Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: Out Now
The Resident Evil series has gripped horror fans since its debut in 1996, defining survival horror with the original Resident Evil before going on to define action horror with Resident Evil 4. The latest instalment is the most ambitious in size and scope to be released.
The story takes place across three continents with fan favourite Leon S. Kennedy dealing with a Raccoon City style zombie outbreak in Tall Oaks, USA, tough guy Chris Redfield tackling the bio-terrorist J’avo in China, while Sherry Berkin is tasked with extracting Wesker’s son, Jake Muller, from a war-torn Eastern European country. The different characters’ stories intersect with each other at various points, and it is only by completing them all that the game’s full plot emerges.
Resident Evil 6 is surprisingly large, with each of the game’s three main campaigns the length of a full individual game. Depending on the difficulty setting it can take between 15 and 40 hours to play through as Leon, Chris and Jake, without even including the fourth campaign which is unlocked once the others have been completed.
Beyond this are the game’s extra modes, the returning Mercenaries mode and the new option of Agent Hunt. Mercenaries isn’t as enjoyable as it was in previous games and is best played in co-op. Agent Hunt on the other hand is a lacklustre experience where you play as a zombie or J’avo and attempt to prevent another person from completing their campaign. The mode is very similar to the versus-modes in Dead Space 2 and the Left 4 Dead series, though nowhere near as polished.
Anyone who has played RE4 or RE5 will instantly notice that while the core gameplay mechanics have been retained, there have been some changes. The partner system has been retained though the AI has greatly improved. RE5 was so frustrating that it had to be played in co-op since the AI Sheva was a suicidal kleptomaniac. In RE6 your partners can actually be trusted to look after themselves and help you out.
It’s disappointing that the weapons customisation has been replaced by skill sets, though the skills system should be easier for new players to adapt to. The inventory and health systems have been streamlined and combat options have been expanded, with a greater emphasis on hand-to-hand. However, the focus on cinematic set pieces with awkward camera angles and an extensive use of quick time events unfortunately detracts from the game’s combat experience and interrupts the fluidity of the action.
RE6 certainly gives you plenty of bang for your buck and while being an enjoyable action adventure, it is sad to see few traces left of the series’ survival horror roots. Ultimately, Resident Evil 6 is a significant improvement on RE5 though it still pales in comparison to RE4.