except Jill Valentine, Claire Redfield and the canonically deceased, of course!). The main campaign is split into 3 parts that tell the same story from different characters' perspectives; Leon Kennedy’s Campaign, Chris Redfield’s Campaign and finally new protagonist Jake Muller’s Campaign. In each campaign you are aided by an A.I. partner that can also be manipulated by a second player either locally or via drop-in drop-out co-op play. The A.I. of your partner is still somewhat lacking, with your partner now and then deciding to just stare at you as you die or run into a wall or NPC continuously.
Talking of A.I., there are 3 major enemies you will encounter – Zombies, J’avo and B.O.W’s (Basically large mutated boss monsters). Leon’s campaign tries to hark back to the early Resident Evil days with the focus on “classic” Zombies and unique B.O.W’s that suit the campaign’s haunted gothic atmosphere.
Chris and Jake’s campaign features a heavy focus on J’avo that are “intelligent” zombies that can wield weaponry ranging from firearms to melee weapons. The enemies themselves become like mini-B.O.W’s as the campaign progresses, with each J’avo becoming heavily mutated the more times you shoot their body limbs, and randomly turning into a different variant of enemy to fight.
If you have played Resident Evil 5 then this game will be no stranger to you in terms of game mechanics. Item management has been made more simplistic which is handy, however with a bit more “style” over functionality (I incorrectly selected a First Aid spray many times because the menu selection process makes it a tad unclear).
Weaponry is still the same variation of semi-automatic rifle, shotgun, sniper rifle, pistol combo you will find in any other Resident Evil game, however Jake’s campaign can see you pulling off some crazy melee moves throughout, which can one-hit KO a lot of enemies.
Each character’s campaign lasts roughly 6 hours. Outside of the main campaign, you can entertain yourself taking part in Mercenary mode - a staple challenge mode since Resident Evil 2. The game includes an Agent Hunt mode that is slightly amusing, as you can take control of in-game zombies to fight against players trying to complete the game.
Ok, so that''s the game mechanics out of the way. But was it fun?
No. It’s not. I tried to think of the best way to describe how I felt about the overall campaign, however the following analogy was the best one I could think of.
As crude as it sounds, Resident Evil 6 is a lot like porn and masturbation. It’s fun at first, but if you find yourself doing it too many times it can get boring. Not just that, it's also not very memorable or fun – It just becomes a function you have to do.
The problem with this game is it's lacking a fundamental quality shared by previous Resident Evil games – “Survival Horror”. The first thing that came to mind in the first 30 minutes of Leon’s campaign was: “Oh my god, Resident Evil has become Call of Duty (ED's NOTE: Arguably, Gears of War strikes more of a similarity, but taking into account the overall feel of the game, It's hard to disagree).
There are several key disappointing elements that cropped up during my playthrough: linear paths from point A to point B with ZERO exploration (much like Final Fantasy XIII). Quick Time Events EVERYWHERE. No puzzles (unless your idea of a puzzle is flipping a couple of levers with your partner at the same time) and far too many action movie sequence cutscenes. Ultimately, the thought that crops up a lot when I think about this game is that it's trying to be an action movie
This game really defines how much of a shadow of its former self the series has become. I felt physically exhausted at the extreme amount of explosions and bullets being thrown at me as I trudged through the low-lit darkness of the game. Level sequences are extremely predictable, to the point that it becomes such a chore that you’ll want to complete the level as fast as possible.
It's undeniable as to what the developers were aiming for here; a “new” gaming market, and my god it hits that crap factor button so hard that it becomes a bastion for everything that''s wrong with gaming (and in some cases music/art) nowadays.
Chris’s campaign is the most hilarious. It practically IS Call of Duty. It takes place anywhere from ground warfare against zombies manning tanks, to riding a jeep manning a gatling gun, to flying a fighter jet and saluting burly men with a random patriotic American anthem playing in the background.
Jack’s campaign? Please see Chris’s campaign but with more A.I. babysitting (and when I say “babysitting”, I mean the type were you have to run all the way back to kick a ladder down to help your partner up a platform).
I also found it laughable that the menu screen had an “Infinite Ammo” option already placed there for me, as there is NO need to conserve ammo. Enemies drop ammo in plentiful amounts throughout the game.
Health items are sporadically placed, however the new herb mix system guarantees you will have enough herbs to heal yourself (Mixing a Green and Red herb gives you 6 random pills you pop to refill your health gauge) – and don’t worry! If you suck at this game, Resident Evil 6 is nice enough to refill your health completely after you die.
I hated how there is now an individually mapped button for healing yourself, yet the first aid spray is bundled in with your grenades meaning you will often heal yourself with the First Aid spray accidentaly, or throw the wrong type of grenade because of this inept system.
The only redeemable aspect of this game was its co-op play. I managed to get hold of my girlfriend to play co-op throughout many of the campaigns and we both found that we were able to experience the game more fully as a lot of play is split between two characters on some maps – however, two glaring issues ruin the experience in with awkward split screens taking up only 75% of your screen causing you to squint constantly, and awkward item management as you’ll often find you won’t be able to trade once your inventory becomes full.
Ok, now for the fun bit! Let’s talk about the game's story!
Resident Evil has always had a ridiculous story line, but Resident Evil 6, without a doubt, has one of the craziest and most moronic stories I have ever witnessed. The script writing / camp factor is off the chart. I have never been so confused in my life - my brain was tired by the end of many of the levels.
Leon’s campaign goes from a city to suddenly the center of the Earth. Chris is shooting Chinese people, then he's under water in the magical city of Rapture from Bioshock. Jack is trying too hard to be Dante from Devil May Cry.
Basically, this sentence should sum up how hilarious the story is: NEO-Umbrella has come about for some reason, got the cash to make themselves some zombies and spread the viruses worldwide. It’s up to our heroes to stop them. The American president is a Zombie. Chris has a new haircut. Jack has blood to save the planet.
Yes, that's all I’m saying about the story – I don’t want to say anything mainly because I don’t want to spoil how bad it is so you yourself can be entertained by the comedy fest that is Resident Evil 6. Like I said, it’s an “all-star cast”, so almost every canonical character is in this game save for Jill Valentine and Claire Redfield, so I won’t spoil who turns up.
I will say that for the first time, this series truly has something in common with the movies that Milla Jovovich finds a way to make every 2 years. The feeling you get when you see those movies is the same feeling you will have when you play this game. Quit calling it “survival horror”, there simply isn’t any “survival” in it. It’s just gun and explosion porn now. There isn’t even a fear or atmospheric element anymore. Not once did I feel scared. If anything this game has shown us a prelude to what will be the new Dead Space 3 – a co-op focused bromance of guns, explosions and one-liners. ZOMBIES WITH GUNS!!! ZOMBIES FLYING HELICOPTES! ZOMBIES DRIVING AIRCRAFT CARRIERS!!! ZOMBIES WEARING SCUBA DIVING GEAR!!! (I'll leave it to you to find out if I'm kidding.)
I am past the point of caring about the ridiculousness of Resident Evil. I know it's a series which has always been pretty damn ridiculous, but my god it used to have some dignity within its gameplay. It used to be a ballad of ammo juggling, save rooms and maps which were maze-like in design. It had atmosphere, genuinely dangerous enemies and puzzles which, although weren’t terribly difficult, were charming in their design.
I feel a line in the sand has to be drawn when products like this are made. I feel the older games of the series weren’t just limitations of design due to graphical ineptitude, I feel the developers were actually making a product they wanted to make.
The older games taught us the true meaning of tension, survival-horror and fear interweaved with an interesting offbeat story and foreboding atmosphere. Resident Evil 6 is the Dub-step, fad-like equivalent and representation of what is sold on the common market, ticking all the boxes for new gamers and younger generations that don’t know any better – I’m surprised Skrillex didn’t have a song in the end credit sequence!
Sure, I know this game will be popular. Of course it will. Definitely certain websites will lambast this game with high scores. However, we have to remember the roots of this game’s series and consider if this is really an evolution or not. The human mind was made for individual, problem solving and intelligent thought – this game stimulates none of these aspects. It leaves the player zombie-like, catatonic, merely mashing out QTE commands as the game shouts them at you on the screen.
If anything, it's a high quality action movie. It’s style over substance. Graphics don’t mean a good game. Neither does having the loudest war game. Summed up in a few words? – Call of Duty with Zombies.
Welcome to the new generation of entertainment, people! You won’t need a strategy guide for this one!