When Capcom first announced Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, fans were in for a real surprise. They decided to take the series in a completely different direction. Yet, like many other Resident Evil fans, I was worried.
Not only did Capcom choose to take Raccoon City into a new direction, it’s being co-developed by Slant Six Games. S6 were the creators of SOCOM: Confrontation, which was plagued with issues at launch and wasn’t fixed for quite some time afterwards. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City takes place between the events of Resident Evil 2 and 3. This time you take on the role of an Umbrella Security Service (U.S.S) Soldier and battle against all the competing forces at play in Raccoon City. So as I placed the PS3 controller in my hand preparing for the demo I was nervous, my blood was pumping and at the same time I was ecstatic. I was presented with six character classes to choose from, all of which offered their own special ability that once used will replenish over time. I chose the female commando type class which offered the ability to have unlimited amount of ammo for a short period of time.
Once the demo began I started off with three AI controlled teammates chosen from one of the same six classes I was presented with from the start. It was dark, gritty, and the streets were flooded with Zombies. So many in fact that I spent quite a few minutes just mowing down zombies for my own entertainment as they never stopped coming -at least in the demo-. The controls felt fluid and were easy to grasp, which took my by surprise considering how clunky SOCOM: Confrontation was. After a few minutes of wondering down the streets of Raccoon City aimlessly mass murdering zombies, I felt a sign of relief as a Resident Evil fan. Capcom may have took this game into a new direction, but the core formula is still present. You find ammo laying around in the streets, the famous green herbs fall from your enemies after pumping them full of led. Capcom also has introduced a few new features as well. Once you get bitten by a zombie, you don’t just brush it off and move on with your day. No. Now you get infected with the virus and your heath bar turns blue and slowly decreases. You have two options in this situation. You can either use a new type of spray which can only be found while you venture through Raccoon City, or you can call over one of your teammates to heal you, assuming one of which is a medic of course.
If you fail to complete either of these tasks your blood will turn and it’s flesh you now seek. Sounds sweet right? Wrong. It’s nothing more than a fancy respawn screen. I was unable to control my character whatsoever, let alone attack. I was a little disappointed by this as I was hoping to run around for 15-20 seconds acting like a zombie instead of watching an AI zombie version of myself. Once I respawned I was right back into the action and this time decided to try out the new 360 degree swivel gameplay mechanic were players can flawlessly equip their pistol and shoot in any direction with ease. When the new mechanic was being explained I simply thought “Oh that’s pretty cool”, but once I used it for myself it became a life saver. If I happened to spot a zombie from the corner of my eye I could easily hold L2, spin my left stick into the direction of the zombies and fire away. Think Third Person Shooter meets Twin Stick Shooter. Yea it’s pretty bad ass.
As I further ventured down the streets of Raccoon City I became quickly overrun, forcing me to take cover in a nearby garage. Inside the garage I was quickly greeted by a pack of nasty, slimy Lickers. Crawling across the ceiling, down from the walls, these beast were everywhere and if you’ve ever played a Resident Evil game you know just how much of a pain in the ass these things are. Thankfully due to the new 360 swivel gameplay mechanic I was quickly able to hold L2 and pop each and every licker with a few shots of my handgun. This was the life saver I was talking about previously, but of course they didn’t go down that easy. Now that I’ve taken all these beast to the ground, using my special ability I was able to unload as many bullets as I wished completely obliterating the Lickers. For the first time in Resident Evil I didn’t have to run like a little girl for my life. It was great.
I searched the garage for ammo and supplies then quickly regrouped with my teammates. Once I exited the garage however, I was quickly attacked by a zombie leaving me to bleed throughout the streets. Now here’s were things get interesting. They smelled my blood and were ready to feast, which Capcom likes to call the “Bleed Out” effect. Not only did more zombies begin to surface, they rushed at me like what you’d expect in Left 4 Dead. That wasn’t the only surprise either, outside I faced myself up against the real military and they weren’t fucking around. Snipers were carefully placed along the rooftops and soldiers took cover behind broken down vehicles. One of the great things about the “Bleed Out” effect is it can be used against the enemies. If you can’t quite pull of that headshot you can pop a few rounds into the enemy soldiers and the “Bleed Out” effect will take place with them as well. It’s a very useful tool if you’re being caved in by zombies giving you the perfect opportunity to plan an escape.
With having the military attack you as well as the zombies, you really need to use teamwork if you plan to succeed. Which means you can’t run around the entire time shooting zombies in the head. You’ll need to use your special abilities to aid one another and actively use cover to avoid taking fire, which is where you run into a big problem. In the demo I played I wasn’t able to switch my stance and in a third person shooter you need to able to see everything around you. The game focuses with you looking over the right shoulder of your character and when approaching the left side of a building for cover you became completely blind. This can cause issues with the opposing military force because if you’re in an alleyway for example, and as you exit the only option is to turn right, you might as well rush around the corner blind firing. After a few more firefights through a burning gas station and a street filled with snipers, I came face to face with this big mother fucker below and my time had ended.
My experience with Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City was short lived, but not forgotten. Before I even put the controller in my hands I knew not to expect a traditional Resident Evil game, which I believe made my time with game more enjoyable. Moments before the demo had begun I was scared and worried about this game. Then a short 15 min later all those worries disappeared and I felt relieved. The graphics had a somewhat glossy touch to them but they certainly didn’t look horrible. The controls, gameplay, and of course the feel of the game were all great. Overall it was a great experience, one of which I plan to have more of in the future. I had so much fun with the demo I actually went back and played through it again….then proceeded to stand over the shoulders of a developer and watched someone else play. So before you get all down and pissed off about what Capcom has done with this game, I suggest you play it for yourself. It’s great fun and a game you should definitely keep your eye on in the coming months before the game launches this winter.