When a new, numbered title in the Resident Evil franchise is announced, itâs only a matter of time before the cries of âHow will they ruin it this time?â and âbring back the tank controls!â are heard. With Resident Evil 6 it was no different and, honestly, that sort of reaction was well deserved.
With Resident Evil 5 removing the horror aspect of the franchise, in favour of run and gun gameplay, and chucking in the suspense-destroyer that is co-op, people were well within their rights to worry about the newest entry in the franchise. However, this isn't RE5, and itâs possible that where Capcom is steering the series is, in fact, in the right direction.
Itâs hard to talk about the story in Resident Evil 6 without giving away too much, and itâs hard to even pinpoint how the story starts, as different players may start the game in different ways. Unlike any Resident Evil before it, RE6 gives you the option of three different campaigns, each with its own start, story arc, and ending. While Resident Evil 2 had something similar, what you really got back then was the same story told from a slightly different angle. This time you have three stories each with their own unique characters, enemies, boss fights, and plot twists.
Capcom have gone all out to make each campaign feel different from the others and have gone as far as giving new HUD designs to each one. While that may seem like a small change, mixed with the varied gameplay it's enough to make every campaign feel like a separate game.
Again, avoiding spoilers, Leonâs campaign plays like RE4: it doesn't have what made the old games what they were but itâs still suspenseful, with enemies that range from mindless flesh eating âzombiesâ to slightly more intelligent âzombiesâ. Chrisâ campaign plays like a more action heavy RE5: lots of running and shooting. The third campaign stars a new character to the franchise: Jake Muller. Jakeâs campaign feels like a mix between RE3 and RE5: thereâs plenty of shooting and running involved, but thereâs a damn good reason he's running...
Each campaign can be played co-op, as each main character has a partner to help take them through the horrors that have spread through China. Leon has Helena: a woman Leon meets in the middle of a new outbreak who knows more than sheâs saying. Chris has Piers: a soldier who has worked alongside Chris before and has been tasked with finding him and bringing him back into the fight. Jake has Sherry: everyoneâs favourite girl in distress from RE2, albeit a little older and better with a gun. You can choose whoever you want from each campaign and the other character can be controlled by either AI, a fellow gamer next to you, or over Xbox Live.
With that out of the way, letâs talk about what everyone is looking for when jumping into a Resident Evil review: how is it different, and is it good or bad? Itâs best to start this part of the review by stating one thing very clearly: fans of the old Resident Evil games need to accept that the franchise has changed. Itâs hard to watch something you love change away from what it originated as, but when youâre finished with RE6 youâll be hard-pressed to call the experience anything but superb.
While itâs easy to worry about having a melee button you can use whenever you like, or that you can dive out of the way of an attack and then fire from a prone position, it ends up just making sense in the context of the scenarios youâll be put into. For instance, there are WAY more bad guys this time through. Not only will you be firing a lot of rounds, but youâll be wishing you had more.
Thatâs where the melee option comes in handy. Soften them up with a few rounds and finish them off with a head stomp or a couple of punches to the face. Of course, itâd be way too convenient to just punch or kick your way through the game, so each character also has an energy bar - that thankfully doesnât drain while running. Throw too many punches and youâll soon be delivering nothing stronger than a tap and trying to evade the enemies with a slow paced jog. When all is said and done, this is the first Resident Evil game in over a decade that will force you to think about whether you should just cut your losses and head for the door, and thatâs on normal difficulty.
Thankfully, there are some nods to the original games littered throughout the experience; itâs just a shame to see them end so abruptly. What might hit home harder than most of the gameplay changes is the complete absence of notes and diary entries that you pick up and read along the way. While they can be unlocked via shooting emblems (ala RE4 and 5), itâs something that just felt wrong. Itâs not until you realise that the game can never pause, for anything, that it makes this decision understandable. Desirable? No, but definitely understandable.
That's right: unlike any Resident Evil game before it, RE6 does not pause during gameplay. Hitting Start does nothing and, even if youâre checking out sound / controller options, itâs via the character's in-game gadget. You can and will be attacked by some form of monstrosity if you think that you might want a different colour laser sight in the middle of a fight. Unless, of course, you can get whatever change you need done before something can get to you.
Variation is the key to RE6, and itâs shown in every aspect of the game. Like every Resident Evil game, thereâs a large selection of guns to find / unlock along your way. There's also variation in the characters you can play as, and in the places youâll go. But nothing says variation more than the insane amount of infected youâll be coming to blows with. Capcom have done older fans a huge service by bringing back slow, mindless enemies that want nothing other than to feed on you. While they work well in the new action style gameplay, as you start taking them down and newer types start showing up it becomes apparent that slow zombies by themselves just wouldn't work.
Soon theyâll come at you with weapons stuck into them, then theyâll start hitting you with things, and if they happened to turn while holding guns theyâll randomly pull the trigger. What makes this better than previous gun-toting parasites from other RE games is the fact that these guys donât aim at you, theyâre just pulling the trigger mindlessly. But thatâs not to say that there wonât be infected creatures lining you up in their sights. You see, a lot of the infected youâll meet aren't as stupid as the ones in previous games. In RE6 theyâre essentially humans on steroids.... creepy parasitic steroids.
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