Remember the good old days? When survival horror was an actual genre, not just a reference? Remember them well, because survival has died a gruesome death. Commercialism has penetrated the gaming industry, so everything published by a big company has to be action-packed. Horror makes no exception, so neither does Resident Evil 6.
Hopefully I’ve made clear I won’t treat Resident Evil 6 like it’s predecessors on earlier generations of consoles. It would be unfair, because it’s not even trying to give you a survival experience. It’s more like a zombie-themed action game with lots of cinematic moments. (And yes, I am aware they’re technically not zombies, but virus-induced living dead.) And action is what you’ll get.
There’s no need to save your ammunition. Most zombies are so easily killed with hand to hand-combat, you’ll have more trouble staying awake than staying alive. Even when trigger-happy and equipped with a shamefully bad aim, there’s not much to fear. Apart from quick timed events (QTE’s), that is.
Nope, not zombies, but QTE’s are your real enemy here. Your deaths will be numerous, but mainly because you can’t see QTE’s coming and you have to wiggle your stick like a maniac. Even the loneliest of men will find trouble in wiggling their stick this hard and this long. Watching somebody play Resident Evil 6 must look like watching someone with Parkinson’s holding a controller whilst having multiple epileptic attacks.
Apart from the horrible QTE’s, some of the gameplay mechanics have been tweaked for the better, considering the kind of game Capcom wants to deliver. For the first time in Resident Evil history, it’s possible to aim and strafe simultaneously. Purists might say it breaks the game’s tension, I say go play Resident Evil 4 if you want to play Resident Evil 4. Also, players can dodge incoming attacks by sliding or rolling, and shoot while lying on the ground, which makes Resident Evil 6’s combat far less frustrating than in previous installments, especially for newcomers.
Resident Evil 6 even offers some kind of cover system, which works remarkably bad and just feels rather forced. How come I can vault over this box, but not over that one? There’s just too few interactive scenery to implement a cover system. But if there were, you probably wouldn’t use it anyway since the combat is as easy as it is.
If you’re a hardcore Resident Evil fan, you might wonder what Capcom has done to keep you wanting to play this game. Not too much, I’m afraid. You’ll have to do with the fulfillment you receive from playing with protagonists from the earlier games, like Leon, Ada and Chris, and some references to the Resident Evil universe, like the story of Jake.
Every one of the mentioned characters has their own campaign. It’s basically one story, told from different perspectives. Like in Resident Evil 5, the game hopes you’ll play online or with a friend for a ‘full experience’. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with an AI partner. Luckily, unlike RE5, your AI partner is not a wasteful retard. Other than incidentally having to wait, there’s not much to get frustrated over.
Of course the different stories intertwine, and sometimes there’ll be passages where the story requires four characters to work together. Although fun in concept, some chapters get quite repetitive if you want to complete each campaign with each character. Another downside to having these four different campaigns, instead of just one or maybe two, is the gigantic difference in theme.
The Leon campaign tries to give homage to the earlier installments in the series, with slower zombies and more suspence, while Chris’ campaign feels like a seriously flawed third person shooter. Jake hangs somewhere in between and Ada has a more sneaky approach to her mission.
To add more variety to the game, different game modes are optional. Fans will be happy to learn there is again a Mercenaries mode, which might increase the replay value for some of you. There’s also the innovative possibility to become a monster in someone else’s campaign, which unfortunately sounds more promising than it is. Killing a monster is easy, and killing a player-controlled monster isn’t any different. You’ll be lucky to scratch a player, let alone become a real challenge. Think walking around for minutes, only to be shot in seconds.
Resident Evil 6 fails to deliver in awkwardly numerous ways. It doesn’t satisfy the Resident Evil enthusiast, but definitely won’t bring any new fans to the series as well. It’s just too flawed. Still, I played this game for hours and hours straight. Not because it has some kind of charm I failed to communicate above, but simply because it’s one of very few horror games released. I’m a sucker for horror, but wouldn’t recommend Resident Evil 6 to anyone who looks for more in a game.
Replay Value 6.5
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