I'm sitting by the title-screen of Dragon's Dogma, awesomely bad J-Rock pumping through my speakers and bass. The Resident Evil 6 demo is slowly working its way down to my harddrive. I'm not really sure what to expect at this point, a few months ago I was angrier than I've ever been at a company for what it looked like Capcom had done to Resident Evil, months before that I was ecstatic about the franchise's future as the first trailer for Resident Evil 6 was premièred. Right now? I can't tell.
I've heard people say it's good, people I've often agreed with when it comes to Resident Evil, but at the same time I've heard people specifically tell me "You won't like this." even if they found it okay. I don't know how well they know me , probably better than I think. But I'd like to think that the game will be a pleasant surprise and be a fun game. Because, in the end, as long as the game is fun, you can't really fault it as a game. Sure, you can still be angry about a direction, but that's a different discussion all together.
16% downloaded, J-Rock ended and now it's a slow melodic tune playing, church-bells chiming in the background. Quite fitting as I'm writing this, it feels like a church-bells chiming moment... And there the J-Rock kicked back in, all is well. I know some people won't even bother reading these impressions because of my massive backslash against the game in my "Resident Evil 6 looks like Shit!" post a while back. But if you do, I promise you, I do want to like this game, I really-really do, and I will be 100% honest about it.
This will not be a angry anti-action rant if the game is good, this will not be a honouring article of praise if the game is awful. This is going to be the impressions of a long-term Resident Evil fan, uncensored and unrestrained. I'm going to play Resident Evil 6, and give it as honest of a chance I can possibly give it. Bring it on.
...Download just hit 28%, fuck it, I'm cooking dinner while waiting.
(Spoilers on the demo-parts of the campaign to follow.)
Part 1: Leon's Campaign
I played as: Leon
I'll just start with apologizing to Capcom. This was great, this was REALLY great. Atmospheric, tense and a great build up to the action. In terms of style this was truly classic Resident Evil in many ways. In terms of gameplay and controls? Well, I'll get to gameplay and controls in details when I'm done talking about the three campaigns, but I'd say they worked pretty well for Leon's campaign. But that could be because of the lack of action in it.
You spend the demo inside a building meant to be a big reception party for the President and friends, it's dark, it's dead-quiet and you're slowly walking (forced walking, did not like that) through the rooms as I find a survivor. It's a man, he's looking for his daughter, I set out to help him as the man can help me in return, making my way back through the hallways, slowly opening doors (no kicking allowed) and finally after a few cheap (but effective) jump-scare fake-outs you see a room up ahead.
The room is painted in blood of two dead humans, as I make my way towards the room and the doorway there sprints a person covered in blood out from the left. I raised my gun and was ready to slam the fire button the same second and let out a gasp, but it wasn't a zombie, this was the girl. The girls name is Liz, and now that we're all safe and secure we can try and get out of here. So we make our way to the elevator. Here's a rule I have when I play horror-games. Avoid square elevators, they're NEVER good.
Then the power goes out, and then Liz was a zombie. Cue QTE-shaking that was longer than we're used to by this point, complete with a clear timer making it even more tense if you're not prepared. This is great so far and I'm loving every moment of it, I shake off Liz and Helena places a bullet to her head. Then the elevator doors open and there's a horde of Zombies. Like I said, square-shaped elevators suck.
Fighting off the last Zombies you can make your way to a door that exits Leon's part of the demo. I was a bit disappointed it ended immediately after the first action scene, but with the great atmosphere and build-up, I did not mind it. Leon's campaign was very well crafted from the looks of the demo, and something I'm definitely looking forward to, at least if they fix some control issues that we'll talk about later.
Part 2: Chris' Campaign
I played as: Chris
Oh boy this sucked. Not because it was action, not because it had a bad style to it. But here's where the controls and camera really becomes a problem. You see, the reason Resident Evil 4 and 5 had a great camera was because, unless tampered with, the camera ALWAYS stayed behind the characters shoulder, showing his/her viewpoint. This is not the case in Resident Evil 6. The camera moves around like crazy, with a motion-blur making turning a nuisance. Not to mention it's far too zoomed in for Chris's campaign that requires a lot of shooting and manoeuvring in closed space.
The camera in previous Resident Evil games had the character take up about a 6th of the screen, in Resident Evil 6 it's raised to a 4th or maybe even a 5th when standing around. This is a big-big problem. I'll be perfectly honest, I could not finish Chris' demo stage, why? Because I could not see what I was doing and then I was dead. I'm sorry Capcom, this might work for some people, but I sure hope you include two more things to your "Classic" settings (once again, later), and that's a always-behind-character-camera (Like 5 had) and the choice to have it slightly zoomed out. There's other stuff I want, but those two are the only things I find necessary to be able to enjoy the game.
So let's talk the style of of Chris's campaign. First off, the enemies are cool as hell, shoot off their arm? It grows into a monster arm like Birkin in Resident Evil 2. Shoot off their legs? Hah, now he's got a wasp-like flying thing for a behind like the flying critters in Resident Evil 5. It's a neat concept, and makes fighting them very fun and creative WHEN YOU CAN SEE THINGS PROPERLY SO THAT YOU CAN FIGHT.
As for other parts? I like the setting, but the dialogue and the dude-bro-yo style trying to be Gears of War doesn't work, it's annoying. And I like Gears of War, don't get me wrong, but if you thought Gears of War was a tad too much with its over the top testosterone-filled talk? This is forty times worse in every way conceivable, further proving my point that Chris should have sat out Resident Evil 6, he's not supposed to be in even-numbered ones anyway.
Part 3: Jake's Campaign
I played as: Sherry
Now this was a middle-ground that was needed after Chris. Jake's campaign is much more in the style of Resident Evil 4 than the others, keeping a clear taste of horror in mind while trying to do something new with it. I played as Sherry because I refuse to accept Wesker Jr's existence as of yet (still butthurt). and she was very fun to play as. You're chased by a big baddie throughout the demo, and I know what you're thinking right now, Nemesis, right?
Well no, it's not really like Nemesis. It plays more like the Berserker from Gears of War (I keep coming back to that game) but without the Berserker being blind. It's fun, it's tense and I can bet will be a whole lot of fun in co-op (Unfortunately I was not able to try co-op at this time). Thanks to the slightly more open-enviroments the camera and controls were not as much of a nuisance.
They even had a part where the camera was at a forced angle, which made me happy. You run from the big chasing mofo in the beginning of the demo in what looks like a typical QTE sequence, but it's not, it's a full on proper chase. Too bad it didn't last very long, only going on for about 10-20 seconds or so. Speaking of that, I did not see any non-grapple QTE in this game as of yet, that's cool.
What I did see was the ability to do stealth-takedowns if the enemies had not seen you yet, maybe not very fitting, but cool nonetheless. I don't really have much more to say about Jake's part, I liked it, it was fun. But I think it's time to talk about the demo as a whole.
I'll be honest, I'm hyped again. This was fun, but Capcom MUST fix the camera and control problems in order to make this more accessible, they don't need to force it, just make it an option, it can't be hard to do. In fact, why not offer full Resident Evil 4 controls if you prefer it? Resident Evil 5 wasn't designed for that yet still had the option, same with Revelations. Choice is good, and if I want to aim around the screen with my laser-sight and not in the middle of the screen, I should have that choice. But maybe that's too much to ask, I don't know. The game offers "Classic" settings for Camera and aiming, but they are a bit misleading.
Classic Camera means you'll aim with the left-stick like in Resident Evil, but the game still has center-aim, making it not classic, but just switching the use of the two sticks while aiming. Classic Aiming means you get a laser-sight instead of a Crosshair, and THAT I am very thankful for, if it wasn't for one problem with the laser-sight. ow and then the game goes into forced perspective and expects you to act out shooting during them, but if you have laser-sight turned on, it doesn't work and just shows up as a crosshair, making it confusing when you're used to the laser-sight, not sure why it does that, hopefully it's a temporary bug of some sorts because of this being a early test demo.
If it wasn't for my camera and control problems (as in the actual problems I had, not my preferences) I would have been day-one-purchase-pre-order hyped on Resident Evil 6. Liking 2 out of 3 campaigns (based on what I've seen so far) is enough for me to be happy with it, I will definitely pick it up, if it'll be launch week though? Who knows, I've still not bought Operation Raccoon City, so there's no guarantee. But IF Capcom fixes my few problems, I'm there, day one. And that's a promise.
Once again, sorry Capcom, I should have waited to play the game before I lashed out against you. Now I'm going to finish that dinner I made before I played and wrote this.
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Yes, this means I'll be doing the Resident Evil run-through after all... But since a year has passed I'll have to rethink some of the rules.