Bang For Your Buck
Resident Evil 6 features elements of what began as a horror series but its focus is definitely geared towards a cinematic-style shooter. Utilising the semi-free camera system and third-person over the shoulder perspective that reinvented the action genre with Resident Evil 4, it's a highly generous offering featuring tens of hours of zombie fire-fights interspersed with high-octane action sequences inspired by the likes of the Call of Duty and Uncharted games.
The title boasts four individual campaigns lasting around seven hours apiece. Set around an overarching plot in which global bioterrorist attacks have turned those infected with a virus into gruesome monsters, each features different characters, unique enemies and settings, plus somewhat distinct atmospheres.
The storylines begin in different locations around the globe, intertwining in various ways before leading to the game's geographical focal point of China. Three of them, starring returning series protagonists Leon Kennedy and Chris Redfield, as well as new boy Jake Muller, are playable cooperatively with a friend, while the fourth, featuring another established character, Ada Wong, is single-player only and is unlocked after completing the others.
While the style of each campaign varies, there isn't a survival horror one per se. The game will largely be remembered for shootouts and big action set pieces as opposed to the series' past focus on exploration, limited resources and terrifying encounters. Leon's campaign is the creepiest, featuring generally slower zombies that are particularly dangerous up close, with the standout fights set in cramped spaces and winding corridors.
The Chris and Jake campaigns offer more open environments and range-capable enemies, while Ada's introduces a number of inventive and challenging puzzles. There's a mixture of gameplay on the menu then, but not really of genres, rather it feels like four flavours of zombie shooter dotted with a few nervy moments and tense battles.
Seeing as there's so much shooting involved it's just as well that the gunplay feels and sounds lovely, although some might begin to tire of the campaign sections after 20 hours or so of play. The cover system can be a bit fiddly at times too, while a two-button dodge mechanic removes some of the challenge found in past Resi games.
There are also a few too many quick time events, which see players tasked with performing actions on the controller shortly after the appearance of on-screen prompts to allow for limited interactivity during cinematic sequences. Planes and other vehicles will be piloted, collapsing/exploding structures will be escaped from, and while it's all very prettily presented, your participation is at times limited to hammering buttons or waggling sticks as quickly as possible or in sequence.
The game's cooperative and online modes add plenty to the overall Resident Evil 6 package. Joining a friend's session is simple and the addition of a second player invigorates the combat. There's also a split screen option allowing two buddies to play on the same television.
The fan favourite Mercenaries mode, which can also be played with a partner online, is another great feature that makes a return from previous series entries. Set across a number of maps, the goal is to accumulate a high score by killing as many enemies as possible within a limited amount of time without dying.
With so much content on the disc, Resident Evil 6 offers value for money. It would be nice if the gameplay styles in the different campaign sections were more distinct and leaned more heavily towards the franchise's survival horror roots, but what's available is largely great fun to play, particularly with a friend. Resident Evil 6 kicks off the end of year blockbuster release season with aplomb and it's a game that's highly recommended for shooter and action fans.
- Shooting feels and sounds lovely.
- A ton of content offers value for money.
- Strong co-op and online features.
- Not as scary as older series entries.
- Action elements are spectacular but largely unoriginal.
- Campaign can get a bit repetitive after 20 hours.