Resident Evil 6 Scares Us for All the Wrong Reasons in Our Review

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bill-swift - October 4, 2012

The trick for Resident Evil 6 --as it has been for the last several years-- is to stay relevant as a franchise with a fluid balance of contemporary graphics, intuitive control systems and innovative gameplay all while honoring the storied history of the survival horror genre that it spawned back in the mid-90s. With its setting somewhere in generic Africa (the only continent discussed in terms usually appropriate for a state or county) Resident Evil 6 could've been the one to trip up the series. Instead, RE5 was embraced by gamers who then began anxiously awaiting Resident Evil 6.

Where RE6 succeeds in value, organization and adherence to the spirit of the series it comes up short in execution, controls and camera work. If this is what the modern Resident Evil 6 experience is going to be like then we're better off separating this game's jumble of gameplay elements and simply playing other titles like Call of Duty, Ghost Recon, Dead Space or Dead Rising that seem more focused on their specialties than RE6.

It's pretty simple: the camera is too close to the character to have the game play as fast as it does. You can see every seam, stitch and button on your character's clothing the entire time you're running, jumping and fighting which is a specific design decision intended to impress graphics whores. This usually doesn't help gameplay because Gears of War is the only franchise I can think of that can pull of this kind of camera setup. Beyond getting hung up on corners and other objects in the environment, the camera is too "dumb" in the technical sense to allow you to deal with the enemies in the game. It feels like RE6 wants to give you that quick twitch experience where you have to react immediately and "outquick" an enemy that jumps from behind cover. However, the controls that would allow you to do that just aren't there. Turning, getting an enemy lined up for an attack and then timing the attack all seem to be at odds with each other. You might hear an enemy jump, crawl, slither or flip into view or even catch a glimpse of a limb in the corner of the screen. The problem is you may or may not be able to deal with this because you never know if it's your lack of skill or the controls themselves that leave your guy bumbling to respond. It seems petty to complain about the dark or muddy look to certain parts of the game because that confusion and mystery is very much a part of RE's DNA, but there has to be some way to balance this out with gameplay so that I can react and respond to enemies who are trying to make themselves seen as threats.

And really this core gameplay shortcoming taints everything else RE6 has going for it. The dog tag, upgrade, character/chapter and co-operative systems are solid enough but end up being undermined by the fact that you still have to use the wonky controls described above.

Get this game if: you are a diehard Resident Evil fan; are usually impressed by how good a game actually looks as a visual experience; you want to intimately battle some zombies after watching those tools on The Walking Dead do so many dumb things over two seasons; you're into creepy clown face enemies that carry machetes or you need a counterbalance to the latest Resident Evil theatrical release.

Don't get this game if: you like to fight enemies instead of the controller in your hand; you like to get things done in a game; you like to see enemies before you shoot, stomp or attack them; you had high expectations coming into it or you want those old school thrills and scares.

Star Rating (out of 4): 2 stars

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