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Resident Evil 6 (Xbox 360) artwork

Resident Evil 6 (Xbox 360) review


"I guess the enemy design is pretty cool for being imaginative, but the enemies employed by Resident Evil 6 are so different from the series’ earlier installments that they may as well serve as the crux for an entirely different intellectual property all together. The zombies may have made a return, but they’re flanked by a motley band of foes that range from Arkham Asylum foot soldiers to Graveler from Pokemon Red/Blue. Mid-way through Chris’s campaign, the enemies will abruptly change from grasshopper people into Helghast commandos. For all of its ideas, I sure wish a few of them were unique to Resident Evil 6, let alone games developed by Capcom."



After a few hours into my experience with Resident Evil 6, there came an instance where I just wanted to tell Helena Harper to get to the point and stop wasting anymore of my time or Leon Scott Kennedy’s time. Leon wouldn’t say anything since it wasn’t programmed in the script for him to demand to know what was going on, so I figured I would plead at my TV in hope of compelling Helena to explain what the point was to hers and Leon’s fruitless quest. My plea fell on deaf ears, not much to my surprise. Instead of getting some sort of explanation of previous events – zombie outbreak, journey to gothic cathedral in search of clues, unplanned jailbreak – to help clarify what had been up until that point an interrupted and incoherent plotline, Helena nonchalantly offered that things would get revealed “at the right time.”

Resident Evil 6 never arrives at that “right time.” Neither for Leon’s storyline nor Chris Redfield’s nor newcomer Jake Muller’s.1 The plotline is directionless, getting lost in a mire of set pieces reminiscent of the events of Raccoon City combined with a poor man’s Call of Duty with a dash of Prince of Persia acrobatics. It is so disappointing considering the excellent pacing that Resident Evil 4 had with its buildup and the fluid approach that Resident Evil 5 took with its undead Africa operation. Resident Evil 6 feels like four mini-quests (when you consider Ada Wong’s solo campaign) cobbled together to form an identity-less mishmash of copycat action clichés.

I have hardly ever felt more disappointment in a video game sequel than I have with Resident Evil 6. This was supposed to be the game that finally brought Leon Kennedy and Chris Redfield together in the same game. And it does . . . for an awkward cutscene that pits these two pillars of Resident Evil lore against each other over the likes of Ada Wong. Rounding out the “A-team” cast are new inclusions to the series like the pointless Helena Harper and sacrificial Piers Nivans. Inexplicably, Sherry Birkin got the nod to be the one tasked with following Jake Muller around over the likes of Jill Valentine / Claire Redfield / Barry Burton / Rebecca Chambers / Sheva Alomar / Ashley Graham. Yes, I would have taken Ashley over Sherry.

It really wouldn’t have mattered, though, who was starring in the game since its storyline is so atrociously written and directed. Let’s take Leon’s plotline, for example. Who is Helena Harper? Why does Leon feel such a strong sense of duty to follow her unquestionably as she continuously reneges on her promise to explain what’s going on (isn’t it bad enough that he’s already been led on by another woman for nearly a whole series)? How did the zombie outbreak occur? How did the President of the United States turn into a zombie? Did it occur when Leon was in the same room with him? If so, why are Leon and Helena not zombies? Why is Helena standing in the same room next to Leon and President Zombie? Does any of it matter?

Oh sure, it is later revealed that Neo-Umbrella (I would have preferred a company called “Parasol”) is behind all of this with the blessing of Defense Secretary Derek C. Simmons. Scarcely has a primary antagonist felt like such an afterthought. To make up for the fact that he is not Albert Wesker, Simmons will transmogrify into a sinewy T-rex, several bosses from Final Fantasy, and, lastly, a mega crab spider. Meanwhile, Leon and Helena are always outfitted with their puny handguns as each cutscene foretells the upcoming battle of a lifetime.

I guess the enemy design is pretty cool for being imaginative, but the enemies employed by Resident Evil 6 are so different from the series’ earlier installments that they may as well serve as the crux for an entirely different intellectual property all together. The zombies may have made a return, but they’re flanked by a motley band of foes that range from Arkham Asylum foot soldiers to Graveler from Pokemon Red/Blue. Mid-way through Chris’s campaign, the enemies will abruptly change from grasshopper people into Helghast commandos. For all of its ideas, I sure wish a few of them were unique to Resident Evil 6, let alone games developed by Capcom.

In one particularly irritating sequence, Chris Redfield sacrifices nearly all of his BSAA squad in the cramped confines of zombie-ridden China pursuing an invisible snake that – darn it, wouldn’t ya know – has a penchant for snacking on his incapable squad members one juicy morsel at a time. The bastard finally gets fried thanks to being goaded into contacting a pool of water abuzz by some searing electrical cords. Instead of realizing that he sacrificed almost his entire team just to gain the satisfaction of killing an invisible snake, Chris hunkers down with Piers and goes off on a guilt trip vowing that Ada. Wong. Must. Pay. At the end of his storyline, he solemnly eats a steak dinner.

Another silly interaction occurs at the start of Jake Muller’s and Sherry Birkin’s campaign, with the former being a self-exiled C-virus junkie in Edonia of Eastern Europe, coolly offering Sherry his blood for the generous sum of $50 million in cash. “Your blood will cure the virus,” Sherry explains on a precipitous ledge overlooking a great, frozen chasm with bullets whizzing by in every which direction. I’d take my chances on filling a Dixie cup worth of Jake’s blood when he inevitably gets wounded from all the shrapnel flying around before going to the ATM.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Though I constantly found new ways to get disappointed by playing Resident Evil 6, I’m not oblivious to realizing that the game looks gorgeous and possesses sound mechanics. I will not, however, agree that its design compliments its progression. This is a linear game, and it’s starting to get a little tiresome knowing that Leon can’t go past a stack of crates or through an unmarked door. If Capcom insists on deviating from Resident Evil’s origination, why don’t they just do away with the narrow confines that make up each course and open up the world to be more like a sandbox game? After all, Resident Evil 6 has entirely abandoned any semblance of horror for over-the-top action that’s constantly delivering all pay-off without any buildup. That, and it’s inter-mingled with irrelevant quick-time events and several vehicle sequences that can most politely be described as outdated.

It’s one thing to prohibit world freedom by designing levels with busy, linear corridors as its centerpiece, but it’s downright annoying to see how neutered inventory management has become since it played such a pivotal role in prior Resident Evil titles. Part of the fun in prior games was the joy of collecting loads of cash to then customize on the in-game weapons however you wanted, essentially whenever you wanted. Not the case here. There are the requisite handguns, shotguns, sniper rifles, etc., but none of them can be upgraded and hardly any of them even need to be fired since tapping the R-trigger will now allow whoever you control to beat the crap out of any zombie within arm’s reach. Hand-to-hand combat may play a significant role should you decide to abandon ranged killing in favor of slapping fleshy blobs to death. Otherwise, prepare to squander point cylinders on worthless skills that can only be equipped three at a time. Extra zoom level to your sniper rifle? What benefit does that bring over an increased accuracy or reduction in recoil skill? Compare that to an upgraded sniper rifle that has been customized to reload faster, hold more rounds, and pack more punch and has been outfitted with a thermal scope like in Resident evil 4 & 5. Now that would be something.

I find omissions like that to be really annoying, partially because I don’t think I’m asking for anything unreasonable. By offering no shortage of explosions, whizzing bullets, moaning zombies, and blood-spattering gore, Capcom has made Resident Evil 6 decidedly pedestrian. It plays well enough on its own, but it’s stunted by its own lack of focus. If this is the future of the series, than I will declare right now that I hold no interested in seeing the series continue when the inevitable Resident Evil 7 makes release.

1Allegedly he’s the son of Albert Wesker. The same Albert Wesker who we last saw chest-deep in a volcano of molten lava shouting "CHRISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS" at the top of his lungs. Ugh.

Rating: 4/10

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Community review by Fiddlesticks (October 21, 2012)

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zippdementia posted October 23, 2012:

Eh, I don't know. This score doesn't reflect the level of pure enjoyment I'm having with the title. That isn't to say I disagree with your complaints about story. But I think I gave up on Resident Evil's story back in Code Veronica and never really cared since then. Maybe I cared a little bit after RE4, because there were sort've these hints that Capcom wanted to try and tie up some loose ends, but when they failed to do that in the next three games (that's RE5 and the couple games they made for the PSP, not to mention those two rail shooters for the Wii) I went back to not caring.

I don't know that I would be having as much fun with RE6 if not for the fact that I have a great partner to enjoy it with, but I can point to a lot of things in the controls and design that have finally solidified the title as a great action game. The survival horror roots have finally been left behind, but enough of the sentiment was brought back into the design that I actually find myself okay with it. Things like very limited ammo (on Veteran mode, we are running out of ammo at very crucial moments, which has raised the tension more times than one) and playing around with player visibility; forcing the player to move rather than stand in one place and "hold ground" and reintegrating some disturbing character design into the enemies.

I do completely agree with your appraisal of the new "skill" system. The one thing they really had gotten down to a fine art was the weapon upgrade system. I don't know if it was because they were afraid it would break the challenge or what, but I really miss the upgrade system for weapons. Replacing it with this bullshit where you pick a bare handful of skills to see you through the game is very boring. And it's clear, as you say, that some skills are good and others just suck. We use item drop increase, defense increase (maxed out), and firearm increase (maxed out). There's a couple other choices that could be substituted in, but not many that make so much sense.
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Fiddlesticks posted October 23, 2012:

I would hope we don't agree on the score if you like the game when clearly I don't.
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Roto13 posted October 23, 2012:

Kind of surprised that you didn't mention the controls, since that's the thing people seem to complain about the most.
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Fiddlesticks posted October 23, 2012:

I had no beef with the controls. That's why I didn't mention them.
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Roto13 posted October 23, 2012:

What about the lack of instructions or a tutorial? It never tells you about diving and rolling and rolling into cover and being able to quickly mix herbs and stuff like that.
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honestgamer posted October 23, 2012:

Rhody, it explains that stuff (the herb mixing in particular) in the introductory level, which is very much a tutorial stage.
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zippdementia posted October 23, 2012:

I'm with Rhody on this. Even with the tutorial, we discovered dodging pretty much by accident and some things, like the quick shot and quick mix, through gamefaqs. An instruction book would've been nice.
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Fiddlesticks posted October 23, 2012:

There's nothing wrong with discovering things on your own. I hate it when games spoon feed the player.
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Roto13 posted October 23, 2012:

Jason, you're talking about the regular herb mixing system. I'm talking about the fact that if you don't have any herbs equipped but there are some in your inventory, you can hold R2 and press square and it will automatically mix them and equip them.

There's a tutorial stage, but there are tons of things that you can do that it just doesn't teach you. Quick mixing, how cover works, what counter attacks are, etc..

There's a difference between letting you discover things and not teaching you how to play the game in the first place.
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Fiddlesticks posted October 23, 2012:

lol, you not knowing how to make herb tic tacs on the fly caused you not to know how to play the game? Because that's what you're arguing. Did you know that if you fire the guns, they kill zombies if you aim properly?
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Roto13 posted October 23, 2012:

Ok, first and foremost, lose the attitude. I mean it.

Secondly, I'm arguing that there are lots of things that you can do that the game doesn't even so much as hint at, and it doesn't include a manual for you to read to learn any of it either. I listed more than just the quick herb mixing. Which, by the way, saved me more than once, and only because I read about it in a user-created list of mystery commands.
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pickhut posted October 23, 2012:

I'm not picking sides in this supposed argument, but I can kinda understand why Fiddlesticks is being defensive. Though, he could've handled that last post a little better. He took all this time to write a coherent review about his experience with RE6, and the reactions he's reading about it is "your score doesn't agree with my enjoyment of RE6" and "how come you didn't hate the controls?". But, of course, if read deeper, Zipp did agree with aspects of his review, and Roto was simply wondering why there were a lack of explanation of certain mechanics. Just wanted to throw my 2 cents out there.

Edit: oh, btw, nice review. You sounded really disappointed with where RE6 went.
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Suskie posted October 23, 2012:

I haven't actually read the review but I just want to say that I had a Redbox copy of Resident Evil 6 for a week and literally only played the prologue in that time. That's how poor a first impression this game made on me.
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zippdementia posted October 24, 2012:

Yeah, good summary Pickhut. I should also say that I found the review to be pretty damn funny; I was thinking the exact same thing about T-Rex and Final Fantasy bosses while playing—we even called that out during the game.

I just wasn't expecting anything more or less than that. I mean, it's Resident Evil. It jumped the shark many many games ago and has been ridiculous ever since. Code Veronica was probably the last one that balanced the fine line between believably creepy and just plain silly. The next game, Resident Evil 0, was a scary game, but it was also the game with an Opera singer controlling leeches with the power of song. And it's gone downhill from there. Resident Evil 4 starred a midget Napolean as a boss and Resident Evil 5 was one Wesker scene away from a straight up parody.
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Fiddlesticks posted October 24, 2012:

Thanks pickhut. To your point, Zipp, Resident Evil has always been over the top (zombie outbreaks usually are). My discomfort with this particular game's plot is how it offers no build-up. All the context for why the main characters are in the situation that they are in can really only be gleaned through convoluted cut scenes or unlockable files. Other RE titles had better build-up and plot arcs. Here your actions are the result of Capcom wanting the game to be not survival horror but straight up action. But it's not fresh or exciting action. It's been done a hundred times before - and better - by Call of Duty, Prince of Persia, Uncharted, Gears of War, etc. Because the story is so in your face and takes itsel so seriously - but is so obviously out of ideas (neo-Umbrella, really?) - I grew tired of it's b-movie qualities very quickly.
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zippdementia posted October 24, 2012:

You are definitely right that the series has grown pretty tired in terms of originality. I won't argue with that, not one bit.
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Sise-Neg posted October 24, 2012:

Nemesis >>>>>>>> Ustanak.

That is all.

Edit: Okay, that's not all. Yeah for real, who would trust a company called Neo-Umbrella after Umbrella Inc's disaster in Raccoon City was made public? Who would invest in it? XD

Anyway, as far as enjoyment is concerned, I think I'd put this above RE5 for sure but not quite there with RE4. RE3 still reigns supreme in the series, imo.
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zippdementia posted October 24, 2012:

Hell yeah, RE:3!!!
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Sise-Neg posted October 25, 2012:

I've played RE3 so many times that I completely own it. I even completed a walkthrough on it getting an A rank, all Nemesis drops. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUj-KyRL4r0&feature=g-all-u

The least Capcom could do is implement the two surviving Nemesis T-Types that were created out of the four. Or at least get the team together that made RE3 and have them develop the next game. I read an interview on projectumbrella where the head developer of RE3 said he wanted to include a minigame where you control a zombified Brad Vickers and go around eating people but he couldn't due to budget constraints. How cool would that have been? Let's get some of that in the next game! Control a zombie! >:D
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Fiddlesticks posted October 25, 2012:

That's exactly what agent hunt lets you do. Anyone have any thoughts on that?
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Masters posted October 26, 2012:

This is an excellent review. Pretty much sums up my feelings on the game. After beating the Leon/Helena storyline, I thought, maybe the Chris/Piers mission will be more exciting. And it's not. So we get four weak minigames. I'd have preferred one good game instead. The crappy QTE and the considerable weight of the limited melee 'system' are beyond disappointing.

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