To say that Resident Evil 6 was made for the fans is an understatement. There is heavy emphasis on established characters and the overall mythos, but at the same time, the narrative is balanced enough to not make new players feel alienated. The visuals are crisp and vivid, the music builds atmosphere, the voice acting is top-notch, and the overall gameplay is so exciting that you will find yourself holding your breath plenty of times. Oh, and not to forget, you can load up this game and share the adventure with a friend in split screen cooperative mode –which makes it twice as fun to play.
The thing about games with plenty of sequels is that they eventually lose sight of the original vision that the first games in the series had. Resident Evil 6 is all about Capcom’s “new” Biohazard dev team reminding players that they are staying true.
Leon’s scenario alone is a 4-chapter tribute to Resident Evil 1 – 5, and the character even points this out directly as he says “déjà vu” during the homage to RE2 (the burning city of Tall Oaks, which mirrors Leon’s arrival at Raccoon City). He goes from creepy giant old building (RE1), to a burning urban environment (RE2-3), to a cathedral (RE4), and a giant underground cave labyrinth (RE5). Of course, the China locations set the stage for Resident Evil 6 –if you missed out on the symbolism, the tutorial at the very start of the game is actually part of the last chapter; which is probably the developer’s way of pointing out that Resident Evil 6 is mostly about the events in China, and everything else before that is just building up.
In Chris’ scenario, the focus shifts to the action oriented parts of the series. There is even a nod to the non-canon live action movies with the inclusion of a laser room sequence. This one is all about the enemies and how different each virus-infected creature can be from the typical zombies of modern media. Jake and Sherry’s scenario feels a lot like a fresh new game –which is really good since it shows that the series still has much to offer in terms of gameplay innovation. Of course, they also pay tribute to Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, with the inclusion of a special boss monster that relentlessly chases them from beginning to end.
There is a total of 4 storylines in the game –you can choose to play any one of them in any order (except for Ada’s, which can only be played after you finish any single one of the three). The cool part about this is that each path has its own unique events and story, and even better is the fact that each ending is different –which makes it feel as if you have 4 whole games to play.
Leon Kennedy’s storyline pairs him up with Helena who is also a government agent. A bioterrorist attack turns US president Adam into a zombie right before he was supposed to expose the events of Raccoon City to the world. On Helena’s word, Leon goes with her to investigate a lead on the cause of the attack. Before they can do anything, they are framed for tragic event and must now chase down the man who set it all up.
Chris Redfield’s storyline places him in charge of a BSAA squad tasked to root out the cause of a BOW attack in China. The mission brings back old memories of an earlier operation in Eastern Europe where he lost a lot of men. The flashbacks serve him well however, as the two missions appear to have distinctly similar traits.
Jake Muller’s storyline starts in Eastern Europe, working as a mercenary. He and his squad are ordered to make use of a viral agent that would strengthen their abilities; not surprisingly (this is Resident Evil after all), it turns out to be the C-virus. Jake, however, seems completely immune to it. US government agent Sherry Birkin, finds him and asks that he accompany her since his blood is the key to fighting against the virus –he agrees, for a price. Things get messy when they learn that Neo-Umbrella is also after Jake’s blood, and they do not seem keen on keeping Jake alive to obtain it.
Ada’s story ties up all the little questions that get formed from each of the 3 storylines –and her own surprise twist is particularly clever, even if a bit predictable. As expected, players get to see her working behind the scenes and making her own manipulations to the events. She also gets to help out the other characters in crucial moments of the game.
Each of the four storylines cross each other’s path, which will be pretty obvious from the first playthrough –you get to meet the other characters you did not select during certain events. When you play through the other scenarios, you will get to see how the same event plays out, but from a different perspective.
One of the things we noticed about Resident Evil 6 was the abundance of chase scenes –there are plenty of them, but it never gets repetitive since they change things up a lot. You could be running on foot, on a motorcycle, in a car, or even piloting a jumbo jet –it all depends on the scenario and in each instance, it is always exciting and breathtaking. There is one long foot chase scene at the end of Chris’ scenario which is pretty hard to deal with, but the rest are relatively easy and fun.
Aside from all the fast paced movement you will be doing –there will also be plenty of sequences for you to get your button tapping skills into the limelight. There are plenty of quicktime events –some for you to trigger some interesting boss attacks, and others that you have to input properly if you want to survive. The good part is that these sequences prove to be more fun than they are frustrating –which is something that QTS events should always be.
Resident Evil 6 truly shows how far the game has come in terms of delivery. The graphics alone are enough of a proof of this. The visual details are well made, the BOWs range from your typical moaning and groaning zombies to the mutating Ja’vo that if not properly killed, will adapt to the injury you inflicted and mutate into a gruesome creature. Character animations are exceptionally well made –particularly the melee moves. There are plenty of special context based attacks that the characters can perform (depending on the weapon that they and the enemies are holding), and of course, it changes depending on the type of enemy they are up against. The most visually engaging sequences are the QT events during special boss fights, and here you get to some exceptionally great looking moves to bring them down (Jake and Sherry’s final battle, in particular, is exceptionally well done).
The voice acting and the music does not fall behind either. The audio is gripping –helping accent the tone of each in-game moment so perfectly well. It moves from fast to tense to mournful to scary and a dozen other moods with such smooth transitions that it does not draw too much attention on itself, but on the events –just as a proper game soundtrack should. There is plenty of dialogue in the game –and funniest and wittiest ones are the one to two-liners delivered while you are playing. This is usually composed of banter between the two characters (so expect Ada’s to be different in this aspect). Of course, Jake and Sherry’s dialogues are the most entertaining of them all.
The first three Resident Evil games were hard to forget with all the fright and suspense that they gave. The fourth was a pillar in terms of gameplay innovation. The fifth changed the way horror could be delivered as it managed a game system with more than one active player. The sixth brings the best of all the five games with impressive story delivery, a stellar cast, and of course, gameplay that would provide a hearty challenge for the most avid of gamers. If Resident Evil 6 is the new foothold for the series, you can expect it to reach pretty darn high with Resident Evil 7 which has yet to receive any official confirmation as being in development by Capcom.