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Agent: One way RE6 doesn't totally suck ass - Destructoid




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I love shooting, fighting, and video games.

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Let's be gear queers today.

"Gear queer" is a term in the gun community for people that geek out over the equipment aspects of shooting. What to carry your mags in, where to mount it, vest or battle belt, what sunglasses to wear, what knee-pads to buy, should I use a Surefire or a Streamlight on my Glock 19? These are things that the gear queer loves to obsess over. Reading about the newest piece of Velcro-covered black nylon to hit the market is the most exciting part of their day. I'm not really a gear queer but I do have my moments, because being a good shooter (or a good anything) means being performance-oriented. Having quality equipment that works well is important to your success equation.

With hearty enthusiasm I declare that the Japanese have the gear queer game locked the fuck down and I love it. In Japan it is almost impossible to legally own a firearm. Video games and Airsoft are their vicarious experiences of gun goodness. The Airsoft community over there is strong and tactically-oriented; military otakus, basically. They work on their equipment down to the last stitch. It's a "since we aren't allowed to shoot 'real steel', let's do the next best thing" kind of method. Their dedication to authenticity carries over to a lot of their games. A good example of Japan's acute obsession with the fine details are Metal Gear games. They were doing tactical reality before it was "in", AND before that kind of information was widely available on the Internet.

Every once in a while a game comes out that really has some meaningful details injected into it. Resident Evil 6 is one of these games, for better and for worse. I don't want to get into RE6 as a game so I'm not even going to say what I think of the game itself. It sucks and I'm glad I waited until it was 13 dollars. Ahh fuck, that totally slipped out by accident. I really just want to talk about one small part of RE6 that absolutely fucking blew me away: HOW AWESOME AGENT'S DESIGN IS.

I got this image from a dude on DeviantArt who goes by the name of Adngel by the way, so go check out his other renders if you are so inclined. -> http://adngel.deviantart.com/

Look at that shit. Black nylon for miles! Enough pouches to hold all your loot and still have room for a litter of puppies! Not an inch of exposed skin! So mysterious. So intimidating. So cool. It's like looking at a modern knight in armour.

Set the stage. You're about to get chest-deep in the undead, literally one of the most dangerous environments imaginable. Do you go in like RE4 Leon with a bomber jacket and jeans? Hell fucking no. You wouldn't even consider it. You'd go in like Agent. Let's take it apart piece by piece and talk about what all that great STUFF is.

Start at the bodysuit. Hard to say exactly what it is or what it's made of, but based on the appearance it's something like a diving suit. I don't know much about diving, but I can say that the perks offered by this type of suit (no extra fabric to snag on branches or objects, tear resistance, isolation from environment, form-fitting to show off your sexy bod) would be very worthwhile. Notice the spongy sections near the joints to improve articulation, and possibly ventilation. This is a feature that a wetsuit DOESN'T have, which indicates that it's something along the lines of an MGS sneaking suit. Unlike the gloves and boots, the elbow and knee-pads look like they are removable parts of the suit. Gotta protect those knees from bumps and bruises. Nothing is worse than trying to shoot a licker's face off while banging your patella on the curb. I speak from experience.



Touch his helmet. From how it looks, I expect it's made up of a couple different pieces. The top shell doesn't need any explanation, that thing protects your dome. As you can see, it has several mounting points on it for cool goodies like headlamps, NODs (night observation devices, often referred to as NVGs), or something more subtle like an IR beacon. If you're not familiar with the concept, an IR beacon is something you wear that gives off a visual signal when examined by the right kind of optical device. For example, if you and your team were conducting a night operation with NVGs, you need to be able to quickly distinguish who your teammates are. (The acronym for this is IFF: Identifying Friend or Foe.) If you look at somebody with your NVGs and see their IR beacon blinking, you know they are a friendly. There are even Velcro IR patches you can wear.

On the side of the helmet, you can see Agent's ear protection. Thanks to Hollywood and games, most people don't realize how ridiculously fucking loud shooting is, especially indoors. Outside, the percussion of a gunshot has a lot of room to expand and dissipate. Inside, those sound waves bounce off of every surface and right back into your eardrums. (If you've never been in the proximity of a gun firing even a moderately-sized cartridge, it's hard to describe. Not just the sound of the shot, but the actual pressure wave of the miniature explosion going off shakes you. You can feel it. Sometimes the impulse from a weapon can be so much that if somebody is shooting beside you, the recoil blast from THEIR gun can push YOURS off target.) I always make jokes when I'm playing a shooting-heavy game that by about 20 minutes in, every character would be deaf for the rest of their life, because none of them ever have ear protection. Hell, they don't even NOTICE all the sounds clocking in at a hundred decibels. Maybe they're already deaf. They can have full conversations over gunfire, or helicopter engines for that matter.

Anyway, it's guaranteed that Agent's earpro is electronic, and has his communications tools (headset/radio) integrated. Modern electronic ear protection intercepts noises over a certain loudness before they reach your ear and reduces those noises substantially. Aside from saving your eardrums, this allows you to maintain solid situational awareness by being able to hear teammates communicating, or an enemy sneaking up behind you, or other aural cues. Combine that with a team using weapons with suppressors and you got yourself a silent, violent team of monster slayers. The last two pieces of the helmet, the face-mask and the ventilator, are worth mentioning. The separate eyepieces are a bit vexing; I think it would be better to have one solid eyepiece across the face, to improve field of view. The mouthpiece of the mask seems like it could be an anti-CBRN measure, one that looks much cooler than those silly Cold War gas masks that HUNK wears. Put some anti-fog solution on those lenses before you set out and that mask is good to go.



On top of the bodysuit is a bit of load-bearing equipment and body armour. It's hard for me to say what kind of body armour it is or what level of protection it offers, but I can note that it offers good protection of the upper body as it fully wraps around the torso and shoulders, and has a nice high neck-guard, leaving only the armpits vulnerable. (Make no mistake though, the armpit is a very bad place to get shot because the entry of a projectile into that space means it's probably heading towards your heart, lungs, spine, etc.) It's probably rated for protection against pistol-caliber ammunition and has ceramic plates inside to protect against rifle rounds. How much ballistic protection do you need against the undead? I have no fucking idea but let's be super clear; if there was a chance of being BITTEN TO DEATH on a mission you would be like, "I'm not going out there without body armour." The armoured shoulder pads are a nice touch.



Now we can pick apart what he's got on his vest. Up on his shoulder is what I call the "Redfield Special," the big knife mounted point-up on the shoulder. This is a great place to carry a knife because it fits many criteria;
- it's easily accessible with both hands even in a confined space or in an awkward position,
- it comes out into a strong fighting grip,
- your hands stay in front of you while accessing it, which keeps you in the fight.
However there is one major problem with toting pointy metal in this particular fashion, which is that not only does it work for you, it works for anybody else that wants that knife. A shrewd opponent takes one look at you and knows exactly where your knife is and what he has to do to get it; just reach up and grab it. Imagine you're coming around a blind corner and somebody is right on top of you. He reaches out and grabs your pistol or rifle, pushing it back into you and averting the muzzle. You get into a struggle, and he gets the bright idea to use your knife on you before you use it on him. Once his hands get on that grip it will be almost impossible for you to retain that blade. He reaches up, snatches it out of the sheath and plunges it right into your throat. See the issue? If you're going up against enemies with low cognitive capacity, like the undead or small children, who aren't going to be taking your weapons away from you, then the Redfield Special is a sound idea. But if not, or you don't want to take the risk, you might want to find a better solution, such as stowing it behind or under your magazine pouches, or horizontally across the front of your belt. If that's difficult depending on the dimensions of the blade, stow a few different knives, so that each hand can get one and they're not too easy for an opponent to take. And for the love of fucking Christ, NEVER put them on your back! Forget the Sam Fisher knife-on-the-back-of-the-belt garbage. It's absurd. Imagine somebody coming up behind you; you've given them a weapon to kill you with. Think MGS3-era Big Boss as your strategy. You want that knife somewhere in front, where both hands can get it, and where it's ready to strike from as soon as it comes out of that sheath.

Beneath the knife are all his magazines, to feed those hungry hungry hippos. On the upper row are several pistol magazines in flap pouches, and under those are rifle mags in high-speed plastic carriers. That type of magazine carrier is actually supposed to be mounted with the bottom The rifle magazines are in a great place. If you are right-handed, take your left hand from wherever it is and reach towards your own stomach. This is a natural movement that you've performed thousands of times in your life. You've hardly got to move your elbow at all to reach your stomach, where those big ol' mags full of tasty rifle-caliber treats would be. The most important part of your equipment (which is going to be the high-powered ammo for your primary weapon) needs to be in the easiest place to reach. However your pistol ammo also needs to be in a good location because your pistol is what will save your life when you are really in trouble, such as when your rifle has stopped working (malfunctioned or empty) and the enemy is right on top of you. Putting them up high like on Agent's vest is not the greatest place and I can easily demonstrate why. Take your cell phone and hold it against your upper chest with one hand. Now, using your other hand, grab the very top of your phone with your fingers and imagine you have to pull it upwards to get it out of a pouch that has a big nylon flap in the way. Do you feel what a weak position that is for grabbing something that you might need right away? Weak wrist, weak fingers, and too much elbow articulation, not to mention you'll probably hit yourself in the jaw. Good luck getting a smooth reload from there. A better place to mount them would be either on the front of or beside the rifle magazines, or my preferred location which is on the belt.

How are we gonna get room to put magazines on the belt when Agent's belt is so loaded up with pouches already? Easy. Take the pistol off of the right side of the belt, and move it down into a thigh holster, then move some stuff from the other side of the belt into that real estate you just freed up. Now you can mount pistol mags on the left hip, which is another naturally strong place to keep them. Isn't that fun?



To wrap it up I just want to point out a few small details that really show Agent's design is a labour of love. On his belt he's got a nice assortment of stuff. A smoke grenade, to be used to signal a helicopter or as an obscurant. The pouch with the white flap on it could be for trauma supplies, since it's easy to spot. The drop-leg pouches? He's got them full of Kit-Kat bars, I don't know. The butt pack likely has a survival kit and other necessary items. Now look at the front of his vest and notice what he's got on both sides of his pistol mags. On one side is a chest-mounted lamp which is a fantastic idea. (If only you could turn that shit on so you could see in the absolute pitch blackness you stumble through for 70% of RE6.) But on the other side... what is that? I'll tell you what it is. It's a Combat Applications Tourniquet, pictured above. What a fascinating detail. Wouldn't it be cool if you could use it? Modern trauma medicine in the tactical environment has seen a great return of the "TQ" as a combat lifesaver. As shown in the Tactical Combat Casualty Care guidelines, hemorrhaging from extremity wounds causes up to 60% of preventable combat deaths. The first step to controlling extremity bleeding from trauma is to apply a TQ to the limb. An MA-121 Hunter bites your hand off? You'd better put a TQ on that sucker. To have a CAT-T on Agent's vest is almost like an Easter egg to me, because how many people could pick that detail out? Hell I never even noticed it until I looked at this image. I think that shows a really strong commitment to making Agent look as authentic as possible, which in turn makes him look awesome. If only they'd committed that level of dedication to every aspect of RE6...

All in all Agent has a pretty slick, high-speed-low-drag design that really puts a futuristic look on current day equipment. That's pretty much all I got. You could be a gear queer, or gear-curious like, "I wonder what all that shit is," or you don't give a fuck. No matter what, I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you want me to examine gear from another game just ask in the comments.



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