Farewell survival horror.
After the action orientated fifth entry in the series, many fans were worried Resident Evil had lost its roots. They were right. Even though the fifth game sold through the roof, it didn’t bode well for a franchise where the main pull was its tense atmosphere and lack of relentless action. Shortly after its release, Capcom said that the sixth entry would see a complete rejuvenation and there was hope that perhaps it would return back to its survival horror roots. Pity, as they decided to go with more action than ever before. The story splits into four different sections, each one intertwining at various points giving the player another perspective on the story. Throughout each campaign you are set the task of battling to save the world from a new strain of T-virus named the C-virus, this virus is now also available in gas form and can be dispersed much easier in large environments, thus making creatures appear much quicker and in larger groups.
Resident Evil 6 isn’t necessarily a bad game, it just isn’t the game everyone thought it should be. Sure, the new control features are a welcome addition, such as being able to run and gun, but the actual mechanics of gameplay get pretty repetitive: shoot, run, find three pass keys. Rinse and repeat. I also found puzzles to be quite diminishing, with many I thought could’ve been much more elaborate, instead I just had to aim my laser sights on a reflective dish in a few rooms and that was it. They ramp up later in the game, but that’s in the fourth campaign, and I’m sorry, but I don’t want to wait until the end of the entire game just to get my puzzles on!
Probably the best way to describe its difference to other titles in the series, is that it feels as though it was directed by Michael Bay, with George Romero gently being asked to take a back seat. Too many explosions and not enough scares for a series that quite literally invented survival horror, makes me a little sad to see how far the apple has fallen from the T-virus infected tree. For the most part, though, the game looks rather good, but locations tend to lack history behind them, therefore making every walk through each environment lack atmosphere. Among the total lack of suspense, there are some slightly refreshing moments, including parts where you have minimal control over vehicles. Yes it’s minimal, but it’s something, so I won’t complain too much.
Packing four campaigns, you definitely get your money’s worth, but while playing I couldn’t help but think that maybe Capcom had spread themselves too thin. At the start of the game you have the choice of three different campaigns, including fan favourites Leon Kennedy and Chris Redfield, alongside Jake Muller, newcomer to the series and son of the anarchistic Albert Wesker. For those of you who maybe don’t know, Chris Redfield is the character who saw Wesker’s demise. Last of all there is an additional campaign with Ada Wong that also waits upon completion. Each campaign consists of five chapters, nearing around an hour in length depending on difficulty and play style. Leon’s is arguably trying to be the survival horror component with a few cheap scares, Chris’s campaign is almost akin to Gears of War style game play, with lots of shooting and large set piece bosses. Jake’s is third with a more agile approach, focusing on hand-to-hand combat and is a little faster on his feet. Leaving Ada’s more puzzle-centric approach, though this time you’re not accompanied by any second character, leaving co-op out of the question. Something which I found rather nice, but given an upcoming patch of DLC that will add the ability to have a co-op partner, my joy will be short lived.
Yes, co-op controversially makes a return, and can be played via split screen with two people, as well as online with up to four players at certain times. Also included are the regular extras with customisable Dog tags for online, Mercenaries and Agent Hunt mode, where the player is cast as a creature in the story mode, trying to stop the heroes in their tracks. I didn’t delve too deeply within the mode, but found it an interesting idea nonetheless. Regarding the games’ upgrade system, the studio decided to scrap the monetary value found in past titles, and have instead focused on skill points. To be quite frank, the new way of implementing perks and upgrades confused me so much that I didn’t even bother to upgrade past the first chapter.
- + Epic scale with a large amount of play time
- + Agent hunt mode is a nice idea
- - Hardly a horror title anymore, with too much action
- - Repetitive gameplay that feels old and re-used
- - Lack of focus on story and atmosphere