on May 23, 2013
I knew exactly what I would be getting into with Resident Evil 6, which is why I waited until the game dropped to about $20 on Amazon (I actually had no intention of ever playing it, but couldn't believe the price). I think even disappointing games are worth a $20 bill as long as they are playable.
This game is not Resident Evil. I know that, and you know that. It's a third-person action shooter that just takes place in the RE universe and utilizes the RE characters. They really should've just created this game as a totally different IP and put the Resident Evil trademark out to pasture. If you're looking for the classic RE experience, just give up and go play the earlier games, because that experience is never coming back.
So how does it fare as an action shooter? In my opinion, not too well. I personally can't stand how close the camera follows your character as he/she will essentially take up half of the screen, making it difficult to see where enemies and obstacles are, particularly in skinny hallways and small rooms, and especially when running. With some exceptions, the environments are incredibly dark, even with the brightness maxed out, making it all the more difficult to see what you're supposed to be shooting at. Given the outrageous scripted action sequences and active environments, there's not a lot of "horror" to be had here, and having to navigate unnecessarily dark rooms is aggravating instead of scary, and also led to some serious eyestrain.
The aiming mechanics are clunky, and it can be very difficult to hit moving enemies (most of them are), leading to a frustrating waste of ammo, which is often surprisingly scarce for an action shooter. This can be counteracted, however, by utilizing a character's melee attack, which is almost too effective, but it's silly to play what is clearly a shooting game and go around throwing elbows all the time. You can at least move while aiming, and that's a nice feature than any shooter should have; however, the movement is incredible slow and is not really useful in most situations. Your character also has a nasty habit of automatically "sticking" up next to walls and other forms of standing cover when you get near them while aiming. With me this often happened suddenly and unexpectedly right in the middle of a huge firefight, leading to frustrating battles with the controller to get my character off the wall and back under control.
The enemies you face this time around are, of course, zombies and a variety of strange, increasingly bizarre mutated things. Unfortunately, the term "zombie" is used more for historical effect, as the enemies in RE6 are a far cry from what most would consider zombies. "Zombies" now shoot firearms, including light machine guns and rocket launchers, as well as carry shields, and pop in and out of cover. How jarringly stupid is that?? As I mentioned above, this is a flagrant reminder that this is not resident evil, but just a Call of Duty-style shooter with a very thin coat of traditional "survival horror" paint slapped on it. Give me a freaking break, Capcom.
As another slap in the face to "survival horror," your character now has a constant companion (human or AI)that joins you. This is, of course, entirely for the purposes of human-human co-op gameplay, but it makes an already unscary game even less scary. I never played with a human teammate so I can't comment on that (although i suspect it's probably enjoyable), but I can easily say that the friendly AI player is incredibly useless. They can't seem to hit things a few feet in front of them most times, and it's not uncommon to see him/her go running into and through a room, completely ignoring the enemies within, only to stop at the exit and wait. At least they're seemingly invincible and you don't have to keep reviving them. And on no real surprising note, co-op events are inanely limited (as always) to pressing a button to open a door together or pressing a button to boost the other player up to a higher level.
The graphics are nice and pretty, but that's about all companies like Capcom and SquareEnix are known for these days. The music and sound are fine but nothing to write home about and nothing memorable. The voice acting is pretty decent, but the dialogue is standard hokey fare.
The plot is not noteworty by any means, unless you happen to be obsessed with the RE universe and its details. I followed along with all of the cutscenes and dialogue throughout the entire game, and I remember very little of why I was doing what I was doing. Who cares. Move from Point A to Point B and shoot at bad guys until a really large bad guys shows up, and then shoot at him. Do it again. Eventually the game ends. I've done all of this many, many times before in other games in the last several years.
Fortunately, the cutscenes in RE6 are not obnoxiously long or even painful to watch as in some other games, but they still pop up during times when you just want to PLAY the game, not watch it. As in other modern games with cutscenes, there are many stretches during which you will sit through a cutscene, only to regain control of your character so that you can walk down a single hallway....... and into yet another cutscene. Sometimes rinse and repeat once or twice more after that. This has become somewhat of a staple of video games these days and is rapidly wearing out its welcome. Scripted action sequences and scenes are plentiful but sadly very routine and lacking creativity, such as a helicopter suddenly showing up to blow up cars in front of you or a zombie magically appearing in an apartment window and blowing up something in front of you with a rocket launcher.
The length of the experience is a notable plus. There are four campaigns, each made up of 5 chapters, and a good number of them will take many hours to beat leading easily to a total playtime of 20-30+ hours. If you're looking for a game that has a high time:money ratio, then this is a good pick. I don't like multiplayer add-ons and cannot comment on those aspects of this game.
Overall, to me the problem with this game is that is does nothing new and nothing memorable. I've played this game many times before under a variety of names and titles, and God knows there are more to come. I get why developers are morphing popular non-action series into action series.... because they appeal to a broader audience and are more financially palatable to publishers and investors. But I can still express my disappointment with this "evolution" in game design, and I will still mourn the decline of memorable gameplay of many, many years ago.
In my opinion, from a pure gaming point of view, I wasn't miserable while playing RE6, but I'm very proud that I only paid $20 for it. A rental over an extended weekend would have probably worked even better. There's just no reason to pay more than that for an action shooter experience that you can experience any other day of the week.