- Developer: Capcom
- Publisher: Capcom
- Release date: 29/10/2019
- Price: £29.99 / $29.99
- Review code provided by Capcom
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not exactly the most up to date and in the know with the Resident Evil lore. It was just one of those series that I had never played much of growing up and never really caught my eye as much as others when I was exploring gaming more in my teenage years. I did happen to given Resident Evil 7 a shot last year, though, and didn’t have much trouble at all diving in without being up on the lore. So how complex could it be that going back just one game would cause me any problems? A quick google of promotional stuff at the time of the original release gave me the impression that they were trying to reach a broader audience anyway, so it had to be at least somewhat accessible. That same google search also gave me a taste that Resident Evil 6 is a very divisive game, leaving me to wonder what exactly I was getting myself into.
Jack of All Trades, Master of None
One of the things that really stood out to me when I was starting up the game was that there were 4 different campaigns that each followed a different character. If I understand correctly, the final campaign of the four is one that initially was unlocked by beating the other three, but it was available from the beginning in this release. None of these campaigns are excessively long, each of them beatable in one rather lengthy sitting if you’re willing to really go at it. I get the impression that they are meant to all last you about the same amount of time, but some did take me longer than others. I feel like that was more from my personal game play pacing than by any fault of the game, though. Each is also rather distinct from one another in the way that it plays, even if they are using the same basic controls. The difference is mostly in how the stories feel, moving from a campaign that feels more like a military shooter to one that feels more like a chase movie. It’s also nice to see the way that the stories of the campaigns bump up against one another or cross over as you go through them.
Unfortunately, the game does seem confused because of all these differences. It’s trying to be four different games in one and as a result none of the four campaigns rise to the full potential that they could have had if they were given the main focus. The story itself isn’t anything groundbreaking to begin with anyway, acting more as a vehicle for cool moments and scenes to happen more than anything else. However, the biggest downfall of the story is that despite the diversity that it gave itself to attract a variety of players, the game is rather reliant on you at least knowing who many of the characters are. I personally didn’t have any attachment to them as a result of having only a passing and vague idea of the other games, so whenever there was a character who’s first look was treated as something special, all I could do was shrug. I know that it’s not usually normal to start a series 6 games in and it’s not unreasonable to expect the player to have a basic knowledge of the games before, so I don’t really count that against the game. It was likely a contributor to me not caring much about any of the characters, though.
Rooty Tooty Point and Shooty
By far the biggest barrier for getting into this game is the fact that it does not spend any time easing you into playing and figuring out the controls. There is a short section that serves as a prologue before you choose which campaign to go down which feels like it was meant to be a sort of tutorial section, but it just kind of throws you into the deep end and expects you to figure it out. I’d like to show you something.
That image right there is what pops up when you pause the game. It’s a mess, but it’s how I had to learn to play since the game didn’t even give me a prompt on how to swap weapons the first time I ran out of ammo. I don’t need the game to hold my hand and teach me that I point the gun at the enemy and shoot to kill them, but at least a little bit spent on teaching me things wouldn’t have hurt. It left me with the impression that the game cared more about having me do quick time events and run from explosions than have a competent feeling for the controls before going into the campaign.
While moving, shooting, and melee-ing actually felt pretty good once I got the feel for them and actually managed to teach myself the controls, anything to do with controlling the menus was a frustration. The game doesn’t actually pause at any time so while you’re clumsily trying to change to a new weapon, you could be shot repeatedly. This extends to the other menus too. I got nearly killed while adjusting the brightness because only once I was playing did I realize the game was just too dark.
I do like that if you get knocked down you can continue shooting from a prone state and roll around on the ground to avoid attacks until you’re in a good place to get up again. This is much less fun when you are out of ammo and knocked down repeatedly by that last enemy you’re just trying to melee so you can search for more ammo. The number of different melee animations is impressive as well, taking into context surroundings and acting accordingly. I did get excited when I tried to melee a guy standing on a ledge and instead of punching his leg, grabbed his ankle to pull him off. The flashiest thing isn’t always the best thing, though, and I would often prefer to have ammunition when I needed it instead of just a few enemies soaking up all the ammo I just got moments after I found it because they are far too much of a bullet sponge.
The Lack of Spook
The most disappointing thing about Resident Evil 6, despite game play problems and a somewhat standard story, is that it’s just… not scary. Which is disappointing for a famed horror series. There are different types of horror, sure, but it’s hard to be scared of an enemy when seconds after their limbs explode into a monster I can just punch and kick them to death. If I can get that close with no problem, they don’t feel like a threat and there’s not much of a scare left. There is one enemy that feels like a legitimate threat in this regard and that is interesting, but one scary monster in one campaign does not make the whole game scary. The monster designs are creative and interesting. The way that they occur and take form does give me the impression that they might have been going for something more in the vein of body horror than a traditional horror setup, but this is never really followed through on either.
The problem at the core of Resident Evil 6 is that it is a game of its time. From what research I have done, it looks like this is a place where the series really veered off course for a little while. Considering that the initial release was in 2012, I can see how this fell prey to the temptation of the time to make everything an online shooter just like everything now wants to be a “live service”. The game still really wants you to play it online with other people, but I chose to play alone so I was given AI companions. They were competent enough for the most part, but they really could fall short at certain times and I did feel like I was doing 90% of the work most of the time.
Where Are We Now
The fact of the matter is, that while I can see that there are some good elements in this game and I can understand why some would be very attached to it, I simply just did not have fun while I was playing. The little frustrations of the game play kept getting to me because no other part of the game was keeping me intensely invested enough. I frequently had to step away from the game for a breather to either take some time to do something else or play another game.
- Creative monster designs
- Variety in the various campaigns
- Has an internal achievement system
- Lack of tutorial
- Sometimes frustrating game play
Messy and confused, the small shining moments aren’t enough to make me want to play again. I’ve had enough.