-Aaron "Aeecee" Clark
The Resident Evil Series has had some issues over the past years with the difficult struggle of defining its genre. The series started out as typical adventure games with the added concept of fighting against enemies with different limited resources. The series then altered into standard action games with the typical view of unloading numerous bullets into everything that moves. Many fans are confused to where the series is headed will it return to the survival horror of its past or will it continue down the road of blistering action? The sixth installment of the series has arrived and hopes to recapture the horror once lost from its earlier iterations but does it succeed?
The sixth major iteration features four different characters each with their own individual story that connects into one large story that intertwines them together. You got Leon Kennedy caught in the middle of another viral outbreak only this time striking some intuitive university grounds. And then Chris Redfield working to fight off another instance of bioterrorism quickly spreading though another major city. And newcomer Jack Muller discovers that his blood could contain the key to putting an end to these bioterrorist attacks. The story is an immense Raccoon City reunion with many biological outbreaks arising across the world and the hunt for the people behind them. The overall story is pretty decent and is particularly designed to be somewhat appealing to many longtime fans of the older installments.
There are four playable main characters each with their very own campaign and slight gameplay differences that set them apart. Leon which efforts at an ephemeral minor return to the survival horror it had once shaped you will fight hoards of zombies where almost every bullet will count. But despite familiar concepts it still falls short of recreating survival horror gameplay is very linear and you will rarely run low on ammo. But despite some hindrances that comes stale of the survival horror experience Leon still comes out having the best campaign out of them altogether.
Then we have Chris which is pure action and has you fighting against enemies very similar to the ones found in the fourth and fifth installments. But the action is somewhat weak when compared to other action games enemies who carry firearms do not always drop any ammo when killed and you are unable to pickup their weapons. These problems with having ammo shortages and an equitably stale action setup makes Chris the weakest campaign of them all.
Then comes the new guy Jake whose has survival action style gameplay similar to what was also predominant with the fourth and fifth installments. Ammo shortage can also create problems here too but to help cope you get an assortment of martial arts abilities that can help out. Jake rounds out in the area of being slightly better than Chris but still faintly weaker then Leon.
Last but now least is Ada whose gameplay is similar to Jake but with some noticeable slight differences. Stealth becomes optional in certain situations but is encouraged none the less and there are brief areas where you are given puzzles to solve. Ada is for the most part pretty good but undergoes some of the exact same problems that Chris and Jake have with their campaigns. Although despite some issues the different playable characters with different gameplay style is an interesting concept for this particular franchise and works somewhat well.
Moving your character and aiming your weapon has been improved to more modern standards. Moving through the environment feels much more smoother and weapons aiming have better precision than before. And of course the much needed and obvious gameplay mechanic of being capable to move and shoot has finally been added which is an ordinary thing in this day and age.
The health system has also been slightly redone to match current systems. Your health meter is divided into six bars and will regenerate only to the nearest bar and you can recover health with revive pills and you mix multiple herbs to gain pills. While the health system for the most part has been marginally improved and for the better there are still some small issues with it herbs can many times be in short supply and are limited to seventeen pills at once.
The ability to use physical attacks has also been improved. In previous games you could perform physical attacks only when you stunned enemies in exact ways now you are free to use physical attacks provided you have energy in your stamina meter. While the ability to freely use physical attacks can sort of dimmer the survival horror experience it is very much still an accessible tool that comes in handy in many different situations.
The weapons upgrade system from the previous games has been replaced with an original skill system. Throughout each level you will find skill points they are sometimes dropped by enemies you defeat otherwise they are occasionally found through every level and can be used to acquire different skills. These many different skills include multiple things like increased firepower in weapons to stronger physical attacks to reducing damage received to infinite firearm ammunition and other different abilities you can choose from.
Besides the main campaign you get The Mercenaries returning from previous installments and the new mode Agent Hunt. The Mercenaries where you kill endless enemies within limited time is just as entertaining as its constantly been. And the new Agent Hunt mode allows you to control zombies and other monsters in another players campaign when they play online.
Although despite some minor survival horror style moments just like its predecessor mostly focuses on action. And even though the action is somewhat weak compared to its predecessors and other action games it is still worth playing by action fans. But for those who have been eager this game would bring back the survival horror it once started you made find yourself in distress.
Just like with the fifth installment you are joined by an ally who will accompany you through the entire game. And just like the last installment is controlled by computer or with another player either just locally or by online. When controlled by the computer it does an acceptable job but unlike the last game there is no need to supply them with any ammo or even keep them healthy.
Although the inventory system is just as annoying as its even been with the only improvement being that all your firearms are stored separately. And just like before when you drop items they are gone forever and items outside of the inventory cannot be even mixed or used. Also just like the fourth and fifth installments every slot is limited to only carrying an exact amount of ammo which is still annoying.
The level design is pretty linear which dampers the survival horror experience but is none the less good. There are minor moments where you will split off from you partner which when playing the campaign cooperatively can keep things interesting at times. And instances where you will search the area for keys to progress which does remove bits of linearly but that is not saying much.
Besides the typical zombies making an unnerving return you also have the new enemy called Javo although similar to the enemies from its predecessors also can rapidity mutate into many different creatures. There is also an ethical variety of monsters to deal with including an armored shelled behemoth an enormous spitting lizard an insect swarmed humanoid and not to mention of course an almost unstoppable chainsaw wielding manic. There are plenty of boss battles to face and for the most part they are good with the most memorable boss encounter being Ustanak an anamnesis to Nemesis faced throughout Jakes campaign.
The usage of vehicles another brand new element has also been inserted into different multiple scenarios. And while the mechanics of the vehicle sections are not the best you will defiantly fine they are pretty fun moments none the less. And there are also some very brief instances where you will swim and to be truthful the controls for swimming are just simply atrocious.
The biggest joke in the design and what could also possibly be the most annoying feature that you will find is the firm presence of quick time events. And there are everywhere to performing certain actions and operating multiple objects it is the most irritating mechanic established here. If there is any single game that abuses the gimmick of quick time events it is for sure this game.
The sixth installment uses the same graphics engine as its predecessor only with some minor enhancements. And while it is showing some slight signs of age it is still very much indeed an abundant looking game. The voice acting is well done with some voice actors reprising their receptive roles while some returning characters have new voice actors. And while the writing is somewhat pretty good there are still moments when the dialog sometimes just gets faintly weird. And just like with the previous two installments the music is good and will most likely have an official soundtrack sometime in the future.
The sixth Resident Evil just like with the fourth and fifth games is basically your typical action game with the tension of survival horror. The old identity of the series had been mostly removed which could leave old school fans with thoughts of disarray. While those who have an obligation for action you may want to check this game out because there defiantly is some nice action here. And despite some flaws the different styles of gameplay is still interesting and with some improvement hopefully will be something that the developers will continue to work with for future games in the series to come.
Final Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Aaron "Aeecee" Clark