Thanks to my generous Dragon's Dogma manual, I was finally able to get my hands on the Xbox 360 timed-exclusive Resident Evil 6 demo. I completed the single player before being joined by a good friend of mine, Don Cairo, for co-op. We played for about 3 hours so I feel like I was able to get a good grasp of the game's controls. In this blog post I will be primarily explaining the new gameplay mechanics and my impressions of the demo overall. I would much rather not discuss as to whether this game will please old-school Resident Evil fans or not. Let's just already admit that it won't, and that nothing Capcom does from now on ever will. I still love you all regardless.
The 838MB demo featured excerpts from the game's three campaigns, which star Leon Kennedy, Chris Redfield & Jake Muller. In addition to the main trio, you or a partner can play as Helena Harper, Piers Nivans or Sherry Berkin. Each campaign took us about 30 minutes to complete, providing that we went at a slow pace and explored almost everything. Seriously, go take a look at the donuts in the game, they're massive! Jonathan Holmes has already done a great job at explaining the differences between the campaigns, so I will just list his articles below to avoid being redundant.
I was generally pleased with how Capcom handled the presentation this time around. While this may be meaningless to some, I was immediately impressed by the menus and music compared to Resident Evil 4 & 5 as I booted up the demo. Each menu displayed a different backdrop as the camera zoomed to different scenes and characters while I clicked through them. As for the in-game graphics, the character models looked great but upon closer examination of many objects the textures were extremely muddy. Again, this is just me purposely nit-picking so I can be fair. It's not like you're going to stand around and look for these things all day... or are you? Anyways, the lighting was absolutely great, especially in Leon's sequence. I felt like it effectively captured the atmosphere that everyone wanted to return from the older RE titles.
One new obvious detail I noticed was that some characters now have their own unique HUDs, which I felt was an amazingly nice touch. For example: Leon and Helena use their cell phones to access the menu, display their health / ammo, while Chris uses some higher-tech BSAA gear. Sherry seemed to share Leon and Helena's HUD while Jake had his own device. On a random note, pausing no longer seems possible during actual gameplay. I remember a moment where I was actually attacked while pulling out my cell phone, even in single-player.
Now, finally, the gameplay mechanics! I'll try to go through this quickly since you've probably read about 50 different RE6 impressions by now. As shown on previous trailers, in addition to being able to move & shoot, you are now also able to slide across the ground. This is easily executed by holding A to sprint and then tapping LT. If you keep LT held down as you stop, you will be able to lie there and fire your weapon. You can also hold LT down, tilt in a certain direction and press A to dodge, roll forward onto the ground or even dive on your back. This was quite enjoyable and fluid to execute.
You can now also manually switch your character's "dominant hand". This basically means that you can switch which side of the screen your character is on at anytime. You can also select a default position from the option menu. For example: In Resident Evil 5, Chris was always on the left side of the screen while it was vice versa with Sheva. Again, some people may not care about this but it certainly helped me when my character was blocking my view.
Every character still has his/her own unique melee attacks, which are now limited by a stamina bar. Before I continue, I have to note that melee attacks are now separate from your melee weapons and are executed with a tap of the RT (without aiming). When the stamina bar is depleted, you can still weakly hit enemies but you should generally back off and recover before continuing. I was unable to kill an enemy with melee while in this weakened state. Whether melee is incredibly important in the game, I can't tell just yet. I was able to maintain my ammo supply quite easily, but this is very dependent on the player.
In regards to the melee weapons, which are now items that you must equip, they seem pretty much the same as before. Leon has a combat knife, Sherry has a stun rod, Jake has his fists, etc; in addition to their standard melee attacks. Switching between standard melee attacks and weapon strikes was fluid and simple. One example would be that, as Sherry, I did a spinning heel kick to the enemy and immediately was able to execute him with my stun rod as he hit the ground. Compared to RE5, this was certainly as, if not more, enjoyable.
One minor concern I have with the revised melee is that it is now potentially too powerful. You no longer have to shoot an enemy in a specific spot to daze them in order to execute an attack. Before you say anything, this is much more powerful than the knifing done in the older titles. You can literally just run up to a zombie with Leon: kick, roundhouse kick of death, the end. Again, this is based on a demo running on normal difficulty, which I couldn't change. I'm sure it's nowhere as abusable on higher difficulties so I'll have faith for now.
The game now features regenerative health. Before you freak out, I need to explain that it isn't all bad. You are not able to regenerate to full health, only the bar that you're currently on. For example: Chris has 6 bars of health in the demo. If you lose 2 1/2, you are only able to regenerate up to the 4th bar until you use one of the new herb tablets. I completely understand fans' concerns with this though, but I just want to reiterate that it's not as bad as you might think. Again, people that want a challenge can just play on Professional or whatever the mode will be named. Another new mechanic is that when you are downed, you can slowly crawl and fire your weapon as your partner attempts to revive you.
Overall, I found the demo to be very enjoyable and the new mechanics were quite fluid to execute. The movement did not feel clunky as I would have thought, and it's a massive improvement over Resident Evil 5. I did mention some things that I was worried about, but I feel that with some polish & tweaking that Capcom can fix them. Again, I don't necessarily expect my post to convince disgruntled fans to buy the game or not. I just wanted to give everyone my simple impressions. For those of you that are excited for this game, I hope this post helped.
This was my first ever blog post on Destructoid and I hope you guys enjoyed reading it! Please feel free to leave any constructive comments below on how you think I could improve my work. Thank you and I look forward to writing more for you all in the future!