I still find it hard to believe that it’s been 16 years since the original Resident Evilreleased for the PS1. And in 16 years, there have been 20+ games released, a number of books, and a slew of (terrible) movies. Wow. But Capcom has finally seen fit to release the next numbered installment in the franchise in the form of Resident Evil 6, continuing with the style and gameplay that originated in Resident Evil 4 and grew in Resident Evil 5.
Many gamers out there have followed the series through its incarnations and have seen the evolution of the story surrounding Resident Evil. Resident Evil 6 picks up 4 years after the end of Resident Evil 5 with Albert Wesker and his plot to infect the human race to jumpstart evolution. A new C-Virus has been engineered and is being used in bioterrorist attacks on a global scale. The game takes gamers all over the world through the use of multiple protagonists, piecing together a story woven straight out of a Quentin Tarantino movie.
Leon S. Kennedy returns, teaming up with Secret Service agent Helena Harper, while the two of them hunt down the President’s killer and the secret behind the United States’ involvement in the creation of the new strain of virus. Chris Redfield also returns to active duty as a BSAA soldier, along with his new partner Piers Nivans, as they try to stop the global outbreaks and find the person responsible for handing out biological agents to these factions. Taking on the role of C-virus immune Jake Muller, the son of Albert Wesker, and Raccoon City survivor and NSA agent Sherry Birkin as she tries to get Jake to safety to synthesize a cure for the virus from his blood. All of these character’s stories intersect throughout the course of the game, each shedding light to the overall situation of the world while delivering gamers some awesome 4-player cooperative segments. There is also a campaign that revolves around our favorite mysterious character: Ada Wong.
Each campaign is built and plays differently. Leon faces zombies that feel like the series’ earlier enemies, while Chris fights a literal war (think 3rd person shooter) against mutating enemies, while Jake and Sherry are menaced by a hulking creature for most of the game – Nemesis anyone? Each campaign has their strengths and most certainly their weaknesses.
Leon’s campaign was perhaps my favorite, even if plot holes make it ridiculous. Leon’s enemies are zombies, those not-quite-shambling-anymore monstrosities that plague the nightmares of many. These creatures are all created from the C-Virus and while they lack the slow gait of their elder brethren, they are no less terrifying in hordes. Playing as Leon feels like a detective movie; you’re searching for the clues and making discoveries with interspersed action sequences in between. The only issue here is some of the ridiculousness you’ll run into – catacombs and castles in an underground city beneath what looks like an Ivy League school? Seriously – but Leon and Helena take it in stride as they try to clear their name for killing the President.
Between all of these campaigns, Ada Wong is moving behind the scenes and being all “sneaky sneaky.” Her campaign was a real treat and it was interesting to see just how exactly she played into the overall storyline, as well as being the missing piece to everything that occurs. Without her campaign, many of the others do not make sense – so it becomes a requirement story-wise.
While Resident Evil 6 takes everything we’ve seen from the two previous games and builds upon it creating a very enjoyable game gameplay-wise. I must say the cooperative element is fantastic and much improved from the previous title. Using the standard 2-player co-op affair, you can team up with either a friend or an AI partner; that isn’t nearly as bad this time around. The neat thing about the co-op is during certain places in the story, it turns into a 4-player excite-fest. Players either team up and take down the baddies together, or go at each other competitively (Leon and Chris’ matchup) in order to push further along in the story. I didn’t realize this going into the game, so it was quite a pleasant surprise. I definitely recommend playing the game online for this reason – people can drop in and out at will and it makes for some exciting (and frustrating) times.
The inventory system also received a major overhaul, but I can say it’s a bit…odd. It’s a rotating mess in all honesty. Finding weapons can be annoying, but thankfully quick-switching with the D-Pad is available. You don’t really know how much space is left until it’s too late and you’re completely out of room, causing issues when you want to pick up that red herb so badly. In a great twist, herbs are converted into pills before being used as health items. Combining these green and red herbs produces more pills, giving you more bang for your buck and more breath mints to chew on.
Resident Evil 6 also brings back some multiplayer outside of the cooperative story mode. Mercenaries is back and better than ever, giving players a great chance to work together and take down C-Virus monsters. The best addition to the multiplayer though is Agent Hunt, putting players in the role of the various monsters they would normally encounter during the game. The best part though? You not only become a monster, but you do so in someone else’s game and it is your job to piss them off and take them down. It’s quite fun and I highly recommend players give it a try. It’s very reminiscent of Resident Evil Outbreak and Operation Raccoon City where after players succumbed to the virus, they would be able to menace their friends as a member of the undead.
Aside from the usual rigmarole within the game, Resident Evil 6 also brings back the ranking system and some minor item gathering “mini-games” that have no overall bearing. Players also gain points during the game, similar to the money in the previous two games, that can be spent on upgrades for the characters. No weapon upgrades are available, but players can get bonuses to their melee and weapon damage, more item drops, and eventually infinite ammo. It’s a nice addition and infinite ammo is absolutely worth it with magnums!
Fans of the series might not be completely in favor of the game, but it’s not a terrible addition to the series. It’s got a lot of great pieces to it and the cooperative gameplay is still one of its best features – especially with the smarter AI. It takes all four campaigns before everything really falls into place and becomes understandable. But hey, you’re with a friend and mowing down a bunch of undead creatures and monstrosities – do you need a reason for that?
Note: The Resident Evil 6 review was written based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.