In this week’s Red Bull Gaming Blog, we discover if Resident Evil 6 is a return to early series form or the death of an icon…
Resident Evil 6 - Review
‘No hope left’ runs the tagline for the latest instalment in the enduringly grue-filled Resident Evil series. Sadly, that maxim rings all-too true for survival horror fans praying for a return to the zombie saga’s low-ammo, herb-combining roots.
Instead of revitalising what virus-ridden aficionados loved about the early games, Capcom has abandoned them entirely. That doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing, but the new focus is so ill-advised (purloining as it does from various other, better, sources and relying far too much on Quicktime sequences) that it abjectly fails to breathe new life into the ailing legend.
At its core, Resident Evil 6 follows in the footsteps of Resident Evil 4 by concentrating primarily on action and forgetting about puzzle-solving altogether. This direction worked well for Resi 4, but that was a game with focus and purpose... Resi 6 is a game with neither attribute.
The new release features four separate story campaigns (you unlock the final, single-player, Ada Wong-starring story when the first three are completed) and feature two-player co-op throughout.
The intro sequence kicks off in China where we find Leon S. Kennedy attempting to negotiate an undead-strewn city with his badly injured partner, Helena Harper. Once you’ve got a handle on the new playing style, you’re given a choice of continuing Leon and Helen’s tale (the closest the game ever gets to replicating the survival horror of the first three Resi games) or starting again with Chris Redfield and partner Piers’ third-person shooter campaign (heavily reminiscent of Gears Of War) or Jake Wesker (son of Albert) and the fully grown Sherry Birkin from Resident Evil 2 in a bloody awful grab-and-run-style mish-mash of genres.
Leon’s tale comes closest to replicating the Resident Evil we knew and loved but fails to be either challenging or, crucially, scary. Chris’ campaign, meanwhile, mistakes waves of outlandishly grotesque creatures for variety and an arsenal of weapons for nuance. However, it’s Jake’s chapter that really takes the biscuit as it demonstrates how thinly Capcom have spread themselves in trying to please all of the people all of the time. The company are clearly still reeling from the exit of series creator and guding hand Shinji Mikami after Resident Evil 4, and their attempts to make up for the mistakes of Resident Evil 5 by employing an all-new development team have an undeniable whiff of decisions made by committee about them.
Essentially a straight third person shooter – with a few turret-based salvos and a couple of cack-handed stealth sections to keep things ticking over - the overriding emotion when playing is one of abject frustration.
What the game lacks in quality, it more than makes up for in quantity, however, with (in addition to the four campaign modes) the return of The Mercenaries time attack challenge, a bunch of four-player co-op modes and even the option to appear as a monster in other players’ games all trying and failing to get the pulse racing. Misery, it seems, loves company.
With half of the extras cut out altogether and a solid focus on just one or two campaign modes, this could have been a real shot in the arm for the much-loved series. As it stands, it’s has all the depth, intelligence, wit and likability of its zombie antagonists - and equally deserving of a bullet to the head.
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