I recently downloaded the now public demo for Resident Evil 6 and quickly realized it was split into three different parts, all dealing with a separate character. After deciding I wanted to do a hands-on impression of the demo, I figured the best way to do so would be to separate the three characters and talk about them all individually before diving into my overall impressions of the demo. Below is the outcome of my thought process.
Leon’s section revolves around him meeting up with a lady while simultaneously having to deal with our president who is bitten and coming closer and closer to the new girl. Leon is having none of that and takes the president out. It is then revealed that Leon doesn’t know who the girl is but they are tied together somehow. That how is left to be discovered later on in the game.
Leon’s gameplay revolved more around some older games in the franchise. Apart from the redesigned UI and ability to move when you aim, Leon’s section is very reminiscent of Resident Evil 4. The problem here is that the new UI and movement detract away from one of the main, if not controversial, staples of the Resident Evil franchise. It doesn’t completely tarnish the experience by any means but it detracts from it greatly, making you feel like you’re playing a whole separate game instead of the new Resident Evil.
Apart from that little complaint, everything within Leon and Helana’s (unknown lady) little section is perfectly competent and feels like more Resident Evil. The visuals get very choppy at times and the cheese within the story can be smelled from a mile away. Like I said, it’s Resident Evil.
This is where things begin to differ a tad. Chris’ section introduces a whole new style of gameplay, a style very similar to Gears of War. You are Chris Redfield and you are in the military, you’re dropped off at a location, and you must then shoot a bunch of guys with your machine gun. This whole part is the complete opposite of what Resident Evil is about; instead it diverges deeply into the action genre. Diving into the action genre more than horror is a big complaint many had about Resident Evil 5 so why that would return in an even stronger way with Resident Evil 6 is beyond me.
The combat itself is borderline awful. Resident Evil’s mechanics just do not lend themselves well to only combat. Not only is it frustrating to aim, the guns themselves lack any kind of force or feel that would make you want to continue using them. Every single thing about this section felt flat and lifeless which is an issue that could very well carry over to the retail product. On one positive note, this portion of the game looked much better than Leon’s did. Maybe it was because it was daytime and had no rain, either way, it looked sharp.
Jake Muller is the newest addition to the Resident Evil franchise. Introduced as Wesker’s son, you can see why he’s an integral part of the story. But the story goes deeper in his eyes as Wesker abandoned him while he was just a boy and eventually Jake realized he must take jobs as a mercenary in order to support his aging and ailing mother. He eventually meets up with a lady named Sherry who needs his blood as he could be the key to “saving the world.”
From there, Resident Evil happens. You shoot guys with a pistol, sniper, machine gun, shotgun, etc. as you traverse across a torn apart land leading Sherry beside you the whole way. Jake’s section seems to blend the Chris and Leon sections into one as it shows hints of both horror and pure action sequences. Even if his combat isn’t going to blow anyone away, I definitely find Jake’s story to be very interesting and interest is something the Resident Evil series is beginning to lack.
Resident Evil 6 has been garnering a lot of negative press as its release inches closer and closer, some of it warranted and some of it not warranted. I’m beginning to see myself falling in between the positive and negative side as I’m not ready to call Resident Evil 6 an abject failure just yet as it shows promise with an interesting character in Jake and some absolutely gorgeous visuals. Well, when it isn’t dark and raining, of course.
That being said, I just don’t know if the combat can continue to hold up through yet another eight hour experience. I understand puzzles will be thrown in there at random intervals but even those have decreased in quality as the franchise has continued on. Resident Evil 6 still has a lot to prove and we’ll find out if Capcom can pull together one more quality Resident Evil game come October 2nd.