Resident Evil 6: The Good, The Bad & The Boring
The Resident Evil 6 demo is a strange beast. Split into three segments, each with their own ‘feeling’, the demo feels like a patchwork quilt of sorts. It’s clear Capcom have listened to the fans when it comes to the criticisms surrounding Resident Evil 5. The problem is, in doing so things have become a little messy.
The trailer pretty much confirmed that Resident Evil 6 would contain three different protagonists each in their own story (which we assume will interweave with each other). The demo offers up all three characters (plus the supporting co-op character) each in a section lasting about 15-20 minutes each. With each character having their own game style (you could go as far as saying genre) Capcom run the risk of spoiling Resident Evil 6 by potentially poorly executing one character’s portion of the game.
First up is Leon, complete with ridiculously inconvenient fringe. His style of gameplay is Capcom’s attempt to recapture the tension and atmosphere of the original trilogy while combing it with the fast paced nature of Resident Evil 4 and 5. Throughout Leon’s demo, the tension and atmosphere is laid on thick. The demo opens with Leon taking down the infected president, from there Leon’s time in the limelight begins, zombies and all.
The dark booming corridors only occasionally illuminated by sudden flashes of lighting create a creepy and mysterious mood. It’s very reminiscent of both the Police station of Resident Evil 2 and the Spencer Mansion. Kudos does go to Capcom for designing a fantastic setting that really delivers a sense of going ‘back to the good old day’s’. Leon is accompanied Helena Harper (and no you wont learn anything much about her in the demo) who doesn’t really make much of an impression other than just being there for a co-op option.
The demo doesn’t really have a whole lot of action for Leon to participate in, instead it feels like this is just Capcom trying to deploy some fan service. After the setting dressing is showed off, Leon and Helena bump into a distressed survivor who is in search of his daughter. Leon, being the gentle soul he is, agrees to help the survivor find his daughter amidst the chaos. From here the demo begins to lead the player on a slow paced journey sprinkled with booming noises and jump scares.
While jump scares are the cheapest way to scare, Capcom do use them in restrained manner allowing them not to feel overused. After finding the daughter the demo puts the player on yet another slow paced walk around the level. At this point things get a little bit frustrating at just how slow the demo is becoming.
Sure it’s nice that Capcom are trying to bring back the tension and atmosphere of past Resident Evil titles but the pace in which this demo goes at its frustrating. The last five minutes of the demo sees something happen (finally) with a rather close encounter in a elevator. The demo ends with a brief encounter with a large group of zombies, this allows the player to test out the ‘core combat’ of Resident Evil 6. The over the shoulder aim works just as well as it has in Resident Evil 4 and 5 only this time it feels a little more sensitive.
Leon has some moves which feel rather out of place given the pace of the demo, a backwards dive being one of them. The zombies take quite a bit of punishment, they will often hit the ground only to start crawling over to grab the player. Watching the zombies crawling towards you is a nice touch and adds a little extra element of danger to the game.
Overall the encounters with zombies in the demo are a little light on the ground, the gameplay is decent (if not a little too quick time event heavy) but does have a few issues. Leon’s demo feels more like chance for Capcom to show off the environment while proving they still know how to create a atmosphere. The only major issue with the demo is the awful screen tearing which is present throughout the demo.
It’s hard to really pass a definitive judgement on Leons demo due to the nature of it. The controls are never really put into practice nor is there much ‘showing off’ of the game, bar some visuals and audio use. By the end of the demo I was left feeling a little underwhelmed yet strangely interested in the prospect of the game. Leon’s section is nothing more than Capcom trying to show they can still create a atmosphere, its not the wrong thing to do but it does result in rather unsatisfying demo.
The Chris Redfield portion of the demo is a bit of a mess. The demo opens with a cutscene of Chris hitting a bar, he has clearly hit the over used ‘turned to drinking’ character trait. To avoid story spoilers I’ll jump straight into the beef of the demo. Simply put Chris Redfields demo is nothing more than a run and gun experience. Again a side character is added for the means of co-op play.
It plays at a much faster pace than both Resident Evil 4 and 5 which results in what feels like a rather generic third person shooter. If it wasn’t for the familiar character of Chris you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a totally different game. The demo takes place in a urban area during a shoot-out with a number of BOWS (Bio Organic Weapon).
One of the first issues to rear its ugly head is some erratic enemy AI. More often than not enemies will seemingly just wonder around the area while Chris is engaging them. The enemies tend to favour ranged combat, this brings up the second flaw in the demo. Given the game’s more loose and faster paced nature of gameplay things begin to feel rather ‘cover based shooter’ styled.
The problem with this is the is cover system, or lack thereof, resulting in the gameplay feeling rather at ends with its self as the player tries to awkwardly stand behind scenery to avoid enemy fire.
The demo lacks any sense of build up and instead just throws the player into a quick run around rooftops, shooting at some rather stupid enemies. Problems also arise in the shape of how weapon switching is handled. While switching from a primary weapon to a secondary is easy enough, using grenades and the like is a frustrating affair.
Chris kneels down on one knee and a dial appears on the screen, the player scrolls through the dial to find the grenade they wish to use, they must then select and confirm that they want to equip it. The problem is while in this menu the game is still going on thus leaving Chris vulnerable to attacks. The fiddly inventory system simply does not fit in the fast paced gameplay what so ever. The controls are decent enough, if not a little bit too sensitive in terms of aiming (something which can be changed via options).
The Chris demo, on the whole, isn’t that good. The gameplay doesn’t match up to some of the design choices implemented into the game. The combat doesn’t feel very satisfying and the enemies are nothing more than the Las Plagas commandos you’ve already faced in the past two games now.
The overall execution of the demo feels a little lop sided and struggles to make a real impact. Visuals are adequate but never reach beyond that, and the screen tearing is more obvious in this section of the demo compared to the other two parts. While Leon’s section was slow paced and full of atmosphere (even though nothing really happens) it had at least created a identity for itself. The Chris section feels more like a rather generic shooter than stumbles more often than it glides.
The Jake section (aka Baby Wesker) doesn’t really add much other than a quick chase sequence and a boss battle. The co-op character glued onto Jake’s side is none other than Sherry Berkin. This section of the demo doesn’t do a whole lot to sell Resident Evil 6. What it does do is show that Jake is unfunny and his one liners are both blunt and irritating.
The gameplay is pretty much the same as the Chris demo with things being very action heavy and fast paced. The brief chase sequence is a bit flat and lacks any real impact or polish. Set pieces need to maker a impact but unfortunately this chase sequence feels somewhat shoe horned in. The creature design is quite fresh however (there isn’t a name attached to the creature in this section of the demo) thanks to a new twist on typical Resident Evil bosses.
The core of the demo is nothing more than running around a large square room while avoiding charging attacks from the boss. Things are slightly spiced up with the addition of the rather aimless additional enemies but other than that its a straight up hit and move scenario.
It’s not a thrilling experience but it does provide a solid enough encounter to play through. It does become slightly tiresome when you find yourself repeating the same tactic only for the demo to end somewhat abruptly.
All three section sections have a number of flaws which result in a few worries for the full release. The Leon section really doesn’t show enough to allow a decent opinion to be made (or even speculation) on his segment. The use of lighting and visuals is promising but other than that Leon’s section is still shrouded in mystery.
The other two sections of the demo come off as rather under-cooked. The gameplay doesn’t really feel all that defined, or even satisfying. Sure its only a demo, but at this stage Resident Evil 6 seems to continue the trend of Resident Evil games getting progressively worse. It’s not a terrible demo, but its also not a great demo. The terrible screen tearing will be unforgivable if it somehow makes it into the full release.
The scariest thing about Resident Evil is how progressively worse its becoming.