Review by anema86

"Of Helena's/Leon's Campaign, Average -- Of the Rest... Very Poor Stuff"

*A brief note: 95% of my gametime with RE6 has been spent on Leon and Helena's campaign, which I've played through three times now. While I played the other campaigns to experience them, I did not enjoy them--they were almost carbon copies of Gears of War, and if I wanted to play that kind of game, I would--I have all three GoW on my game shelf. I don't like Resident Evil moving in that direction, because that's not what caused anyone to fall in love with the series. No one ever said, "Wow! That action was incredible!" of the PSX RE games, and if the earlier games had been action-based, the series wouldn't have risen to such prominence. Whether Capcom likes it or not, when you have an established series, you have to leave the core gameplay intact and either: a) use spin-offs to change the gameplay (but not games that are core to the series); or b) work in a different series. When you have a series, you establish expectations; fans fall in love with the series for those reasons, and they continue playing that series so their expectations can be satisfied. If Capcom wants to move RE to action-based, they can--but they should have the decency to do so in spin-offs, not the core games.

So this review is largely based on Leon and Helena's campaign, the only one I found to be worth playing. I have nothing against action-based third person shooters. Like I said, I have Gears of War 1 through 3 and have beaten them all. What I have something against is releasing an action-based third person shooter into a series of Survival Horror games, thereby using the series' name and fanbase as a method of ensuring the game sells. Note done.*

Unlike many reviewers (professional and users), I consider a score of 5 to be Average (as Gamefaqs does). Unlike my other reviews, this one is going to start with a default score of 5--assuming it to be an average game--and I will add and deduct points accordingly, based on severity and importance.

Graphics +2; Score = 7

The graphics of Resident Evil 6 are incredible and some of the best-looking that I've seen on the Xbox 360. The most impressive visuals I've seen were the cardboard boxes in one of the hallways on the college campus in the Leon/Helena campaign. The boxes have those plastic things ziptie-like things on them, and the box's shape is actually bent and distorted by whatever they're called. Hitherto, I've seen such things as mere decorations, but these actually have an effect on the box's shape--just like in real life. I found that to be a subtle, but very important, example of the game's graphical capabilities.

Characters look fantastic, but occasionally make some grimaces that look unnatural and unattractive. Explosions look great, and there is a nice variety in the monsters that the player will face.

Audio -1; Score = 6

There isn't a lot of music in the game. Random jarring chords that seem to utilize flatted fifths are interspersed throughout Leon and Helena's campaign, which I found to be grating, not tense. There's a reason that a priest in the Middle Ages said that flatted Fifths were the noise of the Devil. Minor chords would have been FAR more effective at creating a tense atmosphere--just listen to the band I Over E for an example of using minor chords to that effect.

The sound effects aren't anything special. They're not bad--they're great, in fact, but "great" is average these days. We expect our explosions and gunshots to sound like explosions and gunshots, and the fact that RE6 meets the bar set by other games in the sound effects department is nothing to write home about.

The voice-acting, on the other hand, is top-notch for the most part.

Story

+ 2 (Score = 8): The story is the best so far in the RE series, consisting of three interwoven tales (four if you count Ada's). It's nothing really exceptional; there aren't any twists that are *sensible* that you won't see coming. For example, I didn't see coming that the main antagonist was in love with Ada, but the twist wasn't sensible and added nothing to the game anyway.

-1 (Score = 7): Some details within the story are absolutely stupid, though: Helena, for example, refuses to let her sister go, even after her sister has turned into a hideous monster that seems to get off on rubbing herself while she gets shot. Another good example would be the gun store owner, who waits until you've killed all the zombies in his shop to close the shutters, which would have been very helpful in preventing the hoard of zombies from coming in.

-2 (Score = 5): Most irritating, however, is that *every single vehicle* that Leon and Helena get in crashes and explodes. This gets really stupid. In the first chapter, they jump in a police car and immediately wreck in and have to get out. At the start of Chapter 2, they wreck the school bus they are in. Later, their plane crash-lands. Then another car. Then a train. Then a helicopter. Over and over again, it seems there is no surer way of guaranteeing that a vehicle will be destroyed than for Leon and Helena to get inside of it. Once is okay--I can even deal with twice. This, however, happens no less than 5 times (Leon and Helena's campaign is only 5 Chapters long). It gets cheap and is terribly overused.

Gameplay

+3 (Score = 8): Multiplayer. It is very well-done in RE6. Split-screen Co-op is available as well as Online Co-Op. I strongly recommend playing with a friend. Even the local Co-Op is great, and the split-screen of it isn't much of a problem because of how Capcom split the screens. I'd never seen that before, but it was great. Kudos to Capcom for that. I don't know if it's unique to RE6, but they deserve an innovation reward if it is.

-5 (Score = 3): Scripted Zombies. This is a HUGE complaint of mine, as you can see because I took off FIVE points for it. One of the exceptional things about RE2 (and probably earlier RE games; I specifically remember it in 2, though) was that: if you knew a corpse on the floor was going to rise up and attack you, you could shoot it before you reached it, before it rose and attacked you. Not so in Resident Evil 6. In 6, zombies show a level of restraint and intelligence that is nothing short of *remarkable* for a creature whose sole motivation is eating brains.

The main instance I remember of this is in Chapter 1, shortly after coming out of the sewers. The player enters a small house and passes through a living room with three corpses in it: one in a chair and two on the sofa. They seem to be dead, and they do not react to the player's entry. The player proceeds and comes to a door that requires a key, and right beside the door, lying in the floor, is another corpse. The player returns to the living room, grabs the key, and--the corpse in the chair rises as an undead zombie. So the player blows that zombie to pieces, returns to the locked door, and--the corpse beside the door lunges at the player and starts biting. Now, these factors aren't really a problem: we've all seen it before. The virus takes a little time, after death, to reanimate the body as a zombie sometimes. No worries. However, NO AMOUNT OF SHOOTING THE CORPSES *BEFORE* THEY RISE WILL AFFECT THEM. You can drop grenades on the corpses, shoot them all you want, and none of it has any effect; the bullets pass right through. The corpse by the door is especially irritating, because you don't have enough time to react before the zombie lunges at you--EVEN IF YOU KNOW IT'S THERE. It is invincible before it rises, and you have to get right next to it to make it rise, which doesn't leave you enough time to counter it before it hurts you. This is a serious flaw.

Zombies also have animations. Sometimes you'll see zombies chewing on a corpse, and if you shoot the zombie, it rises to a standing position and starts coming at you. During this rising animation, the zombie is COMPLETELY invincible. You could unload an entire assault rifle clip into its head while it is rising, and it will not do any damage to the zombie until its animation is finished. This is a SERIOUS flaw.

Once zombies start certain animations, though, you *CAN* still harm them. For example, zombies sometimes lunge and jump at you, sailing through the air and crashing into you. You can shoot them as they start their lunge. But beware--even if you blow their head off completely, they WILL finish their attack, and WILL damage you. I once blew off such a zombie's head with my 12 gauge as it started a lunge attack, a certain kill. Still, the now-headless zombie sailed through the air, crashed into me, and took 66% of my health from me before I shook it off--even though it was dead. As soon as I shook it off, it disintegrated, as it should have before it even hit me. Sometimes, you can blow their heads off as they sail through the air, and they will die properly, not finishing their attack, and sometimes they will still attack you--even though they're dead. So if you're playing on Professional as I do, it's always best to dodge THEN kill, because sometimes it can still hurt you, even while it's dead.

Having 66% of your health knocked off by a dead, headless zombie is enough to make people turn the game off. I know, because I just did so this morning. What was Capcom thinking? Player actions should *ALWAYS* take precedence over animations--the only exception being that player actions have to be limited by the amount of time it takes to perform that action. But if I nail a zombie at point-blank range in the head with a 10 gauge shotgun, the zombie should die, whether it's lunging at me, rising from the ground, sitting in a chair like a corpse, or just walking toward me.

+3 (Score = 6): The gameplay (for Helena and Leon) is otherwise very solid (I assume the others are, as well, but I'm not interested in them)... for the most part. I have one further complaint about the gameplay.

-1 (Score = 5): Difficulty. I recently got into an argument with someone about difficulty in games, because I said that it isn't "how many times I die" that affects whether or not a game is difficult. I stand by that. Deaths are a symbol of difficulty in a game, but they aren't a factor of difficulty. Games derive difficulty from resource management. Whether lives, health, healing items, gold, ammunition, skill points, experience points, Mana, or whatever; every game gets its difficulty from requiring the player to manage various resources. The fewer resources the player has to conserve over the larger a period, the more difficult a game is. When resources are infinite, or practically infinite, there is no difficulty--just tedium.

By Chapter 2, the player will have enough ammunition and enough different guns to no longer have to worry about it. As long as the player is conservative and mostly goes for head shots, ammunition won't be a problem past Chapter 1. To make matters worse, Infinite Ammo can be activated *from the very beginning of the game*, before the player has completed anything except the opening/introduction. Since health, lives, and ammunition are the only resources in Resident Evil that have to be managed, the ability to turn on Infinite Ammo (something I never did) from the very beginning of the game has the potential to completely destroy any difficulty the game offers. Even without Infinite Ammo, though, ammunition won't be a problem for 4/5 of the game.

Some have said there are no Lives in RE6, but this isn't true. Not having Lives means the player can't die, but deaths do happen. What they mean is that the player has Infinite Lives in Resident Evil 6. Death is just a number and has no penalty in RE6. In fact, if the player dies, he or she is rewarded with having their health refilled, which brings me to the last resource.

Health, in Resident Evil 6, is never a factor. There is a Checkpoint every 5 minutes at least. When you die, you restart from the last Checkpoint you reached with full health. In other words, every 5 minutes or so, the game refills all your health. You have to die for the game to refill your Health, but since you're only going to lose about 3 minutes of progress, there's no reason to waste a healing item--just die and start a few feet back and keep your healing items for a boss fight. So to recap: Resident Evil 6 offers no challenge. It refills the player's health every 5 minutes an unlimited number of times, and provides the player with enough guns and ammunition that by Chapter 2, even without the free and always-unlocked Infinite Ammo, the player will still never run out of ammunition, except during boss fights, which generally provide the player with plenty of ammunition anyway.

The end result is that the game offers no challenge--just tedium. It's not hard to make progress through Resident Evil 6, because you can always die and restart with full health and lose just a few minutes of progress. Progressing further never requires skill; it only requires patience, especially on Professional, in which a zombie can kill the player in only two strikes. This is much the same reason that most RPGs are *much* more difficult at the beginning than at the middle or the end--at the beginning, the player has far fewer resources with which to make it through the dungeon: less MP, less HP, less gold, cheaper equipment, and so on--but by the middle of the game, the party has enough items, MP, and HP to make it through almost any dungeon.

The earlier RE games were difficult because they didn't throw ammunition at the player constantly. Ammunition was a scarce resource and had to be carefully conserved most of the time. Even saving was a limited resource, as each save consumed an ink ribbon--of which there was a limited number. Resident Evil 6 has the same resources that have to be managed, but it gives them in unlimited or practically unlimited quantities.

-1 (Score = 4): I shot that zombie in the head HOW many times?! I've gotten extremely frustrated at some points, after unloading four shotgun shells point-blank into a monster's head only to have it keep coming at me. The ugly monster in the cathedral on Professional is a great example. It will survive numerous grenades and direct shots to the head. I don't care what kind of monster it is, NOTHING can survive two dozen shotgun shells directly to the head. By the third one, there wouldn't be anything left of the head to even target. How something can survive two dozen shotgun shells to the face, seven explosions directly underneath it, two clips of an assault rifle, and 10 shots from an assault rifle (also straight to the head) is absolutely mind-boggling, monster or not.

+1 (Score = 5): Leon and Helena's campaign does have some pretty tense survival moments in it, though even their campaign, which holds truest to the theme of the series, is much more action-based than predecessors (except for, I hear, RE5). Usually, though, these survival-esque moments move so slowly it will make you angry. The campus is an example of this, as the game forces you to walk instead of run, which just artificially drags the segment out longer than is necessary.

+1 (Score = 6) : Another decent plus: you can *finally* move while aiming! You, naturally, move pretty slowly while aiming, but that's fine--you are aiming, after all.

-1 (Score = 5): Neither Leon nor Helena can handle the recoil of a 9mm pistol. How strange. I actually have a 9mm, and the recoil... is not a big deal. How a trained cop who went through the Raccoon City incident nor a professional agent like Helena can handle such a gun is surprising. Although I don't think the game retreated the recoil from any of the guns differently except the assault rifle. Now that I think of it, I think the 10 gauge, 12 gauge, and 9mm all had the same recoil. I'll have to get back to you on that. Either way, the idea that trained professionals can't hold a 9mm pistol steady to pull off multiple shots is ridiculous.

I still have the other two campaigns to play through, but I doubt they're going to affect my opinion of the game. I've played them about 30 minutes each, and I just don't feel them. The Helena/Leon campaign, though, is solid enough, despite the flaws listed here.


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 11/27/12

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


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