When a game loses its soul, it loses everything.
On the third main title after rebooting the series into a more action-oriented third person shooter with horror elements Resident Evil seems to have forgotten lessons learned with the fourth and fifth iterations as well as the minimal necessary to make a Resident Evil. While Resident Evil 4 was still the series we all learned to love, Resident Evil 5 was more of a “great game, mediocre RE”. This time there’s absolutely no excuse, Resident Evil 6 isn’t a good game by any sort of standard.
Capcom chose Resident Evil to be their larger-than-life franchise, somehow that happened. A game that started minimalistic in nature, boasting large focus on exploration and puzzle-solving became a Michael Bay movie. Actually, Michael Bay could learn a thing or two about silliness after playing Resident Evil 6.
Basically every trick in the book of cringy action was used, sometimes in a matter of moments apart. Car chases, jumps over helicopters using motorcycles, avalanche run-aways, bullets flying, explosions everywhere. Lara Croft got it easy with her falls and constant moaning, these guys take a beat and won’t even shed a drop of blood.
Everything is blown way out of proportion, like it was a matter of life and death to make the most unrealistic, action-packed piece of incoherent gimmicks, mashed together just for the sake of showing off. The dialog didn’t help either, from the egotistical jibber-jabber so often uttered by Jake (the new character), to Leon’s usual cocky style. The writing takes lesson with the rest of the team, every single overused catchphrase in existence made it way into the final product. It’s so silly that it’s funny.
Another major annoyance is the omnipresence of Quick-time-events. QTE are special moments, generally in cutscenes but not always, that require the player to press one of more buttons at the right moment or move the analog stick in some distinct manner. Resident Evil 4 had those but they were somewhat rare, like escaping a boulder that otherwise would kill you or the famous Krauser fight. Resident Evil 5 brought that back and was a bit more bothersome. Resident Evil 6 on the other hand makes it almost unbearable.
What I can’t still wrap my head around is how they managed to take a step back gameplay-wise. Resident Evil 5 had taken all the right choices at least when it came to controls. You might not like the third-person control scheme but there’s no denying that if the series is bound to follow that path, the fifth installment was the best Capcom had to offer. This time the field of view is minimal, the camera is somehow stuck right behind the character model which blocks half of the screen.
The problems was so serious that Capcom had to release a free update to cater to that, so much the player-base was complaining. I had the unpleasant experience of playing through two of the main campaigns before the update and I must say that the game nauseated me in a few moments, the screen wiggled way too much and the movements felt absolutely unnatural, even for someone who played a whole bunch of the previous two installments. Something was off and while the update made things much better, widening the field of view, it’s still a step back.
There are three different campaigns you can play, somewhat similar to what the scenarios were in the first games. It’s actually superior because, at least the first three chapter are pretty unique in each. In the last two chapters the plots start to intertwine and so much that seemed to have happened out of sheer luck in previous campaigns finally get a reason behind it all.
Though the way they handled the stories is pretty satisfying, they managed to take another step back. The chapters are amazingly big, some of them might take up to two hours in the first play-through and highers difficulties.. Resident Evil 5 had broken the chapters in smaller sections and it was fine the way it was. They ranged from 5 to 45 minutes depending on whether it was your first time or not. It worked, why mess up something that worked? After huge community backlash, the free update added the option to start a chapter during different moments, like it was in Resident Evil 5 (1-1, 1-2, 1-3…).
Now they added a whole bunch of checkpoints that don’t actually save the game, instead, they just reload you in case you die. This is a much worse issue than it sounds. If you decide to stop playing at any time you need to get to the next save point, not checkpoint. I lost a few good improvements early in the game because I just couldn’t understand it. Sometimes, after you died, it would appear a typewriter (classic Resident Evil save mechanism) saying it had been saved, but it just wasn’t the case, I had to reach probably another cutscene for, who knows, get to stop playing without having to redo the last 20 minutes of gameplay.
In a chapter you might get like three or four save points while having like 20-25 checkpoints. The saving system is absolutely abysmal. At least the game doesn’t require any sort of exploration from your part, you simply walk straight and you’ll bump into the right path. Which reminds me of another issue. Capcom added a GPS system that tells you exactly where you need to go and where exactly is the item you need to get or lever you need to pull. I didn’t really want them to have this leash in me in such a linear endeavor so I disabled it, it turns out that when you disable the GPS you also disable the HUD. Really, Capcom?
One thing I thought was pretty cool in Resident Evil — or any game that features it for that matter — is how well you have your statistics laid out for you. Everything, from shots fired with each weapon to how many of each enemy you’ve killed is displayed in the record menu. You can even find how long you’ve traveled running, dashing or walking, or aboard any of the vehicles included in the game. Can’t get any better than stats.
It doesn’t feature any sort of competitive multiplayer — thank God — but it does feature one of Resident Evil 5’s best selling points, the co-op. Every one of the three campaigns is played by two characters which can be played with another person instead of the AI. The AI will pretty much hold its own and not get much in the way of what you need to do so it’s a problem at all to play this alone. It’s better than having Sheeva/Chris as partner in the fifth one, at least.
There’s also a fourth bonus campaign that was made for solo playing, after the big free update it could be played in co-op as well. I can’t stress how much of a must have this update is. It also added another difficulty setting called “No Hope”, to meet fans’ demands for a true difficult experience. It basically disables the add-ons you’re able to purchase and equip for your character while ramping up a few features like not recovering your health after dying.
Several techniques can be bought from collecting bonus points in the game, like damage reduction, better scope for the sniper rifle or superior odds of an enemy dropping items. Only three of them can be equipped at a time and some even have different levels within them, like three levels of damage reduction, each level costs much more but yields more favorable results.
In Resident Evil 4 the series started a trend of slowly losing its survival-horror soul. Though this game might have some creepy locations and a few moments which the atmosphere reminds the good old days, as a whole this is an action game, A Gears of War with a worse cover and evade system.
To cover you need to press a whole bunch of buttons and keep the shoulder pressed. To go off cover and shoot is weird since having only the laser sight you only get to know where you’re aiming when you’re unprotected. The added aiming system might halp if you haven’t disabled it like me, but it’s still to wide to be of any use other than finding the enemy’s general direction.
Evading is another pain. Why they chose to make reloading a single press of a button while using the evasive jump it’s required to ready-up the battle stance. Again, both situations in Gears of War are much more intuitive, the cover slide is awesome, you can’t simply stay in cover without having to hold any button and the evasive maneuver is performed by simply pressing a button and the direction you’re willing to go. If you want make a Gears of War at least make it right.
Two other modes aside from the main one are available. One of them is the now recurrent Mercenaries which hasn’t changed much. You still have to fight your way through hordes of enemies trying to score high and get more time to do so. The other one is actually interesting, it’s called Agent Hunt and you get to join random people’s games as the enemy. It seems that even first timers can have people joining their game if they chose to enable it in the mane before the game starts, which can cause trouble.
Resident Evil is one gigantic mess of a game, not entirely bad because it’s not completely broken, just a hassle to play while having the two previous games in mind. The level os silliness is unbearable, the controls have taken a major hit and while Capcom moved fast to offer a free update that solved at least a few of its more technical problems, the problems regarding the game itself are beyond fixing. A sad moment for one of the best series video-games has to offer.