This is not your old Resident Evil...
We're probably not going to win over many old school fans by saying this, but Resident Evil has changed since 4. We enjoyed 5 and along with Dead Space it has a soft spot in our hearts, so when we got our hands on Resident Evil 6 and saw how it had changed we knew right away that some fans would be outright mortified.
Their old Resident Evil is gone and it's been replaced with something marketed towards this current game climate. There's a place for the old school slow zombie puzzle based Resident Evil, but Capcom's direction for 6 isn't it.
Resident Evil 6 is a new monster and we're fine with that. Because really, if nothing changes, it stagnates and you have to take chances to try and keep abreast with other developers and in an industry like this it's hard to actually predict what will be a hit and what will bomb.
For us, Resident Evil 6 is a mammoth game packed with big action moments and great gameplay - it is the Resident Evil game for the modern age and that's ok.
Well, Resident Evil 6 is about Leon S. Kennedy, Chris Redfield and a new guy called Jake plus their respective partners and because we don't like to spoil things we can only tell you that: *REDACTED* *REDACTED*REDACTED*REDACTED* and *REDACTED* happens and it's pretty awesome.
The game takes a few leaves from Metal Gear in the sense that it provides a lot of interesting cut-scenes that fill in the deeper parts of the story, and the story for 6 is about as convoluted as it gets with multiple plot fragments crossing over into the other characters storylines and raising more questions.
This is a good thing by the way in case you were wondering.
Third person is the order of the day and the type of play changes based on the campaign that you're playing at the time. There are a choice of 3 main campaigns to pick from to begin with and a 4th unlockable campaign appears once all 3 main campaigns have been completed. You have Agent Hunt mode (we'll talk about that in the multiplayer) and Mercenaries (that can be solo, split screen or over Xbox Live) is back.
The campaigns are as follows, with a brief explanation of the kind of thing you can expect without spoiling anything.
Leon: A more traditional puzzle based Resident Evil experience, the puzzles are lighter than the old games but they are there. Leon's campaign is definitely the creepier of the others and whilst there's the action elements and core shooting, you'll be doing a lot more running/puzzling than the others.
Chris: the BSAA campaign sees a reliance on shooting more than the others, with Chris falling into a third person Modern Warfare kind of mould. It is a great campaign though and will delight someone that wants a Left4Dead Resident Evil kind of experience. Far more suited to the action fan than the hardcore Resident Evil fan though.
Jake: Jake's campaign is a pitch between Leon and Chris, with some really great moments - its also something we can't talk about in depth because it has some really big revelations and things in there that are crucial to the enjoyment of the game's story.
The core gameplay of 6 has quite a lot of shooting, with move and shoot added to make things a little more fluid and cover. Cover is quite useful in terms of Chris' campaign and you won't be using it much as Leon unless that's how you like to play. Don't get us wrong though, it's not like you're Sam Fisher in terms of move/shoot. You are still kind of ponderous and the action still gets tense when it's throwing waves of zombies and other monsters against you.
The inventory system has been completely revamped, for the better we feel. Adding herbs to each other and then storing them in a tablet case is a much needed addition. You are still limited in the number of items you can carry; you still need to make those kinds of choices. It's all wrapped in a nicer GUI though; one that will take a few fans some getting used to.
Weapons can be selected quickly, items can be used easily. The game tries to make things like this less of a complicated chore and more intuitive. With all the functions tied to just one button (Y on the controller) in terms of item use, and the D-pad is used to select weapons/grenades.
Movement controls have been revamped with characters able to attack easier in melee, perform combos with multiple hits and even team up with their co-op partner (AI or player) in combat. You can't go all Bruce Lee though, there is a combat gauge that tracks stamina and once you're out of that, you need to wait before you can punch some zombies.
You can also dodge now, slide, roll, throw yourself on your back and start shooting. It amps up the options available against some of the nastier bosses in the game too.
Health has been redone as well, it works on a health block system, as long as the block isn't fully depleted by damage, you can regenerate up to the top of the block. Lose the whole thing and you'll need to take a tablet to put the block back, or use a First Aid spray to heal up fully.
This took some getting used to, but it's not a walk in the park when you're playing on the harder difficulty levels like Professional.
You can issue orders/praise/thank your AI or player controlled team-mate and there's a lot of cooperation to be had in the game in general across the 3 campaigns.
Quick Time Events make a comeback; they are peppered through the game and usually mixed in with the big action moments. There are also QTE's should you get grappled by a zombie or other monster.
There are new kinds of monsters to deal with too - ones that force you to adapt your play-style to counter the threat.
The save system works on checkpoints (a pin symbol) and hard saves (the typewriter symbol). You get a rating from chapter to chapter and your performance can earn you lots of rewards.
Finally there is the skill point system, where you can pick up points from defeated monsters and use those to buy upgrades to your character through a simple skill system.
There are other gameplay elements but really, you need to find those out as you play because that's half the fun.
There are some amazing action sequences in Resident Evil 6 which we won't spoil, but at times it really felt like Joss Whedon was directing the scenes in 6...and that's a great compliment from us since we loved his take on the Avengers.
One of the best looking Resident Evil games to date; the graphics engine for 6 pulls out all the stops with highly detailed characters, environments, monsters and more. The game has a superb use of atmospheric lighting and delivers dramatic scenes without a frame skip or glitch. There are no texture issues and its smooth running throughout. Each character also has a differently designed GUI in terms of looks/feel.
The animations are excellent with the characters facial animations in cut-scenes looking great. The combat actions, melee actions and more are all suitably impressive and the animation engine delivers and then some. Every monster, character, vehicle are suitably animated and a lot of detail has been lavished on the character's personality in terms of movement and in-game presence.
With lots of explosive effects, physical reactions and characters feeling as though they belong in the environment and aren't just floating upon it, Resident Evil 6 has a lot going on in the physics department. The animations are tied into the physics engine and the zombies/monsters often require a few more shots to take them down, each seeming to have a weak point that can be exploited for massive damage. Zombies need to be shot a couple of times in the head to begin with and it is entirely possible to blow their neck away so the head just drops off.
Resident Evil 5 was criticised for Sheva's terrible partner AI (we never really had too many problems), 6 seems to have fixed that issue in single player and the game's partner AI is usually pretty damn useful in combat. They can also aid in rescuing you from zombie grapples, bosses, and more, they can even navigate sections of the environment when the game pulls a Gears of War and separates you from your coop partner.
Enemy AI is varied and employs some nasty tricks depending on the type. It isn't a case of just shoot the bad guy anymore, there are some that will use cover, charge you, ambush you and more...it'll keep you on your toes as you battle the mutations of the deadly virus.
Sound design in the game is great, with a lot of detail lavished on the oral portions of the game so that they add to the atmosphere.
The soundtrack to the game is excellent with some superb music throughout. There's a mix of off key (disturbing) sections and some big budget Hollywood movie style action pieces that get the blood pumping during the game's more dramatic scenes.
Resident Evil 6 is well written and the script doesn't sound too cheesy at all, perhaps that might fly in the face of the old: Take this Jill, it's a lockpick, vibe of the old RE games - we're fine with that though. There's a lot of story to tell and lots of threads to tie up, the writers did a good job we feel.
Welcome back to the old favourite Voice Actors of the series. It's great to hear the dulcet tones of Leon again, the growling voice of Chris alongside some new and old characters. The voice work for the game is superb and the second disk has full voice localisation for quite a few languages.
Split screen, system link, Xbox Live are all viable options when you want to play with a friend across the 3 main campaigns - each allowing 2 characters to experience the campaign together. Then there's the Crossover mechanic which allows 4 characters to team up in several of the game's sections where the stories cross.
Co-op is massive fun and whilst the partner AI is solid, having a friend at your back is even better.
Mercenaries can be played the same way...and...then there's...
Have you ever wanted to invade someone's game like Dark/Demon Souls...becoming a monster in their online cooperative/single experience. Now you can, you can leap into the body of one of the many bad guys and attempt to kill the player...if you die, you can respawn, if they die, well, they die like they would in the single player game.
It is a great new way to interact online with people you've never met and basically add a human element to their games. It also beats the heck out of constant adversarial matches - it takes a leaf from the aforementioned games and Left4Dead.
It works really well and is tons of fun.
When it comes to setting up a single player, you can choose the settings you want, if you want to be available to Agent Hunt mode or not. So it's not like you can just jump into every game and there are a lot of options in regards to setting up your own sessions.
Things change Leon, they always have...
So yeah, that's Resident Evil 6 in a nutshell. We're impressed and perhaps you might think we're a little shallow for liking the new elements and the big action feel. The game entertains us, it has a 4th unlockable campaign and a massive amount of content across the 3 other campaigns, with tons of unlockable skill perks for your characters to play with.
Resident Evil had to change, there's no way it could remain the same and compete with Dead Space in the same market ... but you might not feel that way, you might think it's the worst game ever made - you'll be missing out in that respect because regardless of the focus change in terms of action, the game is a solid and fun experience, it entertains and can get downright creepy.
There are moments in Leon's campaign when we outright jumped and moments where we thought we'd seen it all, until the scene outdid our expectations. We cannot say what that scene was for us, but it was amazing.
So we are going to stick to our guns in terms of the game and say: we like it a lot.