- Publisher: Capcom
- Developer: Slant Six Games
- ESRB Rating: “M" for Mature
- Genre: Third-Person-Shooter
- Pros: Lots of content
- Cons: Bad cover system; unsatisfying shooting; bullet sponge enemies; awful boss encounters; worthless melee; dark graphics; disappointing RE series fanservice
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City takes place during the events of Resident Evil 2 and 3. It isn't a direct re-telling, though, and puts its own spin on things. You play as a member of an elite Umbrella squad sent in to clean up the mess in Raccoon City. You come across familiar locations and characters from RE 2 and 3 while fighting all of the trademark enemies of the series.
It should be a joyful trip down memory lane full of little touches and references and fun stuff for series fans. But it isn't. Instead you spend a lot of time in boring underground laboratories and when you do pop up to the streets of Raccoon City, enemy soldiers with guns are your biggest problem instead of zombies. Perhaps the biggest selling point prior to the release of ORC was being able to go through RE2's police station again, but even that is disappointing because you spend all of 5 minutes or less there. You occasionally see something in a level you recognize, or get a new angle on something you've experienced before in RE 2 or 3, but for the most part this is as generic a shooter as possible in as generic of environments as possible that barely registers as having anything to actually do with Resident Evil.
The one thing RE: ORC does have going for it is that there is a surprising amount of content here. You can play 4-player co-op during the campaign (online co-op only, sadly, no local play) and playing with human players can be decent fun. There are multiple character classes with upgradeable and customizable abilities and weapons and all sorts of stuff to dig through. The game also has a number of competitive multiplayer modes such as Survivors mode where 8 players fight through zombie hordes (and each other) to reach an extraction point, Heroes mode where you have to kill the main character "Heroes" on the other team, or Biohazard mode which is sort of like capture the flag but with G-Virus samples. There is a lot to do here.
When bigger, badder enemies like hunters or lickers show up, expect to pump a few dozen rounds into them before they die. Boss encounters with the occasional Tyrant or other mutated nasty are also ridiculously frustrating due to their amazing ability to take 25+ rounds from a sniper rifle to the face and still not die. Human boss fights are also frustrating because they are context sensitive in that you have to get to a certain point or do a certain thing before the fight is over and the game never actually tells you this. A fight with Ada Wong is particularly annoying because she is down a long, narrow, heavily booby trapped hallway and the only way to end the fight is to make your way up the hallway (while she is shooting you and tossing grenades) to where she is which causes her to run away. It was not fun.
All of these things are particularly annoying because they don't even follow Resident Evil's own rules. Enemies shouldn't take dozens of shots to go down. Even major bosses in RE 2 and 3 could be killed with 4-5 shots from the Magnum (go watch the Two Best Friends Play Resident Evil 2, you'll see what I mean), so why does it take hundreds of shots here? Oh, and game developers, don't make a game with bullet sponge enemies AND very limited ammunition. You are constantly out of ammo in Operation Raccoon City, and it just isn't fun.
Perhaps the dumbest thing about the game is that it likes to throw you in big scary battles with tons of enemies, but a lot of the time your best tactic is to not fight at all and just run to the next objective marker. All of the enemies magically disappear and your A.I. teammates are miraculously brought back from nearly being dead. The A.I. is also a problem in general because your teammates are incredibly stupid (I had one of them glitch out and fire infinitely into a wall a solid 100 yards behind where the actual fight was) and they rarely heal you when you need it, and have a habit of standing in doorways so you can't pass through. Enemy A.I. is also pretty stupid where they mostly just stand around waiting to get shot in the face. Some enemies, though, like hunters, lickers, and Tyrants, like to trap you into corners and then do an infinite melee loop on you until you die.
Graphics & Sound
The sound is okay. Enemy sound effects are what you expect, the music is distinctly "Resident Evil" and fits just fine, and the dialogue isn't terrible.