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The Hunting Party
The Hunting Party
Price: $7.99
91 used & new from $4.99

142 of 153 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unapologetic, June 17, 2014
This review is from: The Hunting Party (Audio CD)
It’s bizarre. Linkin Park’s bizarre, that is. Not just their genres, or their albums, or their music videos, or their songs, but the phenomenon that IS Linkin Park. Since the late nineties, there hasn’t been a band as disagreed upon as Linkin Park has been. People criticized them for screaming too much in Hybrid Theory and Meteora; they didn’t scream or rap enough in Minutes to Midnight; A Thousand Suns, which blended reggae and rock and hip-hop, was too weird or political (but the naysayers said it was Techno, which is apparently a criticism); Living Things was too dub-steppy (even though the folk elements were prominent too); and The Hunting Party will probably be too loud and aggressive. Linkin Park can’t win, but they will make great music to the unbiased ear. That’s all that matters.

The Hunting Party is heavier than Hybrid Theory and it’s better than Living Things. This is what you’ve been waiting for Hybrid Theory fans (you know, you guys that claim it “isn’t” about Nu Metal, but rather about heavy, aggressive music). With that being said, this is probably Linkin Park’s most important album in the last ten years. This is where we discover whether the naysayers have any merit in their overly hateful—or forcefully indifferent—criticisms . . .

This is Linkin Park’s loudest, rawest, most visceral album to date. If Living Things was a mixture of all their previous albums, The Hunting Party purges out their previous sounds. Like Minutes to Midnight, it’s another clean slate. A new sound. As Mike raps about in the first track on the album, “Careful what you shoot for, ‘cause you might hit what you aim for.” You wanted heavy, you got heavy; you’ll be thirsty for the two mellower songs toward the end of The Hunting Party, because the mayhem which comes before will scorch the sonic landscape of this album . . .

1 / Keys to the Kingdom – 3/5

You’d be wrong if you assumed Linkin Park put their heaviest song in the very beginning, although it would be an easy mistake. It starts off relentlessly heavy; loud guitars; louder vocals. What’s also interesting is the structure of the song. One verse is sung, the next verse is rapped. Kudos for Linkin Park mixing it up.

One Word Summary: Electric

2 / All For Nothing (featuring Page Hamilton) – 4/5

This song reminds me of why I used to like Hip Hop (Talib Kweli, Mos Def, and The Roots) in the late 90s, early 2000s. While Page Hamilton is a guest singer on the song, he doesn’t steal the show; it’s all about Mike Shinoda’s rapping force. He doesn’t play around, doesn’t sugarcoat the lyrics, doesn’t make it have a pretty rhythm—he just fires it out. The chorus, sung by Page and Chester, is also very catchy and anthemic.

One Word Summary: Anthem

3 / Guilty All The Same (featuring Rakim) – 4/5

I’m sure most of you already have an opinion on the song. They were smart to have it be their first single, because if you don’t like this song, you very likely won’t like 70 percent of the album.

One Word Summary: Sampler

4 / Summoning (instrumental) – N/A

It would be pretentious to score a 1 minute instrumental, but let’s just say it feels like something from A Thousand Suns.

5 / War – 4/5

I have a feeling that a lot of people will like this song because of how loud and aggressive it is. It’s a better song than Living Things’ Victimized, fusing rock and punk. This is the heaviest song on the album.

One Word Summary: Heavy

6 / Wastelands – 5/5

This is the first song on the album that feels like a Linkin Park song. And that’s a good thing for a Linkin Park fan. It’s familiar territory; it’s a sonic haven; and it might just be Mike Shinoda’s finest rapping to date.

One Word Summary – Exhilarating

7 / Until It’s Gone – 5/5

It’s interesting they placed Wastelands and Until It’s Gone back to back. While Wastelands feels like something from A Thousand Suns or Living Things, Until It’s Gone really resonates to a sort of—dare I say it?—Nu Metal quality from their first two albums, from lyrics to the music. It’s also the first ballad on the album. If you’re listening to this album from beginning to end (like you should), you’ll really appreciate this song, like finding an oasis in a desert.

One Word Summary: Throwback

8 / Rebellion (featuring Daron Malakian) – 5/5

If it wasn’t for having the catchiest chorus on the entire album, well, it would probably still be a 5/5. This song also features one of Daron Malakian’s best guitar performances ever. If we were still in the nineties, this would be a massive single, since it feels so much like a Nu Metal song, but we’re not, so it won’t be. Shame.

One Word Summary: Catchy

9 / Mark the Graves – 5/5

This song here will be polarizing. Most Linkin Park albums, you could make a single out of every single song on the album. However, with Mark the Graves, it isn’t single material. It’s kind of offbalanced with too much guitar solos and not enough singing (kind of like Roads Untraveled’s loudmouth cousin), but it’s quite an organic song. It’s a risky song.

One Word Summary: Experimental

10 / Drawbar (Tom Morello) – 5/5

Okay, yes this is an instrumental. And no, I’m not that familiar with Rage Against the Machine. But it deserves a score (unlike Summoning), because it really captured something inside of me. It felt like a musical piece you would hear in PS3’s The Last of Us. It’s experimental and moody and defines what Linkin Park is all about.

One Word Summary: Moody

11 / Final Masquerade – 5/5

You could put this song on any of their albums and it would work. This is the softest song on the album and will be the only song that your mother would probably like (unless she likes really, really loud music). It’s cut from the same thread as In Pieces, and it was clearly made to balance the album’s heaviness, and as a transition into the final, craziest song of the album . . .

One Word Summary: Beautiful

12 / A Line in the Sand – 5/5

This might be considered the spiritual successor to The Little Things Give You Away, and for good reason. It not only captures the essence of the entire album, but it also makes a solid point; it’s the thesis of the album; the apotheosis of the statement they were making with The Hunting Party. A Line in the Sand is the longest song on the album, and the most satisfying. Unless you were familiar with Linkin Park, you probably wouldn’t know it was them until Mike starts “sort of” rapping.

One Word Summary: Masterpiece

CONCLUSION:

The Hunting Party is a mean, jerky rollercoaster that isn’t comfortable; it’s not hiking, it’s mountain climbing for your ears—you’ll appreciate when you get to Final Masquerade, which is the only mellow song on the album.

YOU WILL probably like this album if you like bands like System of a Down, Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, and early Deftones.

WARNING: This album is NOT your friend. Hybrid Theory and Meteora may have provided you’re the tissues to wipe your tears, but The Hunting Party will kick your a** and tell you to suck it up and toughen up.

PROS:
Album Concept
Album Length
Epic Guitar Solos
Energy
Better Than LIVING THINGS
Best Song(s): Final Masquerade, A Line in the Sand

CONS:
Could Have Had One More Song
Tom Morello’s Underdone Presence
Rakim’s Overdone Presence (Mike and Rakim should’ve alternated)
Not Quite as Interesting as A THOUSAND SUNS
Doesn’t Contain Any Massive Singles
Worst Song(s): Keys to the Kingdom
Comment Comments (14) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 12, 2014 5:39 PM PDT


Insomnia
Insomnia
by Stephen King
Edition: Paperback
23 used & new from $0.68

3.0 out of 5 stars Forced..., May 7, 2014
This review is from: Insomnia (Paperback)
(there are some *minor* spoilers)

INSOMNIA ultimately lies between a rock and a hard place; it tries too hard to have a pro-choice message, to the point in which I wasn't sure if the villain -- Ed Deepneau -- was supposed to be a good character or a bad character (yes, he goes nuts and beats his wife: but is he only nutty because he's against abortion? And then he does some even worse stuff), and then it tries too hard to have a DARK TOWER connection toward the end of the book. In fact, it has a very important DARK TOWER connection . . . which is a shame, really.

Here's the rundown:

Pros:
+ Great last 200 pages
+ The mystery of the green man...

Cons:
- ...but seriously, who is the green man?
- Goofy, unnatural dialogue
- Oversweet pro-choice message
- Dark Tower connection seems like an afterthought.
- It doesn't feel like the same Derry from previous novels
- It could've been half the length if it cut out the political mumbo-jumbo
(and to be fair, I didn't mind the political views in The Dark Tower series)


Wool
Wool
by Hugh Howey
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.80
154 used & new from $3.04

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Game of Thrones' in the Confines of an Underground Silo, December 9, 2013
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This review is from: Wool (Paperback)
A lot of people will say that Wool is the greatest science fiction novel in decades. And then you’ll have the occasional straggler who says Wool is utterly overrated. The thing is, if you’ve discovered Wool prior to its Simon & Schuster-published release on March 12th, 2013, then you very likely specifically searched for dystopian or post-apocalyptic books—more likely than not, you found Wool on countless Goodreads lists or maybe a blog or two (plus, at the time, Wool’s Omnibus edition was quite cheap)—and with that being said, Wool delivers on its promise (and premise): it is an original science fiction book with dystopian and post-apocalyptic undertones.

What makes Wool so dang good is that I can actually see the world and people he describes; and I—despite the avid reader that I am—have trouble with some science fiction works within the last decade (Neil Stephenson’s The Diamond Age comes to mind: the concept is good, but its discombobulated with so many scientific terms and ideas that the characters and details are lost in the background; Wool’s characters and locations, on the other hand, are crystal clear). And Hugh Howey never lets the science outweigh the characters. We accept that the characters know what they’re doing; that’s good enough for the reader. Many science fiction writers tend to go overboard on the “science” part of science fiction, rather than the fiction.

The premise is simple. It’s not overly perplexed. People live in underground silos; to control their population, one person is sent out to die in a toxic world (which brings us to the plot of the novel, and the reason for the title—the people are given wool suits to wear; they are given the task to go out into the wastelands, clean the sensors—which are essentially cameras, so everyone else can see the landscape—and then . . . die), and then, after the cleaning, one married couple are given permission to have a child. This processed has gone on for hundreds of years.

Wool begins with a LOST-esque mystery which unravels over the course of a few chapters until we meet the main protagonist, Juliette. That’s as much of the plot that I’ll get into. Just consider Wool as Game of Thrones-esque drama in the confines of an underground silo.

Expect great things from Hugh Howey in the future because the future of science fiction (and self-publishing) is in his hands.


The Doll
The Doll
Price: $0.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Channels Early Clive Barker / Robert McCammon, August 23, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Doll (Kindle Edition)
I bought this because I was looking up Stephen King books and it popped up, and, hey, it was free, so what the heck. And I read the entire short story in one sitting ... which says a lot, because I don't give that many new writers a chance. Usually young writers are inflicted with terrible writing styles and bad grammar and bad storytelling abilities. But not J.C. Martin. For a short story, this was great. Reminiscent of "The Ring" and something bizarre. Yes it's short, and I'm glad it was. It was just enough to allow me to know she's a good writer.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 11, 2014 4:02 PM PST


The Sound and the Fury (Norton Critical Editions)
The Sound and the Fury (Norton Critical Editions)
by William Faulkner
Edition: Paperback
112 used & new from $1.13

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Felt Like Mountain Climbing, July 14, 2013
It's not a perfect score because I am a believer that classics become outdated over time. This is true with "The Sound and the Fury." The plot is pretty tricky to follow; it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense until the last segment (which is an omnipresent 3rd person instead of a limited 1st person--which the previous segments were with three different narrators: a mentally handicapped manchild named Benjy; Benjy's older and smarter brother Quentin; and Jason, the youngest brother and the meanest). I'm going to be honest, a lot of the book was mountain climbing; I read just to get to the good parts, to find a spot to rest. Boy oh boy, and those parts were usually worth the wait. My favorite narrator was Quentin, although his was the hardest to read when he goes all . . . nutty and reminiscent. I didn't particularly "enjoy" this book, but I don't think it was meant for enjoyment. It was meant for reflection on a certain--and at the time, modern--southern attitude . . . which is why it's outdated. Yes, there's a good historical merit, and yeah, it's a classic. If you're a reader or a writer, then you should probably read Faulkner . . . although I recommend starting with "As I Lay Dying."

Although I gotta say, like drinking a disgusting detox smoothie, it feels better once it's swallowed and with something else to wash it down, like Stephen King.


Abarat
Abarat
by Clive Barker
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.22
74 used & new from $2.65

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Expect "Hellbound Heart"; It's Nowhere Near as Dark, But . . ., July 5, 2013
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This review is from: Abarat (Paperback)
I first tried reading this book about four years ago. I borrowed Clive Barker's "Abarat" and "Books of Blood" from the library. First I read the first few short stories in "Books of Blood" and then tried reading "Abarat," but it wasn't nearly as dark as I was hoping . . .

. . . four years later, I didn't have unfair expectations, and thus I enjoyed the book for what it was: a young adult fantasy with dark undertones; it's never as nearly as dark as "The Hellbound Heart" or "Books of Blood" but it doesn't need to be.

Reminiscent of "Harry Potter," "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," and "Alice in Wonderland." I highly recommend reading "Abarat" if you're into young adult. If not, I recommend Clive Barker's mature books--"Hellbound Heart," "Books of Blood," "Cabal," etc. . . .


State of Emergency (Book) (Volume 1)
State of Emergency (Book) (Volume 1)
by Summer Lane
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.99
21 used & new from $3.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good debut from a young author, April 29, 2013
Considering this is a debut novel from a pretty young writer is an accomplishment of itself. It's definitely one of those novels in which you know exactly what you're getting into; you'll read what you're expecting to read. That's not to say that it's a stereotypical post-apocalyptic fiction, because there are moments of pure originality, but at the same time it doesn't deviate too far from the path of the genre that you're expecting if you're reading this book.

All in all, it is what it is; it is what you expect.


Drive (Movie tie-in)
Drive (Movie tie-in)
by James Sallis
Edition: Paperback
41 used & new from $1.59

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Something's Lacking . . ., March 28, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Drive (Movie tie-in) (Paperback)
I saw the film before the book, guilty as charged. The film was majestically dark, elegantly offbeat, with beautiful cinematography and it had the best soundtrack of 2012. The only thing the movie has in common with the book are the name of the characters, a line of dialogue in the beginning of the book, an action sequence in the motel where the chick from AMC's Madmen dies, and the ending of the book; that's not a spoiler by any means, that's just something that fans of the movie should know right upfront. Driver (the character's "name") in this novel isn't the quiet, cool guy that Gosling played in the film; this Driver is talkative, witty, smart, sometimes even obnoxious. I actually prefer the Gosling counterpart, but that's me.

Okay, so now let me talk about the book without comparing it to the movie. I think James Sallis was going for a Godfather-esque, noir story, but the plot was just so simplistic that the author had to scramble the scenes around like eggs; it wasn't necessarily hard to know if a scene took place in the past or present or future, but at the same, it wasn't necessary either. In fact, the first chapter in this novel was repeated in another chapter later on--word for word (or at least, almost word for word--because the narrative was repeating what had already happened in the beginning).

I think Sallis tries to write like McCarthy, but he ends up sounding amateurish. He tends to miss words in sentences; for instance: Instead of, "The dog ran into the street to fetch the ball," Sallis would write, "Dog ran into street to fetch ball"--some of that works, but Sallis overuses this writing method to shorten sentences . . . it was almost as if he was trying to get below a certain word count, so he deleted a lot of words.

Another problem I had is that most of the characters talked the same way. The character's speech patterns actually missed words too (convenient, huh?).

Ultimately Drive was a disappointment. I prefer Cormac McCarthy's prose, but I suppose he's impossible to compete with. I see potential in James Sallis's writing . . . but he needs to flesh out his paragraphs, flesh out his characters, flash out his plots, and write a story in chronological order instead of scrambled scenes.


Resident Evil 6 - Playstation 3
Resident Evil 6 - Playstation 3
Price: $15.47
168 used & new from $8.99

22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you were expecting a Christopher Nolan-esque "sequel," they give you Schumacher's Resident Evil instead: Bat nipples included, October 6, 2012
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
"In order to cure, you must first understand."
- 28 Days Later

THE FRANCHISE IN A NUTSHELL:

In the beginning there was a mansion, its surrounding property, and a laboratory underneath it. That was it. The game relied on mystery, environment, it's slow-paced, high tension, moody atmosphere. You had to save ammunition (the knife is your friend) not just for stronger enemies, not just in case of a horde of zombies, but because you don't know when you will REALLY need that ammunition; in fact, you were scared to use it. Hence, the genre Survival Horror was born (some people consider Alone in the Dark the first, which may be true, but Resident Evil was the first huge success). Resident Evil 1-4 relied on this Survival Horror system. Actually, it was more or less an attitude.

Yes, I did include Resident Evil 4 as a Survival Horror game because at the beginning you have a basic handgun and a janky shotgun--which belonged to a farmer, most likely--against these people that are not acting entirely normal (yet they're not zombies, which was SO refreshing--at the time) and a gigantic ogre like boss. In Resident Evil 4 there is a real sense of John Carpenter's The Thing-esque paranoia about the odd acting residence (which is essentially very true to the title "Resident Evil" in the sense that you're going against these residents that are, indeed, evil; and the Japanese title still concurs with the game, too). The deeper you go in Resident Evil 4, the less scary it becomes, but that's because you've figured out the mystery and now you're trying to solve the problem. But, the first half of the game is pure horror (the first time you go into the village is probably the scariest the franchise has ever been before and after)--and then even toward the end of the game, there are still some moments of horror that will get you.

Then there was Resident Evil 5: it was about a guy who killed a bunch of angry people infected with parasites and Star Wars' misfit monsters and Agent Smith from The Matrix made an appearance, but he dyed his hair blonde. Okay, I'm joking as you know, but that doesn't mean it isn't the truth. It was a decent action game (and Mercenaries was really fun with a partner) but not a very good Resident Evil game. This was always my comparison: If Resident Evil 4 was the Casino Royale of the Resident Evil franchise (a reboot which saved a dying franchise and breathed new life into it), then Resident Evil 5 was the Quantum of Solace of the Resident Evil franchise (gimmick after gimmick and an exploitation of the previous title's changes: what that means is that Resident Evil 5 said to itself, "Resident Evil 4 changed a lot of things, so I'm going to change even more things." A decent action game, but a horrible Resident Evil game from almost every aspect except for its dazzling graphics.

RESIDENT EVIL 6:

I thought that Resident Evil 5 was the Quantum of Solace of the franchise . . . but I was wrong.

The game starts off without explanation: Leon and an injured girl (Helena) are in a ravaged city--zombies are everywhere and a helicopter is seemingly shooting at you. You make your way through the city only for you to realize that it was just a very interactive title and credits sequence. At the end of the gameplay you see a monster's foot and Leon says something smart like usual and then we see the title--Resident Evil 6--and now you're in the menu where you can choose your campaign or its multitude of special features.

You can initially choose from Leon's campaign, Chris's campaign, or Jake's campaign, but choose wisely because once you pick one you have to see it through to the end. But, before getting into the campaigns, I'll discuss my general thoughts about the game.

The general critiques about RE6 have been quite consistent. Imagine that you have a person with ADHD that loves action movies--but is trying to throw in horror to appeal to the fan base--and is trying to put together a very elaborate plot without the necessary skill for storytelling to tell it. The game is very unfocused; you're not sure who's the main* villain--in fact, not even the villains know who the true villains are. And when you beat the campaigns, only the least important details are explained--and even worse--in mundane manners.

THE C-VIRUS (some spoilers in third paragraph): 1/5

From the very start of the franchise what interested me more than the mutants or the zombies or the ganados/majini, was the virus or the parasite used to create such monstrosities. Resident Evil was about the T-Virus (Tyrant Virus) and, if you take Lisa Trevor into consideration, the origins of the G-Virus as well. Resident Evil 2 was about the effects the T-Virus and the G-Virus (which resulted in a form of unstable biological immortality at the cost of the human soul or consciousness); Resident Evil 3--which takes place at the same time as Resident Evil 2--continued to lay down the foundation of the T-Virus, but as opposed to showing the G-Virus (which only Leon was going against), the game focused on to what extent the T-Virus could be used for biological weaponry. For instance, the Nemesis-T Type was designed by a European branch of Umbrella to prove that T-Virus test subjects could still retain most of their intelligence. And to test out this hypothesis: Go kill all the S.T.A.R.S. members in Raccoon City so we could kill two birds with one stone. Resident Evil: Code Veronica was about the T-Veronica virus (which is a little harder to explain, but it's important to know that it's a variation of the Progenitor Virus which is the basis for all the previously mentioned viruses). I'm going to skip explaining the biological agents in Resident Evil Zero because it's essentially the same as in the first game, and finally go into Resident Evil 4, which was a game changer. The T-Virus was mentioned; Luis said that he had scene a sample at some medical center: that means that the T-Virus has been ultimately erradicated from the world; domesticated, you could say. Resident Evil 4, however, brought in a new type of biological weapon--the Las Plagas. Although many of the Las Plagas experiments in RE4 were accidental and experimental--such as the big salamander in the lake; it was just a byproduct of the experimentations taking place. And then Jack Krauser (who has a previously unknown history with Leon, but was later explained in Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles), who was previously working for Wesker, pretending to work for Saddler, actually did take a gift from Saddler--the Plagas, which he injected into himself--and became more powerful (although I think the arm injure he had obtained against Javier in Darkside was a motivating factor). At one point, he mutated his arm. The point being, all the mutations in Resident Evil 4 made sense. And then we go into Resident Evil 5: the Uroboros makes perfect sense in a biological standpoint, because such a virus would need biological matter to grow in size; but it was the Las Plagas that didn't make sense. Ricardo Irving, for instance, injected himself and became a giant sea monster . . . oh, and he just happened to be on a boat . . . how convenient.

Now, in Resident Evil 6, we have the C-Virus. Unlike in Resident Evil 1-5, I have no idea what the origins are, I have no idea how its biology works (other than it is a conductor of heat in many ways); I have no idea, partially because there are no in-game documentation about this virus or the B.O.W.'s designed from it. That's frustrating, because I don't know about you guys, but in previous games I made sure I collected every single document and I read them. At the time I didn't even like reading books (now I do, but that's not the point), but I still enjoyed furthering my experience. Is it realistic that there will be documents lying around? Probably not, but it's more realistic that some of the insane, ridiculous action sequences in this game which makes the motorcycle majini in Resident Evil 5 look like Christopher Nolan realism. Does CAPCOM think we are illiterate and can't read or don't want to read? Or, are they* the ones becoming illiterate (by the way, the game does have documents, but they can only be accessed through Special Features; I read some of the documents on the B.O.W.'s and they're not really explained intelligently, and the explanation for some of them, like the Chainsaw mutatant, was downright laughable--appearing that a thirteen year old fanboy wrote it without a sense of what they were righting would be perceived as humorous)?

The C-Virus, oh the C-Virus. The C-Virus makes zombies; the C-Virus causes zombies to become obese, causes zombies to grow strange screaming organs in their throats, causes some zombies to become Liker-wanna-bes, and causes some zombies to still wield weapons--guns and bats and golfing clubs--and to still turn cranks occasionally to hinder your process (come on!); the C-Virus causes zombie dogs--which are identical to the T-variation (but what about cats? what about deer? what about raccoons? what about birds? what about animals that escaped from the zoo?); the C-Virus creates gigantic shark mutants, mutants that are three times as large as 4's El Gigante, mutants that somehow--through a C-Virus mutation--grow a chainsaw for a hand which has its heart inside of it (I don't think Neo-Umbrella designed this one through any scientific proceedure; I honestly think it just created itself by a naturalistic evolution of the C-Virus), mutants that are ripoffs of the Iron Maiden Regenerators from Resident Evil 4, or a snake that can turn invisible; the C-Virus causes hosts who inject themselves directly to still keep their intelligence, but to grow a lot stronger and to become mutated--they're called J'avo; the C-Virus causes a J'avo to mutate into a dozen different things, ranging from Bee-headed men that can send bees at you, spider-bodied men, the growth of wings, the growth of two long legs for super jumping, the growth of explosive larvi for their entire body, and more; the C-Virus causes some J'avo to caccoon themselves and then spore new horrors--lizard things (or, you can just say its the dinosaur that killed the fat guy from Jurassic Park), bunky bohemoths with rocks for skin, flying creatures, or a swarm of insects; the C-Virus is responsible for the coolest B.O.W. since Nemesis, Ustanak, the bio-mechanic super freak . . .

But how? The game never gets into the scientific aspects of the virus. That's something that I always loved about the franchise until Resident Evil 5. Now, granted, a lot of these mutations are very cool--but hardly any of them make sense. Unless of course they went through the effort of trying to make them make sense. Why couldn't one of their campaigns have been about figuring out how ONE virus could do all these things? Another big problem is this: the C-Virus is TOO GOOD. It'll put the T-Virus, G-Virus, T-Verinica, Las Plagas, and the Uroboros out of a job. Especially since Ustanak is one of the hardest B.O.W.'s in the series. You see the problem here, don't you?

They're trying to please the fans in unintelligable ways. I'm sorry CAPCOM, I'm not that stupid. And I know there are a lot of other fans who feel the same way.

GAMEPLAY: 2/5

Those of us who were good at RE4 were probably good at RE5; both games essentially had the same gameplay mechanics, aside from RE5's clunky inventory system. Well, RE6 throws that out the window in almost every way. The gameplay is what wounds the entire game fatally. I don't mind about walking while shooting, but I do mind about the unfixed camera behind the character. It feels like I'm playing a videogame adaptation of a movie in some points of the game. The weird thing is, the creators probably thought they were helping out the player by having a fluid camera behind them at all times, but really it gives me a headache and it's hard to aim my character when I need to run somewhere. The old system had its flaws, but this new-and-supposed-to-be-improved system creates even more.

Oh, and get this. You know how you could shoot enemies in the legs in RE4 and RE5 and they fall to their knees so you can do some interesting melee attacks? Well, in RE6 you can't shoot enemies to their knees--hence, creating less melee variety. I wonder which one of the creators said to the others, "We should definitely get rid of shooting enemies in the legs." It's a really strange decision they made that I don't understand the point of which.

And quick time events. There are tons of them, but none of them are as good as the Leon vs. Jack Krauser scene from Resident Evil 4. A lot of people have complained about this, but I didn't mind. I was just never blown away, aside from the final Ustanak battle at the end of Jake's campaign. That was innovative, I must say.

LEON AND HELENA: 4/5

Have you ever read an over bloated novel that could have been a whole lot better if the author cut out at least 25% of it? Well, that's what Leon's campaign felt like. His campaign is deliberately designed for the Survival Horror Resident Evil fan--you know, the gamers that likely hate on RE4 and RE5 because they have no Survival Horror (or a lack of); "zombies" return only* in Leon's campaign, and it also features some really cool zombie-variations (although I couldn't help but compare most of them to Left 4 Dead's super zombies). Leon's campaign starts off in an intense situation without much explanation, then travels through a zombie infested Tall Oaks, goes to a church which happens to have an underground laboratory underneath (there is sort of* a reason for this), then goes to China (which he randomly and too conveniently reunites with an old acquaintance immediately after the rough landing of the plane, which will undoubtedly make the player giggle with how unlikely the by-chance meeting really is).

Leon's campaign is the heart of Resident Evil 6. Leon knows Sherry, Leon knows Chris, Leon has a thing for Ada (who seemingly is/isn't the villain in the game), and by theory does the most important things in the game. The game's creator(s) deliberately did this because Resident Evil 4 was the most successful in the franchise.

The highlight of Leon's campaign is the atmosphere; the flaw is its overly bloated length (this campaign feels as long as Resident Evil 5 as a whole, and yet there are still two other campaigns--technically three more--to go).

CHRIS AND PIERS: 2/5

The first thing that you will ask is: what the heck happened to Jill Valentine? And who the heck is Piers? The game never answers those two questions, but it only hints at the fact that Chris never gave up the fight against bioterrorism after he saved the world from the Uroboros. It's a little jarring when we first see Chris Redfield; he's lost his memory and he acts like a depressed Tony Stark drinking and smoking himself to death in a bar in some country. Piers was his old partner and he recruits Chris back into the force (why didn't they just have Jill Valentine instead? I really don't know). Piers is one of the least likeable characters in the franchise just because of how bland he is and really has no purpose in the story or the history of the franchise. I would have at least liked some references to what happened to Jill Valentine, but I was left unsatisfied.

To say the least--and without spoilers--Chris's story is structured oddly; but, moving on from that, there is only one strength to his campaign. And that's when he and his team go into a building to chase a snake B.O.W.. It did not contribute to the plot at all (which is good, because RE6 is soooooo plot heavy that it gives me a headache); nope, Chris is just in a frenzy to chase down this snake B.O.W. at all costs (and it's no doubt a shout out to the first Resident Evil game). It's actually when Chris is walking the "screenwriters" path to keep the plot moving when I care the least about what's happening. The problem with Chris's campaign is that they--the creators of the game--forced his purpose in the game (I'd like to say more, but that would include spoilers) by giving him personal vendetta instead of just doing his job. A BSAA operative's purpose is to kill B.O.W.'s and to rescue civilians--it would have been a lot simpler if that's what Chris's purpose in the game was, instead of being so plot driven.

Ultimately Chris's campaign is a narrative mess. They tried way too hard with his personality, his past (by ignoring a lot of it), his purpose, etc.. Instead of just letting him do what he does best . . . kill B.O.W.'s and then--and ONLY then--discover what's going on in the grand scheme of things. The ONLY redemptive quality about his campaign was hunting the snake: that felt like survival horror. Although, on that note, I wish that Chris could have been able to save more of his team. There's no reward in inevitable cutscenes killing off the team. In that sense, CAPCOM is the monster, not the snake. In this Skyrim day and age, players need to be rewarded or punished for in game choices.

JAKE AND SHERRY: 3/5

Let me say this right off the bat. Only one element to this campaign makes it worthy of playing: the Nemesis-esque bio-mechanical B.O.W. which was designed and programmed for one thing and one thing only: to capture Jake Muller. Why? Well, if it hadn't been for most of the trailers of the game, then it would be a spoiler, but since everyone knows, it isn't a spoiler anymore. Jake Muller is Wesker's son. That's why he's important. Sherry Birkin magically finds him in a European country (she wasn't--but somehow was--trying to find him from the beginning. It's hard to explain. It goes back to a similar awkward narrative that the Chris campaign had). And she knows that he has rare antibodies that can save the world. Talk about taking it slow and letting the player discover the mystery on their own, which is a huge problem the game has in general . . . it treats the audience like everyone is a Michael Bay fan and doesn't care about story and characters, but only the spectacle and thrilling events. I think the usually-good-reviews that RE5 had sort of enforced this ideology that not-everything-has-to-make-sense-because-the-fanbase-doesn't-care-too-much-about-logic (why CAPCOM? Are you saying I'm stupid or just complacent with the mundane?)-just-give-them-zombies-and-they'll-be-satisfied. Honestly, I wish the creators took care in their story as if I was watching a Christopher Nolan film instead of a Michael Bay film. I think the Resident Evil fan base is too smart for some of the very illogical "moments"/plot elements in RE6; a lot of which are in Jake's and Sherry's campaign.

What I found most annoying about this campaign is that I thought it would answer the most questions, such as what "Ada Wong" is up to, and Jake's origins and what about the crazy awesome Ustanak B.O.W.? As cool as these questions are, none of them are really answered at all. They're half-baked ideas that never really formed.

When I played the Leon campaign, I thought that Chris's and Jake's campaigns would make sense out of a lot of random B.O.W.'s and plot events; when I played the Chris campaign, nothing was answered, so I was thrilled that the Jake campaign would answer everything. Nope. Not at all. His blood is important and that's all that you* need to know.

CONCLUSION:

There are moments in the game that are better than any moments from any of the other games. In fact, if they had trimmed anywhere from 25% to 50% of the game, then maybe this game would be just as good--if not better--than Resident Evil 4. But the problem is this: think of RE6 as a buffet, but you can't choose what you eat; you have to eat in a random--but set--order. If green beans are first, you gotta eat them. Then cheesecake could be next (AWESOME), and then . . . you gotta eat piss and snot soup (EEWWW), and then some tasty Chinese food, and then fried poop. You see, it's the highs and lows of the game which makes it so disappointing. I could have forgiven the clunky controls and awkward inventory if they cut out all the mundane aspects of the campaigns, making them more to the point, even if each campaign was cut in half. Then it would have been an amazing game.

But it's all the crap (no pun intended) that you're force to eat which makes it so frustrating at times; for instance, in the Leon campaign, there's a part where you have to chase a zombie dog around a graveyard (spooky, right? You're in a graveyard, so it HAS to be spooky--and there's lightning, too) because it has the key . . . and somehow it's smart enough to know that you need it and it runs away and doesn't attack you. And it's all the illogical inclusions of B.O.W.'s (that are cool, mind you, but without purpose) which makes me feel like I'm watching a Paul W.S. Anderson adaptation. Then there are all the pacing issues too. It's such a fast paced game that you can't stop and smell the flowers and enjoy--and be disturbed by--the horrific terrain and scary atmosphere. CAPCOM tried to do way too much. They cannot make this the scariest game in the franchise and a high octane thrill ride at the same time. They need to get off the fence and decide what they want to do. And I hope it's the former, and not the latter for the next game.

WAYS TO SAVE THE DYING FRANCHISE:

In the beginning of my review, I referenced 28 Days Later. The reason is, CAPCOM is trying to cure the franchise without truly understanding. Yes, they listened to some complaints, but ignored others. Yes, Ustanak is an amazing B.O.W.; yes, Chris isn't so bulky anymore; yes, zombies have returned (sort of); yes, they tried. But they weren't very smart in the sense that they don't understand their own franchise and they exploited beloved characters to the point of ridiculousness. Must they deliberately hire a few fans to be the creative directors in the next game? Does it need to come down to that? At this rate . . . absolutely. If they want RE7 to survive. Otherwise, there's no hope left.

Resident Evil is not Uncharted, it's not Gears of War, it's not Call of Duty, it's not a racecar game, it's not an on-rails shooter. Resident Evil, from 1-4, has always been about exploration and horror, stumbling onto a mystery and trying to solve it, and survival. While Resident Evil 5 was not a Survival Horror game, it did attempt to stay true to Resident Evil 4. It didn't take enough risks, mind you, but it didn't step backwards either (the only* gripe I have with RE5 is some of the story decisions and how Wesker could teleport).

Resident Evil 7 needs to take a step back. No they need to take a couple hundred meters back and objectively and subjectively look at the franchise. What works? What doesn't work? Horror works. Too much action doesn't. RE6 had so much environmental action to the point of predictability--such as walking across a bridge, you knew it would fall--but the thing about predictability is that it isn't scary. Actually with the environment going haywire while playing the game, it could be looked upon as a Final Destination videogame adaptation too (really). RE6 failed to understand that having awesomely grotesque monsters doesn't make it a scary game (such as being in a graveyard while there's lightning). Pacing is what makes games scary. Why were the first few games so scary? Not because of what happened, but because of what didn't* happen. In RE6 too much happened.

Resident Evil 7 needs to be shorter (gasp!) and to the point. There needs to be a clear cut villain or two or three (like in RE4), and a sense of exploration and difficulty. If Resident Evil 7 took some RPG elements and throw in Dark Souls-esque difficulty and strategy, it could be the greatest game of all time; but--and this is probably scary for CAPCOM--they need another reboot. They must if they want to survive, because for RE7, I'm going to be smart enough to read the reviews first, and if it's not a good game--and if it's not a horror game--I'm not going to buy it. And I consider myself a diehard fan. I've beaten Resident Evil 4 20+ times and can't think of any flaws; I played Resident Evil 5 twice before realizing it was a little bit of a disappointment; I played only the Leon S. Kennedy campaign to realize that Resident Evil 6 was simply not a great game. RE6 felt like it was essentially an on-rails game: there's no straying from the path and no sense of exploring the area. Why not have a few houses available to go through to see if there is anything of use?

And for the love of God, bring back the merchant. I hate "buying" things on a screen. It might not make a whole lot of sense how he can transport as quickly as you can, but at least the buying/selling process makes sense with the merchant. Also they could give him a backstory too, because clearly he isn't entirely human. And if your character learns skills, then why not have random BSAA operatives around the city which know skills that you can learn from? Maybe Erickson with a broken leg and hiding on a roof can teach you a move or give you a gun if you find him crutches in the city (but without any cookie crumb trail system to lead you the way; let the players find it themselves), and the possibilities could go on forever. Kind of like in Skyrim. And speaking of which, it needs to have a lot more RPG elements.

All in all, CAPCOM needs to slow it down for Resident Evil 7. Resident Evil fans (unless they're fans of the films, too) generally are patient people: that's why they're Resident Evil fans. In the first five or six games, there was a lot of walking around, not knowing what to do exactly; there were a lot of puzzles and a lot of backtracking. So why are the creators treating us like we have ADHD and no attention span and no intelligence at all? Seriously, Resident Evil fans don't need (and generally don't want) non-stop action; we don't need the cookie crumb trail system to tell us where to go (we like finding our own way); we like to play a Resident Evil game and have a sense of accomplishment afterward, like the effect that Dark Souls has--with difficulty comes rewarding accomplishment. Come on CAPCOM. Know who your fans are. Don't assume that we're all Paul W.S. Anderson fans. Some of us expected a Christopher Nolan-esque tale, not another Schumaker game where the characters have rubber nipples on their suits. The creator of the series mentioned recently that the fans and the creators have like two parents trying to do what's best for their kid, and that they're going to disagree with one another. Come on, CAPCOM! That's a very unfair thing to say, because we're the ones who made you successful, and we are--for the most part--flat out telling you guys that you're going too far. If the fans and the creators are like two parents that disagree with one another, then CAPCOM is trying to make our broad shouldered son into a dancer instead of a football player, which is what he does best. Resident Evil is not meant to be as ridiculous as its Paul W.S. Anderson film counterparts, end of story.

IN A NUTSHELL:

Pros:
1) Great dialogue
2) Terrifying creature designs
3) Enemy variety
4) Atmosphere
5) Really great moments
6) The partner system is fixed (although I'd prefer without one)
7) Imaginative boss battles
8) Fantastic cutscenes
9) Ustanak

Cons:
1) Inventory (a step down from RE5)
2) Melee is too convenient, and thus not rewarding
3) Controls are clunky, camera fluidity is irksome
4) Mundane tasks (chasing a zombie dog around a cemetary)
5) Forced plot (they meet up in the darnest spots)
6) No in-game documents (which would help make sense out of some random B.O.W.'s)
7) No typewriters (but it's such an on-rails game, why would it matter?)
8) No treasures (which makes buying skills VERY difficult)
9) No point in exploration (BECAUSE THERE ARE NO TREASURES OR DOCUMENTS!)
10) No merchant (come on, CAPCOM, bring the man back)
11) The C-Virus (the T-Virus has children to feed; you're putting it out of a job)
12) Too long (with too many mundane moments in all the chapters to even revisit)
- On that note, the campaigns are so long that it would be a task to replay any of the campaigns.
13) Not scary (although it had its moments)
14) Confusing plot elements
15) Too much action (seriously, this is Michael Bay's Resident Evil; I'd prefer Christopher Nolan's or Frank Darabont's)
16) Vague B.O.W. origins (a chainsaw arm, really?)
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 21, 2013 1:18 PM PST


Resident Evil 6
Resident Evil 6
Price: $9.99
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14 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Michael Bay's Resident Evil 6, October 3, 2012
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Resident Evil 6 (Video Game)
"In order to cure, you must first understand."
- 28 Days Later

THE FRANCHISE IN A NUTSHELL:

In the beginning there was a mansion, its surrounding property, and a laboratory underneath it. That was it. The game relied on mystery, environment, it's slow-paced, high tension, moody atmosphere. You had to save ammunition (the knife is your friend) not just for stronger enemies, not just in case of a horde of zombies, but because you don't know when you will REALLY need that ammunition; in fact, you were scared to use it. Hence, the genre Survival Horror was born (some people consider Alone in the Dark the first, which may be true, but Resident Evil was the first huge success). Resident Evil 1-4 relied on this Survival Horror system. Actually, it was more or less an attitude.

Yes, I did include Resident Evil 4 as a Survival Horror game because at the beginning you have a basic handgun and a janky shotgun--which belonged to a farmer, most likely--against these people that are not acting entirely normal (yet they're not zombies, which was SO refreshing--at the time) and a gigantic ogre like boss. In Resident Evil 4 there is a real sense of John Carpenter's The Thing-esque paranoia about the odd acting residence (which is essentially very true to the title "Resident Evil" in the sense that you're going against these residents that are, indeed, evil; and the Japanese title still concurs with the game, too). The deeper you go in Resident Evil 4, the less scary it becomes, but that's because you've figured out the mystery and now you're trying to solve the problem. But, the first half of the game is pure horror (the first time you go into the village is probably the scariest the franchise has ever been before and after)--and then even toward the end of the game, there are still some moments of horror that will get you.

Then there was Resident Evil 5: it was about a guy who killed a bunch of angry people infected with parasites and Star Wars' misfit monsters and Agent Smith from The Matrix made an appearance, but he dyed his hair blonde. Okay, I'm joking as you know, but that doesn't mean it isn't the truth. It was a decent action game (and Mercenaries was really fun with a partner) but not a very good Resident Evil game. This was always my comparison: If Resident Evil 4 was the Casino Royale of the Resident Evil franchise (a reboot which saved a dying franchise and breathed new life into it), then Resident Evil 5 was the Quantum of Solace of the Resident Evil franchise (gimmick after gimmick and an exploitation of the previous title's changes: what that means is that Resident Evil 5 said to itself, "Resident Evil 4 changed a lot of things, so I'm going to change even more things." A decent action game, but a horrible Resident Evil game from almost every aspect except for its dazzling graphics.

RESIDENT EVIL 6:

I thought that Resident Evil 5 was the Quantum of Solace of the franchise . . . but I was wrong.

The game starts off without explanation: Leon and an injured girl (Helena) are in a ravaged city--zombies are everywhere and a helicopter is seemingly shooting at you. You make your way through the city only for you to realize that it was just a very interactive title and credits sequence. At the end of the gameplay you see a monster's foot and Leon says something smart like usual and then we see the title--Resident Evil 6--and now you're in the menu where you can choose your campaign or its multitude of special features.

You can initially choose from Leon's campaign, Chris's campaign, or Jake's campaign, but choose wisely because once you pick one you have to see it through to the end. But, before getting into the campaigns, I'll discuss my general thoughts about the game.

The general critiques about RE6 have been quite consistent. Imagine that you have a person with ADHD that loves action movies--but is trying to throw in horror to appeal to the fan base--and is trying to put together a very elaborate plot without the necessary skill for storytelling to tell it. The game is very unfocused; you're not sure who's the main* villain--in fact, not even the villains know who the true villains are. And when you beat the campaigns, only the least important details are explained--and even worse--in mundane manners.

THE C-VIRUS (some spoilers in third paragraph): 1/5

From the very start of the franchise what interested me more than the mutants or the zombies or the ganados/majini, was the virus or the parasite used to create such monstrosities. Resident Evil was about the T-Virus (Tyrant Virus) and, if you take Lisa Trevor into consideration, the origins of the G-Virus as well. Resident Evil 2 was about the effects the T-Virus and the G-Virus (which resulted in a form of unstable biological immortality at the cost of the human soul or consciousness); Resident Evil 3--which takes place at the same time as Resident Evil 2--continued to lay down the foundation of the T-Virus, but as opposed to showing the G-Virus (which only Leon was going against), the game focused on to what extent the T-Virus could be used for biological weaponry. For instance, the Nemesis-T Type was designed by a European branch of Umbrella to prove that T-Virus test subjects could still retain most of their intelligence. And to test out this hypothesis: Go kill all the S.T.A.R.S. members in Raccoon City so we could kill two birds with one stone. Resident Evil: Code Veronica was about the T-Veronica virus (which is a little harder to explain, but it's important to know that it's a variation of the Progenitor Virus which is the basis for all the previously mentioned viruses). I'm going to skip explaining the biological agents in Resident Evil Zero because it's essentially the same as in the first game, and finally go into Resident Evil 4, which was a game changer. The T-Virus was mentioned; Luis said that he had scene a sample at some medical center: that means that the T-Virus has been ultimately erradicated from the world; domesticated, you could say. Resident Evil 4, however, brought in a new type of biological weapon--the Las Plagas. Although many of the Las Plagas experiments in RE4 were accidental and experimental--such as the big salamander in the lake; it was just a byproduct of the experimentations taking place. And then Jack Krauser (who has a previously unknown history with Leon, but was later explained in Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles), who was previously working for Wesker, pretending to work for Saddler, actually did take a gift from Saddler--the Plagas, which he injected into himself--and became more powerful (although I think the arm injure he had obtained against Javier in Darkside was a motivating factor). At one point, he mutated his arm. The point being, all the mutations in Resident Evil 4 made sense. And then we go into Resident Evil 5: the Uroboros makes perfect sense in a biological standpoint, because such a virus would need biological matter to grow in size; but it was the Las Plagas that didn't make sense. Ricardo Irving, for instance, injected himself and became a giant sea monster . . . oh, and he just happened to be on a boat . . . how convenient.

Now, in Resident Evil 6, we have the C-Virus. Unlike in Resident Evil 1-5, I have no idea what the origins are, I have no idea how its biology works (other than it is a conductor of heat in many ways); I have no idea, partially because there are no in-game documentation about this virus or the B.O.W.'s designed from it. That's frustrating, because I don't know about you guys, but in previous games I made sure I collected every single document and I read them. At the time I didn't even like reading books (now I do, but that's not the point), but I still enjoyed furthering my experience. Is it realistic that there will be documents lying around? Probably not, but it's more realistic that some of the insane, ridiculous action sequences in this game which makes the motorcycle majini in Resident Evil 5 look like Christopher Nolan realism. Does CAPCOM think we are illiterate and can't read or don't want to read? Or, are they* the ones becoming illiterate (by the way, the game does have documents, but they can only be accessed through Special Features; I read some of the documents on the B.O.W.'s and they're not really explained intelligently, and the explanation for some of them, like the Chainsaw mutant, was downright laughable--appearing that a thirteen year old fanboy wrote it without a sense of what they were righting would be perceived as humorous)?

The C-Virus, oh the C-Virus. The C-Virus makes zombies; the C-Virus causes zombies to become obese, causes zombies to grow strange screaming organs in their throats, causes some zombies to become Liker-wanna-bes, and causes some zombies to still wield weapons--guns and bats and golfing clubs--and to still turn cranks occasionally to hinder your process (come on!); the C-Virus causes zombie dogs--which are identical to the T-variation (but what about cats? what about deer? what about raccoons? what about birds? what about animals that escaped from the zoo?); the C-Virus creates gigantic shark mutants, mutants that are three times as large as 4's El Gigante, mutants that somehow--through a C-Virus mutation--grow a chainsaw for a hand which has its heart inside of it (I don't think Neo-Umbrella designed this one through any scientific proceedure; I honestly think it just created itself by a naturalistic evolution of the C-Virus), mutants that are ripoffs of the Iron Maiden Regenerators from Resident Evil 4, or a snake that can turn invisible; the C-Virus causes hosts who inject themselves directly to still keep their intelligence, but to grow a lot stronger and to become mutated--they're called J'avo; the C-Virus causes a J'avo to mutate into a dozen different things, ranging from Bee-headed men that can send bees at you, spider-bodied men, the growth of wings, the growth of two long legs for super jumping, the growth of explosive larvi for their entire body, and more; the C-Virus causes some J'avo to caccoon themselves and then spore new horrors--lizard things (or, you can just say its the dinosaur that killed the fat guy from Jurassic Park), bunky bohemoths with rocks for skin, flying creatures, or a swarm of insects; the C-Virus is responsible for the coolest B.O.W. since Nemesis, Ustanak, the bio-mechanic super freak . . .

But how? The game never gets into the scientific aspects of the virus. That's something that I always loved about the franchise until Resident Evil 5. Now, granted, a lot of these mutations are very cool--but hardly any of them make sense. Unless of course they went through the effort of trying to make them make sense. Why couldn't one of their campaigns have been about figuring out how ONE virus could do all these things? Another big problem is this: the C-Virus is TOO GOOD. It'll put the T-Virus, G-Virus, T-Verinica, Las Plagas, and the Uroboros out of a job. Especially since Ustanak is one of the hardest B.O.W.'s in the series. You see the problem here, don't you?

They're trying to please the fans in unintelligable ways. I'm sorry CAPCOM, I'm not that stupid. And I know there are a lot of other fans who feel the same way.

GAMEPLAY: 2/5

Those of us who were good at RE4 were probably good at RE5; both games essentially had the same gameplay mechanics, aside from RE5's clunky inventory system. Well, RE6 throws that out the window in almost every way. The gameplay is what wounds the entire game fatally. I don't mind about walking while shooting, but I do mind about the unfixed camera behind the character. It feels like I'm playing a videogame adaptation of a movie in some points of the game. The weird thing is, the creators probably thought they were helping out the player by having a fluid camera behind them at all times, but really it gives me a headache and it's hard to aim my character when I need to run somewhere. The old system had its flaws, but this new-and-supposed-to-be-improved system creates even more.

Oh, and get this. You know how you could shoot enemies in the legs in RE4 and RE5 and they fall to their knees so you can do some interesting melee attacks? Well, in RE6 you can't shoot enemies to their knees--hence, creating less melee variety. I wonder which one of the creators said to the others, "We should definitely get rid of shooting enemies in the legs." It's a really strange decision they made that I don't understand the point of which.

And quick time events. There are tons of them, but none of them are as good as the Leon vs. Jack Krauser scene from Resident Evil 4. A lot of people have complained about this, but I didn't mind. I was just never blown away, aside from the final Ustanak battle at the end of Jake's campaign. That was innovative, I must say.

LEON AND HELENA: 4/5

Have you ever read an over bloated novel that could have been a whole lot better if the author cut out at least 25% of it? Well, that's what Leon's campaign felt like. His campaign is deliberately designed for the Survival Horror Resident Evil fan--you know, the gamers that likely hate on RE4 and RE5 because they have no Survival Horror (or a lack of); "zombies" return only* in Leon's campaign, and it also features some really cool zombie-variations (although I couldn't help but compare most of them to Left 4 Dead's super zombies). Leon's campaign starts off in an intense situation without much explanation, then travels through a zombie infested Tall Oaks, goes to a church which happens to have an underground laboratory underneath (there is sort of* a reason for this), then goes to China (which he randomly and too conveniently reunites with an old acquaintance immediately after the rough landing of the plane, which will undoubtedly make the player giggle with how unlikely the by-chance meeting really is).

Leon's campaign is the heart of Resident Evil 6. Leon knows Sherry, Leon knows Chris, Leon has a thing for Ada (who seemingly is/isn't the villain in the game), and by theory does the most important things in the game. The game's creator(s) deliberately did this because Resident Evil 4 was the most successful in the franchise.

The highlight of Leon's campaign is the atmosphere; the flaw is its overly bloated length (this campaign feels as long as Resident Evil 5 as a whole, and yet there are still two other campaigns--technically three more--to go).

CHRIS AND PIERS: 2/5

The first thing that you will ask is: what the heck happened to Jill Valentine? And who the heck is Piers? The game never answers those two questions, but it only hints at the fact that Chris never gave up the fight against bioterrorism after he saved the world from the Uroboros. It's a little jarring when we first see Chris Redfield; he's lost his memory and he acts like a depressed Tony Stark drinking and smoking himself to death in a bar in some country. Piers was his old partner and he recruits Chris back into the force (why didn't they just have Jill Valentine instead? I really don't know). Piers is one of the least likeable characters in the franchise just because of how bland he is and really has no purpose in the story or the history of the franchise. I would have at least liked some references to what happened to Jill Valentine, but I was left unsatisfied.

To say the least--and without spoilers--Chris's story is structured oddly; but, moving on from that, there is only one strength to his campaign. And that's when he and his team go into a building to chase a snake B.O.W.. It did not contribute to the plot at all (which is good, because RE6 is soooooo plot heavy that it gives me a headache); nope, Chris is just in a frenzy to chase down this snake B.O.W. at all costs (and it's no doubt a shout out to the first Resident Evil game). It's actually when Chris is walking the "screenwriters" path to keep the plot moving when I care the least about what's happening. The problem with Chris's campaign is that they--the creators of the game--forced his purpose in the game (I'd like to say more, but that would include spoilers) by giving him personal vendetta instead of just doing his job. A BSAA operative's purpose is to kill B.O.W.'s and to rescue civilians--it would have been a lot simpler if that's what Chris's purpose in the game was, instead of being so plot driven.

Ultimately Chris's campaign is a narrative mess. They tried way too hard with his personality, his past (by ignoring a lot of it), his purpose, etc.. Instead of just letting him do what he does best . . . kill B.O.W.'s and then--and ONLY then--discover what's going on in the grand scheme of things. The ONLY redemptive quality about his campaign was hunting the snake: that felt like survival horror. Although, on that note, I wish that Chris could have been able to save more of his team. There's no reward in inevitable cutscenes killing off the team. In that sense, CAPCOM is the monster, not the snake. In this Skyrim day and age, players need to be rewarded or punished for in game choices.

JAKE AND SHERRY: 3/5

Let me say this right off the bat. Only one element to this campaign makes it worthy of playing: the Nemesis-esque bio-mechanical B.O.W. which was designed and programmed for one thing and one thing only: to capture Jake Muller. Why? Well, if it hadn't been for most of the trailers of the game, then it would be a spoiler, but since everyone knows, it isn't a spoiler anymore. Jake Muller is Wesker's son. That's why he's important. Sherry Birkin magically finds him in a European country (she wasn't--but somehow was--trying to find him from the beginning. It's hard to explain. It goes back to a similar awkward narrative that the Chris campaign had). And she knows that he has rare antibodies that can save the world. Talk about taking it slow and letting the player discover the mystery on their own, which is a huge problem the game has in general . . . it treats the audience like everyone is a Michael Bay fan and doesn't care about story and characters, but only the spectacle and thrilling events. I think the usually-good-reviews that RE5 had sort of enforced this ideology that not-everything-has-to-make-sense-because-the-fanbase-doesn't-care-too-much-about-logic (why CAPCOM? Are you saying I'm stupid or just complacent with the mundane?)-just-give-them-zombies-and-they'll-be-satisfied. Honestly, I wish the creators took care in their story as if I was watching a Christopher Nolan film instead of a Michael Bay film. I think the Resident Evil fan base is too smart for some of the very illogical "moments"/plot elements in RE6; a lot of which are in Jake's and Sherry's campaign.

What I found most annoying about this campaign is that I thought it would answer the most questions, such as what "Ada Wong" is up to, and Jake's origins and what about the crazy awesome Ustanak B.O.W.? As cool as these questions are, none of them are really answered at all. They're half-baked ideas that never really formed.

When I played the Leon campaign, I thought that Chris's and Jake's campaigns would make sense out of a lot of random B.O.W.'s and plot events; when I played the Chris campaign, nothing was answered, so I was thrilled that the Jake campaign would answer everything. Nope. Not at all. His blood is important and that's all that you* need to know.

CONCLUSION:

There are moments in the game that are better than any moments from any of the other games. In fact, if they had trimmed anywhere from 25% to 50% of the game, then maybe this game would be just as good--if not better--than Resident Evil 4. But the problem is this: think of RE6 as a buffet, but you can't choose what you eat; you have to eat in a random--but set--order. If green beans are first, you gotta eat them. Then cheesecake could be next (AWESOME), and then . . . you gotta eat piss and snot soup (EEWWW), and then some tasty Chinese food, and then fried poop. You see, it's the highs and lows of the game which makes it so disappointing. I could have forgiven the clunky controls and awkward inventory if they cut out all the mundane aspects of the campaigns, making them more to the point, even if each campaign was cut in half. Then it would have been an amazing game.

But it's all the crap (no pun intended) that you're force to eat which makes it so frustrating at times; for instance, in the Leon campaign, there's a part where you have to chase a zombie dog around a graveyard (spooky, right? You're in a graveyard, so it HAS to be spooky--and there's lightning, too) because it has the key . . . and somehow it's smart enough to know that you need it and it runs away and doesn't attack you. And it's all the illogical inclusions of B.O.W.'s (that are cool, mind you, but without purpose) which makes me feel like I'm watching a Paul W.S. Anderson adaptation. Then there are all the pacing issues too. It's such a fast paced game that you can't stop and smell the flowers and enjoy--and be disturbed by--the horrific terrain and scary atmosphere. CAPCOM tried to do way too much. They cannot make this the scariest game in the franchise and a high octane thrill ride at the same time. They need to get off the fence and decide what they want to do. And I hope it's the former, and not the latter for the next game.

WAYS TO SAVE THE DYING FRANCHISE:

In the beginning of my review, I referenced 28 Days Later. The reason is, CAPCOM is trying to cure the franchise without truly understanding. Yes, they listened to some complaints, but ignored others. Yes, Ustanak is an amazing B.O.W.; yes, Chris isn't so bulky anymore; yes, zombies have returned (sort of); yes, they tried. But they weren't very smart in the sense that they don't understand their own franchise and they exploited beloved characters to the point of ridiculousness. Must they deliberately hire a few fans to be the creative directors in the next game? Does it need to come down to that? At this rate . . . absolutely. If they want RE7 to survive. Otherwise, there's no hope left.

Resident Evil is not Uncharted, it's not Gears of War, it's not Call of Duty, it's not a racecar game, it's not an on-rails shooter. Resident Evil, from 1-4, has always been about exploration and horror, stumbling onto a mystery and trying to solve it, and survival. While Resident Evil 5 was not a Survival Horror game, it did attempt to stay true to Resident Evil 4. It didn't take enough risks, mind you, but it didn't step backwards either (the only* gripe I have with RE5 is some of the story decisions and how Wesker could teleport).

Resident Evil 7 needs to take a step back. No they need to take a couple hundred meters back and objectively and subjectively look at the franchise. What works? What doesn't work? Horror works. Too much action doesn't. RE6 had so much environmental action to the point of predictability--such as walking across a bridge, you knew it would fall--but the thing about predictability is that it isn't scary. Actually with the environment going haywire while playing the game, it could be looked upon as a Final Destination videogame adaptation too (really). RE6 failed to understand that having awesomely grotesque monsters doesn't make it a scary game (such as being in a graveyard while there's lightning). Pacing is what makes games scary. Why were the first few games so scary? Not because of what happened, but because of what didn't* happen. In RE6 too much happened.

Resident Evil 7 needs to be shorter (gasp!) and to the point. There needs to be a clear cut villain or two or three (like in RE4), and a sense of exploration and difficulty. If Resident Evil 7 took some RPG elements and throw in Dark Souls-esque difficulty and strategy, it could be the greatest game of all time; but--and this is probably scary for CAPCOM--they need another reboot. They must if they want to survive, because for RE7, I'm going to be smart enough to read the reviews first, and if it's not a good game--and if it's not a horror game--I'm not going to buy it. And I consider myself a diehard fan. I've beaten Resident Evil 4 20+ times and can't think of any flaws; I played Resident Evil 5 twice before realizing it was a little bit of a disappointment; I played only the Leon S. Kennedy campaign to realize that Resident Evil 6 was simply not a great game. RE6 felt like it was essentially an on-rails game: there's no straying from the path and no sense of exploring the area. Why not have a few houses available to go through to see if there is anything of use?

And for the love of God, bring back the merchant. I hate "buying" things on a screen. It might not make a whole lot of sense how he can transport as quickly as you can, but at least the buying/selling process makes sense with the merchant. Also they could give him a backstory too, because clearly he isn't entirely human. And if your character learns skills, then why not have random BSAA operatives around the city which know skills that you can learn from? Maybe Erickson with a broken leg and hiding on a roof can teach you a move or give you a gun if you find him crutches in the city (but without any cookie crumb trail system to lead you the way; let the players find it themselves), and the possibilities could go on forever. Kind of like in Skyrim. And speaking of which, it needs to have a lot more RPG elements.

All in all, CAPCOM needs to slow it down for Resident Evil 7. Resident Evil fans (unless they're fans of the films, too) generally are patient people: that's why they're Resident Evil fans. In the first five or six games, there was a lot of walking around, not knowing what to do exactly; there were a lot of puzzles and a lot of backtracking. So why are the creators treating us like we have ADHD and no attention span and no intelligence at all? Seriously, Resident Evil fans don't need (and generally don't want) non-stop action; we don't need the cookie crumb trail system to tell us where to go (we like finding our own way); we like to play a Resident Evil game and have a sense of accomplishment afterward, like the effect that Dark Souls has--with difficulty comes rewarding accomplishment. Come on CAPCOM. Know who your fans are. Don't assume that we're all Paul W.S. Anderson fans. Some of us expected a Christopher Nolan-esque tale, not another Schumaker game where the characters have rubber nipples on their suits. The creator of the series mentioned recently that the fans and the creators have like two parents trying to do what's best for their kid, and that they're going to disagree with one another. Come on, CAPCOM! That's a very unfair thing to say, because we're the ones who made you successful, and we are--for the most part--flat out telling you guys that you're going too far. If the fans and the creators are like two parents that disagree with one another, then CAPCOM is trying to make our broad shouldered son into a dancer instead of a football player, which is what he does best. Resident Evil is not meant to be as ridiculous as its Paul W.S. Anderson film counterparts, end of story.

IN A NUTSHELL:

Pros:
1) Great dialogue
2) Terrifying creature designs
3) Enemy variety
4) Atmosphere
5) Really great moments
6) The partner system is fixed (although I'd prefer without one)
7) Imaginative boss battles
8) Fantastic cutscenes
9) Ustanak

Cons:
1) Inventory
2) Melee
3) Controls
4) Mundane tasks
5) Forced plot
6) No in-game documents
7) No typewriters
8) No treasures
9) No point in exploration
10) No merchant
11) The C-Virus
12) Too long
- On that note, the campaigns are so long that it would be a task to replay any of the campaigns.
13) Not scary
14) Confusing plot elements
15) Too much action
16) Vague B.O.W. origins
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 6, 2012 10:20 PM PST


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