Maybe Tank-Controls Weren’t So Bad After All…
I must’ve been one of the few people I know who actually liked Resident Evil 5. Not that I heard a whole lot about it; I think the Resident Evil franchise, while not being “on the way out” just yet, is certainly in decline – after an untold number of entries in both games, movies, and books, a new sequel just doesn’t cause as much of a stir anymore as it used to. Not to mention that the entire New Release field is so overrun with zombie games anyway that even a venerable name like Resident Evil fails to cause much of a stir.
But the point is that most people seemed to not care much one way or another about RE5, if not outright dislike it. Except me. I had a good time with it, and expected an at least on par experience when I first fired up RE6. I must say, I was sorely disappointed. Right from the first moment of gameplay, I hated it.
Even though there’s an option as to which character’s (Leon, Chris, or Jake’s) campaign you’d like to play first, I really had no reason to not go in the order they appear on the selection screen. Had I done a bit of research first, and found some suggestions for an alternate order, I still might have stuck with the preset order. Stories told out of sequence don’t really bother me, in general.
Besides, the biggest problem I stumbled upon mere minutes after beginning the game wasn’t that the various narratives intersected each other and I was thrown right into the middle of the transpiring events from the word “Go”. But when I saw Leon doing his first spinning roundhouse kick to dislodge a zombie coming at him, I threw up my hands in astonished disgust. Accepting the whole idea of melee combat in the first place was a difficult pill to swallow, but the panache and martial arts flair with which Leon executes it made it nigh impossible to take seriously.
So those were my first impressions of Resident Evil 6. Luckily, I stuck with the game more than the 20 minute nightmare introductory period, and found a game that I was still able to enjoy quite a lot.
The other characters’ campaigns were an awful lot of fun, both in terms of story and gameplay (Chris and Jake’s played more like the traditional RE we all know). Even Leon’s, after that initial adjustment, was enjoyable, but nowhere near as much as the others. In fact, I liked the sections in which Leon’s story arc intersects with that of the other characters more fun when played from another character’s viewpoint. Seeing events as they transpire from other point of view generally worked pretty well, and mostly went off without any logic snafus.
There is one specific area that stood out to me more than any other, which I’d really like to commend the developers on. It’s neither the gameplay nor the survival horror aspect. Strangely, what impressed me most was the environmental artists’ attention to detail. Many of the in-game environments were insanely detailed, and did more than any other individual aspect of the game to immerse me in its universe. When the storylines converge in China, several characters are forced to take detours through an abandoned but visually busy marketplace. I was absolutely amazed at the attention paid to making the deserted stalls and litter-strewn streets feel unique and life-like. Once I’d seen this, I began to notice equal amounts of care put into the other in-game locations. When the plot details have started to fade from memory, the impression the environments made on me is turning into the most memorable aspect of Resident Evil 6.
I do wish, however, that the designers hadn’t gotten so reliant on including the indestructible arch enemies, which they seem to have been doing since Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. I hate this tactic anytime it’s used, no matter the game. But with four playable teams of characters, each with their own campaign, the devs have seized their opportunity to include four times as many of these immortal bullet sponges. True, it does add some moments where you frantically race for survival and are on the sheer edge of your seat, but it’s not a tactic I ultimately like to see this much of.