Resident Evil 6 Demo Impressions
The Resident Evil franchise has gone under many major changes in the last decade. From the change from fixed-cameras perspective to third-person shooting and from a focus on atmosphere to a focus on gunning action, gamers have come to expect constant changes from title to title with this series (for better or worse). While some people welcomed the faster pace of the few recent games, old fans have demanded back the seriesâ survival-horror gameplay and intense atmosphere. Resident Evil 6 is just around the bend and an early demo was released just a few days ago. I was lucky to get my hands on it (thanks to @CurtMcD) and got to play each of the gameâs three different campaigns.
Yes, you read this correctly: three different campaigns. Or should I say three co-op campaigns since each have two playable characters. Each of them can be played either alone (with the AI controlling your partner) or in co-op (both locally or online). Better yet: each story has a distinct atmosphere, plays differently, and has different playable characters. The main characters in this game are Leon Kennedy (from Resident Evil 2 and 4), Chris Redfield (from Resident Evil 1, Code Veronica, and 5), and newcomer Jake Muller (who is the son of Albert Wesker, renowned villain from other titles in the franchise).
The first campaign stars Leon Kennedy who is on a mission to save the President of the United States. However, things turn out bad as a zombie outbreak spreads everywhere in town, eventually turning the president himself into a zombie. The gameplay of this campaign is the closest you will get to the old Resident Evil games: tense atmosphere with a focus on survival. You only have a pistol, carry a very low amount of ammo, the environment is poorly lit… you get the idea. Oh, and did I mention that zombies are back in this episode? Iâm not talking about zombies-mutants-so-quick-they-could-win-a-marathon. No, Iâm talking about old Resident Evil gamesâ zombies. It feels somewhat weird to have such slow enemies considering the gameplay is much faster than the previous games, but you still feel overwhelmed enough so that it does not feel too easy. All I can say is that Iâm very happy with what I saw in Leonâs story, even more so because it even made me jump at some points.
The second campaign stars Chris Redfield, who is on the run in China and demoralized because of a tragic accident that killed most of his soldier unit. Found by men from the BSAA, Chris is brought back to reason and must face a new evolved mutant type. This campaign is more or less the opposite of what Leonâs part was all about: action. If you did not like Resident Evil 5 since it had too many explosions and run-and-gun, you will be disappointed here because that is all this section is about. From the very beginning of his demo, Chris shoots numerous bad-guys and runs across rooftops (for which a special âmomentumâ gameplay mechanic was created). Just like Resident Evil 5, there are some sections that will require you to cover your teammate as he takes a separate route. While I am not a big fan of this whole âactionâ style in Resident Evil games, I must admit that I REALLY liked how the enemies evolve as you shoot them. Think Dead Space but even crazier. Yes, thatâs how cool it is.
The third story stars Jake Muller, the son of the villain of the Resident Evil franchise. Since Jake has more strength than your average human (due to his father), he is able to take on enemies in hand-to-hand combat as well as take more of a beating than the other playable characters in the game. In addition, the demo focuses a lot on the concept that the major element of his campaign is a Nemesis-like monster. Unlike the famous enemy from Resident Evil 3, this new monster has multiple metallic claws and spikes attached that can pierce humans to death. Even worse, the creature can capture people and put one of them in a steel cage attached to its back. This demo part is the shortest one but certainly the most intense due to this beast. From what I have played, I believe that this campaign is the odd addition to the game.
Aside from the different campaigns available, Resident Evil 6 is different for other reasons too. First and foremost, players can now walk and shoot at the same time. While I never thought this was such a big deal with previous titles in the series, this new addition does help to keep the action flowing nicely. Second, the friendly AI has been highly revamped for the better, making the single-player mode actually playable, unlike Resident Evil 5. The camera has also been changed so that it is not fixed behind your character anymore. That enables you to run towards the camera while looking at what is coming behind you (such as a horde of zombies). Also, the items menu has been streamlined, for the most part, while still keeping all the deep combination options the older games had for those who still want them. Furthermore, there is a lot of emphasis on the cutscenes in this game, which is quite different from the other games. In fact, Capcom announced that the full game would feature more than four hours of cutscenes and cinematics, pushing toward the Metal Gear Solid movie-like type of storytelling experience. Finally, the only thing I think needs solid improvement before the game is released is the running speed the characters have. It feels like the game is way too fast for the small environments you are put into, which causes many problems (running into walls constantly, having trouble seeing where the enemies are, etc.).
Overall, I donât really know if I like Resident Evil 6. I am a huge fan of the franchise and was really hoping that this title would go back to the old focus-on-scares gameplay that was brought back in the Lost in Nightmares DLC for Resident Evil 5 (which was great). Leonâs part certainly managed to do just that, but I am not so pleased with what I have played from Chrisâs campaign or even Jakeâs campaign, although I preferred the latter for the overwhelming factor the new creature brought to the game. If you are a big Resident Evil fan, you should still keep an eye out for this game when it hits stores on October 2nd. If you still need more to make up your mind, the demo you just read about will be available to PSN and Xbox LIVE users on September 5th.