Resident Evil 6 Review
Extra Features: Local Co-op/Split Screen (1-2 players), Online Co-op (1-2 players), Leaderboards, Download Content
The wait is usually quite long between new Resident Evil titles in the franchise's main series, with an especially long gap between the releases of RE4 and RE5. Resident Evil 6 was first announced earlier this year and then the release date was announced in the same year, which is only a little over three years after RE5's release. Then the release date was actually pushed forward! With the short time between the announcement and the release, fans didn't have time to build up anticipation for this game like they did with RE4 and RE5. Capcom has literally been throwing RE fans all kinds of Resident Evil goodness this year and Resident Evil 6 is finally the high point of it all!
Resident Evil 4 and 5 focused on a virus outbreak in one particular area and Resident Evil 6 has outbreaks in many areas. The game is split up into three main campaigns (Leon, Chris and Jake) and one extra unlockable campaign (Ada) once the default three are all finished. A player can start from any of the beginning campaigns and see the main story of Resident Evil 6 through that character's experiences. This setup works very well for Resident Evil 6 since the storytelling in this game is quit creative and flows well with the campaign setup!
All of the campaigns are similar yet different in their own way. Leon's campaign focuses more on survival. Leon starts out in a city called Tall Oaks in the US and unravels a mystery behind a sudden zombie outbreak in the city. Leon's campaign has more tense moments that resemble a horror story similar to older Resident Evil titles. Leon always fights zombies and different zombie mutations. Leon is joined by newcomer Helena Harper. Helena fits in with the look of the game perfectly, but we are never really given much backstory on her to care much for her. Leon's game has the most solid overall gameplay for the classic Resident Evil fan since it has a great mixture of action, exploration and puzzle solving.
Chris' campaign is more of a shooter than Leon's game. Chris' game focuses more on taking cover and shooting at enemies known as "J'avo" that can wield weapons such as swords and guns. These C-virus infected enemies will mutate their appendages at times based on the damage they receive. In different portions of Chris' campaign, different mutations will occur based on where the enemies are shot. Some of the J'avo will encase themselves in cocoons known as "Chrysalids" and mutate inside the cocoon then break it open making you fight their newly evolved form. Chris is joined by a member of the BSAA known as Piers Nivans. Piers fits in quite well with Chris' story and basically becomes Chris' voice of reason throughout Chris' personal conflicts. Chris' story was a pleasant surprise to me since it has a lot of emotion throughout its chapters.
Jake's campaign is a mixture of Leon's and Chris' gameplay but it's more like Chris' gameplay the most. Jake's campaign is more of a focus on melee combat and overall variety. Jake has several action sequences, driving sequences and running sequences. Jake's partner is the returning daughter of Willam Birkin from Resident Evil 2 - Sherry Birkin. Jake and Sherry are constantly stalked by a creature that hunts Jake known as Ustanak. Jake's early chapters can get quite dull because of the overall boring gameplay and story early on. Jake and Sherry spend most of their campaign on the run from Ustanak and Neo-Umbrella's J'avo. By chapter 3, Jake's campaign starts to pick up and it has an overall good ending to it however.
Ada's campaign is similar to Leon's campaign. It really blends together gameplay from all of the campaigns. Ada's campaign is the only single player campaign in Resident Evil 6 - Ada has no partner. Her puzzles require much more effort and thought than Leon's puzzles. I found Ada's puzzles to be either a hit or a miss. She has very few puzzles and some of her puzzles are not that well thought out - they are just one complex looking situation with a super easy solution once you realize what to do. Ada is the only character that fights both zombies and J'avo. Her campaign is a lot like RE4's Separate Ways mini-campaign where Ada fought a mixture of Leon's enemies along with her own exclusive bosses. She meets up with all characters from the other campaigns at some points and her overall campaign is a very welcome addition to end the story.
Speaking of the story, the story of Resident Evil 6 is the best part of the game. The writers for this game did an excellent job in splitting up the campaigns because it all fits together perfectly once you have been through the full game. Leon's campaign tells the main story of the game while Chris' and Jake's campaign fill in the gaps. In a way, I feel it's best to start with Chris' or Jake's campaign then play Leon's last, but it really doesn't matter that much. After finishing up the first three campaigns, you get even more extra information on the overall story through Ada's campaign, which fills in all the rest of the details to make the story feel complete. Resident Evil 6 has some of the best overall dialogue and voice acting in the series. There are no corny lines and the game is not filled with tons of one-liners like many past Resident Evils. Resident Evil 6 takes itself very seriously when it comes to storytelling for the most part.
I have to give credit to the development team for RE6 for coming up with some unique enemy designs when compared to RE5. RE5's enemies were extremely similar to RE4 enemies in many ways. RE6's enemies have some similarities to past RE enemies, but there is so much more variety in RE6. Zombies all have new mutations and J'avo enemies have a whole boatload of mutations that change the way they attack based on how the player attacks them. Most enemies feel unique and we don't have the returning Hunter or Licker that feels thrown in for fan service. The only true returning enemy is the zombie and zombie dog, which have been absent from the main series for quite a while and they have been reworked to fit into RE6's gameplay quite well.
All campaigns share the same action gameplay like you would find in RE4 and RE5. Both you and an online partner can take control of one of the two characters in the three main campaigns. Once again, melees are back but this time a player is limited by a combat gauge. Each melee takes one block from the combat gauge and you can't let it run out or your character will enter a state of exhaustion. The combat gauge meter will turn red and have to recharge up to where the blocks on the meter can start filling up once again and the character cannot melee or dash for a few seconds until the red meter on the combat gauge refills. This is a great addition to the melee system that RE4 and RE5 started since it limits overpowered melees and makes a player focus on shooting instead of hitting an enemy with a melee. Once again with Resident Evil 6, the RE series is more of a shooter with implemented melee attacks that help out sometimes and don't take center stage like in RE5!
Along with melees, the game also has counters that can be used to stop enemy attacks. Most enemy attacks will make a button prompt appear on the screen shortly before the enemy attack connects with the player. A player can press the melee button to quickly stop the attack and hit the enemy. While this looks flashy, the problem with this feature is that it can be greatly exploited. Since it doesn't use up any of the combat gauge, a player can learn the timing for each counter prompt and have full advantage over an enemy. The only flaws with exploiting it is that there are still a few problems with the counter button prompt appearing much like RE5's licker counter, so it's not always reliable but does offer too much of an advantage most of the time.
A player can collect skill points and buy skills from a menu after each campaign. The skills add bonuses such as extra melee strength, extra firearm strength, more combat gauge blocks, taking off more damage from a certain enemy type and so on. Each mode in Resident Evil 6 has its own set of skills. None of the skills offer enough help to where the gameplay is too easy however. Resident Evil 6 is quite a hard game because of the overall gameplay limits even on normal mode. This difficulty is a great change to the series when compared to RE5 since it brings back that intense feeling that I got when playing RE4.
The controls for Resident Evil 6 have done away with the tank-like controls but the overall character movement has not changed much. Pressing to the side with the left thumbstick will make your character turn and move in that direction. The character still has to make a tank-like turn in that direction however, so the familiar Resident Evil movement is still there. The camera for the game is decent but it is too close to the character at times in narrow areas and won't allow you to see the full surroundings. Each character can also perform a new attack known as a "Quick Shot" by tapping the R1 + L1/RT + LT buttons and this will immediately stun a normal enemy in exchange for a block of the combat gauge.
Speaking of weapons, each character will start out with exclusive weapons and then the main character and partner will be able to find extra weapons in each chapter as the game progresses. A player can no longer upgrade weapons. The weapons are set to a default damage range and all of the weapon's statistics stay at that range unless modified slightly with a skill. Once again, just like limiting the melee, this is a great feature that makes the game harder. The game does not allow inventory reloading like RE5 either. All reload animations are in real time like in RE4 and you must reload when it is safe to do so - once again, this is a great change to help make the game harder. RE6 is the first time in an RE game where the inventory is really not needed as much as in past games. You'll literally only open the inventory to mix herbs or discard an item because of a full inventory the majority of the time.
The overall sound is just as good as any other Resident Evil game. The voice acting is very well done in Resident Evil 6. The character lines and overall script is much better than in RE4 and RE5. The overall soundtrack has some memorable tunes also. The main menu track has a very haunting feeling to it and there are a few tracks throughout the game that fit well with the stage's action.
Graphically, Resident Evil 6 is a mixed bag. The character models are beautiful and some of the stage settings are have a great look to them. There is one part where Leon is out in the city streets and civilians run past him and Helena as zombies chase after them. There are many other areas that look fantastic as well. On the downside, there are some areas where the environments look unfinished or just plain boring. The prelude chapter has Leon running down a street with blocky cars along the streets. It's just like the game was rushed in some areas. Some environments lack the detail that you'll find in other areas.
One major annoyance in Resident Evil 6 is the constant focus on Quick Time Event (QTEs) during gameplay and cutscenes. The QTEs really take away from the feeling of the action at hand. If you've played Asura's Wrath, then I'm sure you'll remember the game for its unique QTEs that actually made you feel like you were a part of the action. In Resident Evil 6, the QTEs are a total distraction and are very poorly placed throughout the game. There were several times where I died just because I failed to press the X/A button or failed to wiggle the left thumbstick fast enough. RE6 is full of cheap deaths with QTEs and sometimes even during the gameplay.
In terms of getting back to the more satisfying harder difficulty of Resident Evil 4, RE6 takes a step forward by limiting a player and adding in new gameplay techniques for the player to take advantage of and learn. In terms of being the next step forward for a main series Resident Evil game, RE6 accomplishes this with its better story and overwhelming amount of content, but is held back because of its problems. The QTEs are absolutely horrid and the overall game has a lack of quality found in past RE games. The game literally feels unfinished at times, just like more time could have been spent on it. Although the game is very satisfying to me, it's too much of a mix of good and bad to be all the way positive in a review.
Resident Evil 6 is definitely worth a try for RE fans, but I have a feeling that most fans will have mixed opinions just like reviews have been thus far. One thing is for sure though, if you want a game that will give you tons of content for your money, Resident Evil 6 is a great choice. The game is jam-packed with content. The game brings back the popular Mercenaries mode and has a unique Agent Hunt mode where players can control enemies during another player's campaign in an attempt to kill that player. There is more download content on the way as well!
+ Overall great story for all characters
+ Tons of content and a very long campaign
+ By limiting the gameplay more than RE5, the game is made harder and more fun
- The Quick Time Events (QTEs) are too frequent and get highly annoying
- Inconsistent backgrounds and graphics in some areas
- The game is almost devoid of horror now
Final Rating: 80%. Resident Evil 6 is a mix of good and bad, but the good does outweigh the bad and the game brings many welcome changes to the usual action gameplay found in past games.