Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Preview: Resident Evil 6 (360, PC, PS3)

Resident Evil 6 has all the makings of a zombie version of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. It seems like the entirety of the Resident Evil pantheon of characters will make some kind of appearance if they're not a playable character outright.

The game is lodged in what is for all intents and purposes the end of the world and it's doubtful whether the outcome will provide any hope to the rest of humanity but at least Resident Evil fans will be able to point at the game and say, "Oh man, I remember that guy!"

Aside from a section where only Ada Wong is playable, it would appear that each section of the game will feature a character duo -- drop-in/out co-op is included -- that rides a different string of the overall story, which bounces all over the globe in what is less survival horror than it is straight-up action.

Lip service is paid to conventions of the older Resident Evil titles with herb collection, etc. but after playing the demo there's little doubt that the emphasis is on action over "tanking" around empty hallways looking for pieces of an inconceivably-designed key with only four bullets in the chamber.

Granted, during the demo, ammo felt more scarce than one might expect from an action game, but I think it might have just been a way to encourage players to try out the melee attacks. In short bursts, at least. The stamina meter puts a damper on simply mashing the melee attack then running away, which also draws from the stamina meter. It's easy to over-exert yourself and suddenly become as weak as a kitten.

The drop-in/out co-op is certainly a great idea, but unless you're playing with a friend (or the computer-controlled AI) one could be screwed in short order if the co-op partner doesn't want to cooperate. Or actively sets out to screw you.

The short demo didn't offer any insight beyond a surface measure of how co-op will actually work in the final game. (At least, I hope so.) You'll open doors together, assist when a zombie has glommed on to your partner, etc. or split the attention of the larger enemies -- that actually felt pretty good during a battle with a gargantuan "infected" -- but it remains to be seen if it gets any more complicated than that.

Answers will be available soon. Resident Evil 6 is shipping next week.

Expected Release: October 2, 2012 (360, PS3); TBA (PC)

- Aaron Simmer