Despite being panned by critics when it was originally released, Resident Evil 6 has been given the re-release treatment and has been enhanced for the Xbox One, featuring all previous DLC, a higher resolution and framerate, as well as a few additional tweaks. But can a game that was so strongly disliked claw back some goodwill from series fans with its slight upgrade?
It can, and indeed it should, Resident Evil 6 was unfairly panned back in 2012, and now, with its few enhancements and being so feature rich, it offers an even more attractive game for a reasonable price to those previous put off.
Resident Evil 6 is built around three different styles with its multiple campaigns. Leon’s campaign is more traditional, with a slower pace, eerier locations, and dealing with good old fashioned zombies and mutated creatures. Chris’ is action-based and deals with the parasites of Resident Evil 4 and 5. And Jake’s is more akin to Resident Evil 3 Nemesis, with frequent chases, a slower pace, and seemingly insurmountable odds. These three campaigns offer something for every player archetype from the Resident Evil spectrum, and with each campaign taking a good 5-7 hours to complete, you get a lot of content for your money. This does mean, however, that the tone is a bit schizophrenic. With each campaign contributing to an overall story, the different paces and experiences don’t meld as seamlessly as it would with an otherwise consistent setup.
Helping to better bridge the three main campaigns is the bonus Ada Wong adventure, which is significantly shorter than the other campaigns and largely visits crossover sections between them, but it ties everything together and fills in the majority of the plot holes. This campaign was a solo affair originally but now joins the ranks of the other campaigns with a coop option, where player 2 jumps in the boots of Agent, a generic soldier. Unfortunately it’s not the best implemented second player experience. In many ways it feels like Tails from Sonic 2, where the second player is largely irrelevant to the experience. You can’t interact with puzzles or the environment beyond the enemies, which is a disappointing and a dissatisfying experience.
The coop for the main campaigns remains the same as it did back in 2012, reducing the difficulty slightly despite some mild scaling. It’s also a great deal more entertaining playing alongside someone else. The convoluted and cheesy story is particularly difficult to swallow, but bringing another friend along helps a great deal. And indeed the story is the weakest part of Resident Evil 6, falling on clichés and suffering from poor writing. However, the ambition behind it is undeniable impressive.
The aforementioned multiple campaigns and dozens of hours of story is of impressive scale. The poor storytelling and attempt to try and please everyone threatens to undo the good but the grand plan behind it has a vestige of good intensions. The corny narrative will still appeal to die-hard Resident Evil fans, and seeing the large cast come together, many of which returning from previous titles, helps answer a few questions about what happened between those titles. And despite how well or badly you get on with the story, there’s still a great deal of fun to be had. The combat is satisfying and intense, the melee option allows you to punch and kick your way out of a pinch effectively as well as perform some excellent special attacks, and the highly detailed locations are interesting to explore with great variation. In fact, if you can stomach the inconsistent experience of the multiple campaigns the variety it offers proves a welcome change.
Unfortunately there are some fundamental problems that have crept in to this enhanced version. The quick time events still come out of nowhere, although they seem slightly more forgiving with the input timing as well as the checkpoint placement if you fail. The physics and collision detection is also fairly inconsistent and poor, making picking up items occasionally difficulty, or melee attacks completely miss their target. There are also a handful of badly designed sections in each campaign, whether it’s a chase sequence that is too punishing, or where the two characters are separated and overwhelmed with enemies, or where the environment collapses at too quick of a pace. These issues are still highly frustrating and typically crop up when checkpoints have been less generous.
Outside of the campaigns is a plethora of online, solo and coop modes, many of which were added to the based game as DLC back in 2012. These offer you the classic Mercenary modes, where you take on waves of enemies against the clock, as well as several other modes, such as playing as the Nemesis-type creature from Jake’s campaign, Ustanak, and taking on groups of players. Furthermore, the online crossover and enemy encounter feature returns, allowing you to team up with other players in the main campaign during sections that crossover, and allowing players to invade other people’s games as a monster. It’s certainly a neat way to interact with the campaign, however, it can affect the stability of your online coop session.
Resident Evil 6 is a blast when played cooperatively, and if you’re a fan of the on-going story and the characters involved it can prove just as much fun played solo. There are certainly issues with it, technical ones such as the collision detections and level design, and narrative problems, but if you avoided it originally because you just weren’t sure it was worth the asking price, for £15.99 you can now own the definitive edition.
Thanks to Xbox and Capcom for supporting TiX