- Publisher: Capcom
- Developer: Capcom
- ESRB Rating: “M" for Mature
- Genre: Third-Person-Shooter
- Pros: Nice presentation; tons of content; some really great moments
- Cons: Story is getting ridiculous; QTEs everywhere; bullet sponge enemies; extremely inconsistent (for every great moment, there's a ton of awful ones)
The story in Resident Evil is getting out of hand with different viruses all over the place spawning different types of critters, so story specifics in RE6 are pretty convoluted. So, instead, we'll focus on the storytelling style used here, which is actually pretty clever. There are four separate campaigns in RE6 that take place in different parts of the world, against different enemies, but they all eventually cross between each other to connect everything into one story.
Each of the campaigns offers a slightly different focus. Leon's campaign tries to be more RE 1,2,3-style survival horror. Chris' campaign is more action-y like RE5. New character Jake (along with a grown up version of RE2's Sherri Birkin) has a campaign more focused on running from a menacing Nemesis-like enemy rather than standing and fighting. And once you beat all three of those campaigns, you unlock Ada Wong's campaign that is more puzzle-based. Ada's campaign is single-player only, but the other three are co-op (either splitscreen, Xbox Live, or the A.I. playing your partner). The co-op is nice because the two characters in each campaign actually have slightly different roles and abilities, which makes re-playing levels as each character interesting.
The first three campaigns last 5-6 hours each while Ada's campaign is a little shorter at about 4 hours, so there is actually a ton of gameplay here. When you beat any one of the campaigns you unlock Agent Hunt mode that lets you invade other players games as an enemy monster to try to take them out (you can, of course, turn off this feature if you want to play through unmolested). The game also has a Mercenaries mode where you fight in a closed area full of enemies and have to kill as many as you can within a time limit to earn high scores. There are only three Mercenaries maps, however, with more coming as DLC. You also earn skill points through all of the campaigns and modes you can spend on upgrading your character. All in all, though, you can't really complain about the quantity of content here. You're definitely getting $60 worth.
The core gameplay of shooting stuff is fine, and the quick shot feature where you automatically shoot the nearest enemy is very useful, but the other aspects of the gameplay built around it bring the experience down. First, enemies are total bullet sponges here - even basic zombies in Leon's campaign often take more than one headshot to put them down - and ammo is relatively scarce. Instead, the game wants you to use a newly implemented melee system where you basically just mash the right trigger and your character will kick and punch and stomp enemies to kill them, but you only have so much stamina. The intention of this system was that you would stagger an enemy by shooting it in the leg or something, and then run up and finish them with melee. What actually happens instead, however, is that you are better off using melee at every possible opportunity. Or, better yet, just running to your objective and ignoring enemies entirely.
That doesn't necessarily make it bad, it just makes it uninteresting to actually play, which is never a good thing. It has to be said that Resident Evil 6 is probably the least scary game in the series. The co-op focus, the relative lack of damage enemies actually do to you, and the overwhelming number of cutscenes and explosions going on everywhere make it hard to actually be scared of anything. The game has clearly drawn inspiration from the over the top set pieces and cinematics of Call of Duty or Gears of War and, honestly, all of the vehicle chases, "kill everything in this area to advance" rooms, and constant explosions and noise just get exhausting after a while because none of it is nearly as well done as those two series.
Undoubtedly RE6's biggest offense is the incredible over reliance on quick-time-events. Throughout all of those crazy set pieces you have to pay close attention so you can mash a button or waggle a stick back and forth to escape an enemy attack or sprint away from an explosion. There are QTE's constantly in RE6, which is kind of stunning since gamers have been complaining about them for about ten years now. They are inconsistent, too, with some being stupidly easy while others require inhuman speed and precision to actually get past. QTE's aren't necessarily a deal breaker - Capcom's own Asura's Wrath earlier this year used them surprisingly effectively - but they are so overused and so poorly done in RE6 that they really sour the whole experience.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing about RE6 is that there are moments here and there of absolute brilliance, but those are always followed up by something awful. It is just incredibly inconsistent and while you'll enjoy the first chapter of each campaign (Leon's in particular starts out really well), they generally go downhill from there. Some tough sections where enemies repeatedly knock you down and leave you helpless (kinda like Lost Planet). Endless QTE's sucking the fun out of life. Crazy story threads that make no sense. Control being ripped from you in the name of cutscenes only to have the camera in some awful new position (look at this helicopter even though enemies are shooting at you, cutscene ends with camera still panned high in the sky ...) when you regain control. Ridiculous vehicle sections. Replaying the same bad sections of certain levels again when the story threads cross. The list goes on and on. By trying to add so much new stuff and variety for variety's sake and trying to copy whatever other games are popular at the moment, the whole experience suffers as a result.
Graphics & Sound
The sound is also generally pretty good. Solid music. Nice sound effects for everything. And decent voice acting all around in spite of the goofy story.
We'd also like to note that the game comes on two discs on Xbox 360, but the second disc only contains extra language options, so there is no disc swapping here. Everything is on the first disc.