Resident Evil 6 First Look Preview -- The New Residents Meet the New EvilsBy Kevin Kelly - Posted Apr 10, 2012
One of the gems in Capcom’s crown is the ultra-popular Resident Evil series, and with Resident Evil 6, it is returning to the roots that helped propel it to the top of survival-horror popularity. That’s right, zombies are back. Finally. Not only that, but Capcom wants this to be the greatest Resident Evil game its ever produced, going “beyond the boundaries of everything you’ve ever expected.”
It’s also coming earlier than you would have expected. The original release date for the game was November 11 of this year, but now it will be coming more than a month early on October 2. Capcom pushed the team to move this date up, because apparently people are pretty eager to get this game in their hands. Capcom also wants to scare the crap out of you with it, promising “Your worst fears behind every corner,” and the developers have created special new creatures to bring those fears to life.
If you’ve ever played an RE title, then you know that there are multiple characters spread across multiple games, and this time some of them will be meeting for the first time. Resident Evil 6 promises three protagonists (each with their own partner), and three different storylines. They will all converge in China, which serves as the game’s main setting. You can start the game as any of the characters, and all of the stories will intertwine.
Leon S. Kennedy’s story starts in Tall Oaks at a college where the U.S. President is giving a speech hammering home the government’s zero tolerance position on bio-terrorism. The only problem is this prompts a bio-terrorist attack, and we end up with a zombie president. Leon is forced to shoot him at point blank range, which is tough since he’s both the President and Leon’s best friend. Leon is forced to team up with Secret Service agent Helena Harper, who has some information about the attack, which might come in handy, as both of them are framed for the President’s murder (framed, since the public doesn't know what actually happened during Leon's little zombie encounter).
Chris Redfield begins his story in China as a member of the Bio-terrorism Security Assessment Alliance, or B.S.A.A. However, six months earlier, something happened to Chris while he was fighting another bio-terrorist attack, and this has changed him. When the attack at Tall Oaks happens, Chris is simultaneously fighting a new attack in China with his partner Piers Nivans, the agency’s top sniper who was also with Chris during his harrowing adventures six months previously.
Jake Muller’s is the third story in the game, and it begins in the fictional Eastern European country of Edonia. The place is in a state of civil strife, and Muller is a mercenary who will do anything for money. His father abandoned his family when he was young, so Jake does anything he can to send money back to his mother. His partner is fan-favorite Sherry Birkin, who makes a return to the Resident Evil franchise. She tells him that he has the ability to save the world, which confuses him. However, as the audience (who has seen the trailer), we know that Jake is actually Wesker’s son, and the heir to a very special blood type.
So to recap, you have Chris and Leon meeting for the first time ever in a Resident Evil game, and you have Jake and Sherry teaming up, both of whom are the heirs to special legacies. Jake carries his father’s bloodline, and Sherry was infected with the G-virus back in Resident Evil 2. That’s a whole lot of convergence right there. But besides bringing a lot of the major players together, there’s also a whole new slew of baddies to deal with, courtesy of the brand-new C-virus.
The C-virus has brought zombies back to the game, but these aren’t your normal zombies. They can dash, leap, and even wield weapons against you, which adds a twist to your standard combat. You’ll also encounter the J’avo, a new enemy that can regenerate quickly, and has the ability to mutate injured body parts into different forms. Then there are the Chrysalides: strange husks from which different creatures burst forth from, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of evil.
As far as combat goes, the game is introducing an all-new combat scheme. You’ll be able to move and shoot, but you’ll also be able to roll onto your back to confront enemies from the ground. They want this to be a “stress-free” control scheme while putting you in the middle of the horror. With that in mind, you’ll also be able to combine green herbs into tablets, which you can eat at any time by pushing one button. You won’t have to dive into your inventory to recover health, although it is nicely designed to look like a cell phone, and sits tucked away on the lower right-hand of the screen counting your health, ammo, and so on.
But Capcom didn’t just talk to us about the game, they let us watch it as well. While we didn’t get to see the snowy mountains of China, which will be part of the game later, we were treated to Leon’s opening sequence, where he is forced to shoot the president to protect himself and Helena. She claims to have a lead on information in the Tall Oaks Cathedral, which becomes your next waypoint.
But before you can exit the building, you encounter a frantic man searching for his daughter. You agree to help him, despite his nagging cough and his references to “the fog” outside, which puts you into survival horror mode. As the pair explore dark corridors and listen to spooky sounds, the lights go out. With a penlight attached to his headset, Leon and Helena slowly patrol the area, eventually finding the daughter. Sadly, she and her father don’t last long. As humans, anyhow.
Eventually, Leon and Helena battle their way out through the building’s parking levels, which are chock full of zombies. We saw the ability to throw yourself onto your back, which can make your aim a bit steadier, and you can also wrench weapons away from zombies to use against them. Some zombies will take more than one headshot to down, or you can also bury a knife in their jaw up into their brain. Dealer’s choice.
Since each character has a partner, you can have friends join in the game via co-op drop in and drop out. They can play in the same room or online, and you can also adjust the user interface however you want, sliding it left or right. You’ll notice that the HUD will also change depending on who you’re playing, and you’ll use co-op moments to clear debris, boost each other up, and so on.
Capcom promises that “you’ll feel horror, tension, and emotional depth like never before in a game” with this title, and the team isn't saving the big action sequences for cutscenes. “The horror is always immediate.”
They’re returning Mercenaries to the game as well, and you’ll be able to play it from the beginning this time. Of course, they hope you’ll play through the individual stories first, but it’s nice to have the option.
The game looks impressive, and feels as scary as you would expect, complete with creepy atmospheric music and ambient light and shadows. We’re glad this title got moved up, because now we can pick it up in time to play it over Halloween this year. We hope to see even more of the game at E3, but right now RE6 looks like the survival horror title you’ve been waiting for.