Resident Evil 6 Review

By Alex Rubens - Posted Oct 01, 2012

After the great things that Resident Evil 4 and 5 did for the franchise, Resident Evil 6 feels like the biggest misstep that they could have made. It completely changes the core gameplay that made the series so great, and instead goes for something that resembles their idea of Uncharted or an over the top action experience. Unfortunately, this means that the rest of the game suffered, leaving a broken shell of a game.

The Pros
  • The gunplay and coop are still extremely solid.
  • Large returning cast of characters from the previous games, though there are a few notable exceptions missing.
  • Mercenaries mode is back and is still extremely fun.
The Cons
  • Poor camera and melee combat makes fighting multiple enemies difficult.
  • The plotting of the story doesn't belong in a RE game.
  • Agent Hunt and 4-player coop are cool ideas, but aren't fleshed out.
  • The menus are way too deep and confusing.

Resident Evil 6 Review:

After the success that Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5 had in revitalizing the franchise and making it accessible to more gamers around the world, Resident Evil 6 seems like a weird move. Instead of the tight, polished games that we got before, we’re stuck with a game that filled with some really good ideas, that just didn’t have time to be fully executed. That said, there’s still some good to be found in Resident Evil 6, but only die-hard fans will be willing to stick with the poor pacing, wonky camera, and ridiculous quicktime events long enough to see any of that.


T-Virus? C-VIRUS!

Resident Evil 6 features three main campaigns, and a fourth that unlocks once you’ve beaten all three. While that might seem a bit weird that they’d break it off into four different stories, but it actually works out for the best. Each campaign follows the story of classic Resident Evil characters (Leon S. Kennedy & Helena Harper, Chris Redfield & Piers Nivans, Jake Muller & Sherry Birkin, and Ada Wong) as they travel their way around the world trying to make sense of the C-Virus and stop the new evil corporation Neo-Umbrella from releasing it on the world. From there, things get pretty spoiler heavy, so that’s the extent of the story mentions in this review.

The four campaigns have varying length, with Leon’s being the longest and Ada’s the shortest, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll get the most out of Leon’s. In fact, Leon’s campaign felt a bit long, almost like they just didn’t know when to end the thing and kept pushing for as long as they could. The false endings made the whole thing seem like it was dragging on forever, and made it much more tiresome to keep going due to the oddly paced false endings. That seems like an issue that’s more prevalent in Leon’s campaign than others, so it isn’t such a huge deal in the grand scheme of Resident Evil 6.

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Just like in RE5, you play through the campaign with your coop buddy at your side, whether you’re playing alone or not, but they do some interesting things that make it feel different. There’s short sections of the game where you’ll be split up and trying to find each other, but after the third or fourth time, they start to feel forced. There’s other areas that are excruciatingly difficult on cooperative, both puzzle and action sequences.

Most of the puzzles are simple to solve and just rely on communication for timing between cooperative partners, but if you’re playing alone and your AI-controller coop partner learns a mechanic early in the game, this will often leave you completely clueless later in the game, as it doesn’t often teach both players. It seems like an oversight, as they assume that you’ll play through each campaign with the same person all the way through.

Resident Evil 6

Enough characters for a Resident Evil fighting game.

It’s cool to see an emphasis on classic characters this time around, with each taking a central role in a campaign, but it doesn’t pull together as well as it should have. There’s sections throughout the campaigns where the different campaigns merge for a brief fight, but this comes off feeling a bit weird. It’s usually just a small boss fight and then some yelling about how they can’t trust each other, which is a bummer considering all of the cool stuff that they could have done with it.

Resident Evil has never been known for its intuitive control set, but Resident Evil 6 actually manages to work in a modern control scheme that fits with what players are used to and doesn’t feel too out of place. The camera is a whole other issue though, as it makes combat against more than one enemy nearly impossible, especially up-close. There’s a section in the third chapter of Jake’s campaign that requires extensive melee combat, and while that’s Jake’s specialty (and some of his higher level powers are really cool), the camera makes it extremely difficult to execute moves properly.

Combos and even basic attacks don’t always work right, despite being a quick button combination. This only seems to be an issue with melee controls though, as the gunplay is still extremely solid, as it’s always been. Though it does seem like ammo is a bit more scarce this time around, despite it being left in pottery left in ancient caverns or in airplane luggage.

Resident Evil 6

You wanted more QTE events, right? No? Oh, uh...

Perhaps the biggest problem that I have with Resident Evil 6 is that it doesn’t really treat the previous Resident Evil games with respect in the way that it’s laid out. Sure, quicktime events are nothing new to the series, but when you’re encountering more QTEs than actual gameplay, that doesn’t feel like Resident Evil anymore. You’ll sit through a cutscene, encounter a quicktime event, shoot a few enemies for thirty seconds, then do another QTE that leads into a cutscene. That’s an extreme way of breaking down the gameplay, but there’s multiple points in the game where it felt more like Capcom trying to make Resident Evil into Uncharted than continuing to innovate on what they’ve been doing with the past few games in the series.

The quicktime events don’t work very well either, often resulting in a half-dozen unexplained deaths that leave the player extremely frustrated without a clue of what they are doing wrong. That doesn’t enhance the tension or sense of urgency either, it ruins it.

As a fan of the Resident Evil series, that’s frustrating. It’s like they took all these great things that they had going for them, and scrapped it in place of making it have the most action packed, explosive campaigns of the holiday season. That isn’t why people play Resident Evil.

Resident Evil 6

Innovative, but unfinished.

You can still see a bit of these innovative ideas in Agent Hunt and 4-player coop, but they don’t work as they should, or rather, barely at all. After you finish a campaign, you’ll unlock the ability to re-enter the campaign at certain areas and try to take down other people playing through the campaign for the first time, if they have Agent Hunt enabled. There’s also random four player cooperative sections located throughout the campaigns, where they meet and players can interact briefly.

Unfortunately, both of these cool ideas are pretty useless, as they’re only available in random areas of the campaign. For instance, one of the meetups is in the first third of Leon’s third chapter and near the end of Jake’s fourth chapter. It’s relying heavily on there being enough people playing through at the same time for them to actually sync up at the same time. The same goes for Agent Hunt, and while they’re both really innovative ideas, we couldn’t get it to work, despite being at the exact right point in both campaigns and being the only four people online. That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to get working, it’s just something that we weren’t able to experience under the best possible conditions, so it’ll be rare to have that happen naturally throughout the course of play.

Mercenaries is back, tasking players with defeating as many infected enemies as they can before time runs out. There’s time extensions that appear around the map, allowing you to keep going for as long as you can manage before you’re overtaken. It’s perhaps the most classic thing to be found in Resident Evil 6, and one that will certainly take up a large portion of players time, as it still plays exceptionally well.

Resident Evil 6

Missing it by a mile

As a whole package, Resident Evil 6 is fundamentally flawed. It has a poor camera, wonky melee combat, bad narrative pacing and follow through, unfinished and half-baked modes, and a weird back-and-forth between cutscenes, QTEs, and actual gameplay that leaves me feeling like I’m just along for the ride on a bad theme park attraction. The poor design and busted gameplay doesn’t fit with the experiences that made Resident Evil 4 and 5 so memorable and feels like one of the biggest missteps in the franchise. Worst of all, it’s difficult in a way that feels like the game is cheating you through broken mechanics somehow, and that isn’t fun for anyone.

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Editor's Note: Resident Evil 6 was reviewed using an Xbox 360 copy of the game; however, we also played the PS3 version, and found no differences. If further investigation reveals any differences between the 360 edition and the PS3 edition of the game, this review will be updated to reflect those differences.