The survival-horror genre of video games has been around since the dawn of modern video games, and the “Resident Evil” franchise is a big part of what started it all.
Today there are many games of the genre, but “Resident Evil” is still a name above all others. Always including intense horror, zombie attacks and huge amounts of action, Capcom’s next chapter in the franchise, “Resident Evil 6,” continues the legacy. I got my hands on a copy for the Playstation 3 a day after its release to find the familiarity of the old “Resident Evil” in an overly action-filled package.
In this latest addition to the “Resident Evil” family, “Resident Evil 6” has added a unique spin to the typical story. The plot is divided into three different story lines the player chooses before gameplay. Familiar faces are paired with new characters in the choices — Leon and Helena, Jake and Sherry, and Chris and Piers. All three story lines are playable immediately, so a player can fill in the story from the perspective of any of the teams.
Because it includes characters from past games, there is a good amount of reference to the previous titles. “Resident Evil 6” doesn’t rely too heavily on backstory in the franchise, however, so newer players shouldn’t be deterred from playing.
The stories often intertwine with one another, which allows for a great amount of backstory to cover what is happening in the game’s world. Even with this overlapping story, each individual plot has enough context to stand alone. I have completed Leon and Helena’s story and am partially through Jake and Sherry’s story, and I enjoyed Leon and Helena’s story even without the other stories’ information. Each story line takes about six hours to complete, adding up to around 20 hours of gameplay.
The stories are pretty linear — chasing one bad guy at a time, getting from point A to point B. It sounds very run-of-the-mill, but there is so much action that it’s hard to notice any shortcomings. It is almost impossible to spend more than five minutes without seeing something explode, getting randomly attacked by a zombie or witnessing a simple conversation erupt into an intense stand-off.
The amount of action will keep you on your toes easily enough, but the horror the “Resident Evil” franchise is known for is almost nonexistent. In this installment, there is so much action that by the time something freaky appears, the player is already too jaded from sensory overload to be legitimately scared.
The over-the-shoulder shooter style from the past two main titles shows itself once again in “Resident Evil 6.” While playing, it is hard to notice any changes in the actual combat style zombie grappling, melee and basic shooting; the real changes lie in its tutorial system, something the game actually lacks.
Its lack of a tutorial system is one of its major drawbacks. If a player wants to figure out how the controls actually function, a bit of button-mashing is required. Since there are no control tutorials, players must resort only to the occasional button prompts that appear on the bottom of the screen.
For those of you anticipating playing the game, I’m going to save you 20 minutes of frustrating tutorial here.
Climbing: Imagine the L1 and R1 buttons are the character’s hands. If you let go of the rope because your hands aren’t holding it, you will fall. Hold down both buttons at first; from there alternate which button you press while holding down the other. Let go of the L1 Button while still holding the R1 Button, then switch. There, I just saved you the most frustrating quick time event pain that I suffered.
Along with the lack of a tutorial system, there is almost no direction given during the story as to where to go and what to do. To compensate, the game designers threw in a futuristic smart phone that shows an arrow of where the player should go, activated by holding the L2 Button. This is extremely helpful when wandering around in graveyards or caves in the game. A downside, however, is you cannot attack, since your character is now staring at a phone looking for directions. Often, the phone sends the arrow far ahead of you, indicating where to go, but that can be a pain when there is a horde of zombies between the character and the arrow. While a good idea in theory, the smart phone feature is easy to overlook without any tutorial.
“Resident Evil 6” does have one incredibly nice feature: immediate multiplayer capability. From the very beginning, two players can play with split screen — no need to deal with the CPU and the typically unreliable AI. Compared to other “Resident Evil” games, the multiplayer is more about playing together than completely separate puzzle-solving.
“Resident Evil 6” is a good addition to the “Resident Evil” franchise with its action, interlaced story lines and familiar characters. The lack of a tutorial system and lack of horror really hurt the game’s standing in the survival horror genre, but the game is still rather fun and enjoyable.
Christian Moberg is a junior studying Japanese and computer science.