Resident Evil 6 Review!
Overview:Systems: PS3, XBOX 360
Pros:Great horror-themed visuals, tons of replay value, well implemented controls, zombies return!
Cons:Frustrating scripted running scenes, heavy use of quick time events.
Experience new terrors in the next installment of the Resident Evil franchise. Join series veterans Leon Kennedy and Chris Redfield as they fight their way through monstrous hordes to end the viral outbreak. Will they stop the spread of infection in time or will the turn into another Raccoon City?
Ever since Resident Evil’s humble beginnings on the original Playstation, it has always been a defining figure in the survival-horror genre. Throughout the years the backtracking, puzzle-solving game we came to respect has evolved into a full on action-horror game with a different gameplay style to match. Resident Evil 6 takes this evolution and pushes it one step further, offering a solid action-oriented control scheme with many great survival situations that take us back to the days of fleeing from a group of zombies with only eight bullets and a green herb to keep us safe from the horrors.
A mysterious organization has unleashed a new strain of virus that is turning people into the walking dead and producing new Bio-Organic Weapons (BOW’s), all of which the people trying to stop this outbreak must face head-on. RE6 takes us through four campaigns, spanning the entirety of the game’s story. Leon Kennedy teams up with fellow agent Helena Harper as they fight to bring down the people responsible for the crisis. They eventually cross paths with series veteran Chris Redfield and Piers Nivans, BSAA agents who are trying to put an end to the production of BOW’s. Both teams also encounter Jake Muller and Sherry Birkin who are trying to escape the outbreak and retrieve the data needed for a cure. After completing these three separate campaigns, a fourth is unlocked that sees another returning survivor attempting to survive the chaos.
The story is done exceptionally well, making good use of in-game conversation and cut scenes to develop events and relay information. The story is much faster paced than previous games, making it clear that the player is in the midst of a zombie outbreak and time is of the essence. The main outbreak is once again a virus rather than a parasite, making the distribution of the strain much harder to contain as it is in a gaseous form that only needs to be inhaled to spread. Each character has their own motivations as well as personal reasons for being involved with each organization and the outbreak itself, which the game does a fantastic job of presenting as the player progresses through each separate campaign. Each separate storyline is interconnected and plays out as one complete story overall, playable in any order.
With each new release, the Resident Evil franchise is constantly evolving. The first title in the series gave players a stiff third-person control system that offered very limited movement and had an unforgiving survival aspect to it. The core gameplay of the series shifted with Resident Evil 4, moving to a more traditional third-person control scheme. RE6 takes this new change and multiplies the awesome factor delivering a fully functional, action-based gameplay style. This is a change that is blasted by many long-time traditional Resident Evil fans, but when it comes down to it this is a necessary change. We are no longer controlling the lives of scared rookie police officers who are lost as to what is going on. These are very experienced and hardened agents that see a zombie virus outbreak as another day on the job. They no long run from the horrors in an attempt to survive, but dive head-first guns blazing into each swarm to put an end to the chaos. Players needed a top-notch action system in order to feel like we’re controlling one of these elite operatives, and the developers did an amazing job giving us a wide array of available actions to battle the new monstrosities.
Not only do players have a free range of movement and aiming, there are also many evasive maneuvers to avoid attacks, such as dodging, rolling, sliding, and even remaining on the ground after each to deliver a quick attack. Melee attacks play a large part in the action, especially for Jake. Physical attacks are often more effective than a rushed gunshot, creating some buffer space between you and your attacker. Quick-time events make an unfortunate return, but are simple for the most part and more difficult to miss than to succeed. Players will also be forced to complete certain chase scenes in which they must run toward the camera while staying a certain distance from their pursuer. This is a source of much frustration with odd camera angles and changing controls based on camera direction, but this only happens a couple of times per campaign.
Following the games before it, Resident Evil 6 once again takes the graphics to the next level boasting realistic lighting and nice smooth visuals that keep your eyes happy without slowing down the framerate. The textures are impressively crisp , and are exhibited in highly detailed environments that immerse you right into the darkness. The back alleys of China faintly glow with neon lights and underground catacombs are eerily dark, save for the dancing flames of each precious torch. High-speed chase scenes are a completely lag free experience despite the numerous explosions and the detailed landscape speeding by.
For the most part, animations are done very well. Between the multitudes of actions the player can perform the character on screen transitions between each flawlessly. There are a few off animations that are borderline humorous, such as the strange cycles while rapidly changing guns or the awkwardly extended arm resulting from giving your partner a thumbs up, but in the midst of a desperate struggle this is the last thing on the player’s mind. From aiming to sprint followed by a roll into a sliding shot, the character never fails to naturally glide into the next action without ever generating a “that’s not even physically possible” response from the player.
Each enemy displays very realistic movement in their animations. Zombies will shuffle their way in your direction and often clumsily sprint directly toward you, causing rising tension as they approach. Many of the enemies have an unsettling air about them simply from the way they move and approach you. It is very difficult to convey this sort of emotional response from a small detail such as this, but is absolutely necessary for any horror title.
The Resident Evil series has always been known for its creepy music, silent exploration, and monstrous cries alerting the player of danger. RE6 doesn’t miss a step in this department, giving each creature its own unique sounds and terrifying howls. The score is very movie-like, keeping a heavy orchestration throughout and generally guiding the mood of the gameplay. Action scenes will feature fast-paced tracks while exploration keeps the traditional silence, with audio cues in between each step to subtly alert the player of what’s to come.
Resident Evil 6 is a very impressive title, and a great new direction for the series. While I am one of those that miss the classic survival-horror gameplay of the earlier games, I am thoroughly pleased with the changes made in this game. It plays like a complete action experience while at the same time reminds us where the horror in survival-horror comes from. When the impressive graphics, eerie soundscapes, and fluid control scheme all combine into one whole, we get an amazing game that is nowhere near deserving of a the low ratings that it has received since release. Sure it may be different and out of the norm for a “classic” Resident Evil title, but the changes that have been introduced since those days have mostly served to give us a better gameplay experience and have never failed to do so. RE6 is a must-play, and I would go far as to say a must-own, as players will keep coming back to once again spend hours upon hours in Mercenaries mode with the plethora of levels and characters, each with their own unlockable uniforms. Skill points earned in The Mercenaries mode can also be used in single player, giving yet another reason to play this mode to no end. Co-op, whether it is in The Mercenaries mode or in the main campaigns, is very well implemented and makes for a great multiplayer experience. The horrors within this game await you; will you make it out alive?
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