Resident Evil 6 is what I’d call a beautiful mess. While some of the design choices seem to have been decided upon via mechanical descriptions pinned to a dart board, the resulting package never disappoints when it comes to over-the-top action featuring scenarios that only the bravest of heroes could endure. If that isn’t enough, Resident Evil 6 will dig deep into your core and play your heart like a fiddle, plucking at emotional chords and making you grab your nearest bro and hug them close to you heart.
Stuff is Happening
When Resident Evil 6 begins, the world is in chaos. A group known as Neo Umbrella is releasing the C-Virus all over god’s green earth while our motley crew of Resident Evil veterans and newcomers partner up and go about the business of, well, putting Neo Umbrella out of business. These two person squads aren’t only battle tested, but friendship tested, as you can see by the way they look into each other’s eyes when they give words of encouragement or crack a joke to lighten the mood. While Resident Evil 6 can be played alone, it’s at its best when conforming to the arching theme of best friends fighting bad guys, so play it with a bud. Be warned however, as the strength of your bond will only be enhanced by a playthrough of RE 6. New friends will become best friends and best friends will become friends with benefits; it’s that powerful of a game.
The bro bonding is due in part to the storyline which is an early 90’s action movie-like romp that features the highs and lows of buddies making things bloody. While I enjoyed Resident Evil when it was a claustrophobic scare fest, its impression of a buddy cop film is unmatched in gaming today (except for maybe Contra, though most of that is insinuated). I personally enjoyed the way the plot worked out, not because it was writing gold but because it was entertaining and encouraging that they gave a writer with ADHD the opportunity to pen an entire script by himself. Did I mention I loved all the friendship? So much so that the conclusion of one of those friendships prevented me from enjoying a vacation in Tuscany because of how sad I was. It gets you deep, unless of course you’re the type that loves opera music. If that’s the case, you’ll probably snub your nose at it.
Not Your Grandmother’s Resident Evil
I suppose that if you look at Resident Evil 6 as merely a game and not the blueprint for ultra friendship that it is, you may not be incredibly impressed. The game plays relatively well when it’s doing what it’s good at, though for one reason or another it decides about half way through that it’d rather be Bo Jackson than Peyton Manning and attempts to do a bunch of other things as well. You’ll escape an avalanche on a snow mobile, chase Chinese terrorists through a city on a Humvee, and even attack an aircraft carrier with a fully controllable VTOL. While some of these moments are decently implemented, most of them are really bad and only saved by their comical appearance. This is why it’s very important to go into Resident Evil 6 knowing that the game is more like Call of Duty action game than any of the previous Resident Evil titles.
Resident Evil 6 loves chase scenes, like a lot. It likes chase scenes as more than a friend and introduces chase scenes when chase scenes may not be the most appropriate thing for the moment. As mentioned above, the chase scenes sometimes involve vehicles but a lot of the time Resident Evil 6 takes the camera control away from you and forces you to run towards the camera as something scary or explodey comes at you from behind. While it’s a nice attempt at being cinematic, it plays terribly and is always frustrating. If you go back and watch my live playthrough, you’ll see that 90% of my deaths came because of a chase scene.
Each of the 4 campaigns plays a bit differently, though all of them focus on funneling you into shooting gallery style altercations that become formulaic after a while. This is where the seams of Resident Evil 6 begin to show. Despite the focus on the action, ammo distribution still feels like it’s stuck in the survival horror days, requiring you to run around searching for the bullets that drop from fresh kills. There’s an upgrade system, but I found it completely unnecessary as its sole reason for existence is to give the player the impression RE6 is deeper than it is. While the set piece battles can be mind blowing at times, standard fights are badly paced and way too frequent to be fun. Additionally, boss fights tend to be way too long. It’s really hard to catch your breath in Resident Evil 6 and that’s not a good thing.
Tell Us How You Really Feel
You may be a bit confused at this point as the praise I have for Resident Evil 6 is weighed down by the my issues with the game. From a critical perspective, there’s quite a bit wrong with RE6, though not enough to say it’s a horrible game; it’s just too generic to get excited about. If Capcom had cut about 10 hours out of the game and focused on refining what it had, Resident Evil 6 probably would have been really great game. However, there’s just so much “filler” included that it feels like they were trying to meet some sort of game length quota. To enjoy RE6, you’re going to need to live by the numerous “WTF?” moments strewn throughout because they truly are exceptional.
If you’re an RE fan but hate corny action movies, you’ll hate this game with a passion. If you’re an RE fan and love corny action movies, you might just get a nerd boner, that is, as long as you’re not too picky about the way the game actually plays.
This review is based on the PC release of Resident Evil 6.