There is no hope left… that is until you take control in the next entry of Capcom’s popular survival horror franchise with Resident Evil 6. The game was released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 with a PC release sometime in 2013. This review is based on my experiences with the Xbox 360 version of the game. Is Resident Evil 6 worth it, read on if you dare…
Resident Evil 6 picks up three years after the events of Resident Evil 5 and is told across four different campaigns each starring different characters old and new to the series. The first pair is Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 4 main character Leon S. Kennedy, survivor of the Raccoon City incident and Divison of Security Operations agent (DSO) who is paired with newcomer United States Secret Service agent Helena Harper. The second pair is Resident Evil 1, Resident Evil: Code Veronica and Resident Evil 5 main character Chris Redfield of the BSAA who is paired up with newcomer and also BSAA member Piers Nivans. The third pair is newcomer Jake Muller, a mercenary who is paired up with DSO agent Sherry Birkin, another survivor of the Raccoon City incident. The final campaign which is unlocked upon completing the three above allows you to play as secret agent Ada Wong, another survivor of the Raccoon City incident.
Each of the four campaigns offers a different style of gameplay which is both a good and a bad thing. Leon and Helena’s campaign feels the closest to the roots of what the series was as a survival horror game as the enemies are zombies, opposed to the new variety we’ve seen since Resident Evil 4. Throughout their story, there were a lot of different nods to the series at various points of their story. Almost all of Chapter 1 was a tribute to Resident Evil 2 as various occurrences then was represented in this game such as Leon crashing a police cruiser trying to escape, heading to a gun shop, tanker almost killing him, etc. Their main focus is trying to apprehend Derek C. Simmons; the National Security Adviser whom Helena said is responsible for this.
Chris and Piers’ campaign feels more like an average third person shooter as you spent your time shooting and moving from location to location which depressed me. The story between Chris and Piers interested me more than the others but you could barely notice there was a story under all the guns and explosions. If you played the game in front of someone who didn’t know what was going on, they’d think you were playing Call of Duty in a third person view. The enemies also aren’t zombies but follow in the footstep of the Ganados of Resident Evil 4 and Majini of Resident Evil 5, being called J’avo. These enemies can wield guns and weapons and transform depending on what body part is destroyed, Hooray for Science. Their main focus is trying to capture “Ada Wong” who’s responsible for Chris’ squad being injected with the C-Virus and possibly responsible for the situation in China.
Jake and Sherry’s campaign is like a mix of both campaigns with one, large exception. The two aren’t overrun with a lot of enemies like Chris or Leon but at the end of most of the chapters, they are usually forced to fight or run away from the Ustanak who could be seen as this game’s version of Nemesis from Resident Evil 3. Under orders of “Ada Wong”, its purpose is to hunt down Jake, who is the son of former main antagonist of the series, Albert Wesker. Unlike Nemesis, the Ustanak is intelligent as if it notices its arm attachment isn’t helping during the fight, it will discard it and replace it with a new one. Their main focus involve Sherry trying to get Jake to her boss Derek Simmons, as he is immune to the C-Virus and a vaccine can be made from his blood. This was my second favorite story, mostly as the pairing of Jake and Sherry was sort of a nod as their fathers worked together in the past (Albert Wesker and William Birkin).
Ada’s campaign, which is unlocked upon completing the other three campaign, has differences compared to the others. Ada for starters, works solo in her campaign; no partner for her. She prefers a stealth approach over rushing recklessly for the majority of her campaign. She’s also the only one who has puzzles that need to be completed to continue like traditional Resident Evil games of the past (Leon/Helena has a section in Chapter 2, but very brief). The main purpose of her campaign is to tie many loose ends in the plot from the other three campaigns and it also reveals the existence of her clone, Carla Radames whom the other main characters met in their story.
Overall the control for the game remains largely unchanged from Resident Evil 5 with a few exceptions. The knife and map buttons have been replaced with a healing button and a radar button. The healing button, like it says, when pressed the characters will consume a health tablet which is made from herbs, a mainstay of the series. The radar on the other hand, when pressed will show you the correct way to go in case you are lost. Honestly, I would have preferred the map back as with it, you can see where you could and couldn’t go. While the radar is helpful for people who need the extra help as to where to go, it’s annoying to have to hold it, turning the screen a black/blue color and an arrow pointing the way. Also for the first time in the series of Resident Evil, YOU CAN SHOOT AND WALK AT THE SAME TIME!!!!!!
Wondering what happened to the knife button? The knife has returned to the weapon screen as a melee weapon but only a few characters get a melee weapon. Chris and Leon get the knife, Jake uses his fists and Sherry uses a stun rod. The whole cast can strike people with their weapons by hitting the right trigger and if you stun enemies, will allow for follow up attacks like in Resident Evil 4 and 5. Don’t constantly use them as it decreases your combat gauge; which is a new mechanic in the game. If you drain the bar, you’ll have to wait a few seconds for the bar to fill up unless you want to waste a tablet to regain it.
The inventory and user face in game changed from Resident Evil 5 and looks different depending on which campaign you’re playing. The only problem I had was with managing items. There is no case to store items after chapters and if you’re constantly picking up ammo and grenades, you won’t have room unless you discard. Chapters are no longer broken down into acts like in Resident Evil 5 and you can only leave when the screen says saving at the top left, otherwise you risk having to replay the section again. Replacing the money and treasures to upgrade from the previous game are skill points which you can spend on various upgrades like infinite ammo; faster reload speed, weapons dealing more damage, etc. If you’re a completionist, expect to replay the campaign and grind on Mercenary’s Mode if you want to purchase all the skills found. You can also only equip three skills per set and the game allows for about 10 different slots.
Outside of the story mode and Mercenary’s which makes a return again, is a mode called Agent Hunt. This mode reminded me of versus in left for dead as you could control an enemy and try to stop the main characters through any means. The characters don’t know which enemy you are but they are given a notification that a player entered the game. Co-Op returns whether Split-Screen, System Link or over Xbox Live with the exception of Ada’s story which is single player only (for the moment as Capcom announced a co-op update soon). One unique feature is that if Player A and B are playing Chris’ story with the option for others to join the game re open, and Player C and D are playing Jake’s story, when it’s time for the two to connect, four players will be playing for that moment in time. The game also has added support in the form of ResidentEvil.net, a free service where you can check your stats, participate in contest which reward you with content for your game.
Overall, this game felt like Capcom tried to please numerous fans at one and the end product was a game which half pleases each consumer. From Resident Evil 0 to Resident Evil Code Veronica, the main villain was the Umbrella Corporation. In Resident Evil 4, the opening cinematic told us of the fall and in Resident Evil 5, Spencer and Wesker both died. The villains in Resident Evil 6 were like the ones in Resident Evil 4 which feel their only purpose will be in this game only. While the three new main characters are all interesting in their own right and I had no problem with Jake, Helena and Piers, considering how Resident Evil 5 ended, I expected some things answered when I controlled Chris: Why wasn’t there a mention of Sheva, Josh and Jill? What happened to TRICELL? Instead we got Chris with amnesia for one chapter (which is explained why at the end of the second chapter) and the remainder of the story his sole purpose is to get revenge on “Ada”. What I feel Capcom should have done was have just one main campaign and have the point of view shift at various moments like controlling Jake in Edonia and when he connects with Chris, after the boss fight, shift control to Chris or vice versa.