Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Review: Resident Evil 6

Fuck, this is like the antithesis of what Resident Evil was once about! Instead of deliberate pacing where a bullet unshot is a bullet saved, Resident Evil 6 is an action movie where the main characters dispense bad, oftentimes painful one liners and a metric fuckton of bullets, even though at times, it's like there's never enough of the latter. Meanwhile, explosions are going off every other minute and all sorts of crazy shit happens. More stuff happens, stuff over there happens and stuff over in that direction happens - it's just stuff happening! Goddammit Capcom, I know you want to appease the leering Mountain Dew addicts who're still waiting for their balls to drop, but between a surprisingly good Resident Evil game on the 3DS and a surprisingly good JRPG with heavy WRPG inspiration in Dragon's Dogma, I thought for a second that you might've actually gotten your spark back! But nope, here comes Resident Evil 6 to show us that Capcom only care about money - and I'm aware that all companies only care about money, but good developers at least make it subtle.

Despite my opening paragraph indicating otherwise, I didn't outright hate Resident Evil 6, so much as I was just bored the entire time. While I could attribute that to the game's pacing, a lot of it has to do with the story. Simply put, there's a new virus developed by Neo-Umbrella Corp that's known as the C-virus, poised and ready to infect the entire world. It'll be up to our three heroes Chris Redfield, Leon Kennedy and Jake Muller - wait, hold the fucking phone, who's this clown? Well apparently, Jake has ties to a certain Resident Evil character, so I guess why not make him a protagonist? At least his buddy is an actual Resident Evil character - remember Sherry from Resident Evil 2? Well, now she isn't completely useless as she can fight alongside Jake! She's the only partner to a main playable who had actually existed in a past game - the other characters have partners who we've never met, and even at the end of it all, we never truly meet them. They exist for the sake of existing with no personality and no memorable dialogue. Filler story at its finest.

Instead of having the character stopping in their tracks to aim and fire, it's the game that stops in its tracks to either deliver a cutscene that's more interested in boring you to death than it is in being intriguing or anything worth a damn, or have you watching a set piece that transitions to a lame ass quick time event that nobody asked for, nobody wanted and nobody actually likes. A lot of the time, you'll be mashing (not pressing - that might actually make it tolerable) the on screen button so that you can proceed to the next button in the sequence until it finally decides to be a video game again. But simply existing isn't enough; it also has to be as obnoxious as possible. . Why? Does this make it more exciting? Well, sorry to say, but I was not excited one little bit – maybe except at the prospect of ejecting the disc and throwing it across the room! After the fiftieth time failling because it failed to register a button press that one time, don't be surprised if you lose the will to play on and notice some blood on your knuckles.

Sadly, that's the only time that it's possible to feel something resembling an emotion, because the rest of the game was boring. Pacing is clearly not in this game's vocabulary because while action can be exciting, constant action is easy to get bored of. It's fun to fight a few waves of zombies and, crappy quick time events aside, explosions can grab your attention. But eventually, it becomes tiresome because that's all there is. Every thirty seconds, there's shit happening (or not happening because it's story time) and then you'll need to go through a quick time event. Every encounter consists of shooting groups of zombies. There's no time to reflect on the events that have transpired because as soon as one big, loud event ends, another one begins. Flow is also not in this game's vocabulary because you go through a batch of zombies, only to then either watch a cutscene or go through a quick time event, both of which disrupt the flow of gameplay as they stop you from actually interacting with it. That's what I hate about modern gaming – its insistence on playing itself, which is some Resident Evil 6 loves to do.

But really, what else is there to the gameplay? Oh, you can move and shoot now? Goodie, what a step forward! But what's this, you have to draw out your gun before you're allowed to duck into cover? Fuck off! Seriously, in what world does this work out to be convenient or good? What's wrong with a simple “duck into cover” button that every other third person shooter has? Everything else this game does is what other third person shooters do – a cover system; an over the shoulder camera (that's way too far zoomed in); iron sights; a variety of guns involving pistols, shotguns, machine guns and exlosive guns; and stop-start pacing. Oh, and a jumping dodge roll kind of thing. Can't forget that. Whoops, almost forgot co-op. Always have to have a mate with you – whether it's a competent AI controlled partner that's indestructible with infinite ammo (I'd make a joke here, but AI is actually one of the hardest things to program right), or your mate (either on the couch with you or out in Russia), whatever, it's always great to be with friends, right?

At a certain point, you have to question whether this was an honest effort or some elaborate parody of third person shooters because there's no way anybody, even a new developer (let alone Capcom, what was once one of the greatest developers out there), would be so willing to be this content with mediocrity. It's like the ultimate in laundry list shooters – I'm surprised there's no half assed gimmick like terraforming or gravity, it's that by the numbers. What, am I supposed to think that this real time inventory where you can convert herbs into tablets (and in a decision influenced by really wanting to stand out, you can have all the herbs, guns and bullets in the world, but only three tablets, which are made with herbs), an overpowered melee system where you can rip zombies in half with a roundhouse kick and only having so many bullets to barely scrape by as the gimmicks to make the player think that they're not playing a by the numbers shooter? I don't know, maybe I've been getting so bored by this game that thoughts about its intentions and why it's the way that it is just seem to pop up like morning wood.

But then you start thinking about the little things that just make little sense. Like how come am I getting shit all in terms of ammo? Most good action games give you a lot of ammo, but here comes Resident Evil 6, giving you maybe enough ammo for a couple of shootouts. Had it not been for the fact that you can pretty much flick a zombie's head off with the melee system, the zombies would surround you and eat you up. Seriously, if it wasn't for the stamina guage and the somewhat sluggish melee controls practically requiring you to be pretty close (closer than you'd expect but thankfully, it's not like you have to be on this magic fucking pixel so it could be worse), you could just go through the game fucking up zombies with your razor fists and legs of steel that'd make Kenshiro from Fist Of The North Star go “damn, he'd fuck me up”. Oh and you're practically made of steel as you can take heaps of damage and there are a fair amount of herbs that could be made into tablets that not only restore health, but also stamina. Unless you have no hand eye coordination, this is a piece of piss.

I always find it amusing when people say that Resident Evil 6 looks good because it actually doesn't. It looks alright, but there's definitely room for improvement (kind of like the whole game, really). For starters, some of the environments look fine, but others look like something out of an early PS3 game. The textures aren't quite sharp enough, some things are a bit too blurry when it should focus on them during cutscenes, and the colors, despite looking vibrant, are pretty dull... just oversaturated in an effort to make it look vibrant. The animations are odd as while they move alright during cutscenes, they walk like zombies in-game despite their bodies moving at human speed. Aesthetically pleasing, but it could be better.

And god fucking damn, what is up with every fucking action game and “epic” “sweeping” symphonics for their soundtracks? Yes, I get that it's big, bombastic and all this crap, but isn't it sort of wearing itself thin now? I suppose it fits the fact that it's big and exciting with all these explosions and whatnot, but that's it. The voice acting fits – it's nothing impressive, but for what it does, it works out well enough.

Really though, Resident Evil 6 is a pretty mediocre game that leans more towards being shitty. As a Resident Evil game, it doesn't even register, but on its own terms, slipshot controls, quick time event overkill and a constant need to play itself are surprisingly not enough to kill this game. Piss you off, yeah, but that's it. Otherwise, it's a pretty boring third person shooter that's, for the most part anyway, technically competent and rather inoffensive. If you hate having play control constantly taken away from you, avoid this like Cronos avoids a decent haircut, but if you want to play what essentially amounts to Lost Planet: Undead Nightmare, eh, I'd give this a cautious recommandation and instead advise you to just play Lost Planet.

4/10 (Below Average)

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