Review: Resident Evil 6

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Hindsight is a beautiful thing.

As I said back in 2012, I’m a huge Resident Evil fanboy. I have been since I played the first game on PlayStation, and I owe my overall interest in gaming to Resident Evil 2. It’s with that background and the benefit of time in mind, I can safely say that Resident Evil 6 is one of the worst games of the franchise. Thanks for being able to solidify that, current-gen re-release!

The action horror — if you can even label it “horror” — title is all over the shop with far too much to do. The re-release gives you access to all four single- or co-op campaigns straight off the bat alongside access to all extra modes — Agent Hunt, The Mercenaries, Survivor, Onslaught, Predator and Siege. That’s overwhelming to the maximum; you at least had to unlock a couple of those modes with the Xbox 360, PS3 original. It’s best to ignore the extra content and head to the campaigns first. I recommend playing through Chris’ campaign first… but as Piers. I won’t spoil why, but trust me. Play as Piers.

Chris’ campaign is best to get out of the way first as it’s the shootiest of the three. That being said, you’ll want to start getting versed with each character’s melee ability pretty darn quickly. Ammo isn’t scarce in any difficulty mode, but it’s always better to punch than shoot most enemies. On the topic of difficulty, Professional mode isn’t NEAR the same level of trouble when compared to Resident Evil 4 or 5, so feel free to tackle that straight off the line if you’re familiar with the series.

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As you move through the world in a behind-the-shoulder view, you’ll immediately notice that the camera to be a bit too close to your character, making movement and shooting rather awkward. You’ll get used to it, especially because there are so many damn chapters to play through, but it shouldn’t take five hours for a game’s control scheme to feel right.

Leon’s campaign is definitely the best out of the main three — Ada’s is a bonus set of chapters — taking more of a survival horror feel than the others. It uses classic zombies as baddies instead of the J’avo, harkening back to the original Resident Evil more than any other chapter. In short, it felt like Resident Evil 2 with greatly exaggerated gaming mechanics of today. I saved Leon and Helena for last campaign I played; after the action-fest before it, I was very glad I did.

Regardless of the campaign you’re in, there are plenty of throwbacks to previous titles and sequences – from mine cart rides, to terror whilst escaping on rail-lines — right down to a homage from the recently-released Resident Evil: Revelations. Plot-wise, the game makes sense after you’ve played through all of the campaigns, but it’s still a right mess. Chris has a random gap in his memory that’s not fleshed out very well and Sherry and Jake are completely under-utilised. With this iteration of the franchise, Capcom has basically thrown out all need to tie a story together in place of dramatic, thrilling cutscenes. Sadly, with quicktime sequences thrown in most of the time.

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The worst thing about Resident Evil 6 are those shocking quicktime events. Playing as Leon in his first chapter, I kept being killed by a train because I was too busy beating down a zombie, getting caught in an animation that I couldn’t cancel. Playing as Sherry, it took me FOREVER to finish her last chapter — I couldn’t crawl up a vehicle with any sense of coordination, dying repeatedly.

The Chris and Jake campaign should have been less of a testosterone fest, instead playing more like Leon’s campaign instead. Or, better yet, Resident Evil 5‘s “Lost in Nightmares” DLC. Sherry and Jake’s campaign has a nice balance between tension and action that should have been fleshed out to a far greater degree. The problem that Resident Evil 6 has is that it’s three — or four — games squashed into one, desperately suffering from an identity crisis. With such an emphasis on choice and variation, it does nothing well. We get suspense with Leon, a thriller with Jake and action with Chris, but by the time you get into the groove of each campaign, it’s over. Capcom has tried to do a far too much with just one title, and the franchise moves backward as a result.

In 2012, I forgave most of Resident Evil 6‘s failings, and I’m ashamed at my behaviour in doing so. I couldn’t, in good conscience, do that any longer. It’s an already dated game, worse now due to its chaos than ever before. That’s especially the case thanks to re-releases of Resident Evil and Resident Evil 0, alongside the magnificent Resident Evil: Revelations 2, that all show just how good the franchise can be. It’s quite obvious why Capcom is ditching this formula for a return to basics with Resident Evil 7. This is definitely for die-hard fans to who want to complete their collection on current-gen. For anyone else, it’s a miss — and a big one at that. Head to any of those titles mentioned above, or the recently re-released Resident Evil 5, if you need a franchise fix.

Resident Evil 6 was reviewed using a digital code on Xbox One, as purchased by the reviewer. This review is a revision of our original Xbox 360 review.

 

Review: Resident Evil 6
4 out of 10

The good

  • Leon’s campaign is pretty good.

The bad

  • Too much emphasis on action.
  • Far too much stuff going on.
  • One of the worst uses of the franchise.

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