Lately I’ve been reading quite a few, less than favorable, reviews of Capcom’s latest entry in the Resident Evil franchise. I decided to I’d shell out the $60 for it, despite my better judgement. After playing for the last couple days I can honestly say it is an amazing game, if, and only if, Army of Two is your favorite game of all time. And let’s face it, if that is the case you wouldn’t be reading this article because you would be locked away deep inside a mental institution. When it comes to Resident Evil I would consider myself a pretty die hard fan, I mean seriously, I plan on going to PAX this year as Leon S. Kennedy, but even I realize this game has some serious issues.
When this game was first announced I nearly crapped my pants. A Resident Evil game set in Raccoon City, during the events of Resident Evil 2, with zombies, and Co-Op!? It literally sounded like the perfect game. Early screenshots featured Leon and Ada Wong and even highlighted some classic enemies, including Nemesis. I waited eagerly for any updates, unfortunately the more information Capcom released about the game the more skeptical I became. My first red flag involved the announcement that the development team behind Socom would be creating the game. I’ve never cared for Socom and I knew that the direction of the game would steer violently towards action over survival horror. Even still, I felt this game could have amazing potential. I continued following…. continued waiting…. hoping beyond hope, that this game was everything I wanted from a Resident Evil game.
Operation Raccoon City’s campaign makes a horrifying first impression. You know the super generic parts of Resident Evil games, where you are trapped in a super generic research facility, fighting super generic military personnel, and looking for another generic strain of the “XYZ” virus? Unfortunately that’s exactly how our adventure begins. You take the role of one of the various evil German/Russian members of Umbrella Corporation’s expertly trained hit squad, “Wolfpack.” Every member of this “elite” team is directly related to the various villains of the “Die Hard” series. After playing for only a few short minutes I seriously considered turning the game off. I’m glad I didn’t. Once I got past the first few introductory firefights I started to get a better idea of how the game played. You will notice very quickly that your squad AI is just about useless. Luckily you don’t have to worry about them completely dying once they’re downed. Also don’t expect them to shoot any enemies or pick any fellow squad mates up. They are basically glorified meatshields. Do yourself a favor and get a friend and just plow through the first level. There’s no real reason to savor this one. Once you get to the second mission, you are placed directly in center of Raccoon City and early on in this level you experience some of the most satisfying moments in the game.
You will instantly notice that the controls are “borrowed” from the Socom franchise. Like I sarcastically mentioned above, the way the game plays
is very reminiscent of Army of Two. The third person controls are very loose and this eliminates any element of horror that may have been experienced navigating the zombie infested Raccoon City. Many reviews I read complained about the automatic cover system. Personally I would prefer a button based cover system, like in Gears of War, but the cover system for Raccoon City didn’t really cause me to many issues. Granted, there were several times throughout the game I wish my character would take cover on the wall he was leaned against, but just wouldn’t. I will say that the controls did work pretty well for some of the few moments of true action in the game. The ability to sprint and shoulder check made some of the zombie horde sequences so much easier. My biggest beef with the controls involves the games diving mechanic. It is literally the worst dive I have ever seen in any game, ever. Basically it looks like you are sprinting and then just trip. It serves next to no purpose in context of gameplay. I will, however, give it a 10 as far as the LOL factor goes. Many times I found myself trying to dramatically dive at the most inopportune moments and I couldn’t’ help but laugh at my own pathetic attempts.
Despite the games many flaws, I still found myself having a lot of fun with it. If you go into it expecting an in depth and engaging experience, you will end up being incredibly disappointed. If, however, you go into the game expecting a fun arcade-esque, co op, shooter you may find yourself pleasantly surprised. Even if you are looking for a new Resident Evil campaign, which I seriously wouldn’t recommend from this game, you can find plenty of trinkets and tie-ins from classic Resident Evil games that will bring back little bits of nostalgic joy. If you are a fan of the series it’s definitely worth a play, maybe not a purchase, due to the fact I beat the entire game in a single evening. If you are really into the multiplayer, there are enough game modes and new weapon unlocks to keep you occupied at least for a little while.