A competent PC port can't save an ultimately soulless game.
By Adrian Forest 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.
- Impressive visuals, the series’ best so far
- Some neat puzzles
- Extensive single-player campaigns
- 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.