Resident Evil 6 Renews the Concept Survival Horror Action!
The typical idea that most people would think about Resident Evil 6 is that it focuses on Leon (protagonist of 2 and 4). This is only partially true. While it is his story that is mostly featured in most of the trailers and the posters, Resident Evil 6 does a good job of balancing out the storylines of various characters such as Chris Redfield (protagonist of the first RE game), Sherry Birkin, and even the mysterious Ada Wong. RE6 brings players on a mind bending journey across the United States, Eastern Europe, and China -and of course, expect to deal with zombies and other BOWs along the way.
Resident Evil 6 features a grand total of 7 main characters and 4 main storylines. Each storyline has its own beginning and conclusive ending -basically, you have 4 whole games worth of content in a single RE6 installment. The cool part is the fact that each of the storylines intersect one another at various points. This allows you, the player, to see certain events from various perspectives. And while each of the stories is whole and complete, the true scenario and machinations behind the events can only be understood if you play through all 4 scenarios.
The seven lead characters are Leon and Helena, Chris and Pierce, Sherry and Jake, and lastly, Ada. Players have the option of choosing any scenario to start with, the only exception is the fourth scenario, which is Ada's campaign. Upon choosing a scenario, the players get to decide which of the pair will be player one, and which will serve as non-main player (to be played by AI or a human partner).
The fun parts are when the various players end up interacting with one another -like Sherry and Jake meeting Chris and Pierce in Eastern Europe. Depending on which side of the story you are playing, you will be performing different objectives in the same mission. In this instance, Chris and Pierce will have to concentrate on destroying certain mission targets while Sherry and Jake focus on protecting them by distracting the boss. What you will have to do depends on which scenario you are playing.
These interactions between the various characters are more than just interesting moments, they are important firsts for big fans of the series. Take Leon and Chris' very first meeting with each other -this game officially marks the first time that the two are involved in the same incident and actually interact with each other on screen. This is pretty impressive considering that more than 5 games have passed before they meet. If you are new to Resident Evil, this is not that big a deal, but for fans of the series (who are the main audience for RE6), it certainly is.
A New Old Face
One of the biggest blows that a game series can take is a change in management. Games are not developed by a single person, but by a studio. So when a person who is critical to the game leaves, further work on the game often leads to less than stellar results. Katamari Damacy, Megaman (Rockman), the Xeno-series, and several other games have experienced this, and the recent DmC: Devil May Cry is certainly getting a lot of negative attention. Resident Evil took a similar blow several years ago after creator and chief director/producer Shinji Mikami left Capcom a little before Resident Evil 5 hit the shelves.
Fortunately, Hiroyuki Kobayashi was there to fill in Mikami's shoes. And as much as we are avid fans of Mikami, we have to admit that Hiroyuki did a pretty swell job at making RE6 as memorable as its predecessors. The secret to this is simple: Hiroyuki was also part of the team that worked on Resident Evil 1, 2, Zero, and 4.
4 Different Kinds of Gameplay
The main game system and playstyle for Resident Evil 6 follows a single game engine -which is something that combines the controls of RE5 with the melee combat of RE4. So the basic controls for all 7 characters are the same. What is different however; is how each scenario forces you to play.
Leon and Helena's scenario provides the most RE-ish feel of all the 4 storylines. Slow moving zombies, plenty of suspense, and mostly, that feeling of survival horror. The fact that most of Leon's scenario also mirrors content from Resident Evil 1 through 5 makes it feel like an homage to the other games in the series; which is something we really appreciate. The university attack feels a lot like the mansion on RE1, the main city pays tribute to RE2 and Outbreak, the cathedral quest mirrors RE4, and the caverns of the Simmon's family pays tribute to RE5. Of course, when Leon and Helena finally get to China, the atmosphere becomes unique -making it the RE6 part of the game.
Chris and Pierce, being BSAA field operatives, are out fighting a war against mercenaries that use BOWs and other virus related technologies. Hence their game is a lot less about horror and more focused on survival. The Ja'vo they fight with are all heavily armed, forcing players to engage in fierce firefights. Sure, zombies are not supposed to shoot back at you (or even behave with sentience), but this is not your ordinary zombie game either.
Sherry and Jake's scenario feels experimental, but fun. There is a heavy mix of both types of enemies -slow zombies and armed, plus, plenty of chase scenes. Sure, Chris and Leon get to spend plenty of time on vehicles too. But they have got nothing on the chase sequences that Sherry and Jake will get into. Starting with running away from a tank and some helicopters using a racing motorcycle, riding a snowmobile down a mountain to escape an avalanche, their scenario feels fast paced, quirky, and always keen on keeping players on their toes.
More Multiplayer Fun
If you feel up to it, you can connect randomly to players online -and not just the traditional two-player cooperative play present in Resident Evil 5. Sure, you can have a coop partner via split screen or online, but you can also have random players connecting to your game as well. Take the part where Leon and Helena find Sherry and Jake in China -if you allow the game to connect you with other players, if you are playing Leon's route, it will seek out those who are playing Sherry and Jake at the same time. So instead of the computer AI controlling the other characters, other players will play alongside you in your campaign, even for this one stage (it turns into a four player cooperative mission). These sequences are brief, but nonetheless, very, very fun and satisfying to play along with other people.
Of course, nothing beats playing the game in split-screen cooperative mode. Playing locally allows you to communicate and coordinate with the other player in the most efficient and fun way possible. Best of all, you can give real high fives to each other for a job well done.
Looks Good, Plays Great
As a next generation game, the graphics are undoubtedly impressive. But the things we loved the most are the little details. Take Leon's context sensitive motions during the very first part of the game. He will lean on the doorframe, hold on the wall, or just stand casually while he talks to Helena depending on where you put him. Jake's unique melee combat moves change according to the position of his target and the direction you press the button. With Chris' large and heavy body, Pierce could get tossed around if he is not careful when Chris throws a punch. All these little tidbits; fun boss battles, tributes to older RE games (yes, you get to deal with cranks yet again), in-jokes that only fans would get, cleverly designed quicktime events, and more, help shape RE6 into the impressive action horror game that it is.
What We Think
Originally, we did not have much in terms of high hopes for Resident Evil 6, after all, RE5 was good, but it seemed as if the developers were reaching the ends of their respective ropes in terms of creativity -RE6 proves just the opposite of that. Fresh new scenarios for old characters, new characters that are equally as interesting as the original ones; after playing this game, we certainly cannot help but wait for the next Resident Evil game to come out (and this time, hopefully, focusing on Jill, Claire, Carlos, Rebecca, and maybe even Billy). With its new streamlined player controls, rich interwoven storyline, edge-of-your-seat, pulse pounding action sequences, creative boss fights, impressive voice acting, and for staying true to the story of Resident Evil, this 6th installment is a definite must-buy for all fans of the series and those who want a taste of true survival horror.