Thursday, December 27, 2012

Second Opinion: Resident Evil 6

Oh Resident Evil, your dusty old corpse just doesn't want to be left alone, doesn't it? Especially not from government appointed scientists that want to conduct experiments on the living dead, which explains what Area 51 has really been holding! Resident Evil started off by popularising the suvival horror genre, then it redefined it with Resident Evil 4, and then further redefined it with Resident Evil 5 to the point of an identity crisis. Seriously, Resident Evil 5 wasn't sure whether to be horror or action – at least Resident Evil 4 was more definite with its blend of action and horror. So here comes Resident Evil 6, which makes its identity crisis even worse! I mean, I get what Capcom were trying to do – they wanted to figure out what we'd like so they offered up four different styles. You either play a poor man's Resident Evil 4, a poor man's Resident Evil 3, a poor man's Gears Of War or a poor woman's Resident Evil 4. Admirable idea... too bad that each of them have a bevy of weaknesses.

I could just sum up Resident Evil 6 with “you get to see all your favorite Resident Evil characters alongside some newcomers”, but I'll make an effort to describe the plot. You'll play as four different characters (well, three to begin with, number four is unlocked after playing through the others) and their campaigns begin differently enough before they intersect with one another. Leon from Resident Evils 2 and 4 embarks on an epic quest to get to the bottom of the Neo-Umbrella Corp and their C-virus turning entire cities into zombies after having to kill the zombified president of the USA... alongside newcomer, Helena. Chris from Resident Evils 1, 5 and Code Veronica does his best impression of Max Payne by binge drinking before coming to his senses and heading to China to stop Neo-Umbrella Corp, alongside newcomer Piers. Newcomer Jake, who just so happens to be Albert Wesker's son, is fleeing from the authorities during a C-virus outbreak, but finds himself in hot butter as a monster known as Ustanak starts to relentlessly chase him, and he just so happens to be working alongside our old friend from Resident Evil 2, Sherry.

Yeah, this is sounding like a really bad fanfic. There's no better way to put it; it really feels like a bad piece of fanfiction! To call this a B-grade action movie plot would be an insult to B-grade action movies everywhere. Where there was potential to flesh out these new characters and give the established ones something deeper, there instead laid blanket situations and one dimensional characters giving you no reason to care. It's not even charming; there are poorly validated cameos all over the place and the new guys feel more like blank slates with vague hints of a personality trait, like Jake being a cocky guy or Piers being a Good Guy Greg of sorts. There was plenty of potential to validate this story either like a nice B-grade action movie, a cheesy horror movie or even one where the story is at least compelling. But nope, this is post-Resident Evil 4 Capcom we're talking about here with no Shinji Mikami in sight to direct it into something at least half decent. I suppose if there is ANYTHING that comes across as good, it's the end of Chris's campaign, which helps you actually care for his character, especially after all the shit he's been through. That's.. about it. Overall though, the story was a snoozefest.

Resident Evil 6 controls more like Resident Evil 5 – you're either in running mode or aiming mode, but there's a twist. See, for the first time in the series, you can move while in aiming mode! But it seems like all the work that they put into that wasn't put into the rest of the controls. For one thing, movement feels touchy. To make up for Resident Evil 5's stiff controls, 6 is a bit too loose for its own good, especially when you're in aim mode. It's like tapping the left stick even a quarter of a fraction of a millimeter has you moving a whole step that way, and the same thing goes for aiming with the right stick. Speaking of aim mode, the second big issue is the reticle moving around when you're aiming for an enemy. If you slip and move the reticle away from the enemy, it'll try its best to stay on there... only to slip itself back to the center at the last second. Despite feeling more like a third person shooter, taking cover is more awkward than a shrieking violet. You have to be in aim mode in order to take cover... but you can't shoot whilst in cover. Why? This wants to be a third person shooter – just let it. The final control issue has to do with the camera. Good god, why is it so close to me!? I can't see that much in front of me, and outside of the touchy camera, I can't see anything to the left of me and maybe tinges of things on my immediate right. The sad part is that people will insist that you get used to it. No, these aren't nuanced controls like in early Resident Evil; there are terrible, awkward and ass-backwards controls. It's not all that rewarding to get used to them, anyway.

A lot of the decisions made here are often at odds with themselves. While Resident Evil 6 encourages action via having millions of zombies to shoot down, you're not given enough ammo half the time. No Capcom, this isn't survival horror anymore; it's an action game that's full of action set pieces and zombies. A limited amount of resources isn't a challenge at this point; it's just tedious as all get out as you'll constantly run out of ammo and you're never too sure if a zombie is about ready to die or if it still has plenty of life energy left. For a game that's all about taking an arsenal of pistols, machine guns, shotguns and rocket launchers out to blow zombies apart, you're certainly not given quite enough to work with. Ooh, but you're given a melee attack to compensate... overcompensate would be more like it as you can rush up to a zombie and kick its head off, IF YOU CAN SEE IT IN THE FIRST PLACE!!! A lot of the time, you can rush up to a zombie and try to kick its head off, only to maybe graze its ear or brush aside its shoulder. From there, you lose part of your stamina meter that can be restored with tablets via the real time inventory system. So all that keeps the melee system from being overpowered is the stamina meter and the piss poor camera. Genius ways to balance it out if you ask me!

God help you if you hate quick time events, because this game is packed to the brim with them. I suppose you should expect them throughout the whole game if you started with Leon's campaign, as his opens up... with a quick time event. Actions range from pressing the on screen button when it appears, mashing the button, pressing the button at the right time as dictated by a semi circular bar, and waggling the left stick left to right (thankfully, rotating the stick isn't there). A lot of the events that come out of nowhere give you a small amount of time to react to them, and failure results in starting from the last checkpoint (about 5 seconds before initiating that sequence). It's not just initiated during cutscenes; they also occur whenever you're grabbed by a zombie. In general, the idea is just stupid. Seriously, why are there even quick time events in the first place? So that fratboy douchebags and leering sugar addicts won't get bored while watching a cutscene? Well, here's a big middle finger – quick time events are just a cheap way to extend gameplay time because the game itself is either chock full of cutscenes or is probably an otherwise deathless experience. It's especially insulting when you learn that Capcom added them in because “western gamers like quick time events”. Really? I thought everybody hated them, but I guess everybody praising the likes of Resident Evil 4 and Heavy Rain equated to liking quick time events. Right now, I'm extending a second middle finger and it's squarely on whoever in Capcom HQ misinterpreted us.

There are a couple of salvageable parts – co-op and Mercenaries mode. Yes, it is fun to play it with friends, and it is fun to play through the Mercenaries mode with friends. Big deal. Friends can play Action 52 together and have fun, but that doesn't make it a good game. Even then, it's far from being great as there are plenty of uninspired “puzzles” where you grab one end of something and your mate grabs the other end. It ends with you two either moving it or rotating it. Yawn. Also, player 1 does all the quick time events while player 2 actually has fun either watching you fail or watching the set piece unfold. However, with Mercenaries mode on the mind, that's probably the best part of the game. It's a mode where you have a limited amount of time to kill a bunch of zombies. No terrible story or lame set pieces will get in the way of you blowing off heads, and most importantly, YOU ACTUALLY GET ENOUGH AMMO TO GET BY! Wow, what a novel idea! But Resident Evil 4 also has Mercenaries mode and that is a much better game, so don't get this just for this mode... it's not worth it.

Despite what most people would tell you, Resident Evil 6 doesn't look too good. At best, it looks like a launch title for the Xbox 360 (boy, that was a long time ago). A lot of the textures are there, but they don't really stand out as detailed or crispy. They're a little sharp, but that's about it. The colors are drab and boring, utitlizing dull shades of dull colors like brown and gray with bits of orange and yellow for explosions. The animations are as touchy as the controls – that is to say, they look unnatural and jittery, so I hope you didn't want to get immersed into the game that much... because it won't let you. Oh, and there's screen tearing out the ass with poor lip synching to boot. At least it looks like a current gen game, though even that's a bit of a stretch. Then again, next to graphical Quasimodos like Dishonored and Deadly Premonition, Resident Evil 6 goes from a mildly chubby chick with somewhat bad acne to a supermodel.

The music works well enough within the context of it being an action movie. It's loud, it's dynamic and it's intense, but above all else, it's big! It's the kind of soundtrack that works well with the fact that it's all about explosions and over the top action set pieces that don't know anything about subtlety. In other words, it's forgettable and nothing all that interesting because every other game does it nowadays and this game doesn't do much if anything that makes it stand out. It's not even all that over the top, that's how middling it really is. The voice acting is surprisingly good – despite working with poor, poor dialogue, they still manage to convey a decent amount of emotion to at least try to get you into the story. While it doesn't suck you in, it's the kind of voice acting that still works out pretty well at the end of the day.

So overall, Resident Evil 6 is a third person shooter that really doesn't want to be one. There are too many mistakes made for this to be anything other than frustrating. Whether they're clashing game design choices or horrendous controls is irrelevant because they all make for a rather frustrating time. Even then, that doesn't necessarily warrant the 2.5/10 I've given it – maybe a 4 or a 4.5/10 at worst. Nope, what warrants that low a score is that this is an extremely generic third person shooter. Games like Fracture and Inversion are mediocre, yes, but they at least have good ideas mixed in with their mediocre brand of shooting, and I'll always think more highly of those two than I'll ever think of the likes of this. Resident Evil 6 wants to appeal to the Call Of Duty audience while desperately trying to cling onto the last thread of its survival horror heritage. Ultimately, there's nothing that redeems this game – and don't fucking tell me that I need to give it a chance! I've wasted 20+ perfectly good hours beating all of the campaigns when I could've spent that time playing good games like Daggerfall, Deus Ex, Vanquish and Resident Evil 4 – I don't think I can give it any more of a chance, guys!

2.5/10 (Shit) 

No comments:

Post a Comment