Resident Evil 6 reviewed (PC): A thin layer of nostalgia around a hollow core

Resident Evil 6

By on April 10, 2013 at 12:21 pm

As many of those who grew up in the era of the PlayStation do, I have distinct memories of the first Resident Evil, played at night, at a friend’s place, with the lights off. Moments like that are some of the best, and Resident Evil 6 desperately wants to emulate the series’ best moments — but ultimately what they’ve served up is brittle shell of nostalgia, with a core that is ultimately hollow.

From its opening levels, Resident Evil 6 evokes its predecessors explicitly. By the time Leon says, “It’s just like Raccoon City,” it’s crystal clear that the game is attempting to combine elements from many of the series’ games, across a substantial four separate campaigns. It’s got the action mechanics of the later games, a splash of the survival horror of the early games, and a fair few parts that seem to have been inspired by games outside the series along the way.

RE6 is, above all, the most Westernised game in the series, and that ought to make it the most palatable to action gamers’ tastes.

However, the problems start with the controls, which while a far cry from the deliberately tension-inducing awkwardness of the early games, are still somewhat clunky and less responsive than desirable. Characters turn and move sluggishly or inconsistently at times, shooting feels unreliable, and melee controls are either ineffective or devastatingly overpowered.

In fact, once you suplex a few zombies, it starts to seem like a waste of ammo to shoot them, even in the first campaign which is as close to the survival horror of Resident Evil 6’s forebears as the game ever gets. Things get worse in the second campaign focusing on Chris Redfield, which becomes a boring cover-shooter with hordes of enemies that shoot back, and where the sloppy combat mechanics fall apart. Then there’s the endless parade of cutscenes and QTEs throughout, as well as a few moments where you can be killed by a scripted event very easily if you don’t know it’s coming and get out of the way first.

There are definitely some setpieces that are impressive, and a puzzle section midway through the first campaign that’s a charming throwback, but like everything else in the game, it’s heartbreakingly linear. It doesn’t help that several sections are revisited in later campaigns, played from other characters’ perspectives. This is a great concept, but the execution makes it feel repetitive.

This is also a game that, even more than its immediate predecessor, Resident Evil 5, seems made for co-op. On the PC, you’re probably out of luck unless you can persuade friends to also get the PC version, and this is very much a console game. The same goes for the other multiplayer features. Like many of Capcom’s recent ports, it’s a competent one but still definitely a port, with minimal options. And you really do need a gamepad, though I have no problem with that, given the ubiquity of 360 controllers for PC gaming these days.

Resident Evil 6 is obviously a game with a big budget, but I can’t help feeling like it has no heart. It tries to be so many things, but there’s not one thing it tries that it really commits to. And it doesn’t really bring much new to the table either. The series’ best hope is probably still a reboot in the next console generation.

Good:

  • Impressive visuals, the series’ best so far
  • Some neat puzzles
  • Extensive single-player campaigns

Bad:

  • Soulless mish-mash of elements from other games
  • Excessive QTEs
  • Campaign is stretched out with several repeated sections

Resident Evil 6 is currently $40 on Steam. Product for this review supplied by Capcom.

14 comments (Leave your own)

These haven’t been proper resident evil’s since 4 onwards. Will checkout the upcoming Revelations HD port as it’s apparently meant to be more like the originals in terms of puzzles/pacing/whatever.

Still, nothing made me happier when I read the press release of Capcom openly admitting that they need to return to their proper survival horror roots and drop all this ‘DudeBro’ gears of duty over the top explosion fest garbage. One of the few times I will be right on board with a series reboot.

 

such a disappointment
i enjoyed 5 a lot but this was utter trash

i can’t believe they took the ability to upgrade weapons which has always been a feature of resident evil

 

I tried to play 4, didn’t like it. Brown world, with crappy over the shoulder view. Tried 5 got half way through it before it became boring, same crappy view point ingame. None of them grabbed my attention at all.

The originals were such stand out moments in my gaming history, they won’t be forgotten, but I hardly rate 4 onwards as even deserving the title Resident Evil. The recent Walking Dead game (the good story driven one one, not the newest crap one) felt more like the original Resident Evil games.

I think I would rather re-buy, and re-play, the original Resident Evil games from the PSN Store than continue on with how it has headed.

 

Impressive visuals?

Am I playing the same game you reviewed?

Blocky models and ugly textures, hidden by darkness.

I honestly think RE5 was a better looking game than this.

Having said that though, I did last night, just finish playing through Leon and Helena’s campaign and I did enjoy it, the coop aspect really helps, I doubt I’ll get the 60-70 hours out of it like I did with RE5 though, simply for the fact that they removed the upgradeable weapons, one thing I really loved about RE5 was being able to jump in a friends game with all the weapons you had found and upgraded over the course of playing.

Also, what makes you say it needs a gamepad? Playing with the keyboard without issue, as a matter of fact, I’d say the keyboard is better, having originally owned RE6 on PS3 and taken it back after I realised how much of a struggle it was to aim with the sticks, my accuracy is far better with a mouse.

stoibs,

This is something I was thinking of last night, if any game series is in need of a reboot (The new Tomb Raider was a classic, so reboots can work!) its definitely RE6, with every major release since RE4 they have slowly gone further and further from the core experience. While some of the changes are just an evolution of the times (like the 3rd person view etc.) other things just feel so out of place.

mearehear,

RE4 is a perfect example of what I mentioned above, it is simply the franchise evolving with the rest of the gaming world. RE4 is probably the last amazing RE title, that actually felt like a survival horror game, rather than a third person shooter.

I played the original RE games back when they were released and while I wish there were new survival horror games that were as awesome as RE was, I can’t help but wonder if its just a case of looking back through rose tinted glasses.

 

nukejockey,

Nope can’t agree with you there, RE4 was one of those “brown world” generation ugly games, that wasn’t an evolution in any way to the series. Confined viewpoints, with the over the shoulder view, tried to turn it into an action/shooter game.

 

mearehear,

It was still great to play through, while it wasn’t the same style as the previous titles, it had its own pros and cons, it is widely regarded to be the last great RE title by many.

 

I can’t help but wonder if its just a case of looking back through rose tinted glasses.

Maybe, maybe not. I hear that phrase being tossed around alot. All I know is that I’m currently re-playing for the umpteenth time Planescape again from GoG (The Torment Kickstarter campaign rekindled the interest yet again) and I insta bought Duke Nukem Megaton edition the moment it went up on steam. Some of us truly prefer gaming as it was back in the golden age of the 90′s.

You can be assured I would insta buy a “Classic Anthology pack” if Capcom ever decides to port over and bundle Resident Evil 0/1/remake/2/3/CodeVeronica X/Outrbreak Files onto steam. ;)

 

Pretty accurate review for the most part IMO. Though I disagree with a couple of the points:

melee controls are either ineffective or devastatingly overpowered.

The melee controls seem that way at first, but as you play more you come to realise that those ‘weak’ melee moves actually become the best tactic against certain enemie types where the strong combos and shooting will not work. Like the standard 3 hit combo is a sure way to knock down enemies armoured from head to toe, allowing for a stomp, the slide kicks are good against weaker enemies in mercenaries like dogs where 2 slides through a group of dogs will kill most of them. You can also push backwards and dodge while doing a slide to flip 180 and keep sliding while you shoot enemies in the back as you move past them. Very handy for some enemies with a weak back spot that are usually taken out best by a co-operative effort between 2 players.

The melee seems pretty simplistic at first, but you grow to learn the perks of every single one of the moves when it comes to mercenaries mode. Which makes you an extremely efficient killer for campaign.

Chris Redfield, which becomes a boring cover-shooter with hordes of enemies that shoot back, and where the sloppy combat mechanics fall apart

While being my least favorite of the campaigns soley due to the amount of QTEs, the cover shooting is not a necessity unless you are trying to snipe enemies from a distance. The cover actually provides a lot of means for closing in on the enemies with dives, slides and rolls and it is very possible to melee your way through the most of it just like the other campaigns. There are a lot more ranged enemies but they are not very accurate and leave clear gaps between shooting for you to close in on them and either melee or do sliding shots.

This is also a game that, even more than its immediate predecessor, Resident Evil 5, seems made for co-op.

This part isn’t really true at all. Although the game may be a tonne more fun with a co-op partner, it is not required at all. The AI partner is invulnerable and they have infinite ammo. Unlike RE5 where they would just stand there on professional difficulty and wait to be 1 hit killed by the strongest of enemies, the AI will actually act like a tank in most situations and take most enemies attention away from you. They deal less damage than a player but occupy the enemies nicely. Especially if you get used to the ‘voice commands’ where you can tell your AI partner to movie in, stay close or retreat. They also warp to you like L4D bots so you don’t get stuck waiting around for them.

And you really do need a gamepad, though I have no problem with that, given the ubiquity of 360 controllers for PC gaming these days.

They are both a double edged sword really. With the control pad you won’t have anywhere near the precision or response times for shooting heads or weak spots. While with the mouse/keyboard you won’t have as precise control over your character directional movement or as comfortable an access to QTEs, but the latter can be overcome with familiarity.

I also love the visuals too, especially they city in china looked gorgeous. There’s always some people who never happy with them though.

jonlee:
i can’t believe they took the ability to upgrade weapons which has always been a feature of resident evil

Somewhat agree with you there too. You can still upgrade the weapons through skillpoints to the same degree as you could in the previous games, but there just weren’t enough stages in the skillpoint system to get much use out of it. 3 little upgrades to gun power and that’s all your guns power maxed. Would have been much better with 5 stages for each skill, and one of each skill upgrade per weapon type. Along with a few more skill slots to create a character build out of.

 

mearehear,

I’m going to have to disagree with you. As a diehard fan who has played (and collected every file from) 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, 4 is one of my favourites of the series. Did you play it on PC? That was a failure, but I played it on PS2. The setting, enemies, weapons and characters were awesome. And 4 was the one that gave us the modern mercenaries mode which was days of fun.

I actually quite liked 5 too. I played it on PC and was blown away by the graphics. However IFBB Pro Chris Redfield felt a bit too powerful and the game had too many QTEs. I’m hoping I will be able to find something enjoyable about RE6 when I play it in a few days.

 

i played 4 on pc and freakin loved it , amazing game imo , 1&2 , and code veronica on dreamcast are up there with my fav games of all time , god i wish theyd bring that style back.

played 5 for about an hour ,was a mates copy and ive just never picked it up , prob should… havnt bothered with any other re title since then

 

“On the PC, you’re probably out of luck unless you can persuade friends to also get the PC version…”

I’m 95% sure there is split screen co-op on the PC version.

 

kaivaal,

Yes, there is split screen co-op. Every time you go to play the game it asks you if you want to play in split screen, enable online network, allow players to join as the zombies (Agent Hunt) ect.

 

jme,

Yeah I did play it on PC sadly, I did hear it was a bad port. Still have it and tried several times to enjoy it, but never succeeded sadly.

 

I just booted this up and realised it only uses Dx9 whereas 5 used Dx10. Boooo!!

It’s like Crysis 2 all over again, except only 10 % as bad.

 
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