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What’s (Not) Killing My Social Life This Week – Resident Evil 6

Greetings Evil Geeks.  Normally I like to start out articles with a nice, big, warm greeting, but damn it…I’m not in a very welcoming mood right now.  I’ve been really hungry for a great game to play lately; something that wall completely envelope every single waking moment of my a life, spending days at a time sequestered in the Evil Lair locked into a depraved orgy of gaming.  When I got my hands on a copy of Resident Evil 6, I was hoping I had found that game.  With 6 playable campaigns, how could I not spend dozens of hours playing the game to accomplish each and every ending possible?  Well, read on and I’ll tell you exactly how that didn’t happen.

This game showed so much promise...

This game showed so much promise…

With not one single bit of exaggeration, I can tell you that I have honestly been a gamer since I was a toddler.  As far back as I can remember, I’ve always owned a video game system and when arcades actually existed, that’s where you’d find me on a Saturday or Sunday.  Thanks to the Star Wars arcade game at our local Chuck E. Cheese, I was able to pilot an X-Wing at about 3 years old.  Starting with an Atari (which was the height of technology at the time), right up to the PS3 and the 360 currently stocking the Evil Lair’s entertainment center, there hasn’t been a time in my life when I haven’t been playing SOMETHING.  For nearly that entire span of a life spent gaming, the name Capcom has always been synonymous with high quality, cutting edge games.  Sure there were a few clunkers every now and then, but with titles like Street Fighter, Mega Man, Final Fight, Duck Tales, Captain Commando, and X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse, Capcom’s reputation as a maker of incredible games was nearly unassailable.  If you were tasked with chosing  a strong contender for the greatest series that Capcom has ever put out, Resident Evil would be a respectable choice amongst an abundant field of remarkable games.  Resident Evil 2 is easily one of my most favorite video games EVER.  That game consumed more hours of my early adolescence than any healthy man should admit.  I played it through with both characters, multiple times, got the “Good” endings, and found every secret that there was to be had in that iteration of the Raccoon City Incident.  RE2 was an outright masterpiece.  Resident Evil 6 pales in the shadow of quality cast by its older brother (brothers would be more accurate, as Resident Evil 3 was great too, but let’s be honest: that was the beginning of the decline in the quality of the series).

RE6 continues the style of run-and-gun game play that was created for Resident Evil 4.  I was never a fan of the switch to this new style because it completely transformed the games from ones where you had to think, strategize, and ration your ammo, to another nearly mindless shooter.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a great first person shooter (however I really don’t love that crappy Resident Evil FPS they put out back in the late 90’s), but the RE series was all about being smart and resourceful, not about being the person with the most bullets.  Further complicating the matter was the fact that the RE camera perspectives didn’t really lend themselves well to the shooter genre.  With varying camera angles and perspectives, the initial RE games looked more like a movie than a shooter.  When they switched to the new game play style, they imposed a locked over the shoulder view on you which is still really annoying, even 3 games into this new style. RE 6 sticks to that formula, forcing you to stare at the back of your character’s head for the entire game.   Everything else graphics-wise for the game is impeccable.  The world looks incredibly detailed and the zombies more lifelike than ever.

That zombie's not leaping at Leon, he's actually trying to jump into a much better game.

That zombie’s not leaping at Leon, he’s actually trying to jump into a much better game.

Although the world LOOKS deep and rich, it certainly doesn’t play that way.  One of my favorite things about the old games with the seemingly endless secrets nestled away in the various dark corners of Raccoon City.  If you encountered a locked door, you hoped that key was A.) Nearby and B.) Not nearly impossible to get.  If a key was necessary for the story, it was usually easy enough to find, but for the really good stuff, the locked rooms full of exotic firearms and plentiful sprouts of green herbs, you needed to search high and low.  There were also time based events occasionally.  Be someplace at a certain time and you might uncover a secret cut scene, or find out something you might not normally have found if you progressed through the story normally.  I miss the stuff like that; the openness that is notably absent from the all too linear RE6.  Overall the game felt very superficial to me, like there isn’t a whole lot beneath the surface.  I didn’t play through every character, so maybe I’m missing something, but there was just nothing special about what I encountered.

Let’s talk about those darn zombies next.  As an immense George Romero and Robert Kirkman fan, I know the rules of zombies and the very first rule is put a bullet in the brain of a zombie and it drops for good.  The zombies in RE6 didn’t appear to get that message, because I’d unload an entire clip into the brains of one and it would just keep coming at me.  Ammo was always a serious concern As always, a single blast from a shotgun would do the trick most of the time for your normal zombies, but for the bigger creatures you’d need to serve up an all-you-can-eat buckshot buffet.  I don’t want to be the whiny douche who says the games to hard because I love a good Challenge (Ninja Gaiden, you bloody, difficult bastard!), but I was getting sufficiently handled on the Normal setting by the horde.

The main shortcoming of RE6 is that it’s trying the make the Resident Evil series something it’s not: the Left 4 Dead series.  It borrows the dynamic from L4D of being able to play as a zombie, but unlike L4D, you can play as a zombie in someone’s campaign.  I do kind of like the idea that my relentless button mashing is causing another person to possibly chuck their controller across the room in a fit of rage, but this move just seems like a blatant rip-off to me.  L4D knows how to do an action shooter right; it’s fast paced and the premise is simple – get from Point A to Point B and kill as many undead bastards as you can along the way.  The movement controls in RE6 don’t really lend themselves to being “fast paced”.  The characters move a little sluggishly, and you’re also cursed/blessed with the presence of a partner too.  You constantly have to keep track of this person because there are some doors that you can only pass through if both of you are there, so I found myself several times in situations where I’m running through a phalanx of zombies (because of course I’m low on ammo) to get to a door, then having to wait for my lollygagging partner to catch up while the zombies are chewing chunks out of my ass and back. On the plus side, the partner shoots quite a few zombies and revives you when you die.n

RE is not working as an action game Capcom, it’s time to try something new.  You corporate types are big on reboot’s, as a fan of the series I”m officially giving you permission to execute a complete do-over.  There’s one condition though, you need to change some stuff around.  This half-assed action shooter thing you’re trying to pull off is the main thing that needs to go.  My suggestion for the new RE game is that it should be an RPG.  Zombies are all over the place these days, but there hasn’t been a block-buster zombie RPG ever made.  Think about how awesome a Resident Evil game that played like a Final Fantasy game would be?  It could be an action RPG with a vast world to explore, cut-away fight scenes (or as the Crypt Keeper would say “FRRRRIIIIGGGGHHHHTTT SCENES!!!! HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA!!!!), and characters you could level up. RE6 does have somewhat of an RPG element to it, with character abilities available for purchase, but like the action style, this too is half assed. This would be a prime opportunity for Capcom to get out on the cutting edge of gaming again by treading new ground.  A game like that, done well, would drive gamers crazy.

Oh boy, C-Mart's on another tear...

Oh boy, C-Mart’s on another tear…

Ok, I think I’ve done enough complaining for today, but I really love the old Resident Evil games and I hate seeing them in their current incarnation.  A new RPG game, could incorporate elements from the original games in the series and give us all the type of quality game that Capcom used to be known for (in their defense, I haven’t played the new Devil May Cry yet, but I heard it’s pretty badass).  Come on Capcon, get it together.  Or at least give us a reissue of X-Men Mutant Apocalypse, that’d be kick ass too.  It’s going to be a killer spring for gaming, with stuff like God of War: Ascension and Bioshock Infinite coming out, so I’ll definitely be back soon with an update on What’s Killing My Social Life This Week!

All images and characters depicted are copyright of their respective owners.

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About C-Mart

A true Marvel Zombie, die-hard George Romero fan, Star Wars addict, Whovian, and life-long gamer. I make with the Tweets @CMart0979

Posted on March 8, 2013, in Rants, Reviews, Video Games, What's Killing My Social Life This Week and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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