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Growing up, I was never interested in the Resident Evil franchise but 4 always did catch my interest because of its focus on action. A short while ago I finally played through 4 and while I enjoyed it, I disliked the controls. I do not like tank controls but still enjoyed the game. It contains fun gamplay, excellent pacing, and cheesy dialogue that adds a bit of humor to the overall serious and dark tone of the experience. The first game in the series I actually played was 5. Resident Evil 5 improved the control scheme a bit, placed a bigger focus on action rather than horror, and is one of the best co-op games I’ve ever played. Developed and published by Capcom, Resident Evil 6 was released for the last gen series of consoles in October, 2012, and for PC in March, 2013. For this review, we played the PlayStation 4 version which was released alongside the Xbox One version in March, 2016. This version includes all of the previously released DLC along with some graphical enhancements.
Resident Evil 6 contains what I would call an ensemble cast of Resident Evil characters and four campaigns. You play as a different protagonist in each and every character is partnered up with another, which is more or less an excuse for cooperative play because it sure as hell isn’t for the story. The overall storyline is incoherent, convoluted, and it just downright sucks. One campaign has you playing as Leon Kennedy and he’s partnered up with United States Secret Service agent Helena Harper. Another campaign has you playing as Chris Redfield and he’s partnered up with another soldier, Piers Nivans. Jake Muller, a mercenary and son of the late Albert Wesker, is partnered with Sherry Birkin, a returning character from Resident Evil 2. And the final campaign has you playing as Ada Wong and she’s partnered up with a generic character named Agent. Evidently, back when this released, Ada’s campaign needed to be unlocked and she didn’t have a partner but eventually a patch was released that unlocked the campaign from the beginning and included the AI partner. Unfortunately, unlike the other secondary characters, if playing with another person, the Agent can’t do shit. He can’t interact with things, he disappears when cut scenes are triggered, and he’s basically useless. Each campaign crosses paths with another, meaning you’ll run into other characters and all of the campaigns do tie together somehow. Leon is forced to kill the president after discovering he’s infected and mutated. Him and Helena learn that this was all part of a plot involving the Neo Umbrella organization. In Chris’ campaign, Chris is suffering from amnesia after his team is infected and essentially killed by Ada Wong. After Piers finds him drunk in a bar, he convinces him to fight and they both go off and seek revenge against Ada. Jake and Sherry’s campaign seems to involve a lot of running away. Apparently, Jake’s blood contains anti-bodies for the C-Virus. Ada appears in each of the campaigns, trying to be all mysterious, seemingly manipulating things behind the scenes but when you play through her campaign, you discover there’s a clone of her running around causing mayhem or something like that. The entire plot is ludicrous, awful, and we found it very hard to follow. It doesn’t help that the voice acting is nothing special. I think some of the dialogue is supposed to come across as edgy but in the end it just comes across as cringe worthy and terrible. The writing leaves a lot to be desired.
No matter which of the four campaigns you decide to play through, each character feels and controls the same. You can play through each campaign solo, in split screen with a buddy, and even online with another player. One of the positives of Resident Evil 6 is the controls, at least compared to previous games. Controlling the character no longer feels stiff and you can move, aim, and shoot all at the same time. You can even throw yourself on the ground and shoot back at enemies which is kind of cool. You can still turn one hundred and eighty degrees at will, you can vault over obstacles, and as long as you’re holding down the sprint button you don’t have to wait for a button prompt to do basic things like climbing up or jumping off platforms. You can still get behind cover and shoot back at enemies and while the cover mechanics are improved from previous games, it still feels clunky overall. If playing solo you can command your AI partner to perform basic actions and even praise and thank them. I would say each of the campaigns seem to focus on a gameplay style that resembles prior Resident Evil games but all of them contain a good amount of action. For example, Leon’s campaign seems to be centered around horror. Chris’ campaign involves a lot of running and shooting. Jake’s campaign involves a lot of running away. And the beginning of Ada’s campaign involves a lot of puzzle solving. Each character is equipped with one or two weapons and they can perform melee attacks on enemies which does drain stamina. You can often approach enemies from behind and perform a melee attack that kills them instantly and you can still perform melee attacks on downed enemies. Sometimes you can perform special melee attacks like slamming an enemy’s head into a wall or structure. You can aid your partner if they get grabbed or attacked by enemies and they can do the same for you. Quick-time events do return and they are rampant. There’s a lot of scenarios that involve the game switching from gameplay to cut scene to quick-time events, and these sequences just aren’t fun. The game likes to hold your hand throughout most of the experience and it’s like it can decide what it wants to be – a movie or an action game. There are several scenarios where it feels like you’re not doing anything other wasting ammo because it feels like you’re just waiting for another cut scene to trigger so you can progress forward. For example, in Ada’s campaign, there’s a set piece where you fly a helicopter and aid Leon and Helena in taking down a boss. However, it never feels like you’re actually doing any damage to the boss and the entire sequence feels shoehorned in as if Capcom ran out of ideas. Another issue is the camera and from what I understand, it was even worse at launch. For the most part it works well but it will often force angles at critical moments that are just not ideal, usually causing you to take damage or make some kind of mistake. It’s obvious Capcom was going for a cinematic experience with Resident Evil 6 but, ultimately, many of the design choices just bring down the gameplay.
Inventory management does make a return but it’s not as crucial as in prior games. You can access your inventory on the fly and you no longer have to worry about your partner’s inventory, at least when playing solo. New weapons are found as you progress and ammo is dropped from fallen enemies as well as from breaking objects scattered around the environments. You’ll also find green and red herbs. Now when you combine herbs, the combination creates tablets that need to be stored in a case for quick use. You can take multiple at time to restore multiple health boxes. You can also still acquire first aid spray to restore all of your health. If you end up in the dying state, you can still shoot at enemies and if you manage to stay alive long enough, you’ll eventually get back up and into the action. You can always be aided by your partner and vice versa. Conserving ammo is still an important aspect of the gameplay but you’re always provided enough to deal with the threats and during many scenarios you can just run past enemies. You’ve got pistols, submachine guns, assault rifles, sniper rifles, shotguns, and Ada carries a crossbow. There’s also frag grenades, incendiary grenades, and flashbangs. Some weapons have alternate fire modes. For example, Leon can dual wield the pistols and Ada’s crossbow can fire Pipe Bomb Arrows that will explode after a few seconds. Sometimes you’ll come across skill points that you can acquire and they’ll also be dropped from fallen enemies. At the end of each chapter you’re provided a ranking based on your performance and then you move onto the Skill Settings menu where you can spend Skill Points on various types of skills. You can equip three at a time and these include things like increased item drops, doing more damage to zombies, increased firearm piercing, and stuff like that. I would recommend keeping the Breakout skill equipped at all times. Breakout enables the player to break free from enemy clutches easier. Basically, it means you can easily get through quick-time events. Because of how many quick-time events appear in this game, there’s a lot of button mashing going on, so equipping Breakout is highly recommended. Some skills can be leveled up, making their effects stronger, and once again infinite ammo makes a return. To unlock infinite ammo you need to first complete all four campaigns and then purchase the infinite ammo skills for each weapon type as long as you meet the specific amount of kills for that weapon type. Yeah, that means there’s going to be grinding going on whether it’s to unlock infinite ammo or all of the skills in general. Some of them are ridiculously expensive.
There’s several major environments you’ll be battling through with the standout being the city of Hong Kong. Other than that, there’s an underwater facility, a cathedral, the snow-covered mountains of Edonia, and some other varied locations. What’s not cool is having to repeat the same scenarios in each campaign. For example, in Chris’ campaign you need to secure an enemy base while dealing with large monsters and the entire battle can take a while. You have to go through this again in Jake’s campaign and it’s not like you’re objectives are any different. Leon and Helena end up fighting a boss underneath a cathedral and you have to do this again as Ada. This kind of shit happens frequently and it’s not exciting. Most of the scenarios play out exactly the same no matter which campaign you’re playing through. I guess Capcom thought they were so exciting that players would want to experience them multiple times. In the end, it just feels lazy. There’s a lot of set pieces that feel randomly thrown in and I think they’re supposed to be exciting but they’re just boring. Ada pilots a helicopter and needs to shoot down other helicopters and enemies but you have little control of the helicopter and the entire sequence feels almost on-rails. You drive a vehicle in Chris’ campaign with one of the characters in the gunner seat shooting back at enemies and the other character driving along the linear roads. Jake and Sherry end up on a motorcycle outrunning enemies but it boils down to driving along a linear path, trying to avoid obstacles, and dealing with quick-time events. The problem with all of the sequences is that they’re all style and no substance. They’re fun to watch but boring to play through. There is a form of collectibles here, similar to the BSAA Emblems in Resident Evil 5. Here they’re called Serpent Emblems and you need to destroy them. As opposed to the prior game, the emblems here are a bit easier to find and they do unlock files that provide backstory and lore.
All of the enemies are of your typical Resident Evil variety. You’ve got your zombie types, the types that mutate, big bullet sponge enemies, and, of course, bosses. Some enemies wield melee weapons and some carry guns. Luckily, the actual act of firing your weapons is satisfying and that’s largely in part to the bullet impacts on enemies. Enemies melt, or disintegrate, upon being killed and there is something addictive and satisfying about that final attack that kills them before listening to them melt away into oblivion. Most of the bullet sponge enemies are annoying and can do good chunks of damage if they make contact or straight up kill you immediately like the enemies that wield chainsaws. Most of the time we would just run right past them rather than waste ammo but some situations require you to take them down in order to progress. Normally because they’re holding an item you need. There’s multiple boss battles throughout each campaign, including final bosses, and, unfortunately, all of them kind of suck. They all involve a mix of shooting, avoiding attacks, and quick-time events, and they just drag on. Leon’s campaign is the biggest offender with a final boss that doesn’t seem to die soon enough, and just when you think his campaign is over, you have to fight the final boss again in another form. The final boss battle in Jake and Sherry’s campaign involves more quick-time events than actual combat and it’s just so poorly executed that it’s downright boring. All of the campaigns seem to drag on thanks to a convoluted and uninteresting plot, unnecessary set pieces that are more boring than exciting, and boss battles that are just not enjoyable.
In addition to the campaigns are other game modes, including The Mercenaries and its No Mercy variant, and other multiplayer exclusive modes including Agent Hunt, Survivors, Onslaught, Predator, and Siege. Most of the modes do allow you to equip one Skill from the Skills list carried over from the campaign. In The Mercenaries you can choose from one of several characters, each with their own weapon set and then you choose from one of several maps to battle in. The objective is to kill as many enemies as possible, without dying, for a high score, before the timer reaches zero. Tougher enemies will spawn in the longer you survive. Each kill grants you points and more time, killing an enemy with a counter-attack grants you even more time, and killing multiple enemies in succession rewards you with combo points. Throughout the maps are time crystals that add either thirty, sixty, or ninety seconds to your overall time once you break them. There’s also green combo crystals scattered around that provide one thousand points per combo kill. The Mercenaries: No Mercy mode is basically the same as the standard Mercenaries mode except there’s double the amount of enemies to deal with. I found that The Mercenaries and its No Mercy variant are much more fun than any of the campaigns. Survivors involves players being pitted against each other and I actually attempted to join a match but couldn’t find one to join nor did any other players join a match I created. Onslaught involves two players surviving waves of enemies sent by each other or something. This is another mode I couldn’t play due to no players being online or at least playing this mode. Predator is another multiplayer mode where five players must take down one player as an Ustanak monster. The Ustanak must try and take down the other players. Another mode I couldn’t try. In Agent Hunt you join another player’s game as a creature during their campaign and I actually found a game to join. I didn’t find it that exciting but I was surprised I actually found somebody playing this game. And the final multiplayer mode is Siege where you take the side of either the creatures or the BSAA agents. The BSAA agents must protect an AI rookie agent and the creatures must try and kill the rookie. Now maybe some of you can find matches but I’m not going to sit around waiting for other players to come online, if ever, or try organizing matches with friends. I would never recommend this game to a friend nor am I multiplayer person. So all you’re left with is the Mercenaries modes which are actually fun but not enough to save the game from its many problems.
I think Resident Evil 6 looked pretty great when it came out and I would say it still holds up today. I absolutely love the lighting, the textures look great, things like explosions, fire, and muzzle flashes, really help emphasize the action, and the reload animations still look sexy. The visual presentation has a very cinematic feel to it, similar to Resident Evil 5. Enemy heads will explode into bloody chunks from a well placed head shot, blood will spew from bodies, and plenty of little details just fill the environments. Character models look a bit on the plastic side but there’s not many negative things I can say about the visuals as a whole. On the audio side, gunfire sounds excellent, making the gunplay feel great, explosions sound booming, and the music during the campaigns is full of orchestral scores that sound alright at best. None of the tunes really stick out to me. However, the music heard during our time in The Mercenaries mode stands out only because it doesn’t really fit in and is full of what I think is electronic stuff. On the technical side, just like Resident Evil 5, when playing in split-screen, this, too, employs dual full screens rather than one split full screen. I think the frame rate dipped here and there but we didn’t encounter any major bugs or issues. I would say Resident Evil 6 is a solid performer on the PlayStation 4.
I really thought I was going to enjoy Resident Evil 6 a lot more than most people because I love action games but you know what? This is just bad. It’s almost as if Capcom had a bunch of ideas and decided to throw them all into the pot only for the end result to be a complete and utter mess. When I first fired up the game, I started playing through Leon’s campaign solo with an AI partner. Halfway through his campaign, I teamed up with Jeremy and I soon realized that the game never gets any better and we just dreaded playing through the rest of it. But we persevered and completed each campaign but I have no intention on going back to play through any of it again solo. It’s just not fun and almost every sequence you play through has some tedious element to it that just instills a sense of horror. By horror, I mean horrified of having to put myself through the terrible experience all over again. Resident Evil 5 was some of the most fun we’ve ever had with a co-op game but Resident Evil 6 just shits on everything whether it be co-op, solo, and anything that made the prior games, or at least Resident Evil 4 or 5, enjoyable. I would say The Mercenaries mode is the only thing I really enjoyed and that’s because it highlights the best part about the gameplay, which is the action, while stifling all of the other bullshit.
I enjoyed Resident Evil 4 and 5, despite they’re issues, because they placed a big focus on action and, for the most part, they’re excellent games. Before playing Resident Evil 6, I knew fans seemed to hate it but I thought it was because it was another action game rather than sticking to the series horror roots. I thought I would enjoy it more than most but, ultimately, this game is pretty bad. I don’t know if I would even call it an action game. I don’t know what to call it. It tries to do so many things and fails at each and every one. The story is uninteresting and incoherent, the campaigns drag on far longer than they should, and I would say the gameplay is more boring than fun. I don’t know what Capcom was thinking. It’s clear they were trying to cater to new and old fans, alike, and just ended up creating a mess of a game. Unless this really looks like fun to you or your a massive fan of the series, I would suggest avoiding Resident Evil 6 at all costs.