Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Leon, Helena, Chris, Piers, Jake, Sherry and Ada

Resident Evil 6 (remaster, sort of)

Platform tested: PlayStation 4

I gave up on my first try of Resident Evil 6 on my Xbox 360. After the excellent, albeit rather lower budget, RE: Revelations, which returned to a more horror focused style, I just couldn't get excited about an action focused RE again. Being close to home of the wonderful Gears of War games on the 360, RE6 just felt like a cheap and inferior b-market third person shooter to me. Although some of this feeling retains four years later, my low expectations actually helped me get through the game this time around. I didn't leave early and played through the whole thing, even though it ran out of steam and became a repetitive affair towards it's last hours.

This version of RE6 is a rather PR downplayed remaster of the original 2012 release, it increases the resolution from whatever 600p or 720p it was to a full 1080p, increases the field of view for a wider shot of the action and the framerate is boosted up to a solid 60fps for both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. There's strangely no mention of it being an actual upgrade with words like "HD" or "remaster" in it's title. Kind of a re-release which, as an added bonus, upgrades just as much as many other high profile remaster titled games this generation. It's definitely the version to go for if you have a PS4 or Xbox One and never played the original release. PC gamers will find nothing new here.

RE6 tries the difficult task of continuing a bloated story arch spanning over many RE titles. At this point of time I think I have lost the confusing main plotline many years and titles ago. Though there are some familiar characters that return; Leon, Ada and Chris as the most prominent ones, as does Leon's little helper Sherry Birkin from Resident Evil 2. She's an adult now and the reunion with Leon is cool one for veteran RE fans, especially considering it dates back to 1998!

Leon and Ada's relationship however, is the never ending distanced love/hate story where Leon wants to talk with Ada ever since RE2 and Ada being super busy bitch and having to consistently leave in a hurry. It's so ridiculous at this point, it's becoming a farce. Capcom need to tone down the "too cool for school" attitude between the two of them, and for the love of all abandoned mansions, cut Leon's stupid 90's hair.

The story spans numerous locations through it's five campaigns(!), which again are revisited several times from other characters points of view. Each campaign, except Ada's, is played with two main characters. Either together with a friend locally or online, or together with an AI controlled character. These "couples" cross storylines and locations numerous times along the way, with some alterations of routes through them. It helps with the continuity to the many changes of locations throughout the confusing storyline, but it also feels like an extremely padded out lifespan. It's a game that easily could have been at least half it's length. Luckily each opening level is unique for each campaign.

The game doesn't successfully create or convey a relaxed dynamic between each duo of characters. Perhaps Sherry and Jakes' is the best one, but I would have liked more interesting conversations and funnier banter between them all. The way Leon never lets go of saying Helena for every damn sentence instead of just "hey you, help me out here" sounds so forced and unnatural. It feels like the script was translated directly over from overly formal Japanese. As far as RE dialogue goes it does fine and is miles better than the original PS1 game trilogy if you want to put things in perspective.

This being an action game and all, I really din't mind to have an extra AI character tag along with me. It helped keep a conversation going in the dialogue and someone to help me out quickly if I was hit to the grown with low health. The singleplayer campaign of Ada though, helps build another kind of atmosphere. Letting the player feel slightly more lonely and vulnerable, especially the submarine level at the beginning stands out as fairly unique compared to the rest. It should perhaps have been possible to play each campaign alone, but then again it would change most of the games dynamic. Make no mistake though, there's never ever a creepy moment. Resident without the Evil again, just like RE 4 and 5 in my opinion.

Although I'm ranting on here about it's negatives, RE6 isn't a bad game as such. It's a bad RE game and avarage shooter. If you're like me, who has that special place for the slower paced and original RE close to the heart, then RE6 will never deliver this. Accepting this before even attempting to play RE6 is important, same goes for RE4 and RE5 too. As an action game with nasty monsters and dark environments, especially if you can play it coop, it' works as brainless fun. There's always new enemies to fight and the game keeps it at a steady pace without long tedious sections without anything happening. Some areas are clearly more fun than others, but all in all it's a fine gameplay offering, albeit with a little clunky controls and unsatisfying hit detection if you're used to other higher quality third person shooters. Oh, and the cover mechanic is some of the most shit I've seen in a long time.

RE6 loses it's focus on delivering quality when it goes overboard on aiming at quantity. I know it sounds strange to complain about too much lifespan or content, but RE6 with it's five campaigns and fucking seven main characters(!) is just going overboard. Repetition kicks in rapidly after a couple of campaigns. I'd rather seen they narrowed it down to two, with less main characters, a far stronger story and more consistency around level design. Areas you traverse feel like barren backdrops and empty rooms, offering at most a few item crates to smash. The constant movement from A to B also render most levels a simple eyecandy tour with little, to no familiarisation with your surroundings ever taking place.

I began my new playthrough of RE6 thinking I'd hate it again, but lowering my expectations beforehand made me like it better this time around. I went in expecting a new Capcom action b-game and left the hope of anything Evil in Residents behind at the door, and you know what? It worked.

The crossing storylines, the run and gun gameplay and the fairly original locations brings RE6 together as a fine bargain bin shooter for a low price. While it's length will most likely test your patience, at least playing through two of the campaigns should be sufficient for you to have a lot of entertainment for a low asking price. A very average shooting game in a series with a budget one would expect far more of.



    + Plus points

    • Within it's limits RE6 works as a fun action package.
    • Good environment variation, although without much thought as to why you're there.
    • A very large coop game for those wanting something to play with a friend.

    - Minus points

    • So many campaigns and characters feels like quantity won over quality.
    • Shooting and especially cover mechanics feel like a budget game.
    • Main story is all over the place and feels ridiculous far more often than good.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment