Giant Bomb Review

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Resident Evil 6 Review

2
  • X360

Resident Evil 6 may be the most lavishly produced bad game in history.

The heart of RE6's problems is action that just feels unrefined.

Resident Evil 6 is a big-budget disaster on the order of the Star Wars prequels, a sprawling production that clearly required so many individual talents to bring it into being, you can't help but wonder how the end result could have turned out so bad. Then again, the game tries to be so many things to so many different people, the image of a many-headed hydra thrashing violently beyond the control of its developers comes readily to mind. There are a few fleeting moments of greatness in Resident Evil 6, but you'll likely spend so much time with your head in your hands that you'll probably just miss them all.

Whatever else could be improved upon in this game is moot, since its fundamentals as a third-person action game are just plain badly implemented. After the great last couple of installments in the core Resident Evil franchise, it's astounding that the basic act of playing RE6 doesn't feel at least as good as it did in those games. On the surface, RE6 is made up of the same third-person shooting, button-prompt-driven melee combat, and inventory management, though it goes further in the direction of similar Western action games that focus on moving and shooting in tandem, largely at the expense of the series' traditionally deliberate style of gameplay. But it doesn't go far enough to produce a satisfying game of singular intent. In trying to have it both ways, clumsily mixing that more active style of shooter with vestigial elements of the series' survival-horror past, and peppering the entire thing with excessive Quick Time events and nearly hands-off action set pieces, RE6 takes a tremendous step backwards in terms of basic playability.

The reasons for this are too numerous for any one review, but here goes. The character movement is awkward, the aiming and shooting are stiff, and your basic interactions with enemies feel unresponsive and grossly unsatisfying. With a laser sight that swims around wildly within the targeting reticle and enemies that sometimes feel like bullets are passing right through them, the shooting makes a lousy first impression. And don't get me started on how clumsy the camera can get when you're trying to move around in tight spaces, or about the game's nasty habit of cutting back from a cinematic sequence with your camera angle pointed not only in a different direction than you left it, but also away from the thing you need to focus your attention on. The trusty old 180-degree turn from previous games sometimes turns only your character while leaving the camera stationary, exposing you to unnecessary risk as you then have to manually swivel the perspective around after you've wasted time expecting a basic game mechanic to work like it's supposed to. Playing RE6 is like suffering the death of a thousand cuts, as one minor annoyance and unavoidable death after another chip away at your enjoyment.

There's a little too much pushing the stick in one direction and holding A here.

Most of Resident Evil 6 is marred by a glaring lack of that video game critic's old standby, polish. Every time you're killed instantly by an unavoidable scripted event, it feels like a good opportunity to turn the game off and never turn it back on. Seriously, there were multiple times in more than one level where I or someone I was playing co-op with was killed by some timed event--say, a truck hurtling into the area from offscreen--that you just couldn't avoid if you didn't know it was coming, and often don't even see coming if you don't happen to have the camera pointed randomly in the right direction. The game rarely communicates what it wants you to do, leaving you in many of the game's long, multi-phase boss fights to blindly waste ammo as you try to figure out whether you're effectively doing any damage to an enemy that barely reacts visibly to your attacks.

There are other basic design issues that make the game feel like a chore, like the inability to stop time even while you're trying to change your brightness or control scheme. You're never even alerted to the existence of a cover system or dodge mechanics outside of loading-screen tooltips that, at least on the Xbox version I played through, were typically onscreen for less than a second. But the game sure does make a point of driving home how Quick Time events work in its laughable tutorial segment. It never even attempts to explain the quirks of ducking and rolling, which require you to use the same button combo in different ways, but it goes out of its way to make sure you know to push the stick down and hold the A button every time you need to run toward the camera through a barely-interactive scripted chase scene. That's a telling example of the poor attention to detail here where basic playability is concerned.

To be fair, the more you play RE6, the more you'll adapt to the long list of quirks that initially conspire to make the combat in this game a miserable experience. Eventually it becomes less miserable, but it never clicks and feels satisfying and engaging the way the best action games do. Think about the brightest lights in the genre on this generation of consoles. For me, it's games like Infamous and Dead Space that give you immediate, absolute control over your abilities and impart the information for you to make split-second decisions about how to deal with any threat. Those games just feel right. Even at its best, playing RE6 feels like fumbling around blindly in the dark by comparison. The impression is of a game that underwent little to no playtesting, to see how actual human beings would respond to the mechanics and systems that make up the gameplay, and to refine and fix them in the places where they weren't working.

Be prepared to fight this exact boss battle twice before the game is over.

As Resident Evil goes, this game's justification for its own existence is questionable in the first place. Resident Evil 4 went to admirable lengths to upend the series' longstanding fiction by bringing in new antagonists and a new location, and I felt like 5 was already pushing its luck by turning right around and going back to the well with Wesker and the Umbrella Corporation yet again. But at least that game was bold enough to resolve those longstanding story threads with finality, explaining and killing off pretty much everything there was to explain and kill off. Then along comes RE6 with... Neo-Umbrella and the son of Wesker. That's really the most inspired premise they could conceive? I'll grant that this game is awkwardly timed at the end of a console cycle, and it's too soon to go back to the drawing board and completely rebuild Resident Evil from the ground up, but couldn't Capcom have just put together a more modest side story to fill the necessary spot on the release calendar until then? (Actually, I guess they already did that.)

Whether RE6's premise strains plausibility or not, the series has had good luck in the past with multiple concurrent campaigns starring different characters, and here you get a whopping four of them. Dandy-haired Leon Kennedy's vignette feels the most like an old Resident Evil, with the highest concentration of cathedrals and rotting zombies in the game. Square-jawed Chris Redfield's campaign then goes and does a middling Gears of War impression, with an increased emphasis on taking cover and shooting at enemies who shoot back at you. Then son-of-Wesker Jake moves through a campaign with a disjointed mix of shooting, ill-conceived stealth sequences, and an indestructible Big Bad who chases you through every area like a modern-day Nemesis. Once you finish the three storylines, you unlock a hidden fourth campaign so top-secret it's mentioned on the back of the box, one that's meant to give some additional context to everything you've seen over the last 20 hours or so.

The idea of this many criss-crossing storylines is a great one, and you do get little nuggets of info in each campaign that expand on the events in the others. It's hard to get too excited about anything that happens in the game, though, revolving as it does around yet another iteration of the X-virus that's always been at the center of the whole zombie mess. Nothing of major importance to the Resident Evil continuity takes place here, as every character and story thread introduced at the outset has either been blandly resolved or summarily dismissed by the end, resulting in a conclusion that, as far as Chris and Leon are concerned, might as well never have happened. More damningly, as the game wears on, it becomes more and more disappointing how much content is flat-out recycled from previous campaigns. By the time I got to Jake's campaign and especially into that last one, I was replaying sequences and boss fights on a disturbingly regular basis that I'd already played before. Sometimes you at least get to take part from a different angle, but just as often you're literally fighting the exact same boss fight you already did a few hours ago. It's especially glaring that if you play the campaigns in the recommended order, the first last-boss encounter you face is identical to the very last one. That's a pretty anti-climactic way to end such a huge production, and it's emblematic of the many aspects of RE6 that just weren't thought all the way through.

Playable characters cross paths to mixed results through each campaign.

The game at least earns a few points for sheer audacity. Its scope is enormous; the volume of huge, detailed environmental art crammed in here could fill two or three similar games of average length. And many of those areas are framed and lit to great dramatic effect, though others look like they had less attention given to them, and the frame rate is low enough across the board to diminish the effect of actually moving around in them. Many of the monster designs are creepy as hell (a human torso attached to spider legs and wielding an assault rifle seems like something that just should not exist), and the bosses are plenty big and menacing and impressive to watch, though that effect is often lost in the frustrating trial-and-error required to fight them. The production values in the cinematics are top-shelf, and the character performances are quite well done, with Troy Baker further cementing his status as the new Nolan North in a nicely snarky turn as the wisecracking, in-it-for-the-money merc Jake. And as flat as I found the broad story, there were a couple of honestly affecting human moments that got to me a little bit. But once the moment is over, they don't really go anywhere.

By the time I'd slogged through the two-dozen-plus hours of the four main campaigns, I couldn't find it in myself to care much about the return of The Mercenaries, the score-based time attack mode that I used to play obsessively in past games, or Agent Hunt, which lets you match your way into another player's game as a monster so you can give them some trouble. That's a great idea, though most of the monsters you end up with aren't very capable or much fun to control in practice. Mercs is the same as it ever was, which is fine, and by the time I was done with the game, I felt well enough attuned to the combat that I could have given it a pretty effective go, I just had no energy or desire left to do so. It's worth noting you can once again play the whole game in co-op if you like, though your ever-present, indestructible AI buddy is actually pretty effective in combat, except for the rare moment where they refuse to get themselves over to a tandem door you need to open. That doesn't happen often, but always seems to happen at the worst times.

At a glance, Resident Evil 6 is built on the basic blueprint of a good action game, swaddled in what must have been one of the most expensive productions in video game history. You could offer a lot of ifs about how to make this game better: if the fat were trimmed out in service of a shorter, tighter campaign; if the designers had drilled down more intently on one style of gameplay rather than trying to cover all of them; if the player's core interactions with the game were simply as refined as they should have been. But in the real world, we're left with what's in the box. It's hard to fathom how Resident Evil, which almost singlehandedly redefined the action genre just two installments ago, has now become such a strange, mediocre pastiche of the better games this series once inspired. What a bitter irony that is.

Brad Shoemaker on Google+
273 Comments
Edited by CptBedlam

@Jost1 said:

@Sooty: RE5 was a good game. It may not have been to your taste but it's polished, it does what it sets out to do, its only flaw is that is doesn't really do anything NEW. Now if you want to say you don't LIKE it, that's fine. But it is not a bad game.

Many reviewers just failed to point out the many flaws of RE5. Story, bosses, movement, AI partner... all of these aspects are abysmal in RE5. I'd even say RE6 does some things better than RE5 (and others worse, plus it's all around less polished obviously). However, the movement, for example, is a vast improvement over RE5 in my opinion. Of course you have to bother to learn the controls. It's beyond me how Brad complained about stuff like diving backwards on the Bombcast because when I played the two demos, executing that stuff felt really intuitive and worked really well. Just like in this video:

Opinions, I guess.

Posted by Gunharp

said:

"...what must have been one of the most expensive productions in video game history."

Can anyone confirm this? Curious as to what the estimated budget is.

I would think Too Human and APB are still the kings of this category Brad puts RE6 into. Also I am not defending RE6, will probably check it out next year when I have the free time. What a divisive game.

Posted by DeShawn2ks

@Trusty_Spoon said:

From what I have played in demos and heard, it seems everyone has the same oppinion except for the occasional fan boy who really cant accept they just wasted a good sum of money on an inferior product

My little brother bought RE6 and never played a Resident Evil before. He is really liking the game so is he a fanboy? Don't understand if someone likes a game that a lot of people don't they are some how some super fan boy who is in denial. I agree with a lot of Brads complaints but I am also really liking the game so far. Oh no I'm a fan boy who really can't accept that I wasted a "good sum" of money on an inferior product now, damn it damn it damn it.

Posted by Ceno

I expected one less star.

Edited by devilgunman

2/5 ?

Are you prepared, Brad? They're coming for ya!

Posted by ManMadeGod

@mortal_sb said:

this is probably a pretty well written review, but man, i checked in word: 2700 words and almost 4 pages. that's just too long. three times the length in comparison to the joystiq review. a review shouldn't be a short story.

i know GB loves to do long and elaborate reviews, but i would prefer if they would review 2-3 games more and write reviews that are only (at max) half als long as these.

I disagree. As someone who looks at reviews from a purchasing decision standpoint I don't want the writers holding back information be it good or bad. If a review needs to be 4 pages long then so be it.

Posted by Deathpooky

Very glad to avoid getting sucked into a pre-order of this.

And I'd love to see a list of big budget, high production, great-looking, terrible games.

Posted by jasius

So its Aliens 3 of gaming?

Posted by ClamFTW

PASTICHE!!!!!!!

Posted by OneKillWonder_

I've put about 6 hours into this game, and I already agree with this review wholeheartedly. It's amazing what a train wreck this game turned out to be on almost every level. Sure, it is impressive from a technical standpoint, but that doesn't mean much when it's a pain in the ass to play. It can't even manage to scratch that nostalgic itch for me with it's half-assed fan servicey moments. I really, truly, sincerely hope that Capcom learns a lesson from this.

Posted by GERALTITUDE

This is Brad's best review on the site I think. The passion of his exhausted anger gives it a sweet flow.

Posted by DefaultProphet

@NoobSauceG7 said:

I honestly thought that even 2 stars would be too high for this game. Brad said absolutely nothing positive about this game...

Isn't 1 star reserved for games that you cannot finish because they are broken?

Posted by Apparatus_Unearth

That's just like your opinion man.

Posted by Demoskinos

I love ya Bradley but I gotta say I can't agree with you on this one in the slightest. Really enjoying my time with it. Its a game that obviously still has faults but none of them are so agressively offensive to me that its hindering my enjoyment.

Posted by Dallas_Raines

@Jazzycola said:

Only needed to read the first half of the review and hear brad's complaining on the I love mondays video to know that maybe Brad should go back and play RE5. This is just coming from me watching him play RE6 in the quicklook, but it looked like it played pretty damn close to RE5 and the enemies acted the same as well. I've played a few hours of RE5 relatively recent (about a year ago) and everything about the game just felt broken. It doesn't seem like that's changed so I don't know why RE5 is being held to such a high standard which brings me to my original point, Brad should go back and play RE5 to see if that game actually holds up. But I suspect that at this time of year there isn't much time nor is it valuable for a review to do so.

RE6 play's like RE5's alcoholic brother. Just try the demo.

Posted by ImmortalSaiyan

This is a really good review. I'm a little surprised with the two star score. Seeing how negative Brad was about it on the bombcast. The only nice thing said was two ten second animations were cool.

Posted by Curufinwe

You can just press A to set the camera to your character direction, rather than manually move it with the right stick. And I hope you eventually started using the LT + RT quick shot because it really helps manage certain situations.

Also, the laser sight works much better than the reticle.

But I think this review does a much better job of explaining the issues with the game than other sub-50% reviews I've read. Well done.

Posted by icarusflies77

As I've said....without Wesker you're left with a shambling, rotting, zombie-hulk of a game. >_>

Posted by Chris2KLee

Shame, had a really great time with 5, especially in Co-Op. Might try a rental or something, somewhere down the line.

Posted by BatmanBatman

I was really expecting a one start here... I think Brad like this game!

Posted by MeatSim

Brad's nightmare is finally over.

Posted by CakeBomb

You made Brad cry. BAD CAPCOM. 
 
I'm amazed at how this game turned out, it looked so promising and I was expecting it to be better than RE5 by adding a horror campaign and refining the action campaigns from RE5's blueprint. For all the stuff that Capcom is taking from modern shooters, they haven't figured out QTEs are not the core of any game, much less the broken ones. 
 
Explain to me how they make an awesome looking game that runs great on 3DS, and then make a game that at times has worse textures than RE5 and runs considerably worse. Explain Capcom.

Posted by MEATBALL

Really enjoying Leon's campaign three chapters in. I started out with Jake's which had some terrible moments and some moments I really liked. Seems to me the game is more average than it is bad, but I guess it just depends on how much any negatives (and they are there indeed) affect the experience.

Posted by MURDERSMASH

@duke1gears0 said:

Whatever, I like RE6

That's fine. It's OK to like bad games.

Posted by CakeBomb
@jasius:  
RE5 was Alien 3. This is Alien vs Predator: Requiem. 
 
Just bad.
Posted by Winternet

@Gunharp said:

said:

"...what must have been one of the most expensive productions in video game history."

Can anyone confirm this? Curious as to what the estimated budget is.

I would think Too Human and APB are still the kings of this category Brad puts RE6 into. Also I am not defending RE6, will probably check it out next year when I have the free time. What a divisive game.

The Old Republic must be the new king on the expensive-production-department. L.A. Noire must also be up there.

Posted by Plipster

I liked it fine. Not as good as 4 or 5. But I loved both and thought this was OK. Just Ok, but still...

Posted by HyperionXR

@Plipster: So far I'm enjoying it quite a bit overall. The aiming was kind of questionable at first but I got used to it, and the skill upgrades helped. It's not scary and the QTE's are a bit much as well, but honestly, overall, I do really like it.

Posted by bennyboy

I was expecting a 1 star review from all of the complaints on the bombcast/i love mondays/quick look.

Edited by BlueWolverine

@kerse: Horror is a very subjective term. What you find scary might not scare others, the same goes for the other way.

Posted by DavoTron

Better play Shadows Of The Damned again!

Posted by MiniPato

Prepare thine anus, Mr. Shoemaker.

Haters are coming.

Posted by cthomer5000

@mortal_sb said:

this is probably a pretty well written review, but man, i checked in word: 2700 words and almost 4 pages. that's just too long. three times the length in comparison to the joystiq review. a review shouldn't be a short story.

i know GB loves to do long and elaborate reviews, but i would prefer if they would review 2-3 games more and write reviews that are only (at max) half als long as these.

How does this make sense? If you were to make a pie chart of reviewing RE6, how much time do you think is devoted to playing the game vs writing the review?

This is a site that thrives on long-form opinion I have no idea why anyone would want to come here for shorter reviews or opinions of any sort.

Posted by FourWude

There's gonna be so much hurt butts in this thread.

Posted by 24thDoor

@Jost1 said:

@Sooty: RE5 was a good game. It may not have been to your taste but it's polished, it does what it sets out to do, its only flaw is that is doesn't really do anything NEW. Now if you want to say you don't LIKE it, that's fine. But it is not a bad game.

Well... only flaw if you don't count the mind-blowing racism.

Posted by konig_kei

Now Mr shoemaker, would you kindly make a video review like the gamespot one you did where you seemed bored out of your mind.

Posted by zyn

With the team that CAPCOM put on this, shows that this game is a joke.

Posted by ildon

@Oni said:

Shocker!

Also, tied with FF13 for "most lavishly produced bad game"

FF13 has good combat. Once you get to play it 30 hours in.

Posted by Encephalon

Dry those tears, Brad. It's over. You did it.

Posted by Vitor

@Winternet said:

@Gunharp said:

said:

"...what must have been one of the most expensive productions in video game history."

Can anyone confirm this? Curious as to what the estimated budget is.

I would think Too Human and APB are still the kings of this category Brad puts RE6 into. Also I am not defending RE6, will probably check it out next year when I have the free time. What a divisive game.

The Old Republic must be the new king on the expensive-production-department. L.A. Noire must also be up there.

Yeah, but those two aren't categorically held up as examples of bad games. Not to everyone's taste maybe but they still did well critically.

Too Human and APB flopped both commercially and critically.

Posted by Cobra_Kai

@neoepoch said:

I'd say the Stars Wars prequels are way better than this game. Take that as you will.

You know what I`m going to take that,and I`m going to take that to heart, and that`s pretty special, coming from a guy who strangles jarjar to death in his dreams, on the reg,also I would yell at george lucas if I ever met him, more on that later.

Posted by MonkeyKing1969

It seems like the people on this site are on balance accepting of this review on face value ....which is nice for a change. Some people like it, some people don't, and most people seem willing to wait until it is inexpensive enough to pick up on a lark.

Posted by NickL

@Brad said:

@mortal_sb said:

this is probably a pretty well written review, but man, i checked in word: 2700 words and almost 4 pages. that's just too long. three times the length in comparison to the joystiq review. a review shouldn't be a short story.

i know GB loves to do long and elaborate reviews, but i would prefer if they would review 2-3 games more and write reviews that are only (at max) half als long as these.

If you think the writing is the lengthiest part of the review process, you're badly mistaken.

I really want to know what world lives in that he thinks writing a shorter review would open up time for reviewing 2-3 more games.

Posted by genericHenle

I played through the Leon and Chris campaigns over the past two days. Don't even want to touch Jake's. Already burnt out on it.

Posted by Enigma777

I'm sorry Brad. I'm so sorry.

Posted by Ravelle

@ildon said:

@Oni said:

Shocker!

Also, tied with FF13 for "most lavishly produced bad game"

FF13 has good combat. Once you get to play it 30 hours in.

I loved FF13.

Posted by Brad

@Ravelle said:

@ildon said:

@Oni said:

Shocker!

Also, tied with FF13 for "most lavishly produced bad game"

FF13 has good combat. Once you get to play it 30 hours in.

I loved FF13.

Yeah, FF13's biggest problem is pacing. If they had condensed the first 20 hours into about three, I would have loved it.

Staff
Posted by bybeach

@BATMANBATMAN85 said:

I was really expecting a one start here... I think Brad like this game!

I like this logic...and of course w/out any experience of this franchise at all, I keep hearing about RES4 and for what it did, RES 5. I was half expecting one star also.

The only comment I have to make of my own is at least some of the artwork, the little that I saw during the QL and that first picture, where Brad is describing a negative in his review. It looks rather...good! Nice lighting. I'm sure his point is valid, but that is a effective screen-grab.

Edited by Tru3_Blu3

I guess this is karma for sticking a dildo up Mega Man's ass and kicking him out of his household.

Posted by DanTheGamer32

I enjoy RE6, at least it's not as awful and busted as ORC *shudders*