After almost a decade of a tried and true gameplay style, Capcom released what would come to be one of their best games. Resident Evil 4 took an original franchise and flipped it on its head entirely. No more painted backdrops and overhead firing. Those had been replaced with over-the-shoulder shots, and completely explorable levels. It was a true step forward for Resident Evil, and one that's been repeated many times. What's odd, though, is that titles like Resident Evil 5 and Revelations seem like prototypes to what Resident Evil 4 did rather than the other way around.
With the release of Resident Evil 6, Capcom has been given a new chance. Once again using what made Resident Evil 4 great, they've mixed in some of the things that put previous installments on the map. Now with branching campaigns, Resident Evil 6 hopes to bring in both fans of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 4. A respectable attempt, but forgive me for being skeptical.
DIE ZOMBIE DIE
The Controls (Mostly) Hold Up - It's a bit difficult to mess up a tried and true controls. You have your aim button and you have your fire button. The controls are fairly simple and adaptive. You can pretty much pick them up without error at any time. The addition of moving while shooting is welcomed in a title as action packed as this.
Pretty Zombies - For a console title, the graphics are nice. Watching a character's clothes get wet in the rain, or Leon's weird emo-over thing swish as he runs may appear to be simple things, but it helps make the characters feel like they're interacting with the environment. Even the zombies look nice. The atmosphere also hold up quite well. Even with levels that span multiple countries, it’s nice to see care and detail put into the game.
Multiple Storylines - It's one thing when there are multiple storylines, it's something else entirely when the storylines are completely different. What's even better is when they intertwine with each other. You can even switch between them. Get sick of running around a snow-storm as Jake? Alright, switch to Leon and enjoy a creepy church. The multiple stories stands as the title’s main selling point, and it’s done well. In most situations, having one level that’s in a metropolitan city while another is in the middle of a 3rd world country seems a bit mix-mashed. But when you take 6 different characters and have them doing completely different things, it mixes quite well.
I Can Hear You - The voice acting remains superb through the whole game. There were even a few parts where I only knew where the zombies were because of the sound. While the music is nothing to get excited for, it manages to do well regardless.I Can Appreciate Co-op - Couch co-op is always a blast. People can play the partner characters online or offline during any of the three main stories. There are other multiplayer modes such as mercenaries, but I don’t think I know a single person who ever said “man, that mercenaries mode really made that game.” The multiplayer outside the main campaign serves for a cute two hour distraction, but most people won’t play it past their first few games.
DIE LEON DIE
Deteriorated Muscle Mass Should Not Allow For That - Lickers, invisible bugs, and zombies wielding chainsaws have always been staples in the franchise, and that's fine. They're occasional enemies that work almost like mini-bosses to add a bit of a challenge to your average zombie. What's not OK is when Capcom decides to make normal zombies capable of leaping thirty feet as if their blood has been replaced with Red Bull. On top of that, even on Normal mode the damn things do far too much damage for their added agility to be considered fair. Then, by the time the “strong” zombies start showing up, you're almost out of rounds and can only watch in horror as they pick you up and eat you.
Unneeded Gimmicks - There's just so much unnecessary fluff in this game. Almost every attack from a zombie is a grapple, which means the player has to mash A or shake the control stick to break free. If a player is moving near a wall, they auto-wall hug. A stealth factor also exists to some extent, but I’d be surprised if most players even noticed it. It’s like if someone were to get a nice car and decorate it with so many clashing decals and decorations that the end result looked hideous.
Too Cinematic - If I want to watch a movie, I'll watch a movie. Resident Evil 6 does that weird thing where part of the time I’m not sure if I’m watching an interactive movie, or playing a game. There’s one scene where you play a boss battle as Jake where you’re trying to keep a monster from destroying the plane you’re on. Unfortunately, rather than just shoot the thing in a weak point like every decent boss battle in the Resident Evil franchise, players have to randomly do things throughout the fight that change so often that one can rarely tell what they’re supposed to do before it’s too late. This leads to many unnecessary deaths and frustrations on the player’s part that don’t need to happen.
Too Many Hold-Out Missions - Resident Evil 4 blew people’s minds when players had to survive in a hostile town for a few minutes as they waited for a church bell to ring. Resident Evil 5 copied that with a part where Chris has to hold out while waiting for an air strike. Resident Evil 6 copied this again incessantly. Leon’s campaign alone has 3 of these that happen in one gun-shop, and then another one in front of a church not twenty minutes later. Yes Capcom, it was pretty cool. No Capcom, I don’t need to do it over and over again.
Let's Humiliate The Player - I'm not fond of Dead Space's need to humiliate the player if they die. It can be pretty interesting to watch Isaac get turned into a human flesh-light, but for the most part it's unnecessary. Capcom must have thought humiliating deaths would be a fun way to make the player try harder not to die. I previously mentioned that the enemies are ridiculously strong and that players should expect to die more in this game than any title prior to this one. If you do the math, that means that Capcom decided to give every enemy a unique kill animation for the player, and then make it far too easy to die. I don’t know, I just don’t enjoy watching Chris get ripped to shreds three different times in five minutes.
We Need Stamina?!?! - Before Resident Evil 6, I honestly never used melee. Sure, it was funny to beat people with stun-rods in Resident Evil 5, but melee has always been something I've been wary of due to the high risk of receiving damage from attacking at close range. Resident Evil 6 on the other hand has decided to make melee worth-while by making it do enough damage to stagger most enemies and keep the player safe. Unfortunately, they've also decided to give players a stamina bar. More than five round-house kicks and your character starts flopping around like a fish out of water. This comes in real handy when you’re surrounded and low on ammo.It's Not Fun - There are the big 5 that game journalists like to touch on. These are sound, controls, gameplay, story, and graphics. Personally, I couldn't care less about how good it sounds, how great the story is, or how shiny the graphics are so long as it's fun and I can control my character. But when it comes down to it, Resident Evil 6 is not fun. These issues? They aren't just small problems that pull away from an otherwise good game. They are the game. All the gimmicks, ridiculously difficult enemies, and difficult to understand inventory system are what make up Resident Evil 6. It’s not Resident Evil 4 with some new features, it’s a game that tried too hard to push away from what worked and failed to invent something better.
I love Resident Evil. I've loved the lore, the characters, and the games since I first ran through that zombie infested mansion more than 15 years ago. When compared to previous titles, Resident Evil 6 becomes a joke. It's almost as bad as Operation Raccoon City, but it doesn't even get the excuse of “Oh, we weren't made by Capcom.” This is a Capcom title, and a legitimate sequel. As a fan of Capcom, I'm very disappointed.