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S&S; Review: Resident Evil 6

Posted on the 06 October 2012 by Sameo452005 @iSamKulii
S&S; Review: Resident Evil 6

Title: Resident Evil 6

Format: Xbox 360, PS3
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
ESRB Rating: M

Capcom releases the second Resident Evil game in the main series this generation with RE6. While newcomers to the series may find an enjoyable romp through a wasteland lousy with monsters, longtime fans may feel the game departs wildly from the franchise they've grown to know and love. Resident Evil 6 may not be a wild departure, however. Instead, the latest edition in the series may just be the natural progression of story and gameplay. While that may open the series up to fans of Hollywood and western games, a couple fatal flaws nearly alienate the hardcore gaming crowd.

What is Resident Evil?
Resident Evil on the Playstation leaves an indelible mark on gaming culture. Shinji Mikami's reputation is largely based on the success and failures of the series. Capcom's invention of the marketing term "survival horror" exists to this day because of the original game. So, there is a legacy to uphold when it comes to the release of any game within the main franchise. That said, the term "survival horror" is no longer a marketing term but our own culture's way of naming an entire genre of games. Shinji Mikami, no longer with Capcom, is currently working on his own survival horror: Project Zwei. And Resident Evil as a series has turned heel from survival horror favoring a more action adventure slant.
S&S; Review: Resident Evil 6

Capcom's intention is not to simply do away with the formula that has lead to success. Despite the protests of the hardcore fan base, the series' transition from horror to action traces its roots back to the original Playstation. Spin-offs like Gun Survivor gave the series a shooter flavor. Jill Valentine leaves her tank controls well behind in Resident Evil 3. Tank controls means a scheme where the player slowly guides the character around the level and pausing when taking aim to shoot. Resident Evil Zero which featured partner swapping traces its roots back to 1995 when the original game was still in development. We have all these gameplay features introduced early on, however, most of the action oriented gameplay is credited to the Nintendo Gamecube's release of Resident Evil 4.

Resident Evil 6, as it is, stands as the result of years of Capcom turning up the burner on the franchise and introducing new elements each time. It's interesting to note that among the gripes of re-releases and rehashes, this series is not pointed out as an example of a franchise that introduces something new each time. Instead, we weigh the latest title against the fond memories of the first.

S&S; Review: Resident Evil 6
Story and Presentation
My biggest criticism on the current game as a departure from the series, however, is that the environment is no longer the main character. Loosely based on the Japanese movie and Famicom game "Sweet Home", the first game presents us with an organic creature called the Arklay Mansion. The voice of this creature moans and growls with every thud on the floor boards and stairs or every swing of the doors. It's a creature parodied quite well in the Nintendo title, Luigi's Mansion. As the series progresses, the environments became larger and lose the depth of character that the mansion enjoyed. Resident Evil Revelations on the Nintendo 3DS takes the series back to its roots and presents us with the cruise ship Queen Zenobia. Again the environment was an organic creature that enjoyed a deep history for players to immerse themselves. Resident Evil 6's Tall Oaks and Lanshiang do not enjoy the same depth of character. If they do, the player is not afforded time to enjoy the surrounding. The game's frantic pace would rather communicate a global crisis versus a new outbreak in a remote town.
S&S; Review: Resident Evil 6
Core Gameplay
The gameplay suffers due to the focus of the game and the environment's lack of character. Co-op is encouraged whether online or locally through split screen play. Split screen players better be used to handhelds or equipped with a fairly large screen. Each player is granted about a quarter of the screen. That said, the game is far more enjoyable as a multiplayer experience than as a single player. The d-pad provides the poor single player a means to sign out "commands" to AI partners who are about as willful as Dragon's Dogma pawns. The second player does have to sit through a long opening tutorial mission before the game's opening which is replayed later co-operatively. Resident Evil 6 downgrades puzzles to an unnecessary level. In the first game in the series, the mansion provides a labyrinth of doors unlockable with ornate keys and codes. Resident Evil 6's doors are unlockable with keys dropped by monsters and sessions of Whack-A-Mole. Combat in Resident Evil 6 is a bit more realistic when compared to the original tank controls. Characters now slide across the ground, dodge, kick and punch. When going through Tall Oaks which was tagged as "Raccoon City all over again", I find myself thinking that this was Capcom's attempt to hint at an RE2 revival. It's a much more convincing control scheme when the character is trying to escape a zombie-infested hell.
S&S; Review: Resident Evil 6
Graphically, Resident Evil 6 struggles to impress. The landscape and skyscrapers of Lanshiang are impressive from a distance. Yet, the coastal town lacks the depth of Kijuju from Resident Evil 5. There are moments when the game seemingly borrows from Resident Evil Revelations. We in turn expect a console version of the 3DS game that impressed on a small scale. In Capcom's attempts to go big with Resident Evil 6, the graphics suffer. Later in the game, Leon S. Kennedy jumps into an SUV for transport. As the camera pulls back for a wide shot, I see a polygonal ghost of Leon's Resident Evil 2 model sitting in the vehicle. Experience tells me that devs would rely on less resources depending on how far the character is from the camera. And yes, the game is supposed to a be a large scale experience. Take away the invisible walls and areas blocked off by stalled and abandoned rush hour traffic, the city streets of Lanshiang are no more than a narrow corridor lightly populated with zombies.
S&S; Review: Resident Evil 6
Music and Sound
The music and voice acting of Resident Evil 6 are very well done. Everyone is either subdued or serious. There are hardly any caricatures akin to Alfred Ashford from Code Veronica. Still whatever good can be said of sound is drowned in a cacophony of explosions and gunshots. Each campaign exists as a mini movie with central themes that influence the direction of score and voice acting. Leon constantly rebuffs his partner's Helena's advances as he pines over the elusive Ada Wong. Chris' story effects a bitter, drunken, war torn soldier and Piers' attempts at redemption. Jake and Sherry's adventure brings back memories of the Nemesis from Resident Evil 3. Each of these campaigns would have been more successful in their own standalone adventure. Yet, it's a series of poignant moments punctuated by a barrage of explosions, gun play, and howls during mutation.
S&S; Review: Resident Evil 6
Final Thoughts
To be fair, Resident Evil 6 is fun as a co-operative experience. It's a good game for the uninitiated to welcome into the zombie killing fold. RE6 doesn't aspire to the series survival horror roots which is a source of frustration for longtime fans and hardcore enthusiasts. It's disappointing. Given time and depth of a smaller scale experience, either of the three main campaigns could have existed successfully as a stand alone. There are superior products in that vein for core gamers: Lone Survivor, Slender, and Silent Hill: Downpour. None of these are afforded the marketing budget of Capcom or the brand power of Resident Evil. Still, there's plenty of more suitable content for a survival horror experience.
S&S Rating: 7.75/10

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