Although a bit of the gloss may have been tainted by the announcement of RE6, Operation Raccoon City still offers up a lot of zombie-busting goodness this Summer. Over in Sydney for Capcom’s showcase, I was fortunate enough to be shown through the game by one of the producers, Mike Jones (from Texas).
This up-coming horror shooter takes a completely different angle on the series compared to past Resident Evil games. Mike Jones told me of the many requests from fans to deliver a fast-paced and more team-based experience within the franchise. Obviously inspired by titles like Left 4 Dead, Operation Raccoon City feels unlike any previous Resident Evil game, but it still maintains some integral gameplay elements.
Operation Raccoon City takes a trip back in time to 1998, taking place during the events of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. A relatively unknown Umbrella corporation have released the T-virus, the infamous biological weapon that turns unfortunate humans into brain-thirsty zombies. To make matters worse, a whole new strain known as the G-Virus (Umbrella Corp really need some better naming conventions) is in the works by a corrupt scientist. Caught up in the madness are familiar faces, Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield.
Although still a third-person shooter with the same control system as previous Resident Evil games, the almost deathmatch style gameplay creates a whole new experience. Operation Raccoon City also revolves around teamwork, where you are accompanied by three other players at most times (controlled by AI if not playing up to 3 person multiplayer).
The choice of six different characters (or classes) to choose from, each possessing their own special skills, also gives some depth to the multiplayer experience - an element missing from previous Resident Evil titles. It would be safe to speculate that Operation Raccoon City will be a great testing ground for the rumoured co-op aspects of the up-coming Resident Evil 6 as well.
Operation Raccoon City also features competitive multiplayer, where teams will go head-to-head to not only survive an outbreak of zombies, but out-gun and out-last their rival survivors. One multiplayer mode played out like a team-deathmatch until a 4-seated helicopter arrived - at which point it was a desperate race to secure a limited seat to freedom with half the players being left to perish under growing hordes of zombies.
Frantic multiplayer and teamwork does seem out of place for the Resident Evil universe, however Operation Raccoon City has been overseen by the same team as many previous games in the franchise. Producer Masachika Kawata, who has been heavily involved in The Umbrella Chronicles through to Resident Evil 5, returns to ensure the series is strictly honoured. The flipside of this coin is, it’s also highly likely that this faster pace gameplay will attract a new audience as well. With the game arriving in late March this year, you can rest assured NZGamer.com will bring you more details closer to release.
The Good: Greater emphasis on the ‘shooting’ aspects
The Bad: Heavily reliant on intelligent team-mates (notably the AI)
The Ugly: It’s not Resident Evil 6