Go Away Resident Evil 6.
If you want try the game yourself.
One of my favorite series in gaming has to be Resident Evil. I mean, who doesn't love killing monsters, solving brain turning puzzles and being scared stiff every once in a while? I first entered the series with the second game on the original PlayStation and I've been hooked to it ever since. Even today the old school games are some of my favorite games of all time. But after the most recent game, Resident Evil 6, I'm just so sick of this series. Not because it's a bad game, not really, but because I can't wrap my head around why it exists in the form it does.
Part of the problem with the series nowadays seems to stem from the common complaint that the series has dropped the horror aspects that made it famous in favor of a more action oriented experience. But I honestly don't put much faith in that argument. Because the only RE game that actually scared me was the Gamecube remake of the first one. And I don't see why RE4's action approach couldn't work, I mean RE4 is regarded as not only the best game in the whole series, but also as one of the best games ever made (rightfully so in my opinion). But I can't really deny that, on the surface at least, this point does seem to have some merit. Just looking at it, its obvious that the series has gone from at least trying to be scary, to setting off explosions left and right like an exceptionally bad Michel Bay movie. There's no sense of tension, suspense or atmosphere. things just explode like this is the bloody fourth of July. I mean part of the reason that horror games work is because they make you feel alone and unsettled. And how on earth am I supposed to be scared, Resident Evil, if my partner and I have enough fire power for a small army and were making stuff blow up every five seconds?
Speaking of partners: I did not enjoy Resident Evil 5, mostly because of, you guessed it, the multi-player. First off, co-op just doesn't work in a horror game. And secondly if you must have it, then for Pete's sake, don't make your partner a bloody moron in single player mode. Sadly, the co-op aspect of part five was brought back, but at least the developers improved upon it with better partner AI. But like I said, co-op play just doesn't work for a horror game. And here it really feels like it was tacked on as an afterthought, with the exception of a few puzzles that require coordination, but even then you can just as easily do them with the computer. There was a feature added that lets you enter someone else's game as a monster. Which is kinda cool, I guess. But to be honest, by the time I found out about it, I just didn't care anymore. The sad part about this is that more recent horror games like have started to put co-op modes into their games to be like RE5 with pretty much the same results. But at least that game is a bit more focused story wise than RE6. Dead Space 3
And that leads us into the real big stickler for me, the story. To be fair: the over arching plot of this series was, to me, always sillier than watching Captain Underpants ride a Pogo Stick on Spongebob Squarepants' face. But in RE6 it reaches a new low. Why? Because it doesn't make any bloody sense. Not only that, but the series main villain, Albert Wesker, was killed off for good in the last game. So what's the point of going on? I mean I'm all for starting a new story if its done well...but here, it is NOT.
The game's plot structure is similar the film Rashomon, in the sense that its divided up into four overlapping scenarios that are depicting the same events (for the most part) just from different perspectives. Three of which star series mainstays Leon Kennedy, Chris Redfeild and Ada Wong and the fourth stars a new character that nobody cares about. But whereas the aforementioned film is a masterpiece of storytelling, the game is a Z-movie grade, convoluted mess that tests your patients for extreme stupidity. For example (spoiler alert): the whole reason that the "Zombie Apocalypse" thing happens this time around is, get ready for it, because one doofus wanted to stop another doofus from divulging information that would discredit the American government....uhhh...what?
So, let me see if I understand this; You bring human civilization to its knees with a zombie invasion just to shut one guy up? How does that make any sense? Do they not have hitmen that use guns where you're from? There's also a sub plot involving clones, bio-terrorism, revenge and world domination that tries to clarify why all this happening, but its so convoluted that I still can't make any sense out of it. And according to Resident Evil 4, 5 and Revelation, morons like these are doing this like every other week. Can someone please explain to me when the villains started taking their cues from comic books?
Do you still care about the Resident Evil series?
The last thing I should mention is the gameplay. Its one saving grace, thanks to the fact that it sticks to the same basic formula that was introduced in RE4, with over the shoulder camera, shooting and what have you. Thankfully that all still works, so I have no problem with it. And thankfully you can move and shoot at the same time now. But because of the way the story is set up, you quickly find yourself doing the same things over and over again regardless of which scenario your playing, and it quickly becomes repetitive and boring. The shops from RE4 and 5 are gone and in their place is a skill system where you can buy, upgrade and equip different skills with points you get from killing monsters. For what it is, its ok, but I never really bothered with it that much since I found out that I could beat the game just as easily with the same skills I bought at the start as I could with the ones I get at the end. So what's the damn point? And the inventory system-don't even get me started. Say what you will about RE4's attache cases, but at least they were simple to use. At least the designers had the courtesy to make it where you only have to worry about your own inventory this time around. Oh, and when your playing online, there's no way to pause the game.
I will give them credit for at least trying to add some variety to each scenario's gameplay. Leon's and Ada's scenario sticks closet to the formula established in RE4. While Chris' goes for a Gears of War type of approach that works about as well as a brick to the face. And the new guy's has a higher focus on hand to hand combat and running away from an incredibly lame looking Nemesis-like monster. It feels like they tried to stuff four different games into one. But it still can't hide the fact that, except for Leon and Ada's scenarios, RE6 just isn't that fun to play. Maybe if they had tried to make one good game and not four mediocre ones people might have been nicer to it.
More about the Resident Evil series.
Now look, I'm not trying to jump on the bandwagon and hate on this game. Because like I said, I don't think that Resident Evil 6 is a bad game, its just a mediocre one, no different that a thousand other action titles that have come out before or after it. But I have a hunch that, if the series keeps going like it is, then its only going to get worse. I read somewhere that the developers have recently stated that, for the next game, they are going to put the horror aspects back into the series. If they can pull that off, then more power too them. I desperately hope they will. We'll just have to wait and see. As for Resident Evil 6 itself: I say that if you're a fan of the series or just action games in general then go ahead and play it. Otherwise your're probably better off getting your interactive horror somewhere else.
© 2013 Will English.