It’s taken me a while to get around to playing the latest Resident Evil 6 demo, and honestly, I’m surprised. Judging from the last demo and internet reactions to this latest one I was almost convinced this game was gonna be the death of the franchise. I for one actually liked the new demo.
Compared to the last demo, this one just feels much more cleaned-up, but I also thought it felt a lot better compared to Resident Evil 5. I think Capcom has fully accepted where the franchise is going and I think we need to as well.
RE5 felt like a very uneven experience to me. My main gripes may have been with how it forced co-op on the entirety of the product along with the inventory system, but I also felt like RE5 was stuck between a desire to be a modern action game and the series’ adventure game roots. The tank control scheme fit Resident Evil 4 as well as much of RE5, but not the sections in 5 where I sat behind cover facing mutants with AK-47s. Judging from the latest RE6 demo, I feel like Capcom has finally come out and said “Y’know what? We’re making a third person shooter with horror-themed enemies. Let’s stop flirtin’ around with this and just do it.”
The controls in this demo feel more like Dead Space than anything else, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that was deliberate. Despite neither of the DS games getting Japanese releases, interviews confirm the guys at Capcom are aware of them and even consider them to be good sci-fi analogs of RE. All the characters now move very smoothly, the UI looks slick in my opinion, and I even think the new moves they give you here feel very intuitive. I don’t even mind the new cover system, which you can choose to not use at all.
The Leon section went the furthest in actually extolling the virtues of RE4 – plodding through hordes of slow-but-relentless enemies while negotiating the environment to your advantage. It’s just all at a faster pace now. Being stuck in a tight hallway with two dozen zombies bursting in through the windows felt like a good callback to the cabin scene from RE4. I even liked the QTE in the car at the end of Leon’s section. It felt like RE4’s QTEs but with a bit more of a twist.
The Chris and Jake sections are where Capcom decided they were totally making Gears of War but with Resident Evil enemies. I honestly don’t think they did a bad job at all. Despite using guns now, enemies still frequently close in for melee combat, and the guys who spontaneously grow shields or pairs of wings indicate how interesting enemies could get as the game goes on. These guys along with the giant boss in the middle of Chris’ section to me indicate that RE is still a game about using limited resources to survive intense situations.
How much can you even criticize what we’ve seen of the storyline? That’s including the spoilers that have popped up. Yes it’s ridiculous action flick fair to the umpteenth power spliced together with some anime tropes, but were the RE storylines really anything else?
There was a time during the original PlayStation era when Resident Evil’s story was seen a high point in console video games compared to what we were playing on the Super NES. Its subject matter looked interesting, complex, and plausible back in 1996 when compared to Contra. You could even compliment RE4 for knowing how ridiculous it was and deciding to play that up. Today though all of the RE storylines are equally crazy, never mind the fact the franchise was inspired by B-horror movies (which is precisely what the live-action RE movies deliberately became). The only thing that’s changed in the last 15 years is Capcom’s production values. The franchise has simply gone from Grindhouse to Michael Bay.
Of course, even if RE6 is turning out to be a more even experience with a clear goal of surpassing RE4, can it actually do that? I’m going to go ahead and say “not a chance.” Don’t take that as a harsh criticism of RE6. I don’t know how long it will be until another third person shooter, much less an RE game, matches or surpasses RE4’s astronomical level of quality. That game is just too much to live up to.
Even if modern shooters have evolved the mechanics that RE4 popularized, the reason that game stands the test of time is because every encounter and area was polished around those mechanics to near perfection. Even today the game feels extremely smooth around the edges, which feels like a miracle given Capcom had to balance it around a complex weapon upgrade economy over a 20-plus-hour campaign. Most shooters today can’t even dream of doing this and I don’t know if we should expect them to.
If RE6 can at least create interesting encounters around the mechanics they have here I’ll be satisfied. After playing this demo I’m even more interested in what RE6’s edition of Mercenaries mode will be like. I’m not gonna be there day one ready to give up $59.99, but I’m at least anxious for the PC version when it comes out next year.
I think RE6 looks quite nice graphically, especially in this new demo where they seem to have fixed the screen tearing. Though, it’s definitely showing the limitations of current console hardware. Recent Capcom PC ports have been excellent, and judging by Lost Planet 2, I really hope RE6 supports DirectX 11 which might make the game look truly impressive.
- So it looks like both the 3DS and Vita are doing eBooks. We at least know the Vita is doing manga. Hopefully it moves to Sony’s own Reader Store too.
- Interview with one of the guys behind the 3DS Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion – sequel to the Genesis Mickey Mouse games from the guy behind Henry Hatsworth: http://t.co/JgKI4dyg
- How about a South Korean survival horror game? http://t.co/tZ0m5mDW