Resident Evil 6- Second Opinion
Capcom has lost something over the years since their first Resident Evil debut in 1996. The series revolved around survival horror, solving puzzles with ridiculous absurdity and managing your limited inventory while fighting to stay alive. Resident Evil is also about how the Umbrella Corporation loves tunneling under your local city just to expand their secret biohazard laboratories. Resident Evil 6 tries to incorporate these same elements into their newest installment but falls short in a several areas.
Before we dig into the nitty-gritty, let’s take a look at the story. Resident Evil 6 takes place between December 24, 2012 and June 29, 2013. The newly formed Umbrella Corporation, now called Neo-Umbrella is experimenting with a new C-Virus that mutates people into Bio-Organic Weapons (B.O.Ws). Jake Muller, the son of Albert Wesker, unknowingly injects himself along with his team with the C-Virus. While his teammates transformed into monsters, he had a resistance to it. Raccoon city survivor Sherry Berkin is tasked to keep Jake safe as his blood is the key to creating a vaccine for the C-Virus.
Meanwhile Chris Redfield is working for the Bio-terrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA) and is tasked with fighting the B.O.Ws that cropped up during a recent bio terrorist attack. After losing his team, he goes on a vendetta against Ada Wong.
Later, Leon S. Kennedy meets up with the President of the United States when the president decides to finally reveal the events that happened in Raccoon City. Before the president gives his speech, the campus they’re at is hit with a bio-terrorist attack resulting in the president becoming infected. Leon is forced to kill the president and due to the circumstances Leon and U.S. Secret Service agent Helena Harper are the prime suspects. It’s now up to them to uncover who is behind the attack and to clear their names.
Resident Evil 6 has three different campaigns that are all intertwined with each other. Each campaign is broken into 5 chapters that are about an hour apiece. The game is artificially lengthened by tracking your progress for each character AND each difficulty. That’s seven characters (including the un-lockable Ada campaign) with four difficulties; that means if you want to get 100% (tracked) you have to play though the game 28 times! This doesn’t necessarily reflect the achievements for beating the entire game though. So beating the game on Professional will give you the achievements for the easier difficulties. However the Professional difficulty doesn’t unlock until you beat the whole game. Your skills and abilities will transfer over to your new game+ so it shouldn’t be that hard. On that note, let’s look at what they did for upgrades.
Ever since Resident Evil 4, CAPCOM has introduced a weapon upgrading station of some kind. In RE4 it was a mysterious stranger that liked buying strange artifacts that you’ve come across in exchange to new weapons, health, increased carrying case, and most importantly upgrades to your weapons. The same concept is here in RE6 but alas, no mysterious stranger. At the end of each chapter you are sent to a score screen and then an skills/upgrade screen. You can spend the points that you earned for upgrades such as increased firepower, enemies and boxes drop more ammo, steady aim, etc. I loved this concept in RE4 but the designers did something they shouldn’t, they hid the mechanics. In RE4 each weapon has a value such as firepower (1.0), reload speed (0.85sec), ammo capacity (12) and you could modify each element individually on each weapon. It’s a great tool that allowed you customize your arsenal the way you liked to play. RE6 allows you to link up 3 abilities like the ones listed above, but they only give the description: “slightly increases attack power with weapons” or “slightly increases reloading speed.” They don’t tell me the values of what the upgrades are, so when I spent my points on increasing firing power, I really did not see a change in how many shots it took to kill an enemy. To be fair the game does slightly adjust your aiming reticule after you fire your gun, so when you choose the perk to steady your aim, it really does work. It’s also where you can buy the perks for unlimited ammo, but you must buy it for each weapon individually. Seems pointless when you can just turn on the unlimited ammo from the options menu when you start the game on any difficulty (I’ll talk about lack of survival horror later).
RE6 is most fun when playing with other people online. As the storyline of each character’s campaign intertwines with others, RE6 will sync your game with other people playing that chapter. So when you’re tasked to protect your teammates, they’re not some dumb AI but other players. It was more gratifying protecting other players than it’s ever been protecting an AI. They act more human and are prone to more mistakes, requiring you watch over them more.
RE6 also introduces something new called Agent Hunt mode which allows players to play as the zombies in other people’s games! It’s an option that you can choose when you start your game and the game won’t show which zombies are being played by human players. It’s not nearly as refined as Valve’s Left 4 Dead, but you are playing more of the weak zombies and a few of the more powerful ones later. The downside is that most of the time you are joining the game in mid-progress and you don’t stay with those players upon their death. So you’re playing a lot of 5 minute sessions where most of the time you are trying to move your shambling corpse towards the players’ position only for them to advance to the next part of the game and force you to choose a new respawn point. There are also a lot of short videos that interrupt the action, which are fine for a single player experience but not good for a versus mode. Actually, it’s not good for the single player experience either as the action sequences are always interrupted by a short cut scene to show you something and then throws you back into the fray of zombies.
Earlier I mentioned a lack of survival horror. There has been a general trend in the RE games moving from survival horror to action-shooter. The first game to really show off this concept was RE4 by introducing an over-the-shoulder viewpoint. RE4 lost that sense of survival horror and the only time I felt a sense of fear was when an enemy wearing armor charged at me with a chainsaw that would take my head off in one quick swipe. In Resident Evil 6, the Leon campaign was the closest in bringing out this survival horror, but only for the first chapter: Walking through the college campus with only a weak headlamp to light your way; Dead residents littering the campus that could wake up at any moment to gnaw at your flesh. That’s the essence of Resident Evil that I remember! The remaining sequences were action filled and didn’t have that sense of fear (unless you counted fighting a boss that does not want to die with little to no ammo left).
The game’s graphics are decent. The characters are rendered in high quality but the textures could use some improvement. I know that the game intended to make the texture of the trees look wet at night, but it shouldn’t look like black glass. Most of the time the tree’s foliage prevents the trunk from ever getting wet. I’ve also noticed that the ‘wet blood’ during these dark scenes appeared to look more like shimmering black water than blood. However the graphics really shine during the game’s cut scenes. The environments are highly detailed and the voice acting is spot on. The camera is a little shaky, so following the action sequences can be hard to follow at times.
It appears that the designers were a little lazy in their death animations. Running into a pair of swinging saw blades didn’t even cut my character in half. Oh and don’t worry about getting eaten by zombies. They’ll pull your intestines through your shirt without even ripping it. In fact the only change that ever happened to the main character was having their skin texture change when a zombie vomited on them or they were lit on fire. RE6 hides these faults with cleaver camera angles leaving it up to the player to assume the worst has happened to their main character. I’ve even seen the exact same animation of someone wielding a chainsaw cutting off your head, with the exception of your head actually falling off! It’s certainly possible that RE6 didn’t have the budget to create more gruesome death scenes like the previous games but for an “M” rated game it felt more like it was designed for a “T” rating. I certainly didn’t see the famous disclaimer “This game contains scenes of explicit violence and gore” at the beginning.
Overall Resident Evil 6 has you playing some of the most iconic characters from the series. Each character has a considerably different environment and gameplay style that keeps things fresh. It also takes leaps and bounds away from the survival horror and puts you in the shoes of a third-person, over-the-shoulder action oriented agent of death. It contains all the elements from the previous games (minus reading random files, thankfully), but it doesn’t necessarily feel like a Resident Evil game. It’s generally running around fighting Bio-Organic Weapons that don’t ever want to die, breaking boxes for ammo and skill points so you can upgrade your arsenal; rinse, repeat and only moderately enjoyable. The most innovative improvement upon the series was syncing the game with other players and having people from different campaigns cross over to play each other.