With the past installments, the Resident Evil franchise has abandoned its survival horror claustrophobia for action gameplay akin to Gears of War and Dead Space. Those still pining for the days of tank controls and very limited inventory space will have to find solace in the PSOne games of the series. While I was not even remotely impressed with Resident Evil 5, I gave #6 a chance for the hell of it. Turns out, its not actually that bad.
Resident Evil 6 covers four characters as they have their own adventure. Leon Kennedy, Chris Redfield, Ada Wong return while being joined by Jake Muller, a new character to the series. Much like Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, these four stories often cross each other, which gives the game extra replay value. These four leads are linked to stopping the spread of bio-hazardous agents in the aftermath of Umbrella being shut down.
Another element to the stories is that they feel different from one another. Ada plays as a moderate action thriller. Jake’s plays more with stealth and hand-to-hand combat. Chris’ game is heavy on the action with a lot of cover and shooting. Leon’s game feels the most traditional, complete with zombies and eerie atmosphere.
Throughout the game, you’ll collect skill points that can be used to upgrade your character. These have the appearance of chess pieces and exotic artifacts. These points can be used to upgrade your character. Increased damage with guns and melee attacks are available. You can add points to picking up more ammo or making it easier to shake off enemies. The Mercenaries mini-game is back and can help players gain skill points quicker.
One interesting option is the Agent Hunt mode. Here, you can go into another player’s game as an enemy and try to take them down. This is a nice little throwback to the Outbreak series where you could become a zombie and attack your former teammates.
Survival horror as we knew it with the original Resident Evil series, as well as Silent Hill, is dead, for a lack of a better term. Following suit with the atrocious movies, there is an emphasis on action. I found the game to be enjoyable in steady hour long sessions. I can see why many are against the current format of the series. Yet, its not going to change back anytime soon.
The graphics are really sharp, although it can be ridiculously dark at times. The character models look good and current instead of dated. The camera wasn’t an issue during combat or exploration. Between Resident Evil 4, 5, and 6, this one looks the best.
The controls are easy to pick up. Its simple switching between melee and guns in the inventory. Turning and running is responsive with little issue regarding responding to player controls. The only issue I had was aiming with the sniper rifle. If you thought aiming in Metal Gear Solid was bad, Resident Evil 6 is far worse. Using the Call of Duty method of holding your breath to steady your aim was a hassle in the heat of battle.
The sound design is a treat with the right surround sound system. Sound effects for guns and creatures punctuate the action. The music of Akihito Narita pays homage to past composer Masumi Ueda. Vocal talents feature the likes of Matthew Mercer, Roger Craig Smith, Troy Baker, Courtenay Taylor, and Eden Riegel. Recycling the sound effect from Devil May Cry for collecting skill points was a nice touch.
Resident Evil 6 won’t convert opponents of the recent survival action turn of previous games. I still found myself playing the game even though its nowhere near as scary or as fun as Resident Evil 2 or Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. The sixth game wasn’t made for that generation of fans. If you’re curious to the current state of the franchise, its worth a rental. If you’ve already made up your mind to not like current Resident Evil, you’d only be wasting your time.