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Resident Evil 6 PS3 Review

About.com Rating 2.5 Star Rating

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Resident Evil 6

Resident Evil 6

Image © Capcom
When did the "Resident Evil" series go from atmosphere to explosives? When did it switch from George A. Romero to Michael Bay? And why does it feel like "Resident Evil 6" is trying so hard (and failing) in its effort to replicate more visceral action games about brain eaters like "Left 4 Dead," "Dead Rising," and "Dead Island"? To be honest, these are just a few of the many problems with the truly disappointing "Resident Evil 6," a game that features some remarkable set pieces in between clunky pacing, horrendous controls, repetitive action, and poorly designed campaigns. There are moments in "Resident Evil 6," now available for the PS3 and Xbox 360, that hint at the game that could have been but you're unlikely to remember them as clearly as the ones that made you want to throw your controller through your TV or marvel at the misguided choices made by a development team for a franchise that has lost its way.

Game Details

  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Capcom
  • ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
  • Genre: Action
  • Pros: Looks Great, Offers Strong Replay Value with Multiple Campaigns
  • Cons: Repetitive Action, Weak Storytelling, Horrendous Pacing, Clunky Controls

"Resident Evil 6" is divided into three interlocking campaigns with five chapters each and a choice of two characters in each campaign (which, admittedly, when also combined with customizable skill sets and dog tags, makes for some deep replay value). You can play co-operatively in each of the chapters or choose to go it alone with an AI partner in zombie-killing. From the very beginning of the game, the action is explosive, including planes crashing into parked cars which then burst into flames as if they were all rigged with C4. As you run to a helicopter, which then crashes into a speeding subway car, you can immediately discern that the creative dictum behind "Resident Evil 6" was MORE. There are more enemies, more settings, more treasures to find, and more ways to make what should be exciting nothing but frustrating.

Gameplay

Resident Evil 6

Resident Evil 6

Image © Capcom

A game like "Resident Evil 6" needs to be well-paced: A bit of atmopshere, a bit of dread, a bit of wondering what's around the corner and deciding how you'll work with a partner to defeat it. "RE6" has none of this. It's a "run and shoot" game as much as the campaign in "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3." You open a door, kill a bunch of enemies, maybe kill one big enemy, collect your spoils, and move on. The very few moments of honest tension are smothered by a "louder, faster, more" aesthetic that goes from surprising to frustrating to just disappointing.

Don't get me wrong -- I know that giant, seemingly immortal villains have long been a part of the "Resident Evil" series. But it's how these giant creatures are intertwined with the rest of the action that matter most to a game like this one. Fans will get caught up in shooting giant creatures that are fifteen times their size but when they have to do the same thing multiple times to do so, the grandeur of the moment gives way to the repetition -- hit the weak spot, wait for the cut scene (and "RE6" is weighed down with QT-events in cut scenes), hit the right button at the right time, and do it all over again until the damn thing dies. The idea to have different protagonists tell different angles of the same story was a clever one but the way they're intertwined means you'll sometimes face the same enemies in the same location with the same Achille's Heel in different campaigns. If I had to do the same technique with a certain "B.O.W." (shoot the weak spot, jump on his back, do it again, etc.) one more time, I was going to get out my disc shredder.

There are smaller moments spaced throughout "Resident Evil 6" that work like a chapter that takes you through a subway that's reminiscent of "28 Days Later..." or an underground cave that really feels like it's only being lit by the flashlight on the end of your gun. However, every one of these interesting scenes is off-set by a poorly conceived and designed one. On one campaign, you'll have to swim through an underground lake and it's so poorly designed that you'll be rolling your eyes that it made it through the development process. And don't get me started on the snowmobiling chunk of another campaign or hand-over-hand rope climbing at the end of another that made me scream in frustration at its faulty control design. Most of the settings are either boring or ill-conceived. Walking through snow-covered mountains surrounded by enemies works for a "Call of Duty" game. Less so for a "Resident Evil" one.

It's also a major problem that so much of "Resident Evil 6" comes down to simple fetch quests. Find three keys to open three locks on a door. Find three data cards in the snowy mountains. You're going to spend most of your time in "Resident Evil 6"" getting things to move forward or emptying a room of villains to do so. The game looks very, very good but it's like a high-budget blockbuster with stunning special effects that disguise a complete lack of screenwriting or character. In other words, the "Resident Evil" games have become the "Resident Evil" movies.

Graphics & Sound

The cut scenes look amazing and there are a wide variety of environments for the designers to play with from crowded cities full of infected enemies to abandoned underground labs. The game's greatest strengths are its technical qualities from the shading on the well-designed lead and supporting characters to the very strong voice work from everyone involved. There are a few odd visual glitches (I got stuck in a wall once and saw enemies slide into them on more than one occasion) but they're vastly offset by the overall visual presentation. To use the previous blockbuster comparison, if "Resident Evil 6" were a film it would compete for Best Visual Effects (but never be mentioned for Best Screenplay).

Overall

Resident Evil 6

Resident Evil 6

Image © Capcom
When the prologue of "Resident Evil 6" opened with such explosive action, I resigned myself to the fact that this series had completely turned the corner during "RE5" and switched genres from horror to action (and it's clear now that the amazing "Resident Evil 4" will be the franchise's perfect blend of both genres) and that it wasn't going to be the game we thought it could be when we named it one of the most crowded season's highlights. That's fine. I prepared myself for what I still hoped would be a brain-dead action extravaganza. Sadly, the game just doesn't work on that level either. Whether you're going through the same motions five times to kill the same boss, emptying another room of the same enemies, or going through one of the horrendously designed non-shooting chapters (like swimming or climbing), "Resident Evil 6" simply disappoints more than it entertains.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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