I have been holding off reviewing Resident Evil 6. The main reason behind this was that there were a lot of expectations after Resident Evil 4 and 5, and the game did look promising from all the promos and demos. Yes I did use the word “did” because all in all Resident Evil 6 did not live up to the expectations.
What went wrong then? To be fair, if the game does not carry a Resident Evil name tag, it is an average game, but when it comes to Resident Evil, people would expect certain things. Resident Evil 6 has all but abandoned the whole survival horror genre. It is basically an action game, and to be honest I don’t know how different it is from Operation Raccoon City apart from it being set in the events long after Resident Evil 2.
Resident Evil 6 played out in several campaigns and to understand the story completely you will need to play through all of them. If the gameplay was good, it would be a pleasure to play but in Resident Evil 6’s case, it was a pain. Leon S Kennedy’s campaign was by far the most playable campaign although there were bits and pieces that really annoyed me. For example, there was a part that your partner cannot do anything but lose health when being attacked. Chris Redfield’s campaign was like Army of Two with Resident Evil as the overhead. You are with a squad of troops most of the time, but what the purpose is for, I think only the developer knows. If a different play style was intended, I could not see any difference from Leon’s campaign except for the fact there were far too many “run-like-hell with a bad camera angle” scenarios that were designed to inspire some controller-tossing. Jake Muller as the newcomer to the Resident Evil franchise did not deliver as cool a campaign as he pitched in his demo. Jake’s campaign was full of surprises, in a way that reaction to quick time event buttons always show up at the most least expected time to ensure you have to restart from the check point. To make it worse, these ‘design choices’ come up every 2 seconds in his campaign. Also the wriggling of the left analogue stick was so excessive that one of my controllers had to go into retirement after finishing Jake’s campaign. So if you want to play this game but are short for cash for a new controller, do this campaign last. Ada Wong’s campaign is unlocked after you finish the first three campaigns. It was a decent Resident Evil look-alike as it involved more puzzle solving. But it was not spared from the evils of the other campaigns with the running and the bad camera angles, wriggling of analogue stick and unnecessarily abusive quick time event reaction buttons. Honestly, I don’t know whether a lot of people would bother finishing the other three campaigns to unlock Ada’s campaign. Capcom probably noticed that too and decided to release a patch so Ada’s campaign is unlocked right from the start and can now be played in co-op. However this so-called coop was an agent tagging along but cannot interact with the environment even if you know what to do. So if you were playing as the agent, you would be doing a lot of waiting around as Ada solves the puzzles.
Apart from bad fixed camera angles in certain scenarios to ensure your demise, another cheap tactic that Resident Evil 6 employed to extend gameplay was bad lighting and a ridiculously dark environment. In one of Jake’s chapter, the use of white out was so excessive that you just get frustrated because you could see the way on the map but not on the screen. The game itself even tricked you to think that by setting to the brightness to the recommended level, it would enhance your experience – please don’t do that as all you would see on the screen is a patch of darkness until you are attacked and need to wriggle your left analogue stick yet again.
Similar to Resident Evil 5, you can use points that are acquired to upgrade your characters and unlock goodies for your weapons. However, unlike Resident Evil 5, your excess stock of inventory are not worth a penny, so you would later in the game find that you have all these things taking up your inventory space for no purpose. Another thing I do not understand is that while all other non-ammo items can have 5 items in one inventory slot, Capcom only allowed 3 items per slot for the first aid spray, it does not make sense. But then there are quite a few concepts that do not make sense.
Resident Evil 6 has a lot to offer from the online perspective. You can play the campaigns co-op with anyone online or your friends. You can also play the mercenary mode online too. The latest addition is that you can play as the enemy and participate in agent hunts in the form of zombies, j’avo and other B.O.Ws. If you are registered on the Resident Evil network you can also participate in special events to unlock special items. The game will sync you with the network automatically if you turn this on. At the time of writing, the event is to kill 50 million zombies in 9 days. If you fulfill the requirements and participate in the events, you would receive special unlockable items for your network profile or your game.
Resident Evil 6 was a disappointment in my opinion in that Capcom abandoned what made 4 and 5 great games. Certainly the AIs improved but then, apart from greatly rendered cut-scenes, it is still a game and a game requires solid gameplay to encourage players to hold on to their controllers and not throw them. It is fine to experiment and move the franchise forward, but this has to be done in a way that new doors are opened without slamming the old ones closed. As for me, I would not be pre-ordering Resident Evil 7 until I have tried it in some form first prior.