Resident Evil 6

Resident Evil 6 Review for PC

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Leon and Chris team up to fight off infected after the virus spreads across the world.

Review Verdict Read Review
6Out of 10
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Resident Evil 6 screenshot
Resident Evil 6 screenshot

Like the various strains of the mutagenic C-Virus, Resident Evil is a series that likes to instigate change. But it's also a franchise that all too often finds itself caught within its own history, and between the landmark horror of the original and the tense action revival of Resident Evil 4, with all the other successes and failures scattered between, Resident Evil 6 emerges with the bold intention of encapsulating absolutely everything about the series.

Seriously, everything. There's even a couple of nods to the Paul W.S. Anderson movies kneaded into the game's quadrisected campaign, which takes four thematically opposed campaigns (three of them supporting co-op) and weaves them into a brave, muddled and ultimately schizophrenic experience that reaches for the S.T.A.R.S. but falls a good distance short of its own admirable ambition.

Resident Evil 6 is: Chris Redfield and his BSAA partner Piers Nivans jumping out of an exploding building; Leon S. Kennedy running into the screen as the motorway behind him erupts in a fireball of cars; and Jake Muller outrunning an avalanche on a snowmobile. While you can't please everyone, Capcom has tried anyway, often by adding in another explosion.

Each campaign weighs in at about seven hours long, so you can start to see why contemplating Resident Evil 6 is such a gargantuan proposition. Yet this juxtaposition of four campaigns causes problems, as the scope of the project can't match the realities of time, funding and development.

The beautifully floppy-haired Leon S. Kennedy, who has always been easily the series' best character, gets to square off against zombies that hunt in packs with sweeping grabs, fake-out rushes and occasional terrifying leaps. His campaign is easily the best, the balance of ammunition, weapons and supplies just right, and you feel Resident Evil 6 was made for him and then retrofitted to accommodate the others.

Then there's the action-charged Chris Redfield, who uses his tree trunk neck and balloon biceps to hunt down scores of gun-wielding, insect-mutating J'avo. His campaign is plagued by one of the wonkiest cover mechanics I've ever seen, and the scant supplies of ammunition mean you're rarely prepared to let loose with the gunfire in the way the game seems to ask you to.

Resident Evil 6 screenshot

Jake, on the other hand, is the unknown quantity that never manages to make the impression he should. He's the son of Wesker and, therefore, comes packed with some kind of mumbo jumbo that makes him more powerful than the others, which in reality means he comes with a variety of melee attacks - all four characters often depend on their fists more than their guns, but ammunition is scarcest in Jake's campaign. Jake spends most of his time being chased by Ustanak, a monster inspired by Resident Evil 3's Nemesis, and I never quite found my footing with him. He might have super powers, but he's definitely the weakest part of the game.

Finally there's Ada, the enigmatic femme fatale who seems to be rapidly transitioning into the series' pantomime villain role now that Wesker has been done away with. Most of the game's secrets revolve around her so I won't go into too much detail here, but Leon is still madly in love with her and she comes with a crossbow which can pin enemies to walls. Which is great.

As a game Resident Evil 6 is more buffet than table d'hôte, and despite the thematic differences between each character the opening trinity of campaigns all aim for a blend of tense combat and bolshie set-pieces rather than any significant focus on puzzles or exploration, though Ada's campaign (which unlocks after Leon, Chris and Jake's levels have been completed) adds a welcome touch of the latter. That's just one of the many ways Resident Evil 6 is tricky to contemplate, and this broad game, which often disappoints when scrutinised close-up, ends up with an engaging macrocosm of elements.

Resident Evil 6 doesn't make a good first impression, though, plunging players through a baffling prelude set during the game's conclusion that, comically, bears little resemblance to the actual event when players are made to go through it later in the game. The whole sequence is clearly designed to recall the opening of Resident Evil 2, but where that started with a terse and daring escape this begins with Leon's bottom flying into a car windscreen. But perseverance is rewarded, and this is a game which really does start to take its shape when played on your own, late at night and with the lights off.

'... much like my bedroom in the autumn, Resident Evil 6 takes longer than I'd like to heat up.'

But much like my bedroom in the autumn, Resident Evil 6 takes longer than I'd like to heat up. It's a game where you're required to put in a lot before you get anything out, and the fact I found myself warming to it pretty much flies in the face of almost everything I believe about video games - that you shouldn't have to invest large chunks of time to see results, and that entertaining games shouldn't feel like work.

So, yes, while I'm loathe to say it I feel that I must: dig into Resident Evil 6 and you'll occasionally stumble upon the same spirit that made the previous games so beloved and iconic, from skulking around the inky darkness of a sewer occasionally punctuated with thin wisps of light to fighting a mutant snake in a tumbledown housing block. It is a game which certainly has its moments, though the game's best flavours feel too diluted; like a pipette's worth of Vimto squeezed into a gallon of water.

Much of Resident Evil 6 seems to be consciously designed to make you recall the series' previous highlights, which has the unwelcome side effect of making you focus on other, better games. It's also a big shame that whenever the game branches out and attempts to create something new it usually falls flat. Let's just say I can't imagine Chris and Leon sidekicks Piers Nivans or Helena Harper getting their own spin-off anytime soon, and let's not forget this is the series where even Rebecca Chambers once managed to blag an entire game. Maybe it's because the game has you bouncing around so many locations and interacting with so many characters that it all becomes so forgettable, but this game definitely has an image problem.

I can still remember that the underwhelming Resident Evil 5 was set in Kijuju, for instance, but I've already forgotten the fictional European city where Jake and Chris find themselves.

You'll have to excuse me from coming back to it time and time again, but the fact that Resident Evil 6 is too big and too unfocused becomes its undoing. This is a global adventure but it's completely scattershot, flinging players around disconnected environments for the sake of a hokey (though occasionally endearing) plot that makes virtually no effort to explain itself. There's simply no clarity of direction here, which contributes to a game which contains all of the right notes but is clueless about the tune.

Resident Evil 6 screenshot

While it seems peculiar to criticise the game's generous length, there's just too much to Resident Evil 6 and such sprawl detracts from its highlights. In a game which easily clocks the 20 hour mark I don't want to spend any of it backtracking or repeating sequences, which the game asks all too often and, confusingly, never for its campaign highlights. Some of the design decisions evoke their own kind of horror, too: remember the horrible sequence in Resident Evil 5 where you had to snipe enemies from a revolving elevator? That's back!

By the time Resident Evil 6 starts bolting in things like the multiplayer Agent Hunt mode you start to worry someone at Capcom has snapped and that we're not far off unlocking a zombie-themed Bejeweled clone or a Leon vs. Chris fighting game. It certainly doesn't help that Agent Hunt isn't good - it's ostensibly just Dark Souls' invasion mechanic retooled with foggy intentions and an unclear purpose. The mode also falls flat as a multiplayer game: I played it twice and, believe me, that was more than enough. And the soon-to-be-launched social site ResidentEvil.net seems to be seriously suggesting the game also functions as a Score Attack game. Thankfully Mercenaries is as reliable an extra as it's always been, but while many publishers believe that a straight single-player campaign isn't enough to sell a game in 2012, Resident Evil 6's ADHD-tinged response to modern game development does it more harm than good.

Resident Evil 6 is not one but four games, and Capcom has done a beautiful and stupid thing in its attempt to recreate a rich, diverse and storied series into one single title. There are some great pearls to be found on Capcom's seabed, but lofty ambitions are this game's downfall and an inability to focus on any one of Resident Evil 6's disparate elements proves more than ever that this series needs to find itself.

Version Tested: Xbox 360

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User Comments

squidman's Avatar

squidman@ guyderman

Come back when you're done and let us know what you think. I've heard a fair few opinions about it myself, it just didn't really do it for me.
Posted 21:18 on 10 October 2012
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman

This game certainly seems to be splitting the reviewers looking around the Web. A couple of 9/10's while a lot sit at 7-8/10 and even a 4/10.

I've got it on the way from Lovefilm so I've decided to not read any reviews and see how I find it myself.

Resi 5 was very much a Marmite game - and one that I actually really enjoyed so I find it very hard to go by any review for any of the newer action orientated Resi games.

The series certainly isn't what it was in terms of Survival Horror but I just sort of go in and expect a pretty solid action game these days.
I'll be interested in seeing if this is the first core Resi game that I don't enjoy as I've Loved Resi1,2,3,4,5,0 and CV so far - i think my alltime fave one has been the REmake on the cube - played that one to death!
Posted 13:15 on 02 October 2012
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx@ CheekyLee

No I didn't like Code Veronica Lee, nothing wrong with the game to be fair but I just didn't take to it.
There have been three versions I have played of RE1 which is the original version, directors cut and the Gamecube remake all three are brill. I never played the Game Boy colour version though, so I have no idea how that worked and what bits they used, as things are different in the three versions I played from what I can remember.

2 is also my fav of the series, which is the easiest but my God...just fantastic still for me :)
Posted 11:22 on 02 October 2012
Wido's Avatar

Wido

Hmmm, RE6 is a later buy. Definitely impressed by Leon's demo playthrough. Cheers for saving me dosh Martin!
Posted 10:48 on 02 October 2012
squidman's Avatar

squidman@ FantasyMeister

That's where scores can make things difficult I suppose - the podcast discussions are usually good because you mull over the game without having to rate it in that way. Resi 6 is a tricky one for me because I found myself liking bits of it (I certainly went for it more than some reviewers out there) but it's just a game where you can see very early on that it's aimless, and I'm a big lover of sharp direction in my single-player adventures. Like, I actually think Borderlands 2 is more focused and that's not even a linear corridor blaster.

Though nobody in the world can drive the Borderlands vehicles elegantly. Fact.
Posted 10:34 on 02 October 2012
FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister@ squidman

Nah, don't worry, it's just most gamers like different things in their games so what you see as a negative can be a positive to others and different weights are assigned to each aspect of a game accordingly depending on who is playing it.

In other words one man's meat is another man's poison, e.g. whilst transport in Borderlands 2 might feel to you like "twitchy, unpredictable vehicles that handle like a bull on ice" personally I'm able to fling them about at high speed and pin-point precision, so that's an example of your negative becoming my positive :)
Posted 10:15 on 02 October 2012
squidman's Avatar

squidman@ FantasyMeister

I always like that. I got an e-mail from a friend last night who said it read more like a 3 or a 4. Maybe I just accentuate your natural feelings towards the game. Or I'm just RUBBISH.

@Neon-Soldier32

1) Yes
2) No :(
3) Made very little difference to my experience. It's more than something they've plonked on to just say it's got co-op; there's different paths through the levels depending on which character you are and you get character-specific weapons, too, so they've made some effort to make it work as a co-op game. But, like I said, when I was playing it in co-op I wasn't having either a better or a worse time.

Interesting point about the schizophrenia thing - I read up on it and you're right. Now I feel like a fool :(
Posted 09:56 on 02 October 2012
FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister

I've been reading around because the VG.com review read like an 8 or 9 to me so I got a few more opinions.

I'll definitely pick it up when it hits the £19.99 mark (true for any game nowadays, I've got so many now I'm not in a rush) as I quite enjoyed 5, and whilst weapon upgrades are replaced by a perk system in this one the option of infinite ammo etc., is still there so I still get to grind for something worthwhile.

Plus by all accounts it's a huge game, loads of content, and jumping into someone else's game as a monster to try and kill the host for extra points (conversely they get points if they survive) seems like a natural progression for the series.
Posted 09:11 on 02 October 2012
CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee@ rbevanx

So, no love for Code Veronica? Also, the REmake for Gamecube is considered the best version by many fans of the series. My own highlight is 2, mostly because of how it worked the two stories together, so having 4 campaigns but not linking them in a similar way just seems like a wasted opportunity.
Posted 08:48 on 02 October 2012
pblive's Avatar

pblive

Everyone told me 4 was great and I could see where they were coming from, but it never really gelled with me.
Posted 19:51 on 01 October 2012
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx@ pblive

Well I really liked RE1, RE2, RE3 (Which in all fairness re-uses a lot from 2 and shoves Nemesis in there), RE4 and RE0.

But everything else and will even include the gun games I just hated. I wanna see the original 3 at least to get HD remakes.

Did do the original 3 this Spring actually as I still have my PS1 games, also did Syndycate Wars after having a random game craving for PS1.
Posted 19:46 on 01 October 2012
pblive's Avatar

pblive@ rbevanx

I never really got into the series after the second game.
Posted 19:41 on 01 October 2012
LandGrazer's Avatar

LandGrazer

6 may actually be generous. Gamespot gave it 4.5. Ouch
Posted 19:25 on 01 October 2012
MJTH's Avatar

MJTH

Good Review Martin, I did see this score coming but I guess that is the depressing truth of the resident evil franchise. This certainly seems to be an example of quantity over quality...
Posted 17:36 on 01 October 2012
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx@ Neon-Soldier32

Quote:
Would this game be better if it was just Leon's campaign and mercs?

Yeah I would like to know that, but it's still a no buy for me even for cheap. I liked the demo (well only Leon's part) but there cleary wasn't enough there for me to warrant 20 hours of my time.

Sounds like Max Payne 3 all over again to me with the focus on quantity/story rather than a game going from Martin's review which was good btw :)
Posted 17:20 on 01 October 2012

Game Stats

Resident Evil 6
6
Out of 10
Resident Evil 6
  • Some great moments
  • A bold intention
  • Much too long
  • The mix of four campaigns doesn't work
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 22/03/2013
Platforms: PC , Xbox 360 , PS3
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Genre: Third-person shooter
No. Players: 1-2
Rating: TBC
Site Rank: 1,703 153
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