It's been nearly a week now since Capcom 's latest in it's long running franchise, Resident Evil 6 , was released. Now, as everyone knows, Resident Evil 6 has probably received the most controversial reviews of a game that I can remember in quite some time, all stemming from Jim Sterling's initial review. Like him or hate him, Jim Sterling writes a hell of a review, and he voiced his opinions on the game in great form. The problem I have is that I've played through now both Leon and Chris's campaigns respectively (I haven't finished Jake's yet), and I absolutely love the game. I have also played several hours of the new version of Mercenaries. But let's back things up a bit before I continue here.
For clarification, I have been a Resident Evil fan since I first played the original game on the PlayStation sometime in 1997. I couldn't tell you the exact date this happened, but I can tell you it was around the same time that I played Castlevania: Symphony of the Night . When you are an 11 year old kid in 1997, a game like Resident Evil is a life changing event, much as Symphony of the Night was. I had never played anything like it. It scared the hell out of me, but also was a major factor in introducing me to the world horror, and led me down the path to becoming the horror genre lover that I currently am. It also introduced me to the strategy of item management, and a heavy dose of puzzle filled game play. Since that moment, I have played every single iteration of Capcom's franchise, with the exception of Resident Evil: Outbreak - File #2, and for more or less, have enjoyed most of what the series has offered. So yes, I am a diehard fan of this series. However, unlike 90% of what I've read from the reviews, I've enjoyed the hell out of what I've played of 6 thus far, and I feel the need to weigh my two cents here.
No one will argue that Resident Evil 4 changed everything. Without it, we wouldn't have Gears of War or Dead Space. The sudden shift from survival horror to the aspects of straight up action and gun play threw many off, but going back and looking at those reviews you will see almost no complaints about this. Sure, it strayed from the ideas of item management and the whole concept of Survival Horror, but no critic then was willing to admit that, everyone just seemed to accept it. Resident Evil 4 isn't so much a survival horror game as it is a tension filled action experience. 4 was also one of the first games to introduce the idea of Quick Time Events, something that I personally can take or leave. The Resident Evil franchise, since 4, as done an excellent job of turning this idea into straight up melee focused combat, which is up for major display in Resident Evil 6. If Resident Evil 4 changed everything about the series, Resident Evil 5 took it a step further by introducing Cooperative Play, and through that concept alone I would argue that Resident Evil 5 was one of the best games of this past generation of games. Sure, the story becomes complete slop at this point, but at the same time, if you are a fan of the series, who cares. The major plot points of Resident Evil have always been an over-the-top fare, going all the way back to the original game. The series is grounded in it's b-movie horror roots, and has always embraced that concept, so why change it? I put countless hours into Resident Evil 5, and I enjoyed every minute of that game, Downloadable Content included. So flash forward to October 2012, and imagine my shock at the reviews of Resident Evil 6.
Someone like me uses reviews as a deciding factor on my game purchases, I mean come on, I'm not made of money, most of us aren't. However if it is something I am truly behind (Halo 4 would be a fine example), I know that I will enjoy the game without having to read any of the reviews. So imagine my shock, as a Resident Evil fan, when the reviews started to drop for the latest installment, and they are pretty weak across the board. Now, obviously Jim Sterling's epic 3/10 review really shocked me, especially coming from a supposed Resident Evil diehard like me, but because of that second demo that was released a few weeks back that I enjoyed the most, I decided to ignore reviews this time and jump right in.
My biggest problem with this game, my only real gripe, deals with the final moments of Chris's campaign, where there's a chase sequence that sometimes doesn't line up with exactly what you are supposed to do. It boils down to trial and error, and I admit that Capcom probably could have done a better job of explaining to players what to do at this moment, but putting that aside, I think from what I've played thus far, about 20 hours or so, that the game is fantastic. The melee combat focus this time makes more sense, as they started to go that way with the previous game, and the changes in controls all make sense to me and feel natural. I also haven't had the problems of button commands not working (like I've read in so many reviews). I also like that they changed up things for you to be able to run and shoot (it feels more natural, but I was never against the stop and shoot concepts of previous games), the ability to roll around on the ground, and easier changes of being able to switch between holding your gone left and right. I also don't think that the combining herbs from the quick menu is that big of a difference, if anyone remembers from 5, you still had to open a quick menu to add and mix herbs, and here you do. There's one extra step into turning it to pill form (or in the case of my friend and I playing co-op, we've called the tablets tic-tacs), but that step takes half a second, and doesn't bother me. Quick Time Events also work much better this time for the most part, I haven't had many problems other then the time I mentioned above, and perhaps one other occurrence of this coming up. But perhaps the biggest thing that I have to complain about, and almost say "shame on you" to anyone whose reviewed this game negatively, though, is the fact that they claim there are no survival horror elements in Resident Evil 6. Did we play the same game? Did you play Leon's campaign? How about Chris's? Both campaign's contain an excellent dose of survival horror, with Leon's being a throw-back to zombies, and Chris's campaign, although for the most part more action oriented, has a fantastic chapter involving his crew being slaughtered by an invisible snake (a throw back to the gigantic snake from the original game). There are some great pop out moments in Leon's campaign, and other then the usual gigantic absurd boss at the end (something we've enjoyed since Resident Evil 4 mind you), the campaign is a gigantic throwback to horror.
The final thought I can throw up is that the game did release with a day one patch. It is possible some of the elements of melee combat that were trashed in some reviews were fixed day one, who knows? It all boils down to that in my opinion, Resident Evil 6 is a fantastic game that I don't think anyone who is a fan of this series should miss or let be spoiled by a few negative reviews.