Video Game Review: Resident Evil 6 (2012)

Nevin P. Jones | Collegio Writer

There came a point in the campaign of Chris Redfield when I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I was wandering through an abandoned building in China with a full Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (B.S.A.A.) squad while a giant invisible snake slowly devoured my teammates one by one. It was a tense situation that climaxed with a showdown in the back of a meat store. This whole set piece was excellent, and it was immediately followed by a frustrating fight against a helicopter. This is how “Resident Evil 6” always seems to play out: moments of sheer brilliance that have their legs cut out from under them in the next encounter. The sixth entry in Capcom’s long-running franchise is a love-hate relationship that manages to astound as often as it confounds.

The cast of "Resident Evil 6" (2012, Capcom).

The cast of “Resident Evil 6″ (2012, Capcom).

“Resident Evil 6” is the largest game in the franchise’s history. There are four campaigns consisting of five chapters each. The main protagonists are Leon Kennedy, Chris Redfield, Jake Muller and Ada Wong. You are accompanied by a partner in the first three campaigns, while Wong’s campaign is mostly played on your own. Each one tells a different story about the fight against the new bioweapon known as the C-Virus. Capcom cleverly weaves the story into a coherent plot that requires the player to undertake each campaign to understand the whole story. The realization of events in the larger timeline is rewarding, and it feels like the most comprehensible game in the franchise, even if it is cheesy at times.
The gameplay varies in each campaign. It is amazing to behold when each story hits its stride: Leon traversing zombie-packed subway tunnels to get to an abandoned church; Chris desperately searching through the confines of an abandoned aircraft carrier with a flashlight while fighting off undying Rasklapanje; Jake’s constant pursuit by a Nemesis-like monster known as the Ustanak; and Ada’s attempt to solve complicated puzzles in the belly of a submarine. These are all wonderful moments that highlight some of the best gameplay in “Resident Evil 6.”
Sadly, for each amazing moment there is another that spoils it waiting around the corner. Prolonged gunfights and inexplicable design choices plague some moments of the game that seem to drag on. These do not ruin the experience entirely but they definitely drag it down.
One of Umbrella's bio-weapons in "Resident Evil 6" (2012, Capcom).

One of Umbrella’s bio-weapons in “Resident Evil 6″ (2012, Capcom).

The scope of the game is huge. The settings are nice and varied, and the graphical prowess is prominent through the lighting effects. One moment in particular comes to mind: when playing through Leon’s campaign, there comes a time in the subway tunnels that I saw the silhouette of a zombie off in the distance. Slowly, more silhouettes appeared before the harsh light shining in my eyes. Soon, a horde of zombies rounded the corner, sprinting toward me with murderous intent. This was a good way to build a sense of atmosphere.
Some new additions worked well, although others did not. The ability to move and shoot at the same time is great, but it feels as though Capcom added in far too many shootouts. The weapon-upgrade system in previous games was replaced with a skill-point system. Killing enemies will sometimes drop skill-point containers that can be used to buy upgrades at the end of every chapter. However, some of the upgrades are useless. Why would I buy an upgrade that makes my last bullet ridiculously strong when I can increase my firepower? This new skill point kills the sense of accomplishment gained through fully upgrading a weapon in previous titles.
There are multiple choices for replay value once the game is finished. Mercenaries Mode is back. With improved maneuverability, this mode is better than ever. Spending countless hours trying to accomplish new high scores is a likely occurrence. A new mode called Agent Hunt is present after you beat a campaign. This mode allows for one or two players to enter your campaign as zombies try to kill you. It feels like “Left 4 Dead,” but it isn’t implemented as well because of a confusing control scheme for the zombies. Co-op campaign is still available so replaying your favorite chapter with a friend offers countless hours of fun.
The entirety of “Resident Evil 6” can be beaten in about 20 hours on normal difficulty. This game is not perfect, but the soaring heights are some of the best in franchise history and outweigh any stumbles in design. This is not so much a survival-horror game as it is an action-oriented experience with survival-horror elements. There is so much content and varied gameplay that it is hard to believe it lacks something for everyone. “Resident Evil 6” is a good game and a thrilling entry to the “Resident Evil” franchise.

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