Resident Evil 6 is the latest installation in Capcom’s Zombie survival horror series. It’s no secret that the series has been taking a more action orientated approach for some time now and many gamers have already written the game off, just from looking at the trailers and playing the demo. The game does have four campaigns and some extras; each with a different flavour of gameplay.
Resident Evil 6 does not start off well; you’re thrown into the prelude when you first begin singleplayer. The prelude takes place more than half way through Leon’s story and gives you a load of action with almost no context given to it. The prelude markets itself as a tutorial but it’s so basic that it leaves the majority of the controls out. You can then take most of the game trying to figure out unexplained moves.
Diehard Resi fans will probably be put off by the action packed entrance to the game and honestly it’ll be a struggle for some to overcome how the new game starts. It isn’t all high octane set pieces though and if you manage to get past the prelude then the start of Leon’s campaign is a real treat; despite any problems with the story.
To break it down, there are three main Campaigns: Leon; who has to find the source of the T-Virus and take down the people that started this mess, Chris; who as a BSAA agent, is fighting off Neo-Umbrella and finally Jake; a mercenary and son of Wesker, has to escape with his life from Eastern Europe as his blood contains the C-Virus antibodies.
Leon’s Campaign is filled with Zombies; you start the game after just having shot the Zombie President. Leon after just having saved Helena’s life, follows her as they attempt to escape a Zombie filled College campus and find out who is behind the attack. Everything starts out more horror orientated and it breaks out into the action quite soon after. The biggest problem for it is its pacing; there are many, many cutscenes and full video sections that break up a fair few of the action sequences.
You go through a fair few horror sections during their exploits and it has the most puzzles of the starter campaigns. It is the campaign with the most in common with the original games but it does falter towards the end and become very blockbuster like. There are a few cheap deaths that you’ll come across but usually they are circumstantial and can be avoided the second time around.
Although it begins well; it starts to struggle with pacing and ends up fluctuating throughout the chapters. It is by far the best of the three stories and it’s a shame that the pacing affects it so much. It also has the worst action sequences in terms of how they are shoehorned in. Some rely too much on quick time events and others are paced badly or are just unnecessary.
Chris’s campaign starts in a fictional Eastern European country, where soldiers formally under his command have found him as a washed up drunk. Upon talking up command again he delves into China and Eastern Europe where the BSAA have arrived in to act as peacekeepers. China takes place at around the same time as Leon’s story and Europe takes place six months prior to the current events.
It is very much a run and gun sort of campaign, though it is third person and does have plenty of cover; it plays much more like a modern military FPS. The main enemies are J’avo; who are the next step up from Las Plagas. When limbs are sufficiently damaged they can mutate in ways that benefit that particular limb. Most evolutions are seen throughout the game but some will be very specific and tie directly to particular sequences or areas.
It’s very much fight in one room and move onto the next. As Chris has an assault rifle as his standard weapon; it’s hard to find much to be very challenging. Ammo isn’t particularly hard to come by and run and gun is probably the best way of describing the gameplay. The other major issue is that the J’avo tend to have guns and the health loss from being shot at isn’t very tangible. You don’t get much feedback so you won’t notice the damage you’re taking unlike with being mauled by zombie or other creatures.
Finally, there is Jake; a mercenary fighting on the side that has just become the J’avo. Now he must escape both the J’avo and BSAA with his newly found guardian Sherry (from Resident Evil 2). Their goal is to secure Jake in a safe place; in order to use his blood to create a cure for the C-Virus.
This is the campaign I had the most difficult gauging; it plays more like Chris’ campaign due to the excessive amounts of J’avo but it has a lot of other elements implemented too. It has more puzzles and stealthy sections than the other two and gunplay takes a less important role. You will run out of ammo quite quickly though due to the weapon set he has and you will probably end up relying on melee combat more so than any other character.
After completing all three campaigns you are given Ada Wong’s campaign to play through. It differs greatly from the others by being much less focused on fighting and more on stealth and puzzles. It is also only singleplayer which gives the player a little more breathing room and lets you tackle enemies in a more stealthy approach. Ada’s crossbow is also quite fun to play with as it can pin enemies to walls and floors and the secondary ammo is fun little pipe bomb.
Ada gets to go to the most varied locations as she is more or less the string that ties up all the other stories. It’s nice to see things from her angle as it fills in most of the blanks in the story, though it doesn’t explain some of the ridiculous decisions that the characters make.
The gunplay from Resi 4 and 5 returns and for the most part is really good, some of the more standard and important features are hidden away in some awful menus though. Laser sights are by default, inactive; leaving you a singular dot for aiming instead. Switching from left handed to right handed (and vice versa) feels a little clumsy, as your character breaks stride to switch sides.
Dodging is an unexplained but essential mechanic, you can dodge only while aiming and it can occasionally mistake a sideways dodge for a ducking dodge. It is pretty much the most important thing to learn for the higher difficulties and is essential for some boss battles. On the other side of the coin you have counters as well. Timing a melee attack just prior to an enemy hitting you in melee or in certain ranged instances; will let you deal either a hefty blow or a quick kill to the enemy.
Melee is a more viable option than previous games and is almost required to stop you from getting swamped, during times of ammo famine. Normally it takes two melee attacks to open an enemy up to a heavier attack; that will either knockdown or kill the enemy. Knocked down enemies can then be executed, with either a stomp or a more interesting attack; depending on positioning and enemy type.
Melee attacks do drain part of your combat gauge after the heavier attacks and once your gauge is empty you can’t run or use melee offensively. It also takes quite a while for the gauge to refill but you can pop a health pill instantly refill it. Health isn’t tackled particularly well and results in you popping pills to regain health rather than a single herb to heal a specific amount.
Once your health bar depletes, you will drop to the floor; you can then either be revived by your partner or you can last until your recovery bar fills and you’ll get yourself up. You then are left with one health pip. If you take enough damage here you die but if you take a health pill; then you can repeat the recovery process.
Dodging can include sliding; which is essential in a few chase sequences and it can also be used to stay low on the floor. Whilst on the floor you can move around while aiming. It offers some advantages and some disadvantages depending on the situation but it’s also one of the most bizarre things in the game. You can move around using only your feet to propel you. Rolling sideways or moving backwards is normal but shuffling forwards or going up stairs is strange to watch.
Co-op is the big feature introduced in Resi 5 and it is also the basis of all but Ada’s campaigns. It is one of the bigger features and it is part of why pacing is so poor in some sections. Many of the co-op events push you into a new area or room and in a few cases means that you can rush through rooms without much thought or be held up, waiting for your partner to arrive.
On the whole it doesn’t affect much else, your Ai partner seems nigh on invulnerable and is a decent shot most of the time. Even in co-op heavy areas they rush straight through areas, meaning you don’t suffer for lack of a human partner. Human partners are generally better, but you can play through perfectly well without one.
The worst new feature is maybe the change from upgrading individual weapons in 4 and 5 to a skill point system that limits your powers much more severely. Points are earned via item drops from enemies, with the occasional drop in a crate or in a box/tomb/briefcase etc. It takes a long while to get anything in particular and you’re really putting all of your eggs in one basket with many of the skills. As you can only use three at a time, you can swap out between using eight different sets; all of which are custom built by you. It unfortunately is hidden in the clunky UI.
Mercenaries mode returns; the Horde mode/ score attack gameplay is something that fans will most likely enjoy. It’s difficult but enjoyable to a degree and it is more so in co-op. It takes a while to actually unlock the different maps, as they are unlocked by completing campaigns. They are each themed with different enemies and areas but it’s a shame that there is so few to choose from.
Agent Hunt is the invasion of another player’s game. You join an online session and take control of an enemy and go out of your way to grief the player in any way you can. While it’s fun to do so I can’t imagine many people knowingly letting people do this, so expect few people to leave this on when it becomes common knowledge.
Due to the pacing of the game, there are plenty of times where you begin your assault, only to have to respawn because either; the player moved to a new area or a cutscene occurred. It makes playing as the bad guys less fun than it should be as you can never tell when you’ll have to start your attack anew.
The story does get a little silly and loose ends only really get tied up in Ada’s campaign but it is still an enjoyable experience. Leon has the strongest story and depending on how you view the other two main campaigns Jake and Chris will rank differently. The endings aren’t all that pleasing but the resolutions are all there leaving any unanswered questions as part of the unlockable info.
The all style approach leaves the game with less substance than it should have and as such the constant set pieces don’t have as much impact as they should (with the exception of a few really good sequences). Voice acting is pretty good, despite some occasionally cheesy dialogue (Chris’ campaign) and Resi has always had excellent sound and creature design and continues to do so.
The core gameplay is enjoyable and some of the action sequences are very well done. There are numerous sections which feel shoehorned in and there is a little too much reliance on QTE’s. Fighting zombies is still as cathartic as ever but the J’avo are less entertaining; even though Las Plagas were so fun to fight against. The linearity may put off some people, as it is very much open a door with your partner to proceed.
The game has its issues; it’s poorly paced in many moments, it has some silly points in the story, an incredibly poor tutorial and Chris and Jake’s campaigns not up to the same standard as Leon’s. Even with that, it still provides an engaging game that has some fun moments. Mercenaries mode is pretty much the same as previous iterations and Agent Hunt is a good idea but due to the pacing only really works in very specific environments/sections of the game. Many people are going to be disappointed by the game but just as many will find enjoyment in at least half of the main co-op/singleplayer campaigns.
If you’re interested Leon’s campaign is the longest, lasting about 7-8 hours on a normal playthrough. Chris’ weighs in at about 5-6, Jake’s at 4-5 and Ada’s is about 4. If you’ve played the demo and enjoyed it then just buy the game; it’ll last you a good amount of time, there are collectibles to find and Mercenaries mode will probably take a few hours out of your life. The game is full of content and should last at least 20 hours but it won’t please everyone.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.
Resident Evil 6 Review,