Resident Evil 6 Review
By: Jimmy Kovalski
Rating: M for Mature (Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language and Suggestive Themes)
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and at a later date PC
Release Date: October 2nd 2012
Truly a beautiful disaster.
Resident Evil 6 is in ways like Frankenstein’s Monster. It is put together by many different pieces to try and create the perfect game that can please you no matter what type of gameplay you like. There are 4 separate campaigns with 5 chapters each that all play differently and tell a different side to the over-arching story. You have the old school survival horror campaign of Leon Kennedy, the over the top third person action game that is the Chris Redfield’s campaign, the mix of horror/action that is Jake Muller’s campaign and the stealth based puzzle filled campaign of Ada Wong. This all sounds great right? Well it’s not.
The plot of Resident Evil 6 revolves around yet another virus: the C-Virus. This virus, like the others, transforms its victims into zombies, monsters and other terrifying creatures. The game puts you into the shoes of many different playable characters and it’s your job to figure out who is behind the attacks and how to save humanity. Each campaign tells one side of the story, and you will never truly understand the whole thing until you complete the three main campaigns: Leon, Chris and Jake. Once you complete these, Ada’s campaign opens up and fills any questions you may have. The story is really nothing special as it tells the same old story of bio-terrorism, betrayal and plot twists that we have become accustomed to with a Resident Evil game. Resident Evil storylines are usually never anything to write home about, but RE6 just feels flat. There is a central enemy, but they never really form into a good enemy, the plot twists you can see from a mile away, most of the set pieces are more of an annoyance than a memorable moment, and the overall story is just bland. The game does take you to a few different locations, including the United States, Europe and China. The actual places you are in vary from a snow covered mountain, a rural United States town, a busy Chinese city and even an underwater laboratory. Occasionally you will be in the same environment for a little longer than you want, but there is a nice mixture of scenery to switch things up a bit from time to time. It is not the worst story I have witnessed in a game, and at times I was intrigued, but by the end I really just didn’t care about the overall outcome of this adventure.
As stated previously, RE6 tries to cram many different gameplay styles into one package, and it doesn’t really work the way you would hope. For example, they advertise Leon’s campaign as an old school Resident Evil experience, and for the first chapter of his campaign they are right, but it all just turns into an over the top action movie by the end. This is the case with all campaigns as in the end, they just boil down to an action game. All the campaigns, except Ada’s, are playable with another person. If you are playing with the A.I. don’t worry, they are much better this time around. They cannot die, have infinite ammo, and will help you properly when needed. The only issue is they sometimes are too busy fighting to help you open a door when you just want to move on. Capcom introduces three brand new characters into the RE universe: Helena Harper, Jake Muller and Piers Nivans. I actually came to like all these new characters as each brought something new to the series. The only problem I had is that none of them had a fleshed out backstory. This is disappointing because you really do want to figure out more about each person. Jake Muller is actually one of the most important characters in the game. Not only is he the son of Albert Wesker, but he also has the one and only cure for the C-Virus: his blood. His story is an interesting one, but like the others, it’s not fleshed out enough.
Resident Evil 6’s biggest fault is its gameplay. For the first time in the main series you can walk and shoot. Took them long enough, but it’s finally here. For me, however, something just feels “off” with the shooting. It is not very satisfying at all and just feels slow and unresponsive at times. There are also times where you are not really sure if your bullets are actually doing anything to the enemies as most normal enemies take so many bullets before even flinching. There are moments, mostly during boss fights, where you will not know if you need to unload on the enemy or just wait for a cut-scene to trigger. This happens far too often and sometimes leaves you with no ammo moving forward in the level. You can now freely melee enemies whenever you feel the need to. Gone are the days of popping a zombie in the knee and running up to them for an uppercut. You can melee at your own leisure, but again, it feels a bit slow and sluggish and sometimes leaves you in a very vulnerable position open for attacks. There are some pretty nice environmental kills, however, and when the melee actually works, it feels very satisfying—but that’s when it works.
The most damning thing about the gameplay is the horrendous quick time events. QTE’s have been around for a while now but never before have they been so frequent and just bad. At every corner you turn there is a QTE. If an enemy grabs you, there is a QTE. Door in your way? Don’t worry, QTE. The simple act of crawling on the ground or climbing a rope is considered QTE in this game. Some of these can be very difficult and require god-like reflexes. There were times I thought I was going to break my analog stick just trying to break free from an enemy. Pacing is also a problem in RE6. You are constantly pulled from the action by the game making you focus on something happening. This sometimes happens in the middle of battle which leaves you vulnerable to attack because the camera is pointing at a certain area for a good amount of time; even though you are fighting enemies.
To top it off, after these sequences, the game leaves you facing the wrong direction or away from the action, leaving you open for enemies to attack you. There are also cutscenes after everything you do which also pulls you from the game. The menus are a point of concern as well. They are too deep for their own good and very clumsy. And the simple act of using an herb to heal yourself can be downright frustrating at times because even if you have an herb, it doesn’t mean you can use it. You need to manually go into your inventory and put the herb into your quick-use slot. Yet another terrible thing is the game’s “down but not out” feature. You can be put into a downed state where you can continue to shoot enemies and fend for your life. There are two options here: wait for your partner to come and heal you or wait till a bar fills up and you get back up. However, if you are hit just once during this state, you will die. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Well, the problem is that only one hit after you get back up will kill you. This includes when your partner helps you. At times I didn’t even regain control of my character after getting up before I was killed immediately. You will learn quickly that most of your deaths won’t be because you are bad at the game but because the game is very cheap.
The game also does away with the currency system and customization of your guns and replaces them with a perk system. Throughout the game you will collect skill points which can then be used to buy perks for your character. There are multiple loadouts you can create and a bunch of perks to buy. However, the useful skills are very difficult to buy due to the enormously high price tag, and it feels like the perks never really change the game at all. I would have much rather had the old currency system that allowed you to upgrade your guns. The game also comes packed with Mercenaries mode and a new mode called Agent Hunt. Mercenaries is largely unchanged from previous entries and still feels a bit tacked-on. Agent Hunt is actually an awesome idea. The objective is that you can invade other people’s games as a monster and your goal is to kill them. Sounds great on paper, and it’s a shame the execution is so bad. The mode is pretty much broken as it has bad controls and even worse camera angles. The gameplay just tries to please too many people. There are terrible driving sequences and even slow motion shooting sequences ripped right from a Call of Duty game.
Sounds like there is nothing good with this game, right? Well, that’s not entirely true. The game’s overall presentation is outstanding. The game graphically is gorgeous. Character models look great and environments look good. Occasionally you will see a muddy texture, but this game is still a treat for the eyes. The sound design is also spot on with the score nailing the somber mood and voice acting being the best around. While the character stories aren’t fleshed out enough, the voice actors do a great job making the characters sound convincing and because of the voice acting, I truly did find myself caring for the characters in this game. It’s a shame the story did not do them justice. The guns however do sound a bit cheap. The monsters are beautifully designed and terrifying. This game by far has the best monster design that the series has seen. One standout has to be the Ustanak. This brutally terrifying creature reminds me a lot of Nemesis only more scary. The parts of the game where you are running from him or trying to sneak around a cave without alerting him are high points by far. Another of my favorite creatures is the giant invisible snake that you fight in Chris’s campaign. You walk your way through a building as the snake slithers by time to time picking off your squad mates. This moment in the game is really the only time the game resembles anything close to survival-horror, so be prepared to never jump at all.
Resident Evil 6 is a huge step back for this storied series. It does pack a lot of content and the story will take you a good 15-20 hours to see through but it just tries to do too much and please too many people. The bland and forgettable story and the terrible, and at times head scratching, gameplay choices make Resident Evil 6 a bad game. There are very brief moments of a great game here, but you must go through way too much crap to get to them. Die-hard RE fans will find some enjoyment out of it, but for the rest of us, I guess it’s back to playing Resident Evil 1-4.
+Great, convincing voice acting
+A ton of content
+Great monster designs
-Shooting and melee combat feels slow, sluggish and unresponsive
-Way too many frustrating and annoying quick time events
-Bland, forgettable story
-Poor boss fights
-Lack-luster set pieces
-Mercenaries still feels tacked on
-Agent hunt is a good idea but plays poorly
Final Verdict: 5.5/10
Price at Review: $60
RE6 packs a lot of content but I strongly recommend you stay away from this game. If you have to play it, wait for it to hit the bargain bin.