Resident Evil 6 is a woefully uneven roller-coaster ride with an identity crisis, an absurd plot and controls that never seem to work right.
Resident Evil 6 is a game with a severe identity crisis. Although each title in the main series has had a unique feature that distinguishes it from other survival horror titles, Resident Evil 6 takes concepts and mechanics from so many different sources that the result is an unconnected mess that seldom makes any sense. That said, there’s a lot to like here, but for the most part, this is a disappointing survival horror title that’s hard to defend even if you’ve been following the franchise for years.
Resident Evil 6 features three different campaigns that can be played either single-player or cooperatively (if you play on your own, the artificial intelligence takes the role of the second character.) There’s also a bonus campaign where you play as freelance agent Ada Wong and this is the only part of the single-player where the game forces you to play on your own, since Wong doesn’t have a partner. The other campaigns tell the stories from the perspective of United States agent, Leon S. Kennedy, founder of the BSAA, Chris Redfield and the illegitimate son of Albert Wesker, Jake Muller. All of these campaigns are interwoven and characters from one campaign meet characters from another and vice versa which means that you’ll play certain missions more than once. Interestingly, each of the different characters has a unique play style, but this usually manifests in the form of increased reload time or the possibility of carrying more ammo.
This is what you should know in terms of story and I’ll keep this brief, since this is probably why you’re playing this game in the first place: a company known as Neo-Umbrella is trying to replicate the Raccoon City zombie outbreak, but on a massive scale with a bio-terrorist attack that involves the newly developed C-Virus. The story’s fan service and while I thought I was going to celebrate the return of classic characters like Leon, Chris or Ada, this part of the game’s absurd and seldom makes any sense.
Gameplay-wise, Resident Evil 6 borrows from many different sources. For the first time in the series, you can run and shoot which completely betrays the series’ pedigree and makes the game feel like another bland third-person shooter. The problem is that there’s never clear indication of when you can cover behind obstacles and when you can’t, controls are finicky and there are several moments when your character will take cover and you didn’t mean to which is infuriating. In another aspect that the game feels derivative is that as you progress, you unlock skill points that let you purchase abilities. You can have up to three of these abilities equipped at the same time and while some of them are useful, I spent a couple of points, but I never felt like my choice mattered.
Like Resident Evil 5, this game was designed with coop in mind: you can aid your partner when they have no health, you can let them reach places that would be inaccessible otherwise and you pull levers and push buttons at the same time to open doors and activate contraptions. There’s nothing wrong with this approach, but it completely annihilates the survival horror aspect of previous games in the series. Also while the campaigns are lengthy (each of the 20 chapters around an hour each,) there’s some recycled content and missions that repeat over and over and it feels like the different campaigns feel long in an artificial manner: it takes a lot of ammunition to defeat most enemies, you play the same levels in different campaigns and there’s some backtracking.
On top of that, missions are extremely rote. They usually encourage you to defeat a few enemies, collect relics to activate some sort of device, fight a boss or participate in some explosive set pieces. And you do that again and again, first as Leon, then as Chris, then as Jake and then as Ada. Some missions shake things up a bit (for instance, Ada’s campaign has some puzzle-based levels,) but for the most part, missions feel repetitive and linear. And that’s without mentioning the ubiquitous quick time events that plague this game. Some games have proven that quick time events can be an engaging design decision that adds weight to certain moments or cutscenes (a clear example would be Asura’s Wrath,) but there’s a thing such as too many of them and that’s definitely the case here.
If you have somebody to play with, you’ll be interested to know that there are a bunch of multiplayer modes where you can compete and cooperate with other players. In some of them you assume the role of bosses, you can play the campaign cooperatively (both locally and online,) there are team-based deathmatch modes, there are wave-based modes and of course, mercenaries. I have to say that this is the least amount of time I’ve spend on this mode and while there’s nothing wrong with it, it doesn’t add anything particularly fresh.
It’s worth pointing out that I played the Xbox One version which features extra content in the form of graphical enhancements and all the downloadable content available up until the point of the game’s release. As you can tell by this review, Resident Evil 6 isn’t a good game, but if you’re going to play it anyway, you might as well check out the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions because they come with all the DLC and is the best-looking version.
Resident Evil 6 feels like a game made by a lot of people who were given different directions and the result is a mess of a game. Even when its serious issues, there are some enjoyable moments to be had: it’s hard to look away from the bombastic action, fan-favorite characters make a return and some of the campaigns are fun to play. But that doesn’t mitigate any of the game’s problems which include ubiquitous QTEs that add nothing to the experience, campaigns that are way too long, a third-person shooting action that feels derivative and a story that lacks focus. The departure from the survival horror genre has done nothing but ruin what made the series so special to begin with.