Sequel-itis: Resident Evil 6

Resident Evil 5 will (probably) go down in the survival horror history books as a reminder of three things.

One, as much as we have progressed in the coding of games and characters, AI characters that you depend on can still be painfully frustrating to the point of making the game unplayable at certain difficult levels. Sheva is without a doubt the biggest mistake of RE:5. Shit, they could have brought in Claire and made us at least giggle at the resurged brother-sister Redfield duo, but the programming and reactions of Sheva are noticeable even on the easiest of playthroughs. Don’t even get me started on Sheva in professional. The game is almost unplayable at points.

Two, the action-tilted controls of Resident Evil 4 making their way into this installment without much of a rethinking from the creators – still no abandoning the tank-style movement – makes for a particularly frustrating outing at times when this game reminds you that it wants to be remembered as the most physically difficult game of the franchise save for siphoning off supplies. Whether it is the Matrix-influenced Wesker or the constant searching for items, the flaws and limits of the tank control are more than exposed here – they are trotted out almost for show.

Three, and perhaps the most curious of all, is that Resident Evil 5, despite a fun enough story and adrenaline-packed Mercenaries/Versus mode, simply feels like the same game as Resident Evil 4, only with just a new setting and characters to interact with. For as much as the previous installment revolutionized the way we play zombie shooters centered around Umbrella, this game almost entirely phones it in in terms of trying to bring something new to the table. Okay, so you can play two players. Fair enough. But if you don’t have a friend to embark on a zombie killing spree with? See point one.

All of that aside, Resident Evil 6 is a mere month or so away. After someone joked about this game not seeing the light of day for five years, what gives? Trailers and teasers all show the tank control pretty much gone – a fact only solidified by RE:Operation Racoon City’s squad-based shoot ‘em up tactics. But in a strange enough way, we’re also being given the ability to cue up evasive maneuvering through rolls and what have you. This is a good call if any, based solely upon the again amped up action this game seems to be taking into consideration for us.

Back again is multiplayer, in what seems to be three separate co-op/single player campaigns, each taking place in a different part of the world that is now ravaged by a zombie apocalypse. As far as length is concerned, this is a huge plus/replay value. The only real question is whether or not we’ll see true variation in these levels or if each location stays very true to the flora and fauna of their respective areas more often than not. The combinations are interesting enough though, as it seems we will get a chance to play as pretty much everyone already in the series (Chris, Leon, Claire), as well as take on new personas such as Wesker’s son Jake. If the AI is truly fixed or at least tweaked this time around, it will certainly boost the multiplayer stock in this game that they’ve tried to tap excruciatingly hard in the previous installment.

It would seem as if everything is in line to make this title a clear runaway success in terms of improving gripes of players in numerous ways. But the gameplay is still to be questioned – how well will the sixth edition of the main story hold up in the translation of such new idea? Historically, the main storyline has generally produced solid if not classic entries into the series, with the original, RE3: Nemesis and RE4 standing out to me amongst the five so far. There’s a sense as well, at least in my being, that this is the beginning of the end for at least some of the Resident Evil franchise. Sure, Wesker is dead – at least to my knowledge – and this end of days scenario for the sixth game takes the scope of the series to a previously unseen level.

It’s a bit of a gamble, that’s for sure, but by pulling the trigger now, we can only hope that the experimentation and tinkering in the Resident Evil universe will lead to a grand opus this time around – marrying action and horror in a way that will tie everything together whether or not this is our last step in the legend of the T-Virus.

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Author: Jason Gardner View all posts by

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