You have to commend a publisher when they’re confidant enough to give gamers a chance to play thirty minutes of gameplay several months in advance of a title’s release. It’s even more commendable, when you do it twice, across three distinct character campaigns – with new levels each time. Top it off with the knowledge that the development team actually listened to and acted on preview complaints about inversion controls, and I’ll be the first to raise a glass to toast the Resident Evil 6 development team. Now, if only the cover system can be upgraded, I’d be in bliss.
For those who don’t know, Resident Evil 6 features three distinct campaigns bundled into one game. Perhaps you’d expect for graphics or combat to be sacrificed, but from our initial previews, animations are fluid, textures are crisp and gameplay is as good as you would expect from the Resident Evil franchise. The Comic Con preview updated gameplay allowing players to invert the reticle, invert camera (looking), and player position on screen has been altered so that the character no longer obscures the camera. Gamers can also turn off the HUD and in-game hints as well as adjust the color of the laser sight.
The two best campaigns to play through are that of Leon S. Kennedy and Chris Redfield. Leon’s campaign holds to the classic ResEvil gameplay. The new level once again has your character scouring through a building’s interior with partner Helena Harper. It’s easily the most intriguing story arc in the game so far. The president has become infected, he’s you’re best friend and now you’ve got to deal with it. Now, that’s a high stakes story that I can dig into.
The first E3 demo, focused a lot on story. I easily spent ten to fifteen minutes shifting between searching, in-game cut scenes and a few sparse moments of combat. The latest build showed off at Comic Con focused more on combat. You’ve got your handgun at your side and the ability to ask partner Helena to come in for backup, however, most gamers will enjoy the kick-ass three-kick combos. After delivering a side and roundhouse kick, your third kick will knock a zombie’s head clean off. This is the traditional gameplay we love. However, the up-close-and-personal combat has more of a WWE feel to it. If you sneak up behind a zombie, you’ll grab him by his neck and do a wrestling move worthy of the Hardy Boys’ legendary “twist of fate”. There is also marked improvement to aim sensitivity as well as the player’s ability to do a quick turn.
Chris Redfield’s gameplay falls more in line with your traditional combat shooter. Redfield is partnered with Piers Nivans. The E3 build focused on night scenes. The latest demo shown at Comic Con features a daytime scene, which involves a giant boss battle. You’ll target the red puss on the enemy’s back, before going in for a cinematic action. Unfortunately, the cover system is still a little quirky and hard to control. While you can jump over objects at your leisure, you can’t really dive for cover or stick to a wall and shoot out from cover without much difficulty using the game’s automatic cover.
Chris’ frenetic combat is great and the lack of ammo everywhere keeps the game challenging. You’ll want to save your bullets for your handgun and semi-automatic rifles. Delivering the three-kick combo is even better in Chris’ missions. When you’re running up a staircase, you’ll kick twice, curb stomp, shoot a zombie in the head and curb stomp again. The action moves at a fast pace, distinctly different from Leon’s slow-paced missions. Yet, it still feels like a Resident Evil game, unlike Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. For Prototype fans, you’ll see a familiar kind of enemy. There is a zombie whose hand mutates like Alex Mercer; it usually happens after you shoot the zombie twice in the head. Then, the mutated arm will turn into a shield. If you find yourself on the floor, the zombie will stab the bottom of his shield into your body. It’s great to look at but sucks if you’re on the receiving end.
Resident Evil 6 hits PS3 and Xbox 360 on October 2, 2012.