|System: PC*, PS3, Xbox 360|
|Release: March 22, 2013|
|Players: 1 (2+ Online)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes|
by Robert VerBruggen
Resident Evil 4 may have changed the world of video games, but unfortunately, other franchises made the best use of its ideas. Dead Space, Alan Wake, and even Gears of War were far more innovative than any Resident Evil game since. As a result, recent RE games have had to put up with a fair amount of criticism.
Oddly enough, last year’s Resident Evil 6 wasn’t an attempt to return to form. Instead, the game doubled down on pretty much everything people criticized about its predecessors. With this game, Capcom sent the world a message: Resident Evil is going to keep going in the direction it’s headed. Deal with it.
Critics were not pleased, handing out scores in the high 60s and low 70s to this AAA title. Some fans were downright livid. But now that RE6 has arrived on the PC, it's time to reconsider this hasty reaction. Is RE6 really a letdown?
Not quite. With four separate campaigns stretching twenty-plus hours in total, enjoyable zombie-killing gameplay, and pretty graphics, RE6 has much to recommend it. But the critics did have a point: RE6 is a middle finger to the series' diehard, old school fans, and it fails in some very basic ways.
I might as well start with the big question: Is Resident Evil 6 even survival horror? The obvious answer is no—if RE4 was an action-inspired take on survival horror, RE6 leaves the genre behind entirely.
You've probably already heard about all the features of RE6 that completely and utterly destroy the mechanics that created tension in previous entries. You can run and shoot at the same time, there's a dodge ability, puzzles are few and far between, your PDA will tell you exactly what route to take to your destination, and there's adequate ammo. Many of the cutscenes are absurdly action-packed, with a person or vehicle literally dangling over the edge every five seconds in between explosions. It's as if Michael Bay directed a zombie movie.
And even when the game changes this formula, it doesn't reach into the franchise's rich tradition to create moments of intense fear. Instead, it explores different action clichés, shoehorning in vehicle chases, a cover system, and even stealth.
It doesn't do this well, either, thanks mainly to the controls. Connecting with a melee attack is a crapshoot. Dodging isn't as fluid as it should be. The cover system is awkward. Menu navigation is hell, despite the fact that the game places little emphasis on inventory management—and despite the fact that the game doesn't pause. It's the worst of both worlds: clunky controls paired with shooting-gallery gameplay. Whereas clunky controls induce panic in older RE games, they just make an action game annoying.
And if you hated the multiplayer focus of Resident Evil 5 and Operation Raccoon City, this latest installment will do you no favors. Once again, the entire experience is oriented toward co-op, with the exception of the final campaign, which was designed for single players on consoles (but was soon patched to include optional co-op as well). To be fair, the mandatory A.I. partners are much more competent than they were in RE5, and the interesting new “Agent Hunt” mode lets you play as an enemy in someone else’s campaign. But the tension of being alone with zombies is still gone, replaced by bizarrely frequent situations in which a door, object, or simple puzzle is too heavy or complicated for one person but easily manageable for two.
Even some of the small annoyances are still around. Headshots are finicky; apparently the developers are not aware that a zombie's head is a weak spot, not a bullet sponge. You can vault over some objects but not others, seemingly at random. Checkpoint placement is frustrating, forcing you to sit through cutscenes every time you play certain fights. There are periodic difficulty spikes that will make you want to crack your keyboard in half. And the quick time events are back with a vengeance: You won't just "press X to not die"—no, you'll need to toggle between two buttons rapidly, mash a single button, or time a button press precisely in order to communicate to your character that you'd prefer not to be eaten. And you'll need to do that a lot.