First off, I really didn’t fancy Resident Evil 5. That said, I LOVED Resident Evil 4 (even got me that HD re-release they put out last year), and I fancied the original (well, the REmake anyway) and Resident Evil 2 quite a bit as well, so I’ve had some time in the sun with this franchise. Thus, it is with a regrettably heavy heart, that my feelings toward Resident Evil 6 based on what I saw today are fairly negative. I shall try to explain why.
So, this is three different games combined into one, it seems. The demo was split into three different portions of what I assume must be the main campaign, each centering on a different character. While waiting in line, I got to see all of them in action, and I myself played two of the three. So, Chris, Leon, and newcomer Jake are the protagonists here (no love for the ladies? Where my Jill at!), and while zombies (or whatever Capcom is calling them now. SOME manner of horrific, diseased human monsters), guns and darkness are key components in all three campaigns; they are pretty radically different in how they handle.
Chris seems to be striving to become a protagonist in Gears of War, as his section seemed very action heavy, much in the way the latter portion of Resident Evil 5 was (remember, I did NOT fancy that, so if you did, HUZZAH!). I even heard some military style banter coming over his headset, “tango down”, “hostiles sighted”, you know, stuff like that. Lot of running and gunning, occasional stopping and popping. It seemed reasonably well done, with a nice intense scramble on top of some rooftops while machete-wielding psychos are trying to do unpleasant things to you. So fine, unoriginal I guess, but a solid action game.
Move on to Jake, and what’s this, a Nemesis-inspired antagonist that is more or less unstoppable, who does really awful things to people? (he had what seemed to be a syringe-like poker on the end of a tentacle which he used to end some poor fellow’s life). Many have decried the series for its more action heavy turn that started with RE4, so having a seemingly invincible antagonist is a nice inclusion. I will confess I did not beat this portion of the demo, so I’m not entirely sure how it pans out. It starts with you having to run desperately from the beast, only problem is, it doesn’t really spell out how to run before you jump into it, so seems everyone who attempted the Jake level died the first time. I did manage to clear that part, only to run into what I can only imagine to be glitch, though perhaps it was just very unclear as to where I was supposed to go next (I helped a female companion climb a wall and then…nothing happened. The objective indicator SAID I had to be near that wall so…yeah, I quit and tried the Leon section).
And here, with my favorite character in the series, former “rookie cop” Leon S. Kennedy, is where I feel Resident Evil 6may well fall on its face. This section reportedly aspires to be more moody and horror-focused, you know, like that original game. It’s even set in a mansion! And I totally ran out of ammo at one point! So, done and done, original game’s spirit captured. Oh wait, no, it isn’t at all. First off, super, ultra linear. To the point where there is a “GO HERE, YOU ARE 73M AWAY FROM WHERE YOU SHOULD BE RIGHT NOW!” indicator on the screen at all times. You also have a giant crosshair on the screen in addition to your lasersight…so, I’m going to go ahead and call that an invasive HUD that spoils any kind of immersion in the “spooky” scenario. You also can’t run unless the game wants you to be able to run. So, Leon just kind of slowly walks everywhere (in this case, through a large banquet hall in the White House. Yes…President Evil was encountered at the outset of the demo), which I’m guessing is meant to make things more…tension filled? I don’t know, it only comes across as irritating. You then meet an NPC who is looking for his daughter, so then you follow him around. And you can’t pass him, you can’t ignore him, you just follow him until he takes you where you are supposed to go. It honestly felt like being guided through a haunted house at a low-rent amusement park. Yeah, there are flashes of lightning and “scary” music and a bump here and a moan there, but it just doesn’t matter if you KNOW you aren’t in any danger.
The demo actually ends with you finally squaring off against some zombies and even then, didn’t feel like I was in danger at all. I missed tons of shots, ran out of ammo, had maybe three zombies bearing down on me and I just punched and kicked my way out of it. No problemo. Sure, the demo may have been set to easy, but even then, it wasn’t intense or scary in any way. I remember squaring off against one (just ONE) red-headed zombie in REmake and being terrified out of my mind. Now, a whole hoard is laughable. It just…ugh, it just doesn’t work anymore. Not with this design philosophy of being so scared of the player getting lost or frustrated that you feel compelled to lead them from point A to point B so directly.
So, it seems to me Resident Evil 6 is set to contain one bad game, one average game, and one wild card that COULD be good, all within it. If the good outweighs the bad, hey, good stuff, may be worth a look. And it certainly looks like it will contain a ton of co-op stuff, as all of the characters had a partner in tow (I think Claire was in it? Not 100% sure) so if you enjoyed that in 5, more on the way. But I myself will likely take a pass on this one, unless this demo is really not doing the final product justice.
The two things it did offer me, that abandoned party hall had tons of balloons and YES, you can pop them. And hey, that font choice for the 6 is still there and still get a childish laugh out of it. Giraffes, in stores October of this year.