RELEASED: October 2012
AVAILABLE ON: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Albert Wesker might be dead and buried, but despite the loss of its chief antagonist, the Resident Evil franchise seems to be alive and well. Many things have changed during the sixteen years that have passed since the very first installment in this most classic survival horror series, all the way from the core design team to the very orientation of the core gameplay - not to mention the cinematic values. First teased in late 2011, Resident Evil 6 was to be a dramatic ensemble game, with many playable characters ranging from enigmatic newbies to worshipped vets, core gameplay that would have the best of every Resident Evil that came before, and finally, a whole truckload of its own tricks. Resident Evil 6 is the first true horror game in the main series since Resident Evil Code: Veronica. Resident Evil 6 is the most cinematic game in the whole series. Resident Evil 6 is the most action-packed game of 'em all. Resident Evil 6 is the ultimate Resident Evil experience. ...What is it, again? All of these things, or just one of them? Or NONE of them?
Zombie kept a-comin'
Roger Craig Smith : Chris Redfield
Christopher Emerson : Piers Nivans
Courtenay Taylor : Ada Wong / Carla Radames
Matthew Mercer : Leon S. Kennedy
Laura Bailey : Helena Harper
Troy Baker : Jake Muller
Eden Riegel : Sherry Birkin
Joe Cappelletti : Derek C. Simmons
Salli Saffioti : Ingrid Hunnigan
Dave Mallow : HQ
Two massive viral outbreaks on opposite sides of the world leave people with the dramatic conclusion that there is no hope left for the human race. Six people are caught in the middle of both events. Government agent Leon S. Kennedy and his partner Helena Harper are turned fugitives for the assassination of the U.S. President and being the main suspects in the case of the outbreak in Tall Oaks, USA. Meanwhile in Lanshiang, China, B.S.A.A. Captain Chris Redfield is dragged back to active duty by a young soldier named Piers Nivans after a tragically failed mission some months back. Raccoon City survivor turned agent for the National Security Advisor, Sherry Birkin, seeks out a young mercenary named Jake Muller, who is completely immune to any virus, and whose blood is therefore invaluable to the world.
|The bastard son of Albert Wesker meets the |
bastard son of Steve Burnside and the Nemesis.
The driving force of the story is that even if the series' main antagonist Albert Wesker is dead (like DEAD-DEAD-DEAD!!!), double agent Ada Wong STILL lives, as shown in the end of Resident Evil 4, after dying at least twice during the series' timeline. The game feasts on the common thesis that this bitch just won't die - you'll see. Additionally, Wesker's unique genes still exist in his son, who serves as one of the three main protagonists - his evil heritage doubled with his nasty attitude makes him kinda suspicious from the beginning, which in turn serves as a great dramatic backdrop for any interaction between him and series stalwart Chris Redfield. So, even after having witnessed Wesker's ultimate demise and at the same time, the supposed demise of Resident Evil, I'd say this game has got a platform for good storytelling in the bag. And sure, the story is great. Its on/off execution aside - such as the whole character of Helena Harper (what a fucking useless whiner!) - it will be the main reason for you to bear with the game's mistakes, if you're half a die-hard. It has some ridiculously epic scenes, the kinds of which we've never seen in this game - an underwater battle with a huge, mutated fish, a falling plane filled with zombies, and even the most ultimate of sacrifices made by a playable character for nothing but the greater good. Where can the franchise possibly go from here, besides down? That's what I'm afraid of - while cinematically very impressive, Resident Evil 6 isn't that awesomely great a game to begin with, and I have a terrible feeling we're going to see something even worse if the main series is continued, now that they've used their best chops. Does Resident Evil 6 pave way for yet another sequel? Yes, it does - by far, the only thing missing from this story is true closure.
|Things are not very dandy in China tonight.|
Co-op isn't quite as essential as it was in Resident Evil 5 - as proven by the game having NO multiplayer Trophies/Achievements at all; I'm sure the game would reach another level with a friend beside you, but in Resident Evil 5, having a friend tagged along raised the game to whole new spheres, after which you couldn't return to the single-player campaign, 'cause your partner's A.I. sucked, and it sucked bad. Well, in this game, your A.I. partners cannot die except in choice scenes that test your reaction speed, and they cannot use consumable items, nor can they pick them up for you. They have infinite ammo to boot, so it's no wonder if you can't even feel their presence from time to time. The only reason for you to risk your butt to save them is that they're very capable of thinning the numbers of enemies whose numbers are hard enough to thin as it is. If co-operation with the A.I. - not to mention the inventory system - was as clumsy as it was in Resident Evil 5, this game would frankly be completely unplayable. I'm glad they worked on the comfort of the single-player campaign as opposed to the co-op, but of course, I find myself a little disappointed with the fact that the game is damn easy, once you figure out how to get around its quirks.
These are some of the basics I needed to get out of the way before actually reviewing the game. For those not really that into Resident Evil, I'll do the favour of a short summary. The game is easy to summarize. It's a cinematic thrill ride beyond pleasure, but it suffers just as much as it benefits from it. It's somewhat dumb, incoherent, and tedious. It does not cash in on nearly all of the theoretical hype. It's not the new Resident Evil 2 or Resident Evil 4, and it's not much of a successor to Resident Evil 5, either. BUT, a game that yields a Trophy called Zombie Massacre, for defeating 500 zombies, as early as in under six or seven in-game hours, over the course of one single campaign, can't be half bad by any possible measure. Ugly - meet shotgun. Shotgun - meet ugly.
|She's back, she's hot, she's enfuriating.|
The only thing bothering me about the acting is that it takes three different actors to build a Resident Evil character nowadays; the voice actor, the stuntman, and the model. You know what the problem is, so I'll not overanalyze this - I'll just say what needs to be said. The voiceover work is superb, the best in the series. Now we all know better than to even count the first three or four games anymore. Roger Craig Smith and Salli Saffioti are the only actors to reprise their respective roles as Chris Redfield and Ingrid Hunnigan. It's kind of distracting that they keep switching actors for certain characters all the time, but there's not much essential difference between the guys who did Leon in Resident Evil 4 (Paul Mercier) and this game (Matthew Mercer); hell, even their last names are almost the same. Great voiceover work raises Sherry's character to a whole new level from the annoying bitch for a kid she was in Resident Evil 2, and Troy Baker further presses on the damn fact that Jake's a character to watch out for in the possible future. Luckily he's such a great character; I didn't enjoy his campaign all that much, with all those damn QTE's and vehicular sequences being the proverbial wedge lodged between me and utter pleasure. The music's greater and more noticeable than it's ever been, but I think the Batman-schtick (you'll know) is used a bit too much nowadays. I hate the Mercenaries' theme, though - tongue-in-cheek's got limits.
The unavoidable tutorial sequence stars Leon and Helena, and theirs is at the top of the campaign list, so let's start with that. An official, encyclopedic description of this scenario would be something along the lines of: "atmospheric survival horror in the vein of Resident Evil 2, fit into the gameplay mold of Resident Evil 4". Well, the atmosphere does work, but only for about a half of the campaign. Most of it's really just action. Until the obvious breakpoint in the story that sees this duo travelling to China to join the rest of the characters, you might experience a few slight scares and some of you will most definitely be delighted by the return of the true living dead as opposed to the brainwashed human individuals we've been blasting to oblivion for the last decade. To be completely honest with you, I think I ultimately enjoyed Leon's campaign the most. It has the most awe-inspiring cinematic moments, the most unique gameplay sequences, and the adaptation of some classic scenes from the ghost of Resident Evils past into this environment is kinda cool. However, some of the button prompts are just plain stupid and they last forever - like the L1 + R1 climb which you have to use the most out of the whole game in this one campaign - and it has the most annoying and resilient enemies in the whole game, like the main antagonist, and that one regular enemy that just keeps knocking you over with his scream and then running away like a bitch. There are a lot of boss fights, but after the fish, the fight on the falling plane, and another boss fight in a subway train on a one-way trip to hell, nothing really feels like anything anymore, except dull. Sudden deaths are a-plenty; there's no way for you to survive the whole deal with a good rank on the first time around, if you're out to find the collectables. And, your heavily breathing partner was created to annoy the shit out of you with her inability to just spit things out and refrain from blaming herself for everything that was ever wrong with the world. She's lucky her model is hot. On another positive note, I was pleased with how things turned out in the end - Leon had probably the best and most carefully written ending in the game.
|There's always time for some teasing.|
If all of the above doesn't sound so bad, get this. OK, so from day one, your basic healing item's been the Green Herb. When you pick up a Green Herb, it goes to the inventory... but to USE it, you need to assign it to the HUD, from where you use it by pressing R2. It doesn't go there automatically. You know why? Because the game developers couldn't let go of the Red Herb. Apparently, the Red Herb was so important to them that they decided to sacrifice the joy and consistency of gameplay for it. So, only in the inventory screen (which doesn't pause the action, by the way) you can mix the Green and Red Herbs to get... yeah, what exactly? Well, multiple Green Herbs, which you must then assign to the HUD to be able to use them!!! GOD DAMN IT! How fucking far can they go with this system before they realize they MUST let it go, just like they did with the typewriters?! Since you cannot pause the game when you go to the inventory, mixing those herbs just to get a few more at once might cost you your damn life! Oh yeah, and they do take up inventory space. Just like ammo stacks only to a certain amount.
The last problem I'll mention for now is the problem I have with the new Combat Gauge. It's right there under your health squares in the HUD, and it determines your current physical aptitude; in other words, your current hand-to-hand combat strength, and your ability to perform certain actions. The latter is key. I had no problem with it at all before I was nearing the end of Chris' campaign; in one certain non-combat sequence, it's unforgivingly hard to merely survive if you haven't bought and equipped an upgrade for the Combat Gauge. There are way more important upgrades for the whole game than this one that practically just applies for one single sequence. Why does it matter to anything else besides combat? It's called COMBAT GAUGE, right? They should've kept it that! I'll save the rest about the skills for later, you can be sure I have a few more words about 'em.
|Can I use your phone, man?|
Any sane person that grew up with Resident Evil 2 wouldn't want to play as Sherry, especially when Jake's around to impress, but I must say the annoying brat from Raccoon City is all grown up, into an attractive young lady... with some serious weapon skills and a Wolverine-like ability to heal extremely quick, thanks to the G-Virus strain her dear old daddy Bill injected her with back in the "good old times". Sherry and Jake make for a good duo, and being such an interesting character in just about every possible way - the kind of which I thought impossible to create in this day and age of the Resident Evil franchise - Jake namely promises great things as the main protagonist of a whole single-player campaign. Jake's campaign is the shortest out of the three main campaigns, and unfortunately, as well as ironically, it has the most useless crap in it. Tedious sequences such as a chaotic motorcycle ride that doesn't allow one single mistake to be made - and of course, they're hard not to make since you can't properly make out what you're driving at - not to mention the previous motorsled escape from a mountain cabin, or previous to that, the search for three small keys on that very same mountain, in the middle of a fucking snowstorm and being hounded by constantly respawning J'avo. I tell you, after two good, but disappointing campaigns, I was almost ready to call it quits right here. I mean, what good things could the game offer me anymore? After I decided to grit my teeth, I truly hoped for the better, but I never got it. There are way too many Quick Time Events, way too many sudden deaths, way too many annoying sequences in which you simply just don't know where to go, and which are not made any easier by your partner that has a tendency to disappear. Actually, they go to the place where they're supposed to be to make progress. That's great - what would be even greater is a functional GPS for YOU to find the place where you're supposed to be to make progress. After all this shit I've frisbee'd at it, Jake's campaign has the benefit of the most unique boss fight in the game, perhaps the whole franchise. I didn't exactly love how it played out, and I definitely didn't jump out of joy when the L1 + R1 climb from Leon's campaign made a return afterwards, but I loved the idea.
|That was my car, you asshole!|
Since Resident Evil 4's bottle caps, Resident Evil hasn't been itself without extras, and those we have a-plenty. The Serpent Emblems represent in the stead of the blue medallions and B.S.A.A. Emblems - they look pretty much the same. Finding and shooting these 80 blue trinkets (occasionally) well hidden across all chapters unlocks interesting files to be read in the Collection, found in the main menu, on the characters and different storyline events that have taken place between games. Finding all Emblems from one chapter, thus unlocking four files, unlocks an action figure, traditional to the series.
Every standard weapon in the game is either found on the field or received in accordance to script; there is no merchant or weapon store this time around. The skill points you collect can be spent in the Skill Settings screen between chapters. It's a little hard to figure out it's there, and NO, it cannot be accessed in-game; you have to quit your session to access the screen. You can assign three different skills into one skill set from a pretty long list, and with a shitload - that's "a LOT of" - skill points, you can raise some skills up to Level 3. Might seem pointless as there are a lot of skills available, but believe me, these ones are the most useful ones. If not the only useful ones. Like Defense and Firearm... wouldn't leave home without 'em anymore. Although you can't equip skills in-game, you can switch between different skill sets, but at least I haven't had use for any more than just one.
|It's on. Vote for your favourite.|
Everybody's saying Resident Evil 6 suffers from an identity crisis, which I do not see as a problem at all. The way I see it, it's one of the reasons the game stays at least somewhat alive through four campaigns. Well, three, since the fourth one pretty much sucks. Anyway, it seems the gamer in me also suffers from some identity crisis, since I started this review over three times. First I absolutely hated the game, now I sort of appreciate it as at least a different experience, all the gameplay quirks and other criticisms aside. It's the weakest game in the main series, but not a totally lost cause, and it will please true fans to some degree... except for the Chinese ones. For casual gamers, I'm still voting for Resident Evil 4 as a good starter for the modern Resident Evil experience.
+ Great story, how they can still pull this off is beyond me
+ Very impressive cinematics; cheesy as hell, just the way we like it
+ Ultra-violent presentation, it goes to "that place"; shotgun-shotgun-shotguuuuuuuunnn!!!
+ Great sound
+ Good partner and enemy A.I.
+ A big welcome to the characters of Jake Muller and Piers Nivans
+ The overall length of the whole game works to both ends, ups and downs, but being an action game this big is an achievement nonetheless
- No matter which order you play the campaigns in, at some point you'll get tired of the same twists, making Ada's whole campaign feel like you're feeding a dead cat
- Helena deserves her mouth sewn shut
- Disorienting camera and quirky GPS system
- Sensitive analog control, occasionally totally non-responsive action prompts
- The inventory system - especially the thing with the herbs - is horrible
- Sudden deaths galore, way too many Quick Time Events, and horribly designed button prompts; some might say this is Jake's campaign in a nutshell
- The autosave system and checkpoints suck; ironically, the latter suck even more so whenever there's a sudden death looming around the corner
- There are sequences which make me wonder whether the Combat Gauge was really a necessary addition or not
- A lot of loading screens
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