Resident Evil 6 is not a survival horror game. For better or for worse, Capcom seems hesitant to go back to the Resident Evil of old, despite desperate pleas from fans. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean Resident Evil 6 is continuing the series’ well documented decline. In fact, I think it’s at least a step in the right direction compared to Resident Evil 5, even if it’s not the Resident Evil game we want to play.
Australians needn’t ponder anymore, as Resident Evil 6 has been in-stores since last Friday. It will be released to the rest of the world on Tuesday.
Here are five reasons why Resident Evil 6 is better than Resident Evil 5 as an action-horror, story-driven third person shooter.
Leon S. Kennedy
Leon S. Kennedy already promotes Resident Evil 6 to the more superior game. Women want to be with him. Men want to be him. Hell, even straight men want to be with him, he’s just so...badass.
Fictional bromances aside, Agent Kennedy is a far more compelling character compared to Chris Redfield, and genuinely has a following. Fans will play Resident Evil 6 for Leon S. Kennedy; nobody would do that solely on the basis of Chris, Ada or this Jake character.
Leon was the only campaign I really enjoyed when I first previewed RE6 at E3. Chris and Jake were serviceable, but didn’t sell me. Leon was the only reason I maintained faith in Capcom’s direction. In the quarter-hour I had with the silky-haired hero, I rekindled my passion for his rugged manliness and persistence to get the job done against the odds with nothing but what’s in his gun and some leaves to ease the pain. I was concerned with what was going to jump out around the next corner, but even more afraid to waste an unnecessary bullet.
The Three-For-One Campaign
Three campaigns that soon turns into four and seven playable characters didn’t signify a return of Resident Evil 4 when RE6 was first announced. I thought Capcom was lost and about to kill one of my beloved franchises. However, upon further inspection, it isn’t a bad idea. It’s an interesting mix of Resident Evil heritage and furthering the franchise as an action-orientated third person shooter with horror elements. It doesn’t come as a shock that action is the future of Resident Evil, and RE6 does an impressive job of trying to cater for its extended audience.
Leon’s campaign is more like Resident Evil 4. Chris plays a lot like RE5, and Jake is lost in the middle. If you really hated Resident Evil 5, skip Chris’s campaign, and I’d daresay you’ll enjoy RE6.
The three stories intersect through the course of the lengthy campaign, which boasts two-and-a-half times as much content as Resident Evil 5. Each can also be enjoyed on its own merits; you can play one from start to finish without looking at the others. One character doesn't need to progress to trigger an event for another.
Capcom Is Trying Something Different
In positive news, Capcom is trying something different. Four separate campaigns designed to be played co-operatively is a new direction for the tired franchise. I vaguely recall Resident Evil 4 being heralded for revitalising the series in 2005. That didn’t last.
We want Capcom to go back to what made the first three instalments legends of videogame culture. From a business perspective, such games just don’t sell anymore. If that can’t happen, the best we can hope for is Capcom to evolve within the realms of what is typically a safe game in a marketing sense.
While enemies with guns and Resident Evil don't bode well together, Resident Evil 6 looks to have one of the most diverse spectrums of enemies of any Resident Evil game. Enemies have arguably been the lifeblood of the series, from slow moving zombies to hosts infected with parasites that require precise headshots to dogs -- something scarier than the lot -- Resident Evil has always had a varied mix of things to shoot.
Slow, shambling zombies return to the foray in Resident Evil 6, and even make use of melee weapons and some basic cognitive functions. Meanwhile, the J’avo are reminiscent of the monstrosities of the previous two games. They can quickly regenerate and transform into a host of horrible things designed to kill you you in an excruciating pool of blood.
It’s Surprisingly Tense
Scary is not a word associated with Resident Evil 6. The horror genre has migrated to low-risk downloadable titles. I doubt we’ll see any AAA games designed to ruin your pants in the near future; the risk just doesn’t match the reward anymore. However, Resident Evil 6 might offer some tense, edge-of-your-seat moments.
Leon is low on supplies; you have to make every shot count. Chris is busy murdering non-stop, but he too must preserve his most precious resources. Running low on supplies during Chris’s campaign in Resident Evil 6 is far more concerning than it was in RE5. Jake’s campaign, meanwhile, looks to offer something totally different with an experimental take on Resident Evil conventions. The unknown always creates some tense situations.
Disclaimer: Resident Evil 6 has been out in Australia since last Thursday, and I do have a copy, but I haven’t played enough to pass serious judgement. The above is based on my preview earlier this year, and the two demos.
By Ben Salter