When Capcom finally announced the impending release of the next installment in their Resident Evil franchise in early 2012, Resident Evil 6, I was excited. As a Resident Evil fan, and a big one at that, being three years removed from the last game was incredibly painful. Resident Evil 5 had brought the series to a new high, with the introduction of co-op play as well as an incredible canon storyline. How could Capcom top their 2009 masterpiece?
Needless to say, Capcom fired on all cylinders. After numerous cryptic messages, it became known to the general public that there wouldn’t only be two protagonists who’d march side by side into horror. No, rather, we’d have a grand total of seven. That’s seven survivors, grouped into three co-op campaigns and a solo one. What Capcom revealed about the story line was also satisfying. Ironic as it is, the story in Resident Evil 6 builds on the tag line of “No Hope Left”. Or to make things clearer, no celebrations. There would be no happy times, no chance to cheer. There would only be room for grim, painful terror. And when Resident Evil 6 hit stores on October 2nd, that hell was released to the public.
So it’s pretty obvious that a lot of hype went into advertising the release of Resident Evil 6. All the marketing worked, and I went on to buy the game the day it came out and beat it within the week. How did the game do? Well, let’s just say that there was the good and the bad.
Storyline wise, the game was impressive. With four different campaigns, Capcom tried to make each one feel as different as possible, for the maximum experience. The general plot is that it’s the year 2013, and a new bioterrorist attack has been unleashed in multiple parts of the world. The pandemic is caused by a new virus, the C-virus, and it turns its hosts into mindless flesh-eaters, better known as zombies. All this is reminiscent of the bioterrorist attack that happened in canon fifteen years prior, the T-virus epidemic in Raccoon City. Unfortunately, the story gets more complicated the more specific you get.
Without going into spoilers, the game suffers from what appears to be confusion on Capcom’s part. To be so ambitious is commendable. But for people who became fans of the original games, pre-Resident Evil 4, it can get quite frustrating. Survival horror was what the games back then thrived on; the lack of ammo, of health, and the surprise factor were key elements to the originals. Resident Evil 6, much like 5 and 4, appear to strive in a more action oriented gameplay, a genre the video game world is saturated with at this time.
A big problem with the game is for those who are new to the franchise. Understanding everything that happened in prior installments of the game is somewhat necessary, but it’s a lot of bulk that a newbie would have difficult understanding. However, for those who do know what’s been going on, and those who can get over the more action heavy plot, the story line is indeed impressive, albeit removed from the series' roots. From an unbiased point of view, I’d give the story a B
Anyone who has played a previous Resident Evil game will mention the one thing that each of the games have in common: maneuverability. The old games are famous for their tank-like controls, making the game stiff and adding another liability. Some found that charming, adding to the horror factor, while others found it annoying. In Resident Evil 6, the latter group can rejoice as Capcom finally smoothes things out. You can finally move in all directions, and you’re also given the ability to move and shoot, something the past games also lacked.
Resident Evil 6 also brings the new dodge mechanism, where with the press of a button, you can dodge enemy attacks. It takes time to get used to, but once mastered, it becomes a requirement for the player. Along with the new evasiveness is the new melee and stamina function. Past games required a melee to have specific in context requirements. Now, you’re able to execute melees with the press of a button, while at the same time managing your stamina gauge which will deplete if melee is spammed.
The only true let down gameplay wise would have to be the terrible cover system. To take cover from enemy fire, one has to go by a wall and simply press the aim button. The protagonist would then snap to the wall. While at first that seems useful, you’ll be surprised how many times you find yourself snapping to a random wall when you intended on taking out an enemy.
The gameplay mechanism is without a doubt an improvement, and deserves a well earned A for being nearly flawless.
This category was a let down. Resident Evil 5 was a peak in terms of graphical excellence, and many expected the same feature to be utilized in Resident Evil 6. Not to say the graphics were bad, cause they most certainly weren’t, but it appears to be a step down compared to RE5. Texture-wise, the game had a slight comical feel to it. Still, the graphics were above average when looked at objectively. The game sounded amazing, as the music, voice acting, and monster noises all worked together so that it flowed. Many early RE fans can note the subpar voice acting the first few games had (can anyone say Jill Sandwich?). The series has come a long way from the early years, and the voice acting in Resident Evil 6 is at the series’ best. Combined, a score of A- sounds fair
Final Review: Overall, Resident Evil 6 has a lot of potential. However, the game appears to try to hard, and that does cost them, sadly. As a game, it’s good, but as a game of a series, it lacks in terms of continuity. The attempt to focus on zombies again is admirable, but only one campaign of four truly focuses on zombies, and even then, they are not truly the focus. Still, the franchise has come a long way, and rumor has it Resident Evil 7 is already in works. Resident Evil 6 may not be the pinnacle of the series as imagined, but the game signifies the longlivity of a popular name in gaming history. And Capcom deserves to celebrate for that reason in and of its own.
Final Score: B+