Copyright Adam Schlosser

Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser

Posted by Pip

R9M17- Better To Tear Out Than Off

I would probably do what she told me to do. I mean, her name is “Captain” and all. The claws and skull jewelry are usually a pretty good indication that you don't want to poke her. She has neon hair too, so that probably means she's somewhat poisonous. Don't lick the Captain's hair!

Quick Review: Resident Evil 6- I covered my history with RE in some AGWS videos, so I'll jump right into RE6. Okay, first a digression into a pet peeve: there's no instruction manual. It comes with an ad for the crappy movies and the legal text but that's it, but the game actually has some very specific controls and features that you can only learn about by lucking into one of the tips on a loading screen. Story-wise, there's no decent reason for this game to exist. The Resident Evil story was pretty definitively ended in RE5. Without Albert Wesker or Umbrella, this franchise is nothing. I enjoyed most of RE:Revelations, but that was an actual survival horror game so the gameplay made up for the bad story. RE6 is just a crappy action game with bad characters and an awful story. There are multiple scenes where characters have to just be blithering morons to advance the plot. The game specifically calls out that a character has a distinguishing piece of jewelry, later you see a recording of an evil guy being evil and he has that same distinguishing piece of jewelry, and then BIG REVEAL! They're the same person! Gasp! Or when the game gets to the point where the new C-Virus can be used to straight-up clone people, you watch the bad guys create a clone of Ada, everybody later gets sad when they hear that Ada has been killed, then you see Ada alive again, and Leon just can't fathom how Ada is not dead. First off, how many times has Ada "died" in Resident Evil only to pull an "I was faking it!"? That was her introduction to you in RE2. So surely the spy that has been involved in some really shady stuff and is still around, that has a past history of appearing to be dead but not really being dead, and that now has clones is completely 100% totally dead because you heard somebody say so over a radio. Oh, and you should completely ignore that when you see one Ada she's wearing a zombie apocalypse inappropriate bright blue mini dress and other times you see her just seconds later, she wearing a bright red shirt and pants combo. The sole way great thing about RE6 is that a new character, Helena, is voiced by the amazing Laura Bailey (beloved to me for being the one true voice of The Boss from Saints Row). In my mind, RE6 is officially a Saints Row 3 expansion explaining where STAG got its zombie gas from. That's canon now.
RE6 is constantly taking the control and focus away from you. Whether it's the game hijacking the camera and removing the controls from you or the QTE events galore, you feel like you're a passive participant in the game rather than the one driving it forward. This robs the game of any tension it might have. Oh, you got grabbed by a zombie in a scripted underwater sequence? Just wiggle the sticks for a bit. Oh, the platform you're on is collapsing? Just alternate the triggers for a while. There isn't a problem you encounter that can't be solved by jiggling a direction or mashing a button. It's a game of annoyances rather than threats. Headshots aren't instant kills and it isn't clear when there's infinite enemies or just A LOT of them, so the annoyances further devolve into frustrations. One good decision I can actually praise the game for is the idea behind the health system. Your health is broken up into chunks and it will regenerate within that chunk only. So if you get hit with a stray shot or a physical attack, it will take away most of that health chunk, but if you can stay safe or get out of that battle, you can get your health back. Most strong or special attacks will take off a full chunk though, so you still can't play sloppy. Unfortunately, the game completely undermines any need for health. You're invariably going to die during one of the many QTEs or chase sequences and the game restores all your health when you go back to a checkpoint. So what's a great system in theory, you can completely disregard because you're never a few minutes away from abominable chase sequence that's going to take you by surprise or the camera will freak out during a scripted scene causing you to die but go back to full health at the checkpoint right before the chase sequence starts. The game is broken up into different teams of characters and they meet each other during the story, but it's always through contrived coincidences. Everybody just so happens to be in the same place at the same time, they interact for one fight, then you're broken up again to conveniently be in the same place at the same time on a later mission. You can't even influence the other stories based on your actions with another team. In one area, both Leon and Chris are running for an elevator. If you're playing as Leon's team, Chris gets the elevator and Leon has to fight through the stairs and do a stupid hacking game to open up a door and catch up to Chris. When I got to this area as Chris, I was genuinely interested to see how their paths diverged, but nope. If you're playing as Chris, Leon gets the elevator and Chris's team has to fight through the stairs and sit through that exact same sequence of protecting your partner while he hacks a door. I'll break down the stories in the order that they're presented and how I played them, but this really isn't the order you actually should play them. Ignore what the game gives you and play it as Chris>Sherry>Leon>Ada instead. Playing as Leon first reveals almost every single story thread so the rest of the characters' reveals fall flat.
Leon's Story
The locations don't really make sense, and that's coming from a series whose introduction was a mansion with a super secret super science lab built underneath it. Why did the college have peeling paint and was so broken down like it was several hundred years old? Did the zombie gas age the building? Why are there several miles of secret caves complete with a mine cart ride under a church and how on Earth is that even remotely structurally stable? Early in the game, you find a weird symbol in a desk drawer but you can't interact with it in any way so it's fairly unremarkable. Then later in the game you see the symbol again in a place you can't reach and if you shoot it, you get a bonus and then a tip pops up that destroying the symbols gets you rewards. That is the most asinine way to teach a player about that feature. You don't explain a nonsensical feature to somebody after they've already done the obtuse thing you want them to do. That message should have shown when you find the first one in the desk or given you an interaction prompt that made your character break it to teach you what to do. The game is dark. Not atmospheric or moody dark, just "I think they forgot to add light sources" dark. You'll regularly get hurt by enemies because you can't see them, walk by doors or items, or run into walls because everything is so black. The startup brightness settings recommend you play the game at a level of 5, I jacked it up to 40 out of 40 and still could hardly make out most areas. The game keeps doing the "you enter a room full of zombified dead bodies but you can't interact with them or damage them, but as soon as you cross an invisible threshold, they all stand up and start attacking you" method of bad horror. It's so obviously going to happen that it's never scary. It's a cheap and lazy way to try to create scares but it always, ALWAYS feels like a rip-off. Your partners are super annoying. You can be lining up a headshot and then your partner will shoot the enemy and make it flinch so you miss your shot. I don't know if your partner can even kill enemies most of the time. I watched Leon shoot a zombie about ten times without killing it. He frequently decides that the best place to stand is directly between you and the enemies so you can't see what you're trying to hit and if the need comes to run, you can't because Leon is blocking the path. He also won't really help or try to protect you. I had filled up my inventory so when I got to what seemed like a safe place at the end of a hallway, I was trying to reorganize things when a zombie latched on and started to maul me. Leon and another AI character both stood there and watched a zombie shamble down a hallway over to me while I was stuck in menus trying to dump some grenades so I could pick up an herb. Not the best helper. You can also die because your AI partner fails quick time events. There's a scene where a truck comes barreling down the street and I avoided it just fine, but Leon was standing in the truck's path, so as soon as the cutscene ended, I instantly failed the mission because my partner died (even though I could see Leon standing around just fine). Quick time events are dumb to begin with but when even the game itself can't complete its own events, you messed up big time.
To show just how far the series has strayed from survival horror, the last boss's initial form is a 30-foot tall zombie T-Rex and he can shapeshift from dinosaur to human. I remember thinking it was a bit much in RE1 that the Tyrant was like 8-feet tall. Here, we have a normal-sized man going through a Transformers-esq morphing sequence back and forth from man to T-Rex. Don't get me wrong, the special effects for the transformation and the creature design are the highlight of the game and totally fantastic, but it's really dumb. The boss's ninth or tenth form (I stopped counting at some point) kind of makes sense because it's absorbing zombies to add to its mass so the boss winds up being a building-sized monstrosity that can regenerate itself by eating other zombies. That's pretty cool and it has just enough dumb science for me to accept a creature that big. But you can't condense a T-Rex into the size of a man then go back from man to T-Rex again.
Chris's chapter removes any pretext of this actually being a horror game. It's just a third-person shooter against enemies with machine guns that occasionally morph into monsters when you kill them. The camera is way too close and Chris keeps trying to stick to cover but it's never a useful feature. The aiming and movement get awful, so it's always more useful to simply stand behind cover rather than snap to it. You start off with a squad, which is kind of a neat change, but it very quickly becomes yet more people to stand in your way and block your view. The story begins with a kind of interesting beat where Chris seems to be suffering from PTSD from all the crap he's seen across this franchise, but that's quickly hand waved away and you find out that it's just because Chris saw this one unlikable guy die on a mission so then Chris went AWOL. And got really drunk. For like six months? Now, I've never been drunk, but if you're wasted enough to get to the point where you forget the last several years of your life and have amnesia and you got to that point of drunkenness in under six months, I'm pretty sure you're about to die. Boulder-punching steroid freak that Chris Redfield has become or not, the human body doesn't ramp up from soldier to amnesiac drunk back to soldier without some horrible consequences. Chris's story has some flashback moments but his items are persistent, so if you use an herb in the future, it's gone in the past. The best is with his guns. You don't start his campaign with a shotgun in the present, then the next level is a flashback and you find a shotgun, and now in the present for the third level, you just suddenly have a shotgun. Did Chris forget he had a shotgun in his pocket until that flashback? And everybody pronounces "foyer" as "foy-er". I don't know why but it just instantly infuriated me on the most petty of levels that not a single soldier in this game can pronounce that word.
For a shooter, the enemy AI is pathetic. Their only advantages are that there are tons of the enemies and they're fast. Other than that, they just kind of randomly juke around the room and sprint, even if they're sprinting into a wall or running in place because there's a table in the way. The best was that I popped an enemy's head, but he didn't seem to notice. He just stood there, bobbing up and down, hands on his gun, with a fountain of blood squirting out of his neck hole. Once I killed the other enemies around him, only then did he fall down and realize he'd been missing a head for the past minute and finally died.
Jake is Wesker's son so that means he has magic blood, but that's just a fan fiction-y thing to drive the story forward. He also knows kung-fu but that's not even remotely important outside of a few scripted fights. Also, Sherry from RE2 is your partner for even more coincidence. She also has magic blood but that also is not even remotely important outside of a few cutscenes. His campaign is super uninteresting. It has more gunplay than Leon's but less than Chris's but it still has the enemy closets and waves of enemies that Chris's campaign does. The sole exciting part of this chunk of the game is that somebody clearly scripted the last scenes to be on an elevator escaping from the exploding facility but in the game it's a normal horizontal platform "moving so fast that you can't stand up" and the camera is just shifted at an angle to make it look like an elevator.
For as much as I hated the other campaigns, Ada's takes the cake. The game treats her like she's such an intriguing badass, but in reality she's just a boring, poorly written thing to be there when the story needs some deus ex machina to keep it moving. She has her awesome Batman grappling gun, but you can't freely use it. It only works if you're standing at a specific node where the game authorizes its use. Her first level combines everything horrible about the game. It's chase sequences, swimming sequences, and unlimited enemies with lots of QTEs thrown in. After the very first hallway where I wasted every single bullet I had on what turned out to be a never-ending stream of enemies, I just ran for as much of the level as I could. I only stopped to kill something if the game forced me to to move on to the next room. Even deploying this strategy, I killed over 40 enemies in that level and that was only a B ranking. There are only 50 zombies in the entirety of Resident Evil 1, but here, killing over 40 creatures in a single level isn't even great. Since Ada travels alone, she spends the entire game narrating and quipping to herself, like she's extremely unsure of everything that she's doing or going through. Instead of being this calm, cool super spy, she comes across like a crazy person or somebody trying to remember a list until they can find a sheet of paper to write it down. Ada's route is supposed to be the thread that ties all of the other stories together, but it just doesn't work. The thread that ties everybody together is coincidence. If at any point in the game, one character stopped to pick up a penny off the ground, the entire timeline and convenience of everybody being in the same place at the same time would fall to pieces.

Resident Evil 5 was a bad game, but there was at least some fun to be had in playing it. The story wrapped up the franchise, it took you on an adventure, and the upgrade system was fun. Even after beating 5, I kept playing to max out some of the weapons and then return to levels and have fun being super overpowered. In 6 though, the story is terrible, the levels you go to are boring, and the upgrades are awful. After clearing the entire campaign with every character, I had only maxed out two upgrades and neither of them were really all that useful. Resident Evil 6 is an action-horror game made by people that have no idea how to craft the components of an action game and that have absolutely no clue on how to create suspense or tension.