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Review: Resident Evil 6

The ensemble of old characters are joined by completely new characters and are weaved through four separate, but intertwining, stories.

The ensemble of old characters are joined by completely new characters and are weaved through four separate, but intertwining, stories.

In the latest iteration of Resident Evil, the game backtracks to its horror roots. While it has a darker tone to the story and a plethora of new characters, it sticks to the core game that made the franchise so successful.

The story takes place 10 years after the events of the previous game. The world is facing a massive outbreak of the C-Virus – a deadly disease that instantly turns any exposed human into a mindless zombie. The ensemble of old characters, including franchise favourites Chris and Leon, are joined by completely new characters and are weaved through four separate, but intertwining, stories.

While the campaigns cut across the same timeline, each character’s story feels and plays differently. For example, Chris’ story focuses on combat, while Leon’s campaign has more horror elements to it. Unfortunately, because the stories intertwine, sections of the game have to be replayed with different characters and this makes the game feel incredibly long. Also, the plot is relatively convoluted and only becomes clear once all the campaigns are finished; the game is mostly played muddling through a vague storyline.

Each of the campaigns sees the player partnered with another character. Chris and Piers, Leon and Helena, and Jake and Sherry are paired together and can be played in drop-in, drop-out split screen. If the player is unable to get online, the AI will control the other character. The AI is much smarter than the previous games’ and is no longer a hindrance to enjoying solo play.

The lighting is brilliant, environments are dark and moody, and enemies are varied.

The lighting is brilliant, environments are dark and moody, and enemies are varied.

Combat is similar to the previous games. Players get a basic handgun and gain new weapons as they go along. Ammo is always in short supply and this forces players to choose between firing, running away or just using the melee option, which only works for as long as the stamina bar is filled. It is often easier just to run away.

Some small tweaks to the gameplay have significantly improved the fluidity of combat. The player can now walk and aim at the same time, and can also dive back or sideways during combat. This is counteracted by an increase in Quick Time Events (QTE), however: miss a melee attack and players need to quickly twiddle their thumbsticks or press a button. These come frequently and completely distract from engaging with the story.

The online game modes are a mixed bag. ‘Mercenaries’ mode returns, other players in a small arena are hunted down. As with the previous games, the mode is well executed, but unfortunately offers nothing new in terms of gameplay. ‘Agent Hunt’ mode allows the player to play an enemy in a random online player’s game. Unfortunately, the combat and camera control of the baddie are very poor and incredibly frustrating.

Overall, there are noticeable improvements from the previous title. The lighting is brilliant, environments are dark and moody, and enemies are varied. Unfortunately, RE6 tries to be too big of a game – the storyline is convoluted, the action feels laboured, and the game can be very frustrating at times. While fans of the franchise will appreciate the game, it signifies a decline from heights of RE5 in terms of both gameplay and story.

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