Resident Evil 6 Review

This review is a long time coming. Resident Evil 6 was met with a very mixed reaction, which we looked at here. As such, I have taken more care than normal in assessing the various parts of the game.   This is the sixth main entry in the prestigious Resident Evil franchise; although Resident Evil Code Veronica and 0 should be counted as main series games. It cannot be denied that Resident Evil 6 has taken the series in a completely new direction; however, it is uncertain whether that direction leads to bright and sunny shores or to total ruin. With four unique campaigns starring seven playable characters and a setting that goes from the US to Europe to China, Resident Evil 6 is one of the most ambitious games you will ever play, but, as many gamers know, ambition doesn’t mean that the game was any good. I will be looking at each campaign individually, so before looking at that I will examine the parts of Resident Evil 6 that all campaigns have in common.

Despite the apparent theme here, no there are not giant spiders. 

Despite the different focus in each of the campaigns, the control scheme of Resident Evil 6 is designed in the fashion of a shooter first and foremost. Removing the oft-criticized tank controls, and speeding up the gameplay is a strong indicator of this. However, the controls work against themselves as much as possible. The cover system is so poorly implemented that even in obvious cover-based shooting situations, it is almost always preferable to run-and-gun. The principle shooting works well, but it is undermined by the extremely robust melee command. Melee has been gradually added to the Resident Evil series, and Resident Evil 6 embraces it fully. Melee is so overpowered in this game that you will find the best use of guns are simply to set up a melee kill. For those of you who want to master the fairly simple counter system, guns become even more unimportant. This is a shame as the shooting mechanics in Resident Evil 6 are fairly good. It is unfortunate that they rarely have an opportunity to shine.

Why use a shotgun when there’s melee!

The camera is something that players will need to fight, but only because of the poor design choices. Most of the time, the camera is fine; however, there are many occasions where the game will take control of the camera from you in order to look at something, which will completely ruin anything you are currently doing and can, weirdly, result in deaths.

Quicktime events (“QTEs”) in this game have been heavily criticized, and the criticism is entirely warranted. QTEs can be used extremely well in order to build tension or to immerse a player in a cutscene. The QTEs in this game range from inoffensive to incredibly poorly done. Many of these QTEs take you completely out of the game. For example, what is the point in interrupting a cutscene with a QTE for you to fire a gun, only to follow that up with a cutscene of you firing your gun? There are irritating and prolonged climbing sequences in multiple storylines and it is pretty impossible to walk five feet without running into another QTE. If QTEs where kept to a minimum and only used where they would be effective, there wouldn’t be a problem, but the game obnoxiously throws them at you at every opportunity, and that can get pretty bad if you have a low tolerance for QTEs.

This is pretty accurate for every segment of the game.

The co-op is much like the shooting: it sabotages itself. Overall the co-op is vastly improved from Resident Evil 5’s awful mess. Players can now drop in when they want, which is much better than having to wait until the start of a chapter. The single player AI is also a lot better. It doesn’t eat your ammo and it very rarely gets in your way. In fact the single player AI is actually pretty helpful all in all. Unfortunately this is not a game that was designed for co-op. Shooting segments are broken up a lot by non-shooting segments, cutscenes, QTEs and the like. There are many times where it simply isn’t fun to have two people around. At its best Resident Evil 6’s co-op feels like an Army of Two knock-off and at worse, totally unwelcome in the situation. Single player is also hurt by this in many ways such as requiring an AI partner to help you open half of the doors in the game. While co-op is improved, the game simply wasn’t made with two players in mind.

But without a second player how will I complete my fifth running away sequence?

The enemy design graphics and sound are extremely well done. While some enemies are ho hum like a strong zombie that happens to be morbidly obese, others are incredible and Resident Evil 6 throws a very large array of creatures at you. Graphically, the games looks excellent. There are few games on consoles that look as good as Resident Evil 6. As part of this, the environments are very detailed and beautiful to look at. Sound-wise the game hits all the cues perfectly. The voice acting is absolutely top notch even if the dialogue is really cheesy at times. Troy Baker’s Jake steals the show here. While Chris and Leon’s voice actors do a great job, Troy Baker really steps up and goes a long way into making Jake a great character. The music works and the sound effects are great. You can hear the plopping of enemy bodies in the most delightful way.

Seriously, there are great enemy designs here.

First up for the campaigns is Leon’s. This part is really the standout of the game. Leon’s part is supposed to provoke more scares than the others and seem a lot more like older games such as Resident Evil 2. While this game is not at all scary, and this part is still a shooter, it does at times feel a lot like the early Resident Evils especially early one. There are some great moments in this campaign such as a moving through Tall Oaks and fighting zombies on a plane. There are some baffling design choices that hold it back, however. For example, zombies littering the ground cannot be shot until they are activated, meaning that even if you know one of the bodies on the ground will get up and attack you, you can’t do anything about it until you have passed the point where the body is triggered to attack you. Leon’s partner, Helena is a boring, uninteresting character that takes over the first couple of acts of Leon’s journey with nothing more than the promise of answers. This can get irritating as most of her early dialogue focuses on not telling you something. Despite these shortcomings, if Leon’s chapter was the whole game instead of just a part, this game wouldn’t be so controversial. Leon’s part is thoroughly entertaining with only a few hiccups along the way.

I like to think this is Leon telling Helena to leave and never return.

The second campaign we are going to look at is Chris’. Capcom said early on that they wanted to attract the Call of Duty audience with this game, and Chris’ chapter is exactly what they meant. Unlike Leon’s chapter which is slower and more horror-based, Chris’ chapter is a military shooter and little else. There is a lot to love in this campaign and a lot to hate. Chris’ storyline is probably the most interesting with the Moby Dick parallel being fairly interesting fare. There are also some amazing standout moments such as fighting an invisible snake in a chinese apartment building, or looking for keys in a dark corridor-filled ship. However, the rest of the campaign doesn’t stand out too well. The overly long vehicle sections are obscenely boring, and most of Chris’ campaign can be summed up with the words “other games did it better”. Chris’ campaign only rarely finds its own voice, and when it does, the game shines, but it doesn’t happen often enough.

Oh god kill it!

Jake’s campaign is next. This part was clearly intended to take from Resident Evil 3, as a large segment of the gameplay revolves around running away from an indestructible  Nemesis-type creature. On top of this there are a myriad of vehicle sections and QTE events. To put it simply, Jake’s campaign is not fun… at all. No part of his section works together with other parts. The story is disjointed and barely there, and the set pieces are forced and uninspiring. This is a real shame because Jake Muller and Sherry Birkin are the two best characters in the game. Their stories are legitimately interesting, which makes it worse considering how poorly they are done. The interactions between the two are top notch, and Jake is easily the best character Capcom has made for the Resident Evil franchise since Resident Evil 2. I’m sorry Carlos, Nikolai, Ashely, Steve, Billy, Sheva, the cast of Outbreak, Jessica, Parker, Helena, Piers and the rest, but Jake is the only character since the second game that deserves to star in his own game.

This is the Ustanak. He’s a lot like Nemesis except instead of being awesome, he’s a generic boss battle. 

Finally there is Ada’s campaign which unlocks after completing the other three. It is not a secret campaign as I thought it was, as even the game case lists four campaigns. Ada’s campaign is supposed to focus more on puzzles, but they drop that very early on. In reality, Ada’s campaign is a bit of all of them. As such, there is a lot to love and a lot to hate. Unlike Chris’ campaign the good outweighs the bad, and there are more great moments than bad ones. The story is marginally interesting, especially if you cared at all about Ada’s involvement with all of the other campaigns, but it fizzles out at the end with no real spark.

Somebody call a doctor! She’s having a heart attack!

As you can see, the campaigns are all very different in goal, tone, and quality. This is not good. Resident Evil 6’s biggest problem is that it is all over the place. The game is so schizophrenic jumping between so many different styles that it never stands on its own feet. Sometimes the game works really well, sometimes it falls flat on its face. No segment vehicle, shooting, puzzle, etc. works with any of the others. This leaves the game very disjointed.

Yeah….

Finally, there is the additional content: Agent Hunt and The Mercenaries. Agent Hunt has you playing as a monster against a player online, and it marginally entertaining, but is unlikely to hold a player over for long. The Mercenaries is as fun as ever, but it simply isn’t enough anymore. Firstly, this is the fourth game this exact minigame has been in. It was a major addition in Resident Evil 4 as an unexpected bonus game, but now it is expected and stale. Add into the fact that there is nothing of substance new added, and that there are only three rather uninspired maps and you have a boring addition. After the excellent Raid mode added to Resident Evil Revelations, this is a major disappointment.

Resident Evil 6 is not a bad game. There are enough really good moments to make it worth looking into. Unfortunately, there are a whole host of baffling design choices that stop it from being a good game. Is it entirely possible to love your time with the game? Absolutely, but it is also possible that this game will hit every nerve you have due to its design choices.

Pros

– Some great set pieces
– Good controls
– Amazing graphics
– Great voice acting

Cons

– Incredibly disjointed experience
– Horrible dialogue
– Self defeating gameplay focus

Score  6
– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer
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