Resident Evil 6 Review
publisher: Capcom Entertainment
developer: Capcom Entertainment
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Oct 02, 12
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The creepy atmosphere was always a trademark of the Resident Evil video game series. With every game, the developers managed to create unique situations where the characters had to fend off blood-starved zombies and every situation would be exciting, to say the least. Cool monsters, compelling gameplay mechanics, scary surroundings, are all elements that made the series tick. In most games the central characters had to deal with a local outbreak, so things were usually confined to one region, town or village. Again, it's all about intelligent design and Capcom's knack for creating tense scenes came across in almost every RE title we played. You just felt the need to stay alive and keep going. With Resident Evil 4, the developers really nailed it and with Resident Evil 5, the series excelled and added co-op gameplay. We were, therefore, hoping that Resident Evil 6 would somehow provide an amalgamation of all the qualities of its famed predecessors. Mind you, when we first caught a glimpse of the game, during the E3 2012, we had some concerns. These concerns were heightened when we first began playing the review build.
Resident Evil 6 hurls you into a slightly confusing, story-telling pattern. We began playing the game with Leon as the lead character. You can also choose to start the storyline as Chris Redfield or Jake Muller. The story in the game is actually rather intricate, although it takes too long to unfold and the way it unfolds is somewhat problematic. Fans are surely going to recognize many of the characters. On the other hand, I'm not sure that even the most faithful Resident Evil fans will be able to discern what's going on and how it all lead to the events that take place in Resident Evil 6.
There, zombies. I told they were zombies!
Partying with zombies.
The story itself unfurls rather clumsily, as players march through scenes of destruction and intense shootouts for whatever reason. You experience the story from various perspectives, which is fine and all, although tying it all into a thread that makes sense is something many gamers won't have patience for. Partly because the Resident Evil backstory has always been a bit confusing, and in part because this probably one of the worst plots they've come up with yet. At least in RE 5 they explain things more clearly when Chris talks at the beginning of the game. Also, I miss having to read those diaries, data and letters while exploring areas in RE 5. They were all important segments of the storyline and they create a proper backstory. Whereas in this game, all you get is perplexing bits and pieces which aren't easy to put together. You understand it once you've finished playing the game with every character and even then a lot is left unexplained about the characters that are reintroduced (or introduced for the first time). Okay, there are a few eye-openers here that might please hardcore fans, but they are insignificant and overshadowed by a story that's poorly told.
Despite the mystifying narrative, the biggest flaw of Resident Evil 6 lies within its action-oriented gameplay, which primarily focuses on the kind of on-the-rails type of mechanics we've all come to loathe in modern-day shooters. Another dreadful thing about gameplay is having to endure through an often excruciating series of quick-time events. Quick-time events (QTEs) were used in previous Resident Evil games (thinking of RE4 and RE5 here) and they were usually brief and relatively straightforward (some were actually quite fine). In RE 6 the action and the flow of gameplay is interrupted by QTEs, which are regularly a lot more frustrating rather than fun - and fun is what they're supposed to be right? Right. What's more, no matter which character story you happen to be playing, the game generally overemphasizes action, rather than the battle for survival, which was always a traditional element of the series. Now, this element may have already started to dwindle with the release of Resident Evil 5, but in RE 6 it's absent completely.
Normally, we would have nothing against playing a Resident Evil game that focuses on action. There's nothing wrong with taking the series in that direction, especially now that the main characters actually moves (albeit slowly) while shooting. They've even made the interface and inventory easier-to-use. This also may not be something Resident Evil fans will expect. Most of them (myself included) actually enjoyed taking their sweet old time sorting out weapons and items in the inventory. It offered a more subtle, more tactical approach to the gameplay, allowing players to develop their own combat style according to the weapons they chose and then gradually upgraded. This time around, the whole upgrade system has been changed and it sucks. First of all, it takes too long to accumulate enough skill points and when you finally get a chance to upgrade the character's abilities -- weapon damage, defense etc. -- it bears little influence on the actual gameplay.
In reference to graphics and overall design quality, Resident Evil is an impressive achievement, particularly when it comes to monster design. The art department at Capcom did one hell of a job once more and that also goes for the animation team. There are some pretty cool-looking urban environments too. Generally, the visuals, sound effects and the music are as top-notch and compelling as in Resident Evil 5. So, kudos to Capcom on that one, at least.
There's just one problem. All those cool elements Capcom so assertively took away are sorely missed. We mainly refer to classic Resi-style inventory management, basically slower more tactical gameplay that's focused on survival and other traditional bits that made the series so great in the first place. The main issue here comes in the form of those idiotic QTEs. Just when you think you've managed to stay on your feet long enough to enjoy slaughtering an army of bloodthirsty zombies, that's when the game takes away the fun by locking players into yet another long-drawn-out segment of button-pressing agony.
The game is visually quite impressive in some instances, Capcom's still able to dazzle us with its brilliant and unique monster designs, I guess there are some eye-openers fans will be glad about;
Badly structured narrative, they basically took everything we know and love about the franchise and replaced it with lousy gameplay mechanics, a confusing story and a shitload of badly implemented (mostly broken) quick-time events that are frustrating as hell.