A critical analysis of the Resident Evil 6 Review!

EDIT: Changed the title of the blog because the title is getting more attention then the actual content of the blog. People like to point out that apparently I'm being more critical towards the reviews of RE6, as opposed to the entirety of the review system.

I'll preface this by saying that the following post is in no way intended to insult or degrade the Giant Bomb staff's reviews, or the individual opinions held by the staff in the reviews that will be cited. I highly respect Brad, Ryan, Vinny, Patrick, Alex and Jeff and this is more a discussion that I feel I need to have, partially straighten out my own thoughts on the topic of game reviews. Also, in case it isn't evident within the very next paragraph, I also defend Resident Evil 6 to a certain extent as I am enjoying my experience with it, and it is the thing that sparked the following train of thought.

I generally tend to agree with Brad's reviews. He ends up reviewing a lot of games that I really enjoy, and we've even played online with each other once in a while. That said, considering not just his review, but those of the greater internet at large, my brain is boggled at this hate. I just absolutely do not get it whatsoever. Granted I'm only on chapter 5 of Leon's campaign, [EDIT: Finished all four campaigns, and my opinions of all the things I mention below still hold true.] and it could take a huge nosedive in quality, but as it stands now, it's one of the most exhilarating games I've played so far this year.

The intro is fantastic, the puzzle solving bits at the cathedral are reminiscent of past Resident Evil games and generally the level design is top notch. Playing through the plane level, only to land a crashing plane, and then proceed to fighting the Nemesis like creature while emptying all my clips into it, was one of the most tense and thrilling moments I've experience this year. Sure you can say that a vast majority of the plane landing sequence was relegated to quick time events, but then again, almost every game does this. That doesn't nescarilly excuse that, but to pan this game as being such a horrible offender of this is strange. I can name at least 5 current games that do this exact thing that were reviewed favorably in recent past.

I suck. You know it, I know it.
I suck. You know it, I know it.

So the aforementioned are some of the things that I enjoyed, but how about we address some of the complaints? Are they valid points in my eyes? I increasingly seem to agree with Jeff that the current review system is flawed. I can't exactly pinpoint the issues, aside from the fact that when you have such a limited score based system, people can't help but draw comparisons to other games and say well this game got two stars and it was broken, so how is it that this amazing game also got two stars, or why is this a 95 when this other game is a 95.3. It's sort of a broken system where being too granular is stupid and being to general is exactly that, too general. For example the horrible Blackwater game reviewed by Alex got 1 star, while Resident Evil got 2 stars. Does that mean that Resident Evil is only marginally better then Blackwater? I maintain that that cannot be true in any universe. By saying this, I'm not comparing review scores. I'm pointing out that this is a consequence and failing of any current review system that relies on grading the game somehow. People will inevitably compare one game to another when both share some arbitrary number or symbol, in this case stars. However this is not a discussion that I have the solution too, as there are better men then I trying to solve it.

I can't be as bad as him right?
I can't be as bad as him right?

So then I'm going to move over to more specifics. Brad cites difficulties with the controls being unwieldy, however in my experience (and I realize that this me stating my opinion over his), they are better in absolutely every respect to Resident Evil 5. They maintain that sort of accuracy when shooting that RE5 had, but have evolved to allow far better mobility in action scenes. You may say, well RE5 came out x number of years ago, so if there hadn't been improvement that would have mad, and I agree with you. But there was improvement. Any difficulty coming from controlling the game, I think stems from peoples inability to use the tools provided to the player, namely the quick shot and the prone dive. I suspect that Brad hardly used either of these because when Jeff mentioned diving out of the way of leaping enemies in the quick look, Brad sounded befuddled that that was even a possibility.

A common complaint I heard against this game was the lack of instructions. Patrick stated in the RE6 quick look that he wasn't even aware that if you use a first aid spray near your partner, it heals both of you. This was a very basic rule that was established in prior entries and Resident Evil games have adhered to for the past couple of both non main entries, as well as RE5. So the game could be at fault for failing to tutorialize it to you, but when it has been a recurring gameplay element for the past couple of games, I don't think it's completely fair to fault the game. On a certain level, I guess the developer hopes you have picked up on this, and seeing as how Brad had almost S ranked RE5, I'm surprised he has done such a 180 on Resident Evil 6.

The next part of my discussion relies on you having seen the debate posted about Resident Evil 6 on Gametrailers between Marcus and Shane, posted below for your convenience:

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In the video Marcus states that it is fine for this game be more action oriented, but that it shouldn't be called Resident Evil 6, but rather Resident Evil Stars of some side story. While I agree that by naming it Resident Evil 6 you set up certain expectations, I completely disagree that a main series entry in the game cannot evolve. Resident Evil is still a survival horror game, but perhaps the focus has shifted to be a bit more of an action thriller and I think that that is a perfectly valid step for it to go in. Does it have to be beholden to previous games, simply because it is called Resident Evil 6? It may not be what you wanted out of a new Resident Evil, but does that make it inherently bad?

Shane says that there has to be some consistency in reviewing, and that if you truly hate something like QTE's and that is one of the things that caused you to dislike Resident Evil 6, then that should be apparent in your future reviews. All games need to be docked, instead of the random pile on that Resident Evil seems to be enduring. I agree with this sentiment. I guess it just confuses me that Brad loved Resident Evil 5, but half of his complaints for RE6 were things that were present in that game as well. I would argue that the two games play identically and have very similar pacing and level structure. So the complete 180 baffles. me. Does this game deserve a 2? Who knows, and who cares? If you are enjoying the game that should be enough. It does make for an interesting debate on the role of games journalism and reviews however, and this case really helps accentuate the flaws of the game review and Metacritic systems.

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