Review by D87Cook

"The Good, the Bad and the QTE"

Intense enthusiasm: a strong liking or enthusiasm for a subject or activity. This is the definition of passion. I have had a passion since 1996 for playing Resident Evil games, ranging from the survival horror scare thrills of the original titles to blowing up parts of foreign countries in the later entries. I have always found a sense of enjoyment from collecting ammo, unlocking secrets and just plain dominating the game. So you can imagine my excitement when Resident Evil 6 had a confirmed release date.

I eagerly waited in line at my local gaming store for the midnight release. Upon the stroke of midnight, with my strategy guide and game in hand, I rushed to my car and drove home with much hurry. I couldn't wait to figure out what these spider creatures were from the logo. I wanted to see exactly how Ada Wong worked in as the apparent protagonist. I finally arrived home and popped the game in.

Graphics and Sound - 5/10

One of the defining characteristics of a game in this day and age is the quality of the graphics. Resident Evil doesn't blow you away visually, but it does have some very nice touches. The enemies look rotting, the bosses slimy, the heroes realistic and the Ustanak beefy. Background animation has plenty of wow moments that draw you into the story, but the level design can approach generic and uninteresting. China can get downright boring in places.

From a visual standpoint Resident Evil 6 stands well on its legs. I enjoyed the videos and was very pleased with the different environments you're thrown into through the first half of each campaign. However, once arriving in China, the lack of imagination seemed to help create a sort of distance between you and your characters.

The sound is another story. All of the grunts, groans, screams and bullets sound mediocre at best. The musical score is next to non-existent in a game of this console generation, and the sound effects sound like they came straight out of a Romero movie. Hollywood screams litter the Chinese industrial district as the infected tear through the living, leaving you smiling at the familiarity of the sound instead of fearing for your digital life against the hordes.

Sight and sound are the two senses relied upon most of all in a video game experience. While Capcom has varying degrees of success with the graphics in Resident Evil 6, the sound quality and variety is a complete letdown and is detrimental to the title overall.

Story - 7/10

Resident Evil 6 is set 15 years after the horrors of Raccoon City and includes a large group of characters who were present for the disaster. Leon Kennedy, Chris Redfield, Ada Wong and Sherry Birkin return to the title series that made their names famous. Joining them are newcomers Agent Helena Harper, BSAA soldier Piers Nivens and mercenary Jake Muller, bringing the total cast of playable characters to 7! That's quite a lot for a Resident Evil title, but it sounds very exciting.

Each team of two -Ada being the odd one out- must navigate through their own campaign, occasionally meeting up with another team briefly where the campaigns intersect. Each campaign features a different playstyle, which is good for some and bad for more traditional fans of the series.

Leon's campaign plays closer to the traditional Resident Evil than any of the other campaigns. However, it's just not very scary. Capcom's manufactured some cheap scares through the beginning, but the lack of puzzles and the eventual action-oriented theme of China sort of spoils it a bit. Leon and Helena are the only characters through the game you develop any sort of an attachment to. The ending of Leon's campaign in a monumental pain. Instead of enjoying the story finishing up you're busy fighting the same boss 6 times in an effort to finally rid the world of it. I did find enjoyment in his campaign, but it was nothing impressive and left me wanting much more. 6.75/10

Chris Redfield famously has blown up every single thing he's looked at through Resident Evil's history. He blew up a mansion, he blew up Africa, etc. His story in Resident Evil 6 is no different. Chris' campaign is very high octane and action focused...even featuring a military-esque scene in Edonia reminiscent of Call of Duty maps. The only problem with Captain Redfield's campaign is it feels out of place in the RE universe. The bosses are generic and very simple to kill, and the movement system still kills off that fluidity you look for in a shooter title. It does make for good fun and heavy gun action. Ammo aplenty. 7/10

Jake Muller, who is tied to the Resident Evil universe in a rather interesting way, is a mercenary. He is met by Sherry Birkin at the very beginning of his campaign. Jake deals with a Nemesis style boss called the Ustanak throughout his entire story...as well as many other bosses and deadly encounters. Jake and Sherry's campaign is extremely chase-and-bossfight heavy. It's not uncommon to defeat multiple sub-bosses consecutively. There's a little bit of everything in this one, including a stealth mission about halfway through. Jake also favors hand-to-hand combat more than any other characters, so ammo is never really an issue here. Enjoyable. 8.5/10

Ada's campaign is more like your classic Resident Evil titles. Heavy on puzzles and horrific enemies. Ada's campaign, however, is not laid out well at all and is truly one instance where the game falls completely flat. Betweem simple puzzles, sparse enemies and Ada talking to herself, you'll find that excitement is very difficult to find. It's also difficult to derive any joy from a campaign heavy on cheap deaths through the horrible QTE system in cutscenes. This one should have been left out. 1/10

The single biggest issue with the story is that, due to the multiple campaigns, there is no single enemy you can take away from the game. Ustanak really only shows up in Jake's campaign (Leon's campaign has one fight), so he's out. Leon's main antagonist is present in Jake and Sherry's but under a much different capacity. Chris' only appears during endgame and Ada's is a massive letdown...as well as boring. I think Capcom went a little too far into their gimmicky story-telling and forgot that a good story simply told is always the better direction.

Gameplay - 3/10

Cutscenes are a big part of most titles, and Resident Evil 6 is no different. Capcom however introduced an expanded QTE system you saw in RE4 and RE5. Rapid button presses and stick rotating are used much more in RE6 than any title before, which is not a good thing. During one boss fight, as an example, you have to run away from a chainsaw zombie. During which you are running toward the camera, slip and grab onto a ledge. Immediately you have to start rotating the thumbstick. However, if you don't know this ahead of time, suddenly you are way behind and you will die. Cool, what's one death, right? So you restart and make it past this point. You make it up and run 3 feet more and then Mr Chainsaw starts cutting the pipes you're running on. Better hit that A button in half a second when it pops up WHILE you're running. You didn't? Dead again.

The QTE (quick-time event) system is by itself the reason Resident Evil 6 fails to be anything but mediocre. Sure, the movement system is getting outdated faster than you can blink. There's no smoothness to transitioning from one height level to another (press the A button) and the cover system, while improved, is still light years behind any other 3rd person shooter. However, QTEs will be the reason your controller will be hitting the wall at 70 mph.

Cheap deaths and lackluster control physics really destroy Resident Evil 6 from start to finish. The need for a super-human ability to rotate the analog sticks and press buttons really limits this game from being great, let alone the excellent Resident Evil fans have always expected from this series.

Positives you can take away? The game does stick to it's roots with the collection system. However, it is disappointing that you cannot purchase and level-up your weaponry any longer. The new Skill Points system allows you to equip up to 3 skills to make your character better. This is in no way bad, but it doesn't give you the desire to play to get infinite ammo on your Lightning Hawk to tear through the game for a speed-run. Adding to this is that not all weaponry is available in each campaign. The Bear Commander, a machine gun with underbarrel grenade attachment, is not available to Chris or Leon as an example. Hand grenades are not available to Leon. A pistol is not available to Ada. Small details like this do nothing to improve the game mechanics and only seem to hinder the player experience.

The final shortcoming is that the game just isn't scary. Never is there a point where your heart is pumping because of a soon-to-be boss fight. The only sort of lead-up to a fight you find is the Brzak fight with Leon. The Brzak is swimming around in water during a level, and it can get your attention a little bit...but then the fight happens and you're left with a "That's it?" sort of feeling. Resident Evil needs to be able to get your blood pressure up in tense moments. However, I don't know if Capcom is aiming in a new direction or the team's not doing as well as they report, but Resident Evil hasn't been truly horrifying since Nemesis died.

Co-Op and Extra Content - 8/10

Through all the faults and shortcomings, Resident Evil 6 is still a great multiplayer experience. Going through a second time as Helena with a friend playing as Leon is very entertaining. You get to see new areas and interact in ways you can't during the single player campaign. Healing items are scarce so be ready to struggle with that, but it seems almost appropriate in a survival horror title. I recommend anyone who purchases the game to play with a buddy. It makes it completely worth the $60 price tag.

The Mercenaries returns, and there's not much new to report. It plays the same way as it did in RE5. Really the only difference is that there are different characters, new maps and new zombie/j'avo types.

Replay Value - 4/10

It only really gets a 4 because of the co-op aspect. I played and beat Resident Evil 5 multiple times to collect guns, points, and play co-op with friends who were new to Capcom's horror series. With no gun leveling, no merchants, no gems, and only the medals screen and emblems to drive me, there's really not enough content in this game to make me want to pop it back in and go through the story mode again. Ada's campaign drags the entire experience down, and you HAVE to play her's after you've beaten the other three.

Pros

+ Co-Op remains sturdy and entertaining.
+ Good looking environments
+ Inventive storytelling

Cons
- Poor sound
- Poor story
- Ada Wong's entire campaign boring and unimaginative
- Archaic controls aging very rapidly
- Quick Time Event system
- Cheap Deaths
- No memorable boss characters

Intense enthusiasm: a strong liking or enthusiasm for a subject or activity. This is the definition of passion. Capcom seems more content to allow Resident Evil to stand on namesake alone than improve it. Through gimmicky story-telling, atrocious use of QTE and Ada's entire campaign, it seems like Capcom didn't even test out their own game before putting it out onto shelves. Maybe they should have put more time into their actual money-maker series instead of selling out demos attached to games like Dragon's Dogma.

Capcom put no passion into Resident Evil 6, and the final product is clear proof of such. The game possesses nothing inventive or fresh. I am a long-time Resident Evil fan who has played the titles for years. I was disappointed immensely by Operation Raccoon City earlier this year, but it was a nice layover in wait for RE6. It seems Capcom put little to no effort into the playability of this title as well, instead focusing on a gimmick storyline over substance and character numbers over gaming soul.

I give Resident Evil 6 a 4.5/10 rounded up. I fear I am a bit biased in this scoring due to my love for RE, but unless you're as big a fan as I...steer clear from this one.


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 10/12/12

Game Release: Resident Evil 6 (US, 10/02/12)


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