Resident Evil 6 Hands-on Preview from E3 2012 -- Down and Out with Chris RedfieldBy Jake Gaskill - Posted Jun 06, 2012
As you have no doubt guessed if you saw Capcom’s latest is pulling out all the stops with Resident Evil 6. Three unique storylines, three different gameplay styles, and easily the most spectacular set pieces in the series’ history. Until E3 2012, we had only been privy to eyes-on looks at the zombie-popping action, but the yearly industry gathering brought with it the opportunity to go hands on with the wild and craziest Resident Evil yet.
The first section I played we had actually seen a while back, in which Leon Kennedy has to execute the newly zombified president and then escort a lone survivor in the area around a campaign celebration-decorated banquet hall to find his lost daughter, This section is super slow, and meant to represent that more methodical and survival-horror feel of classic RE games, but there’s a difference between creating meaningful tension and stringing one mood note out of over the course of a 15 section that doesn’t release the built up tension until literally the final minute of the level.
The environments were the standout for this section, mostly because there wasn’t anything else to do besides look around at the dark wood balconies and banisters and ornate chandeliers kissed with moonlight swaying eerily overhead. Occasional lightning created the proper haunted house feel that early RE games did so well, and moving through a pitch black ransacked ballroom with nothing but a head-mounted flashlight definitely had me on the edge of my seat, at least for the first five minutes or so.
By the time I reached the final brief action sequence, which consisted of shooting a swarm of infected trying to overrun the elevator we found ourselves in, I was just so happy to finally be doing something that I sort of just blindly fired at every flailing zombie in front of me until I heard my gun click, signaling no more bullets, at which point I ran for the exit as fast as I could.
Jumping into the Chris Redfield campaign brought with it a polar opposite experience than the Leon section. Chris’ story kicks off in a dank Eastern European bar with the broad-jawed soldier stinking, belligerently drunk. Just as Chris is about to put a bottle up side a dude’s head, a man approaches Chris and informs him that his services are needed to help deal with a fresh outbreak. Turns out Chris is quite the catch, as the scene closes with the seemingly large crowd of bar goers revealing themselves to be fellow operatives.
When the next scene opens, Chris is on a rooftop with a few other soldiers. The buildings are topped with metal shanties and scaffolding and large sections are under construction, making for very poor visibility and tons of verticality. Before I know it, dudes wearing creepy painted masks are unloading on me from all directions. At first, I thought they were just crazed killers but after I shot one in the arm and saw it morph into a massive, pulsating claw, I realized these were no ordinary thugs.
After the first painfully paced Leon section, having the chance to run and gun was definitely welcomed, but I quickly found myself far more frustrated than pleased. For some reason, the closeness of the camera severely limits your peripheral vision, so you can really only see what’s right in front of you. This means a lot of turning the camera to target enemies, which meant that most of the time I was just seeing a blur of my surroundings and then a splash of blood and goop as I picked off the nearest target.
There was also very little ammo in this section, which seemed to contradict Chris’ more action-heavy gameplay style. So most of the encounters involved me pistol whipping dude's to death and then stomping on them to finish them off. Needless to say, it was an odd and messy hands-on session overall.
The presentation is certainly impressive, and the three parallel narrative structure has all sorts of cool gameplay and story possibilities. I'm just not sold on the execution at this point. Perhaps this will change as we see more over Resident Evil 6 over the coming months.