Resident Evil 6 - PS3 Review
Resident Evil 6 is Capcom's biggest ever development with over 600 people, both internal and external to the company, working on the title and an initial shipment of 4.5 million units worldwide. Indeed Capcom's "survival horror" franchise is one of the biggest in the video game industry so any new release is going to be met with much enthusiasm, but just like the disappointing Star Wars prequel trilogy, could this release ever meet expectations?
|Resident Evil 6 is dark, and moody.|
It has been ten years since the Raccoon City incident and the President of the United States has decided to reveal the truth behind what took place in the belief that it will curb the current resurgence in bioterrorist activity. Due to be by the President's side is his personal friend and Raccoon City survivor, Leon S. Kennedy, but when the venue suffers a bioterrorist attack, Leon is forced to face a President transformed beyond recognition and make his hardest ever decision.
At the same time, Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance member, Chris Redfield arrives in China, itself under threat of a bioterrorist attack. With no country safe from these attacks and the ensuing outbreaks, the entire world’s population is united by a common fear that there is no hope left.
Resident Evil 6 is split up into four separate campaigns which include one with Leon S. Kennedy and Helena Harper investigating the truth behind the bioterrorist attacks, the second campaign features Chris Redfield and fellow BSAA member Piers Nivans investigating the attack in Lanshiang in China and revealing that it's more than an isolated incident. The third campaign sees Jake Muller, a man on the run, with Sherry Birkin trying to escape people who are after something special they carry - their blood. The fourth and final campaign is a solo one featuring Ada Wong and sees her infiltrate a series of locations for intel. This was originally locked until the other campaigns were complete, but a free update from Capcom sees this unlocked from the outset, and will soon include a second player for co-op as well. It must be said that the way these four campaigns intertwine and combine to make a large story intersecting at several parts is very impressive and certainly a highlight of this game.
|Ada Wong comes across something strange...|
As with previous games in the franchise Resident Evil 6 is played from a third person perspective but this isn't just a slow "Survival Horror" game as per the earlier iterations with a much heavier focus now on faster paced action and certainly a larger focus on melee combat which has been reworked as an integral part of the gameplay with each of the playable characters having specialist melee moves. There have been plenty more changes to the game mechanics though with the ability to move and shoot at the same time now included (yes, it's taken until 2012 to see that in a Resident Evil title), a cover system, ability to slide underneath objects and even jump and roll in any direction. This certainly adds a bit more life to the game although, at times, it still feels a little clunky to perform these tasks. On more than one occasion we performed a dive by accident due to the button configuration.
|Derek Simmons - probably not playing games.|
Also changed is the way in which you use herbs to heal yourself. Green and Red herbs are still found littered around the levels - often in rather odd places - and are now combined to create tablets which can then be used with the press of the R2 button at any point. We did notice, however, that on occasion pressing the R2 button too rapidly may result in 2 tablets being used, but only one block of health being restored so be aware of the little glitch/qwirk.
What will shock many about this game is the switch from a rather confined struggle for survival to a faster- paced shooter styled game with all manner of weapons and items such as grenades and mines available to you. Indeed, in this game the J’avo enemies aren't just zombies, but rather pack guns and other weapons making them seem like more "normal" enemies. Sure, we've seen similar in some other Resident Evil properties, including the chain-gun/rocket launcher wielding Nemesis in the film Resident Evil: Apocalypse, but not to the extent where the majority of enemies are packing heat and require considerably firepower to take down. It must be said though that some of the boss, or mini-boss, encounters in the game really are quite epic battles that you'll only just scrape through at the best of times.
|Resident Evil 6's visuals are generally impressive.|
Each of the four campaigns though plays a little differently. Leon's campaign is the first we played and the closest to the franchises "survival horror" roots although we only jumped a couple of times in the whole campaign. Chris' campaign is by far the most action packed with gunplay-a-plenty, newcomer Jake's sees him (and his companion) escaping a bloody persistent Ustanak creature, while Ada's campaign is certainly more stealth and puzzle based then the others and a nice way to finish the game. It's fantastic to have a variety in the gameplay, but even so with each campaign pushing well over 5 hours each, there still feels like some of the fat could have been trimmed to make them a slicker experience. On so many occasions there was too much moving along a (often narrow) path, taking out some enemies and then into the next area before rinse and repeating. Much to the annoyance of some we're sure, Resident Evil 6 still contains plenty of QTE's where a button must be pressed at the correct moment to perform an action. We don't mind them though as they break up the gameplay nicely.
As you play through the game you will unlock new skills (which include improved melee, firepower, lock-on, critical hit chance, or a decrease in recovery time when injured among others) which are "purchased" with Skill Points. It seems strange though that these points can be earned not only by defeating enemies, but also by picking up items (perhaps after smashing a crate etc). We're not sure how that would, in real life, boost your skills. Anyway, somewhat annoyingly you can only purchase these upgrades at the conclusion of each lengthy chapter, or by quitting and returning back to the menu. Surely being able to upgrade these skills while in the middle of a mission would have worked?
|4-player crossover in Resident Evil 6 - Leon, Helena, Jake and Sherry together.|
There are some other things to take note of through Resident Evil 6. Hidden throughout the campaigns are blue Emblems which unlock artwork or figurines. After each of the campaign chapters you will be awarded a rank, but also Medals depending on your performance with 264 available through the game in total (175 of these in the main campaign, 45 in Agent Hunt and the remaining 44 in The Mercenaries mode - more on them soon). These medals are used to determine the amount of Skill Points awarded for progress in each chapter.
We do have another annoyance though which relates to the structure of four separate campaigns. As these campaigns intersect at some points, it means that some battles you have already fought and won, will need to be replayed yet again. Given the games length (we're talking well over 20 hours for all four campaigns) this repetition could have been eliminated by the game saving which battles you've already won.
|The multiplayer Agent Hunt mode.|
As you play through each of the campaigns you'll will be joined by a partner - which can either be AI or Human controlled. If you're a solo player you'll be rather pleased to hear that the AI controlled character does an admirable job at all times. We never had an issue of them getting lost, stuck on some scenery or failing to perform in a battle. Certainly the better way to play though is with another human controlled character, and this can occur via offline split-screen (although this is much reduced in size to what one would expect) or online which, with a good connection is a fantastic way to play the game with the ability to drop-in or drop-out as you desire.
Other game modes included on the disc are a Mercenaries mode which initially has three playable characters (Leon, Chris and Jake) with more unlocked as you score high rankings. This mode sees you taking on waves of enemies to rack up the highest number of points. Finally an Agent Hunt mode has been included where humans battle zombies in a fight to the death. Disappointingly the XBox 360 has some timed exclusive DLC game modes including "Survivors", "Predator" and "Siege". I guess PS3 owners just have to wait...
|Jake is a new character in Resident Evil 6.|
Visually Resident Evil 6 is a bit of a mixed bag, but generally falls in the good category. With such a long campaign the developers have built a large number of locations across North America, China and Eastern Europe to explore, from cities to underground caverns, cemeteries to laboratories. Each of these locations is superbly detailed and realised with the games 720p resolution while the enemies that inhabit the world are varied, and while gross at times, superbly designed. Animation, thanks to motion capture, too is pretty solid across the board while the numerous cut- scenes effectively push the story along.
Dragging the score down a bit for the visuals are the textures which, at times, are occasionally lower resolution then we would expect from a PS3 game - although there is usually so much going on in each scene that you won't have too much time to look or worry about it. While screen-tearing is pretty minimal in the game, we did notice some frame-rate dips during gameplay be they due to loading, or the amount of load on the CPU/GPU in some sequence. Fortunately they were generally minor enough so as to not hinder gameplay.
|Enemy design in RE6 is pretty terrifying.|
Moving on with the visual issues and we have to say that the camera in Resident Evil 6 is not ideal. Not only is it positioned too close to your main character, but when the screen is filled with enemies it occasionally struggles for best positioning. Fortunately Capcom have promised the camera will be repositioned and moved back (if you wish) in a game update due mid-December. Finally, why does the game have to be so dark? I mean if the world is being overrun with zombies, surely moving around in daylight would allow you to see enemies earlier but with the majority of the game being played in dimly lit areas, even with the superb dynamic lighting put in by the developers, it's often hard to see what's going on (until I changed the brightness and contrast levels on my TV at least). While we've listed a lot of issues with the visuals it must be pointed out that this is still an impressive game visually - the scope and detail is impressive - it's just not the visual tour de force we expected.
One area which doesn't disappoint at all is the audio which is fantastic from start to finish. Not only is the vast majority of the dialogue well scripted, but also superbly delivered by the main voice actors in the game. Sure, there are occasional lines that sound a bit corny, but nothing near what we hear from so many games from Japanese companies. Music is atmospheric too and ramps up and down nicely with the action while the audio effects round off the audio nicely. In a game such as this the surround sound comes into play to help pinpoint enemies, and Capcom's audio team nailed this perfectly too. As we mentioned in our preview this game is loaded with audio options too with the European disc including localised voice overs in English, French, Spanish, German, Spanish and Italian with subtitles in Japanese, Russian, Polish, Brazilian and Portuguese.
|Resident Evil 6 is solid, but not brilliant.|
Resident Evil 6 is such an interesting release. It's certainly different to the original "Survival horror" games, but that doesn't make it bad - far from it in fact. Visuals are fantastic, audio second to none, and gameplay generally very solid despite some inconsistencies in gameplay between campaigns. With a campaign that runs for well over 20 hours, and pushing close to 30, a great storyline in the Resident Evil universe and some great bonus modes this is definitely worth picking up. Just be prepared for more "action" and less "horror"...
Review By: Dave Warner
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|GRAPHICS||Fantastic locations and character models, great lighting but a little dark at times, with poor camera positioning, and occasionally poor textures.||84%|
|SOUND||There's no disappointment here, great speech, effects and music with aggressive surround sound use.||92%|
|GAMEPLAY||This isn't "classic" Resident Evil gameplay, but much more action focused, with plenty of QTE's. It's still fun despite camera annoyances.||79%|
|VALUE||Well over 20 hours in the campaign mode, needed more multiplayer modes though.||86%|
|OVERALL||We can see why some people are upset about the change in gameplay, but we enjoyed Resident Evil 6 despite some flaws. Action fans would do well to check this out. Impressive, but not the masterpiece we hoped for.||84%|