It's October, the month of Halloween and scary things. I was planning on reviewing a few horror games this month, but the games that I chose turned out to be a bit longer than I expected. As a result, I decided to break up my review of Resident Evil 6 into each individual campaign.
First, I want to talk about the Resident Evil 6 Archives set pictured up there. The 360 version isn't as impressive as the PS3 one (which contains almost all of the RE games), but it's still a nice value. I picked it up on eBay for $15. If you decide to try to grab this, make sure you're getting a new copy. Everything aside from the movie and RE6 comes in the form of a download code.
CODE: Veronica is probably my favorite RE game (next to Nemesis), and I wanted to play the HD version. Unfortunately, this HD version is definitely not the best way to experience the game, but that's another review. I actually already had Resident Evil: Degeneration on Blu-Ray, and while I'm not much of a fan of 4, I did always want to check out the DLC for 5 (even though I had a violently negative reaction to the game). So, overall, I got what I wanted for a less than I would've paid for the two story DLCs for RE5 alone.
Right off the bat, I'll say that I really don't like where the RE series has gone. I've never liked 4 and I think 5 is an atrocious game. It's unplayable without someone playing the game co-op with you. I heard nearly nothing positive about Resident Evil 6. I didn't want to like the game. I wanted to hate it. I want those tank controls and pre-rendered backgrounds again. I want Chris Redfield's bicep to be smaller than his head. I want zombies in my Resident Evil.
Then Conan didn't raise my expectations for this game any.
As I put the game in, I remembered Jim Sterling's scathing review. The start of the game seemed to confirm my desire to hate everything about it as correct. It's a half speed slog through a dark alleyway littered with QTEs as you drag your injured partner to safety. I turned the game off in boredom about midway through the intro.
A few days later, I tried again. I made it through the intro. I was wholly unimpressed by the first chapter. Another half speed slog through a college campus with some irrelevant tertiary characters who would clearly be dead within 20 minutes. A trip through a subway and some city streets which demonstrated a lack of ammo. The end of the chapter presented a boss that took me about 20 minutes to kill because I kept having to kill zombies to get ammo. Through all of this though, I found myself enjoying the game. The return to a more urban area seemed to bring something back to the series that it has been missing. No longer are we in some bizarre vaguely eastern European area (Resident Evil 4), or brightly lit Africa (Resident Evil 5) with some (not so) subtle racism sprinkled throughout. We're back to the city, where an outbreak would wreak the most havoc.
Let's discuss the mechanics a bit before continuing. The greatest improvement to the game from RE5 comes to the partner system. You don't need to pay a damn bit of attention to the AI partner in this game. They take care of themselves. They don't leech your ammo. They have their own inventory and their inventory has gloriously unlimited ammo. They don't seem to die, either. Of course there are segments where you'll need to protect your partner, or you'll need their help opening a door but these sections don't seem like a chore. The AI's competency lessens the stress of these, and they go by painlessly.
The biggest failing of the game is probably the physics system. Character movement can be outright awkward. Your biggest obstacle in this game is a dead body on the floor. Have you ever been playing a game and walked over a body on the floor and thought "I shouldn't just clip through the body, there should be some physical reaction?" Well, that is a horrible idea and this game proves it. If there's a body on the floor, you'll trip over it. The first time it happens you will be wildly confused and it took me a while to figure out exactly what was happening. This was just a poor design choice. It doesn't really hamper you, but it is annoying.
Another thing... zombie wrestling.
GOOD GAWD ALMIGHTY!!!
AS GAWD IS MY WITNESS HE IS BROKEN IN HALF!!!!!
I'm not really sure where the fuck this came from, but you can seriously just go around kicking zombies in the face and doing wrestling moves and shit on them. I'm not really sure how I feel about this. It's ridiculous...but it's fun? It feels so out of place but goddammit I can't help but like it. I mean, how many times do you some slow ass lumbering zombie in a game or movie and thought "why don't you just kick it and beat the shit out of it?" RE6 lets you do just that.
THAT'S LEON'S MUSIC!!
As far as the story goes, I'm not entirely sure what's going on. The campaign is definitely designed to have you piece events together after playing through all of them. Leon's campaign crossed paths with all of the other campaigns, so I'm assuming everything will be filled in. Then again, it's an RE game. It may make no sense at the end anyways.
Let's be clear, this game is far from the survival horror-type RE games that I love, but I can accept it this time because it's designed to be this way. Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5 control exactly the same as the earlier Resident Evil games. Seriously, play one of the "tank control" games and play 4 or 5. The controls work exactly the same, just with a third person camera. I found that it killed the momentum of the games since those games were meant to be action games but had the controls of a slow, deliberate survival-horror game. This game was designed as an action game and the controls work for it. The pace is fast and even though the physics are off, everything is responsive.
Honestly, I found that the more bombastic sections work well. If there was some kind of viral zombie outbreak, it would be chaotic and RE6 captures this well. This has been a point of criticism from other reviews, but at least for Leon's campaign I thought it worked.
I will concede that the final boss battle of the campaign is a bit too ridiculous. You'll find yourself scaling a massive building with everything burning and an ominous Umbrella logo on the ground that totally isn't supposed to be obvious until the end. It totally is obvious though.
I'm breaking these reviews up because I've read that the campaigns in this game vary wildly in quality. Taken on its own, I found Leon's campaign to be the best Resident Evil content since the Resident Evil remake on Gamecube. The urban areas recall Raccoon City in the best way possible and the chaotic scenes portray the sense of panic that would surely follow an outbreak event. There are highs and there are lows, but I had a whole lot of fun playing through this.
Leon's Campaign: 8.5/10