Tech News on G4
No hope for Resident Evil 6
Oct 22, 2012
By Daniel Barron - G4 Canada
One of the great things about the Resident Evil series is the way it innovates and isn't afraid to try new things. With Resident Evil 6, things are at a standstill, copying not just other games, but numerous past titles in the series as well.
The result is a mess of a game, one that's frustrating, predictable, and just plain unpleasant to play through most of the time.
Like most Resident Evil titles, this latest iteration has an overarching plot that's generally easy enough to follow, but when looked at more carefully, becomes far too confusing for its own good.
The gist of the plot is: a new bioterrorist weapon known as the C-Virus is being unleashed on humans around the world and turning them into all sorts of nasties. A mysterious group known as Neo-Umbrella is behind attacks that are occurring around the world.
Players take on the role of several characters that are out to stop Neo-Umbrella and save the world, and so on and so forth. There are plenty of subplots, but to go through them all would make the game's cut scenes - if you ever have to sit through them - even more yawn-inducing.
Like its predecessor, Resident Evil 6 is played co-operatively, either with a human- or computer-controlled partner. Although there are three different co-op campaigns with two different main characters in each, the gameplay in this third-person shooter is essentially the same throughout.
The problem with having so many campaigns - there's also a fourth with mysterious agent Ada Wong, though it's a single player setup - is that the game never gets into a rhythm. There are good ideas strewn throughout, but for every good idea, there's a bad one to take its place.
You can play the three co-op campaigns in any order you'd like. One features series fan favourite Leon Kennedy and a mysterious female known as Helena Harper - one of the most forgettable characters in Resident Evil's history. Another has government agent Sherry Birkin teaming up with newcomer Jake Muller, the latter of which is a particularly cool addition to the Resident Evil cast. The third features Chris Redfield returning as a BSAA agent, teaming up with another new addition, Piers Nivans, who's barely more memorable than Helena.
Although the Leon/Helena, Sherry/Jake, and Ada campaigns feature a few sections highlighting old school Resident Evil gameplay, the focus here is clearly on action. For instance, both pairs find themselves holed up in enclosed areas, taking on swarms of oncoming enemies (like Resident Evil 4's awesome cabin sequence). The one during Leon's campaign in particular feels more like something out of Left 4 Dead than anything else.
In yet another example of the game borrowing from past series titles, Sherry and Jake are constantly being hunted by a behemoth known as an Ustanak; memories of Resident Evil 3 come running back.
Chris and Piers, meanwhile, have decided to answer the ... er ... call of duty as BSAA agents in Europe, as they take on swarms of beasts, a few of mammoth proportions. Most of this campaign focuses on all-out warfare, and most of the action is as mindless as the latest war shooter, though Resident Evil 6 makes sure to add in a terrible cover system for no extra charge.
And that's far from the only issue with the controls and camera. Although some controls have thankfully been tightened up - it no longer takes two button presses to reload, for instance - there are so many other issues with Capcom's attempt to make this game more action-oriented.
For instance, you can now dive in any direction, but instead of getting right back up, by default you lie on the ground like a sack of potatoes. Why choose this option, when the enemies in Resident Evil 6 are so darn quick? Most of the time, you'll want to be on your feet in order to get out of harm's way as quick as possible.
The 180-degree turn - a subtle but superb addition to the series in Resident Evil 4 - is back, but it simply doesn't seem to work half the time. The camera, meanwhile, tends to swing wildly when the game wants you to focus on something happening nearby. The problem is that you'll still be controlling your character when this happens, and the camera moving can result in damage being taken by nearby enemies you can't see. It would have made a lot of sense to copy what the Gears of War series does, which is allow the player to hold down a button if they'd like to watch a certain sequence off-camera.
The quick-time events that were yet another neat addition to the series in Resident Evil 4, are back in 6, but are done to death. Certain boss fights rely almost solely on these QTEs, and unless both you and your partner have memorized certain sequences and are completely spot-on, you can expect to redo sections far too many times.
The designers did throw in some sequences that do add to the quality of the co-operative experience, though it's nothing we haven't seen before. Players will get separated by falling debris, they'll have to cover each other from afar using long range weapons, and they'll have to combine firepower to take down enemies.
The boss battles have always been a big part of the Resident Evil series, and this iteration has some of the most forgettable bosses to date. The few that are decent are either over too soon, or eventually become too annoying to enjoy.
Yet again, others are ripped off from past Resident Evil titles - anyone who has jumped on the back of an El Gigante will feel right at home in one particular battle. A creepy enemy in Ada's level, meanwhile, finally manages to get the pulse racing, but the fight eventually devolves into a repetitive race to acquire enough ammo to take down the baddie.
Although the item management system has been dumbed down for this game, it's still not user friendly. Like in Resident Evil 5, the action doesn't stop when you need to equip a grenade or mix herbs. Although this is clearly meant to add to the thrill factor of the game, it becomes just plain annoying trying to cycle through everything at your disposal. Why not use the D-pad for quick slots?
And for some strange reason, the ability to share items with your character, like you could do in Resident Evil 5, has been taken away. This becomes particularly irksome when you have a room full of items, but you have no space in your inventory to place any of them. You'll be forced to discard items, which are never to be seen again.
The game looks good, but not great. In fact, it seems like a step backward from its predecessor, which made its fictional, sun-drenched African setting look so awesome. This is the fastest turnaround for a new Resident Evil game, and it feels like the title could have used an extra coat of paint.
The voice acting gets the job done for the most part, but the over-the-top script is so bad, it's cringe-worthy. There are more cheesy and cliché one-liners, it seems, then there are bullets and mutated enemies combined. These are practically to be expected in a Resident Evil game, but it's way beyond overkill in this title.
There are some extra modes to keep gamers playing after they've completed the campaign. The always enjoyable Mercenaries mode is back, which pits one or two players against waves of enemies. The challenge isn't just to survive, but to get the highest score possible by stringing together combos.
It's a dead simple mode to understand, but it'll take a lot of practice to really get your score up. Of course, online leaderboards add to the competitive aspect of Mercenaries.
Agent Hunt is brand new to the series, and has players taking on the role of different enemies as they invade other gamers' campaigns. It's a neat idea, but it's just not very fun stepping inside a shambling, difficult-to-control enemy. It takes way too long just to get to the player you're attacking, and often you're quickly killed by a well-placed shotgun blast.
Unfortunately, there are plenty more problems plaguing Resident Evil 6, from the powering-up system, to the way players can't even pause their game unless their settings are changed to offline-only.
Capcom is clearly going the action route with its well-known series, and there's nothing wrong with that - the superb Resident Evil 4 proved this beyond a shadow of a doubt.
The problem is the way the game is put together. There are issues with nearly every facet of its design, and no amount of cool weapons and massive bosses can hide that fact.
The Resident Evil series was long one of the most reliable in the gaming industry, but it has fallen far with the sixth entry. There is still life in the series - Revelations proved that - but the next home console iteration that's surely on its way at some point needs a huge overhaul.
Resident Evil 6
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