Late to the Party: Resident Evil Six

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Reviewed on: PC (Steam)

Original Release: October 2012. Released March 2013 for PC and re-released for PS4 and Xbone March 2016.

I love enjoyably bad things. Things like cheesy fantasy movies with grand ideas and a $15 budget or melodramas that have no talent on display can be wildly entertaining. This is true of games as well. Army of Two and Gears of War 2 are truly bad games to me, but I had a blast playing the campaign mode with friends. Resident Evil 6 fails and succeeds at so many different things, I’m not sure I could categorize it as good or bad. But there is one label that does fit: fun.

I played all three campaigns with my wife, so my experience with the game is stictly from a couch co-op playthrough. As a single-player experience, some of the less intuitive control choices and continuous sequence of shoot, run, quick time event, repeat, may wear on you. But with a co-op partner, our shouting and conversations between those events kept everything feeling fresh.

Summed up, the story involves Sherry Birkin (all grown up since Resident Evil 2) trying to get mercenary Jake Muller to the USA because he has antibodies to stop a bioterrorism weapon infecting the world, all while they’re pursued by an unknown creature that wants to capture Jake. They have to fight through hordes of creatures called “j’avo” that are mutated, hideous monsters twisted out of the remains of humans. While that is happening, Chris Redfield and his second in command Piers Nivans are BSAA agents fighting to stop the spread of the virus and the j’avo while keeping it from getting worse. Meanwhile, DOA agent Leon Kennedy and Secret Service agent Helena Harper have to fight through hordes of zombies (because someone thought remaking and renaming the T-virus was a swell idea) and stop the man behind both bioterrorism attacks.

Resident Evil 6 give you three different campaigns and one of two characters to each campaign to play during it. While they function mostly the same, they have a few variations on starting weapons and complete different character-specific actions when you have to split up for short sections of the level. The story of each campaign overlaps with the other ones several times, telling a larger story within the three. It’s not particularly deep, nor is it made significantly more meaningful when you know all three, but it’s a nice touch.

The controls are mostly solid with the over the shoulder and laser pointer combo made popular by Resident Evil 4. This makes shooting fun, but it suffers from some other problems. You use the same button for hiding behind cover and vaulting over it, leading to multiple situations where I boldly leaped from cover to take enemy gunfire directly in the face. Switching between grenades, first aid, and different guns is clunky. How inventory space works is a mystery most of the time. You have about 40-60% chance that you can actually pick up the ammo you want. And unless you finish a chapter, there is no way of knowing if autosave will put you back where you just finished or a few save points back.

Also, if a human character isn’t playable or one of the half-dozen core NPCs or villains, they look like they’re from a lower budget game and rendered on a PlayStation 2. It’s really obvious who we should care about because everyone else might as well be wearing a red shirt with a Starfleet badge.

There’s also a game mode where you jump into someone’s game as a monster or zombie to try and kill them. The ten minutes I played of that was either unremarkable or unplayable. Some of the creatures I controlled were so clunky and or so weak I could little more than stumble around and die. If you want that sort of a monster VS survivor dynamic, go with Left 4 Dead 2.

And those are pretty much all the negative things I have to say about Resident Evil 6. With those issues addressed, it would have been better. With those issues, I had fun playing every level with my wife. The tension was high-octane shooty-bang-bang fun, the story was shallow but engaging, the characters were different enough to be enjoyable, there were some truly spectacular monster designs, and after 25 hours, I was still having fun.

That’s what the game really was to me: fun. It was fun sliding past a monster and then shotgunning it in the butt. It was fun shooting a zombie while it was biting my partner’s neck. It was fun hearing my wife yell when something exploded through a wall and attacked us. I had fun the whole time, and that’s one of the best compliments I can give a game like this. Despite the fact that the story could be predictable or confusing, it was definitely enjoyable.

The game also has a low barrier of entry. If you’re not used to faster-paced games or action games in general, easy mode is very forgiving without diminishing any of the fun. If you are used to a challenge, then the harder modes will give you the kick you crave, though the unfortunate controls may hinder your progress in frustrating ways.

If you want a co-op game that involves mostly shooting your way out of problems with some (I think) well placed quick time events, get Resident Evil 6. If that doesn’t interest you, then you’re probably not missing much.

I flew a helicopter through a city while shooting a zombie that was attacking my wife, mutated into a vengeful monster with a gun for an arm, and got an award for witnessing my own death.

8/10, would slide tackle an enemy off a cliff again.

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