Review: Resident Evil 6 (PS3)
Title: Resident Evil 6
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download (10 GB)
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Original MSRP: $59.99
ESRB Rating: M
Resident Evil 6 is also available on Xbox 360 and PC.
The PlayStation 3 version was used for this review.
The Resident Evil moniker has become synonymous with the survival horror genre in gaming, especially when the horror is derived from flesh-eating zombies. Pop Culture’s infatuation with the living dead has reached all facets of media, and any zombie discussion that involves interactive entertainment would not be complete without the mention of one of Capcom’s staple series. So many franchises have copied, borrowed from, and been inspired by Resident Evil, and many have succeeded. Dead Island incorporated RPG elements and a first person view, resulting in a 30+ hour masterpiece once the kinks were worked out. Left 4 Dead refreshed the multiplayer scene in a captivating way, creating an insanely fun shooter in a dismal world of rotting flesh.
How would Resident Evil survive in a market saturated with content based on the same theme? How would Capcom retain gamers’ attention with so many installments of the same series? They did so by changing with the times, enhancing gameplay with each new release, and incorporating deep storylines with many dynamic characters. Resident Evil 6 is a prime example of the title’s staying power. With some pretty big shoes to fill, the newest member of the Resident Evil family delivers an unmatched survival horror experience that is engaging, entertaining, and a welcomed addition to one of gaming’s most coveted franchises.
Resident Evil 6 is unique in the way it offers 3 different takes on the survival horror genre. After an action-packed introduction that doubles as a tutorial, players will choose from 1 of 3 interwoven storylines to follow. Leon Kennedy, Chris Redfield, and Jake Muller are the stars of the game, and you can play from each character’s perspective in any order. The gameplay style differs slightly with each protagonist but maintains the underlying Resident Evil feel.
The Leon Kennedy Playthrough: Leon’s part of the game represents classic Resident Evil. Ammunition is scarce, herbs are precious, and most of the zombies retain only basic motor skills. Melee attacks may be the way to go in an effort to save bullets, and running by a herd of the brainless monsters is sometimes the best course of action. There are some moments of downtime during which puzzles are incorporated, new areas can be explored, and the story is moved along without the berserk rush of constant waves of zombies. There are also times where all enemies will have to be eliminated before moving on.
The Chris Redfield Playthrough: Chris’s campaign can be looked at as Resident Evil’s take on a military shooter. Chris is the leader of a squadron faced with freaks of a much higher caliber. The C-Virus infectees can use guns, take cover, and strategically form attacks, encouraging the player to use a much different approach. The teamwork aspect of the gameplay is taken to the next level with more characters working together succinctly.
The Jake Muller Playthrough: Playing as Jake offers the most fast-paced, action-filled gameplay we have thus seen from Resident Evil. He has some melee super-moves he can use to take out zombies more closely related to those of Chris’s section. He is extremely acrobatic, pulling off Nathan Drake-like maneuvers on collapsing portions of buildings. Jake leaps wide gaps and swings on narrow poles to get to his destination and it is refreshing to see this sort of shift in gameplay.
Resident Evil 6 differentiates itself from its prequels by emphasizing the action while holding on to its survival horror roots. Aside from Jake’s acrobatics, I could not help but notice all of the nods to the Uncharted style. The seamless integration between cutscene and gameplay can sometimes blur the line separating the two, causing the player to hesitate before realizing its time to move the character. Skillfully timed QTEs unexpectedly work their way into the cinematics as well. Over the top vehicular accidents and collapsing buildings will make players run through a seemingly inescapable deathtrap, just barely holding onto their lives.
The gun-play is well executed and the cover system is intuitive. The aim button will allow you to take cover if near an appropriate object, and the left analog stick can be used to peek out in the respective direction. The inventory operates in real time with no pausing while selecting items. Health items can be picked up and mixed, eventually mapped to the R2 button for quick recovery during the fight. Weapons are selected with the D-pad and the menu will shoot on and off screen so quickly that it does not disturb the action. There will almost always be an indicator pointing to your next objective and the handy L2 button guides the way.
Aside from weapons, ammunition, and herbs, players will notice that they are picking up skill points. Skill points are totaled at the end of each act and are used to gain perks. You can increase your character’s reload speed or alleviate the difficulty involved in QTE button mashing. There are a number of options to choose from and they can really impact the way a game is played out.
With all the makings of a AAA title (the billion-dollar publisher/developer, the big-name franchise, the huge marketing budget), Resident Evil 6 lives up to expectation in the visual department. The main character models are alarmingly detailed without so much as a single follicle of beard stubble overlooked. Leon Kennedy’s Uncle Jesse hair-do shines under the moonlit environments that make up a large portion of the scenery.
The lighting is handled in such a way that would work extremely well in any game, while at the same time appearing customized for the Resident Evil universe. The creepy hallways and shadowy corners are pitch black in the distance, slowly illuminating as the characters approach. The uneasy feeling of never knowing what’s around the corner is supplemented by the lighting perfectly, causing the player to tip-toe throughout the areas of the game that are “too quiet”.
As mentioned in the gameplay section above, the abundant cutscenes offer both cinematic and gameplay engine graphics. There is a good mixture of the two, but you might be turned off by them if you are a gamer that doesn’t like to be frequently interrupted by something as trivial as story development. Both types of cutscenes are beautiful in their own way, and they are directed with a technique intended to create that ominous feeling for the next insurmountable challenge.
There are some low-res portions of the environment that are not up to par with the rest of the game, especially when they are interactive. Pushing some numbered buttons or turning stone statues to solve puzzles can take a player out of the game when the texture quality does not coincide with the player model. There is also a very noticeable disparity in the attention to detail paid to some NPCs but the visual quirks are neither major nor game-breaking.
A large part of the horror associated with films of that genre is created by the scary soundtrack. Playing out as somewhat of an interactive movie itself, Resident Evil 6 is no different. In other genres, it is somewhat of a challenge to create music that matches the gameplay so perfectly. What does an Uncharted-like action/adventure sound like? What do you hear when you think of racing cars? The music in those types of games is often a mixed bag of what seems appropriate, creating a forgettable soundtrack that may even go unnoticed. This is not the case with Resident Evil 6.
The audio component works in perfect harmony with the visuals and gameplay, creating a suspenseful atmosphere in which the player is easily enthralled. The eerie melodies are played throughout the situations which they are perfect for and the crashing crescendos join some sharp-pitched notes during times of serious distress.
I commend Resident Evil 6 for including a multiplayer mode that is all but dead on current-gen consoles; splitscreen co-op. Although the game plays just fine in single-player, there are so many elements that suggest co-op is the way to go. Each playthrough includes a team of two main protagonists, creatively constructed areas that force players to split up, and many obstacles that require both characters to clear. Players can share ammunition, health, and come to each others rescue just in the nick of time. Co-op can also be enjoyed with an online partner.
Agent Hunt is another fun mode that has been included in Resident Evil 6. Take on the role of the enemy and infiltrate the games of other players as a zombie. The customization for online play is very impressive. Games can be labeled “just for fun” or “playing for medals”. This helps to get like-minded players into the same game session.
Those of you who were disappointed by Operation Raccoon City need not be worried. Resident Evil 6 stays true to the groundbreaking components that made the classic titles in this series stand out from the crowd. In addition to that, gameplay elements from the current generation’s most game-changing titles have been incorporated to add depth and variety. This isn’t some spin-off Resident Evil side story that uses the brand name and a subtitle to sell copies. It is a full-fledged Resident Evil sequel, created with an evident passion for zombie mythology. Resident Evil 6 is a must-own title for any fan of the franchise and a wonderful opportunity for newcomers to experience the current state of a series with legendary beginnings.
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