Umbrella's on cleanup duty.
We got to test this new Resident Evil spinoff at E3. What can we expect from this game? More zombies, of course. Other than that, you'll have to read more to find out!
1. A Brief History (of the Series)
The Resident Evil series is an extremely recognizable and extremely popular series of zombie-based games, movies, and even books. The original Resident Evil games fit into a genre called “Survival Horror”, which was designed to both scare the player and get the player to try and make very calculated decisions. Things like ammunition and health were extremely scarce in these games, so the player had to make the right decision at the right time in order to conserve ammunition while avoiding getting hurt.
It’s a lot more difficult than it sounds. While the zombies in the original Resident Evil games didn’t move particularly fast, there weren’t many ways to get around them. Players had to know what they were doing before they moved into a new area or else the player could be quickly overwhelmed by even a few zombies.
Upon the release of Resident Evil 4, the series had begun to get the “been there, done that” feel to it. How many times could you solve the same puzzles and shoot the same slow-moving zombies before it got boring? So Capcom decided to go a different route for Resident Evil 4. The camera angles, ammunition levels, and enemies were changed to make the game much more like a third-person shooter than a survival horror. Players now had little issue with finding ammunition, but instead had to deal with enemies that were both stronger and faster.
2. What We Know
Now we have Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, an odd spin-off of the main Resident Evil games. This game takes Resident Evil 4's steps toward the "third-person shooter" genre and slides down a very slippery slope. This game has very little “survival” elements to it and instead substitutes a heavy dose of shooter. The player picks from one of about six different characters. Each character has a specific skill set, such as medic or heavy gunner, or sniper. However, each character can pick from any of the weapons available. A medic can use a machine gun and a heavy could use a silenced SMG. It makes very little sense, but it also makes very little difference.
Every weapon is almost useless. I watched a guy use a machine gun to fire dozens of rounds at even the basic zombies to very little effect. I learned from his mistake and switched to a 3-shot burst-fire assault rifle. I assumed that it was the inaccuracy of the machine gun that translated to more rounds required to take down enemies.
I was partially right, my 3 shot required only 6 rounds to take down the basic zombies, but it was still 6 full rounds to take down one zombie, and there were easily dozens of zombies running around. It made me feel like I was shooting BBs instead of armor-piercing assault rifle rounds.
The catch was that the player has a knife that he can use to great effect on zombies. Seriously, it’s easier to kill zombies with a knife than it is with any weapon. I occasionally saw players simply giving up using their weapons and simply running into the fray and knifing everything in sight. It defied all logic.
At least the storyline will cater to the die-hard Resident Evil fans. It takes place during the same events as Resident Evil 2 and 3, and the player even has the option of chasing (and eventually killing) one of the main characters from Resident Evil 2.
Frankly though, unless there are some serious improvements to the damage of the weapons, I would avoid this game like the zombie plague.
3. What We Expect
Not much really. The quantity of violence is high, but the quality is relatively low. Shooting enemies did very little (most barely reacted at all). The player is able to perform a heavy execution with the knife that is an instant kill, and I definitely put that to liberal use since it was the easiest way to take down enemies quickly. Players use anti-infection spray if they get bitten or else they will turn into zombies and attack other players.
Human disfigurement will be high since both the zombies and some of the “bio-weapons” are created from mutated humans. Anti-law will be an issue as well since the player can choose to side with either Umbrella Corporation (who is trying to cover up their involvement with the outbreak) or a sort of Special Forces group (who is trying to end the outbreak).
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