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[Hands-on] Resident Evil 6 is a meaty Jill sandwich that's a bit light on flavor

8/19/12 2:00pm

Ah yes...Resident Evil 6. Although I've gotten a  chance to play it a couple days ago, I've held off on writing about it because I wasn't really sure what to think of it. And to be honest, I'm still not exactly sure.

If you're a purist you're gonna hate this game about as much as anything else released after Resident Evil Zero, but if you enjoyed RE5 (as I have) you'll notice that the gameplay has been improved in several ways. You can shoot while walking, hide behind cover, dodge in all directions and perform a quickshot move by pressing both triggers at the same time. It's a natural evolution of the RE5 control scheme and it feels quick and responsive.

I got to check out demos of all three campaigns. Leon's was my favorite by far (a sentiment that's shared by a lot of other players, according to the developers) because it resembled the old Resident Evil titles the most in terms of atmosphere, setting and enemies (=Zombies).

The prelude to a bad knock-knock joke

Chris' campaign felt a bit like Call of Duty (yeah, sorry). There was a lot more frantic action and the military setting meant that everybody was pretty much shouting and shooting constantly. The updated controls lend themselves really well to this kind of gameplay and the whole thing is well executed. It's a bit like RE5 on crack.

Last but not least, Jake's campaign seems a bit like a mixture of the two others. Jake is loaded with all sorts of weapons and he's going to need it to blast at all the weird mutated creatures he has to fight while protecting his charge Sherry. His demo was fast-paced but still atmospheric and featured really interesting enemy design.

While each campaign is fun in its own right, there is one issue that runs through all of them: The difficulty level is really inconsistent. In all three campaigns, I was running out of ammo constantly, meaning you'll really have to buckle down and place each shot impeccably. At the same time it seems as if guns weren't necessary at all, because apparently the knife is the most powerful weapon in the game. I actually managed to get through Leon's campaign (the demo, that is) by  using nothing but my knife and I only got incapacitated once when I was bumrushed from behind. In Chris' campaign you can even run up to enemies armed with assault rifles and just stab them in the face (although this gets harder if there's more than one enemy). This doesn't make the game bad per se, but I do feel Capcom needs to polish it a little more. (Although to be fair: I wasn't able to find out what the difficulty level has been set to in the demo, so this might not be an issue in the final product.)

Good thing Jake's got more weapons than Doomguy.

 

Speaking of polish, another thing that kind of irked me were the environments. While they all look great, they might as well be pre-rendered images for all the interaction they grant. Think your gun can penetrate a cardboard box? Nope. The vending machines seem to be trapped in another dimension since they don't even display bulletholes when shot at. And the Olympic torch doesn't have squat on the eternally glowing lights in Resident Evil 6. This, again, doesn't make the game bad, but it can take you out of the experience a little.

Okay, so let's see if I can wrap this thing up. Is RE6 a good game? Yes, definitely. It's the next step in the evolution that started with Resident Evil 4 while still incorporating elements from older games in the series. It plays well, it looks good (for the most part) and can be lots of fun. It's a shame that the difficulty is a bit inconsistent and that the environments aren't as interactive as they ought to be for a title of this caliber but if you can look past that, RE6 is a fun  romp with a lot of chills, thrills and awesome Leon haircuts. For what it is, it's great; but a lot of people might not appreciate what it is.

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