By Steve Wright
Capcom's been marketing Resident Evil 6 as three games in one, so it came as no surprise that their E3 hands-on demo came in three parts. In separate fifteen minute stints, I spent the afternoon playing as Leon Kennedy, Chris Redfield and newcomer Jack Krauser. Each section definitely had its own distinct flavour.
I started as Leon Kennedy first, and what I was treated to was a survival horror game of old. I began the story where initial trailers have left off, just being forced to put a bullet in The President of the United States-turned-zombie's head. Then, for roughly twelve of the fifteen minute trailer, I didn't fire my gun again.
That's not a bad thing.
Leon's segment was slow (yet meticulously) paced and full of classic horror movie scares. The sequence built up so much tension, and was moody, bleak...and just right. You traverse dark, corner-laden corridors illuminated by flashes of lightning, and instantly remember what survival horror used to be. My brain took what Capcom was presenting me and ran wild with it, putting terrible monsters in dark corners that weren't actually there, and jolting me whenever I let my guard down.
Chris' campaign is reminiscent of the later levels of Resident Evil 5. He was taking on a militia of virus-infested baddies, jumping around rooftops at the same time. The game's new directional marker system was a must, as I was getting turned around every so often. Chris was flipping into and over cover very fluidly, and of course was able to fire his gun whilst moving. Are you happy about that, nay sayers? There was no terror in Chris' segment at all, but the action was rewarding of itself.
Jake's section was a meld of the two; I fought a mutated biohazard, using my guns as much as in Chris' level, but fighting a grotesque being that seemed to defy nature. Think Resident Evil 4 gameplay and you'd be on the right track.
The game's far from perfect. Every single bit of Jake's dialogue seemed like it came from "The Chauvinist Pig's Bible" or something. It wasn't funny at all and served to remove me from the crazy events that were unfolding. Also, aiming seemed...a little off. Pulling the left trigger brought up an aiming reticle, but it seemed a bit slow to function, and then there seemed to be another pause before I could actually start aiming with my right stick.
Overall, though, the game is amazing. I'm a bit concerned how the "three games in one" tactic will work when we've got the complete package in front of us, but time will surely tell. Don't forget you'll have access to a Resident Evil 6 demo of you own if you've purchased a copy of Dragon's Dogma.
Resident Evil 6 will be available for Xbox 360, PC and PS3 from 2 October.