Disclaimer: This review contains slight gameplay spoilers. No story related spoilers are mentioned though.
Resident Evil and I go way back; around 13 years to be exact, when I was a kid and my uncle decided to lend me Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. From then on, I fell in love and played just about every single Resident Evil title released to date. So, of course when Capcom announced Resident Evil 6, I was ecstatic. If you’ve been a long time fan like myself, you’re well aware of the multiple changes made to the franchise in order to adapt to the new generations. This is where your skepticism is telling you to hate this game before you even play it. If that happens to be you, put those feelings aside and listen.
Resident Evil 6 is a good game; a very fun game at that. It’s not a very good Resident Evil game, though. In laymen’s terms, it’s a great action game, but a horrible survival-horror game. That’s the generation of Resident Evil we live in and quite frankly, I’ve learned to accept that. However, there are things Capcom can do in this action oriented Resident Evil universe they’re living in to make it feel more like the experience die hard fans want. We’ll get to that later, though.
Resident Evil 6 tells its story in a different way than you’re used to. This time around, you have three intersecting campaigns to choose from: Leon Kennedy and Helena Harper, Chris Redfield and Piers Nivens and, last but not least, Jake Muller and Sherry Berkin. A bonus campaign for Ada Wong is also unlocked after completing the previous three. All of these must be played to fully understand the story.
Personally, I really like this approach because when these characters meet up with each other, as a player I want to know what they were doing before and what their plans are after. Instead of waiting for a “spin-off” title per se, you can just select their campaign from the main menu and get those answers. These campaigns aren’t short either, completing all three took nearly 20 hours with Jake’s being the shortest.
The story is pretty standard for a Resident Evil game, but the biggest improvement is the relationship among characters throughout the story, especially between Chris and Piers. With Resident Evil 5, Sheva was a forgettable character. That’s not the case here. Capcom did a good job building relationships between the characters and, at a few points, delivering some very emotional and powerful storytelling.
The gameplay in Resident Evil 6 is by far the biggest change to the series. You can now move and shoot. The controls took some time to grow on me, but with all the new moves such as diving on your back and being able to shoot and then roll out of the way, there are some very intense gun battles with the return of zombies. This brings me to the next big improvement: dismemberment. I’m not just talking about popping heads either. Shooting a zombie in the leg for example will have parts of his/her pant leg flying off along with most of the meat on the bone. I’ve shot holes through chests exposing what’s behind them and even shot a few rib cages out. It’s disgustingly satisfying in every way.
This brings me to my point about Capcom keeping their action but delivering the classic experience we die hard fans want and they did it perfectly in a specific part of Leon’s campaign. While running through the infected streets of Tall Oaks, I ran into a couple of survivors fighting for their lives against the undead. After rescuing them, we began to be overrun and retreated to a local firearms shop were we set up a good defensive position.
With the shop owner upstairs and unwilling to let us in, we had to fight for our lives as zombies poured through the windows. After holding out for a period of time, the shop owner finally decided to open the door and we took the battle upstairs. I don’t want to go into more detail and ruin the most satisfying experience in the entire game, but if Capcom just stuck to recreating moments like that throughout the game, they would have had one of the best Resident Evil titles ever created.
Instead, we get more of a Michael Bay film with way too many quick time events. These QTE’s are spread across each campaign and are wildly overdone. There’s only so much button mashing and joystick wiggling I can take before I either A) break my controller, or B) throw my controller out the window. A few of them made sense, and fit well with the given task. Others are just a nuisance and made me want to scream. The QTE’s are inconsistent and resulted in many deaths making me smash or wiggle my controller over and over again.
Chris’s campaign is the biggest victim to Michael Bay. I felt like I was playing so many different action games combined with a third person shooter. It was fun to play, but it’s not a Resident Evil game, especially when at one point I was actually flying a jet and not in a cutscene either. Physically flying, controlling, and shooting a fighter jet. Things like this just don’t sit well in the Resident Evil universe. Sure, if a zombie outbreak ever did happen, I’m sure fighter jets would be all over the place. That’s not what Resident Evil is about though, and it’s really disheartening to even see aspects like this make their way into this franchise.