Resident Evil 4 is one of the best games of all-time. A clear top five for anyone with taste. The original Resident Evil had long since become as rotten as most of its antagonists for a while, but Resi 4 brought the series screaming back to life as the premiere survival horror game series. Unfortunately, this was the point where blithering internet morons decided they knew what was best for the series and basically demanded it to be more like other games. They are all wrong. A demo of Resident Evil 6 recently cropped up for those hanging on to their copies of Dragon’s Dogma and, unfortunately, it is a frustrating indication of the way the series appears to be headed - to be another shooting game in a world of shooting games.
There’s an intensity to the combat in Resident Evil 4. Much like the original few games, you root to the spot when you aim, only this time you’re viewing the action from over the shoulder of Leon Kennedy, allowing you to freely aim his gun at whatever is in front of you. You stem the tide of bastards as they flow towards you, and you have to make split second decisions - do you switch weapons, move to another location, or keep firing and risk an untimely reload and subsequent chainsaw to the face?
In the section of the demo featuring legendary boulder puncher Chris Redfield, you’re in a rooftop battle with a bunch of infected all carrying weapons, as they duck in and out of cover and pepper you with bullets. Bullets, because the once shambling horde is now packing heat, and it turns Resident Evil 6 into a contradictory mess of gameplay styles.
Simply put, without having dual analog aiming, sideways movement and a cover system of sorts, dodging bullets just isn’t fun. Each firefight results in you having to pitch up right in the middle of a firefight and shoot your enemies before they kill you. There’s no longer any tension as you stand your ground to the last possible minute, as these new ‘ganados’ pick you off from range. However, with these controls, it would’ve become another third-person shooter. One with a fair bit more personality than most, but certainly not something that is going to compete with the gameplay of say, Vanquish or Binary Domain. You’re left with a control style that is best suited to another completely different game - Some butchered Resident Evil controls retrofitted to a butchered action game - and it sucks.
We all know the rules, co op makes EVERYTHING better. I've played some terrible games with friends and thought they were half decent because of the shared experience. Resident Evil isn't one of them. Resident Evil 5 suffered because of the near mandatory co op, and six is already repeating the same mistakes.
Resident Evil 4 came out before Xbox Live took off and made it pretty much the norm for an action game to include a co op mode, and suddenly every braying idiot on forums was crying out for the next Resi to include it too. Unfortunately, the multiplayer Resident Evil experience has come at the expense of the solo one. Long gone is any kind of exploration or backtracking, and heaven forbid both players try to wander off and do their own thing - this is now a painfully linear experience. You fight through one area and have to stop at a specific door until both players are able to proceed at the same time, bumping into the occasional fixed “split up” section and QTEs aplenty on the way. Two human players, as expected, make this a more enjoyable experience, but being forced to have A.I fill the boots of your partner is at times, terrible. Waiting for your A.I partner to finish whatever it is they’re doing and join you at the exit you’ve ran to after a particularly hairy skirmish is absolutely infuriating. The pacing, atmosphere, puzzles, exploration - everything that made Resident Evil 4 great has been put on the back burner to make sure two people can shoot their way to the next cutscene.
Then there is the waypoint. The fucking WAYPOINT. Has there ever been a sign that a game has been made for the lowest common denominator than a flag that tells you where to go in a game that is almost completely linear? Sure, you can turn them off, but it is just this one little thing that is indicative of all of the problems I have with Resident Evil 6.
It isn’t all terrible. The sequence involving Leon, fumbling his way around a darkened high school, reeks of ‘bad demo’ - way too much exposition, not enough gameplay. When it finally lets you unleash on a few zombies at the very end, it is very much what you’d want from a new Resident Evil game. It is far, far too brief, but shows some promise. The section featuring new character ‘Alex’, although very different from what has come before, is a fun new addition, allowing you to essentially play as super-powered Wesker from the end of the previous game. The Chris part is just a frustrating mess.
Resident Evil 5 was a mixed bag. Half of it was building on the incredible formula laid down by its predecessor, the other half was Capcom seemingly pandering to people who didn’t want a new Resident Evil game, instead wanting just another 3rd person co op shooter. From what I can gleam from this demo, this is an even more schizophrenic game than before, struggling with its identity as the sequel to one of the best games of all time, and just another third person shooter.
I know which part I prefer.