Resident Evil 6: Post Gameplay Impressions

Yesterday, for those of us who do own a 360 and bought the Resident Evil 6 demo in April (Hey, it came with a free copy of what was actually one of the first good Capcom games in a long time: Dragon’s Dogma), yesterday, July 3rd marked the first early access to this small glimpse of this Autumn’s new “Resident Evil” game. Quotation marks necessary, I’m afraid, because as I have said many times; Resident Evil, as long as it is legally in the hands of Capcom, is irredeemable, and thus does not deserve the title.

People will argue with me that Resident Evil 4 did not ruin the franchise – by saying things like “The game had to evolve to keep up with modern trends. People wouldn’t want to shoot slow ass zombies now.”  In that respect, they’re right. The camera angles, the controls, the enemies from the old games: all of these things were the idiosyncrasies that defined the first 6 “canon” games. Again, I use quotations in lieu of visible air quotes, mostly because I am shirtless and have no interest in putting on a shirt for the purposes of doing a video blog. If Resident Evil 0 canonically makes any sense, then I’m the POTUS. The remake fits in those air quotes as well, but for the most part the changes are legitimate.

However, this is nothing but a third person shooter. It doesn’t even belong in a sub-genre. Any game that doesn’t belong in a sub-genre or merit its own, isn’t distinctive enough to be worth it.

So, I downloaded this demo pretty much immediately when I returned home (don’t worry where I was, just gone for a while) and like many other people I had mixed expectations, most of them leaning towards the fact that this game is going to be equally, if not more, terrible than Resident Evil 5. Suffice it to say that my opinion is largely unchanged and I am not impressed with such a small demo. There are a few things I will touch on, though.

1) Laser sight vs laser dot:

This is the laser sight and dot combination from RE5:

Hey look, I can see what it’s pointing at

Makes sense, right? Well, in RE6, you have two options: You can have a laser sight, which shows the entire beam like RE4 and 5 did, or, you can have a dot, which only shows the dot. And also very annoyingly shows the reticle, which is probably disable-able when the game comes out, or I’m just too stupid to find that option. In my experience, and I apologize because playing the demo for more than 25 minutes was a task because it didn’t last more than 15 (had to throw in some co-op), with the full beam on, you pretty much can’t see the actual dot. I suppose this isn’t a big issue but I personally like to see the beam just because it makes it feel more like the last two games. Sorry I can not find a good RE6 beam picture because there isn’t one, and I don’t feel like hooking my crap back up to take a bad Droid photo of what I’m talking about.

Here’s the RE6 dot, I think:

I can...kind of see it

I can…kind of see it

2) Ada Wong.

She’s not even in the demo but, are you kidding me? Look at this trash. 

Now, look at her in Operation Raccoon City (far from the pinnacle of artistic examplefor Resident Evil but it’s still illustrative of the point). If you only compare them for about 2 seconds, they do look kind of similar. It may just be the texture and lighting difference but please tell me how Ada Wong looks remotely as sultry, or badass, in the new game. I just don’t see it. That is aside from her sudden  apparent descent into a full-fledged villain rather than just a nuisance in RE2, ORC, and RE4.

3) Headshots.

Now, see, Capcom was all “We’re bringing back the horror!” and it looked as if Tall Oaks would actually deliver on that promise. Trust me when I say that it doesn’t. However, that judgement may be premature because the Leon section of the demo was just terrible and shouldn’t have even been in the demo, if they really wanted to sell their actual fans. Ninety-nine percent of the Leon demo section is you being forced to creep through dark hallways with absolutely no items, no threats, and no scares. Only in the last 15 seconds do you actually encounter a zombie and even then, you hardly have to shoot any of them. Anyway, I have digressed.

The point of bringing back T-virus zombies was to be old-school. Everyone who played old-school thought “Sweet, I can finally shoot them in the head!”. No. You can’t. When you played the old games you had to shoot some of them 11 or so times because you just couldn’t aim at their head. Well, don’t worry folks. Shooting them in the head still does not kill them instantly 100% of the time, despite Leon telling Helena not 2 minutes before you encounter the first zombie to “Shoot them in the head.” I shot some of them in the head, they looked at me and said “Whatchu doin!?” and then I shot them in the head a few more times.

Here’s the kicker. The juevos (Spanish for balls, I know, I don’t care what they’re called in this game) can take one headshot and die instantly. They aren’t even T-virus. These guys can’t? Poppycock.

4) Controls.

My second biggest problem with this “game”, aside from the obvious story/character rapage and the blitzkrieg strategy Capcom thinks is going to distract people [Three mediocre campaigns isn’t going to equal one good game, buddy. You should realize that.], is the control scheme. In order to fit in these “modern” Gears of War/every other 3ps conventions into an old format, Capcom has raped the controls. Listen Capcom, I’m not 12 anymore. My reflexes and my muscles and my memory are getting suckier by the week here in the late 20’s. Running is pretty much the same controls. Dodging, three button combo. I’m sure I’ll get used to these controls but, compared to the cut and dry and contextually appropriate controls from RE5, they’re kind of daunting. This of course comes with being able to dual wield, mobile shoot, take cover anywhere, and do a lot of things you couldn’t before. Time will tell.

5) GUI.

We all know that innovation is necessary for every single game that gets made, otherwise who would buy shit that is based on a tried and true, solid formula? No one, obviously [See: sarcasm]. The first 7 or 10 Biohazard games (excluding the rails and FPS) used the same inventory system. Nothing was wrong with it, at all. It worked. RE4 introduced the next best thing, which was to lug around an attache case bigger than your character, at all times, with all your items. This worked perfectly as well, in the context, because RE4 was an action game and didn’t require puzzle solving or strategic acquisition of items the way the old games did (I often refer to the older games as Super Subspace Item Management Simulator…with Zombies). RE5 went a little more old-school in that you only had 9 inventory slots, much closer to the old 6 or 8 slots you could have.

Evidently, RE6 has gone with the RPG “Pick up all the things” element, and put in an abysmally shitty inventory GUI [at least in appearance] to handle this . It looks like it belongs in Deus Ex. The GUI is all digital-y and just looks completely out of place. Navigating it correctly also has a slight learning curve, as does switching between the three stories because the controls are named somewhat differently. For example, I picked up a green herb once as Chris and had no idea where it went, as it wasn’t in my inventory. I would far prefer either the RE4/oldschool inventory where you had a space limitation and had to actually manage the items yourself, rather than go through a horizontal list. I would even prefer the RE5 inventory that you had to use while being attacked in real time. This one is just weird.

This is the least Deus Ex part.

Call me resistant to change or whatever – of course I am. There are things that don’t need to be changed. Supposed innovation for the sake of arbitrary innovation is not only unethical and pathetic, it’s annoying. Resident Evil got where it was by repeating the same formula over and over – not by being new and fresh. There never would have been an RE4 for all these new kids to worship if not for the eight exact same games that came out beforehand.

All in all there is one overall thing that is just thoroughly disappointing, and I’ve seen other people say this as well.  Chris’s campaign, as the demo makes it seem, is so far the best overall experience. It’s entirely a shooter. There is no survival horror whatsoever in it, and that is bad. If the most successful part of this title is the part that is pure shooter, well then, Resident Evil officially no longer has any component of survival horror.

I’ve also seen and heard a lot of people walk away from E3 with the impression that this game is too much like ORC. It isn’t. There are some differences: ORCs movement is very smooth. That’s one of the few good things you can say about it. RE6 still has tank crappy movement like RE5 and 4 and the other 10 games before them. It’s just improved to be about as shitty as Gears of War. Unlike ORC, however, when you shoot things, they do seem to die more or less (other than flyers and bosses like the Gears of War nemesis in Jakes campaign.) You can’t say as much for ORC. While ORC was fun, it was by no means a solid, or even really playable game. As BrokenGamezHD said on YouTube (I removed the link, because they axed his account for some dumbass reason and it’s not on his new account), the game is a technical failure.

The game is just a technical failure. All the right pieces are there, they were just put together wrong. The most obvious flaw is that the guns just do not work – you can shoot a human in the head 8 times with a .50 Barrett and they will survive. If a .50 Barret round came within FEET of  you, it would rip your arm or your head off. Forget actually hitting you, in which case your head would explode just like the skitter heads exploded this week in Falling Skies when they got sniped with a Barrett.

So, fortunately, RE6 is not broken like that game is, which is the least you can expect from Capcom – as shitty as their games have been, they are better than Slant Six.

There is also one great feature that you can find in some modded L4D games – when you fall over and are dying in RE6, you can crawl and shoot. Default L4D games do not let you move when you are down, but many modded games do, and this is a great feature Capcom didn’t overlook. It’s not much, especially in L4D when 13495060428 zombies and specials are pounding you, but it’s something. It lets you feel like  you’re playing.

Overall I am unfortunately going to go so far as to buy the collectors edition, but I have no hopes that this game will be worth even a 10th of that price. I feel that Resident Evil should have just died in 2005. Capcom repeatedly said they wanted to replace it with Dead Rising, which is by no means a survival horror game, but the fans wouldn’t let that happen because Resident Evil has a 15 year, 20 or so game history compared to boring Frank West. Meanwhile, Alan Wake and Alan Wake American Nightmare, not to mention Silent Hill and Amnesia, have completely blown Resident Evil out of the water. Alan Wake may be a “psychological horror” game but it is far more survival horror than Resident Evil at this point (though technically the defining principle is the availability of supplies, which Alan Wake often gives you too many of, but gives you absolutely none just as much of the time.)

I’m sorry to say but Alan Wake, as a horror franchise, has impressed me in 2 short years far more than Resident Evil has in the same amount of time. This is coming from a rabid RE fan who has defended this series for 15 years and enjoyed most of them. Capcom needs to turn to people who actually know what they’re talking about, from experience – the fans. They aren’t doing so, and probably never will.

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