Wow. Resident Evil 6 was a long game. It’s made of four campaigns you can play in any order, and they are four self-contained, yet interconnected stories and each plays pretty different. It’s almost like four separate games (well, three and a half). And, as usual, the story was intriguing while the dialogue was super-cliched. And, once again, the graphics were great; since the Gamecube, the Resident Evil people seem to be able to push a little extra out of one’s system graphics wise. Oh, and this is like the first Resident Evil in about a decade to actually have zombies in it.
So why was it so disappointing?
Now, once again I need to mention that Resident Evil 4 was one of the greatest games ever made. Resident Evil 5, while seeming a lot like number 4, was just vaguely disappointing. And this one followed even more in that path, somehow getting further from whatever it was that made 4 so great.
Here’s the problems I could identify:
* First and biggest, they completely neutered the whole weapon portion of the game. One of the joys of 4 was that there was different weapons to try (giving more reasons to play through again) and that you got to upgrade those weapons and become more powerful as the game progressed. This one got rid of that entirely as you now only get certain weapons during the campaign and there is no upgrading them. The only advancement your character gets are three skills you can buy with skill points and have active, but that feels less like constant advancement because often you’ll be trading in more of a lateral move (like trade higher defense for more weapon damage). Plus, the good ones take a lot of saving up to get to so you might be buying new ones pretty seldom. Anyway, this part was a huge step backwards.
* The game is very linear. 4 had some big areas you could explore and backtrack through. 5 had less of that. 6 pretty much gets rid of that entirely. It’s much more like a movie, and it has lots of scripted events constantly pushing you in one direction. I really miss the exploring and hunting for treasure which is almost gone entirely.
* The inventory limitations were annoying. That’s always been so in Resident Evil, but it felt more so in this one where eventually you’re deciding whether to keep reloads for a weapon or have room to pick up two herbs and mix them. And some of it is so arbitrary; for instance, you can keep around a 125 round of handgun ammo in one slot but only 60 of rifle rounds that your automatic rifle will quickly burn through. Plus, I really miss the inventory system of 4 where things took up slots based on size and you could make more logical choices of what to keep (and sell off what you didn’t want). Of course, for that, you’d need to be able to pause to go into inventory, and that doesn’t work for coop.
* Stop building Resident Evil around coop! They started that with 5, and I thought they would have learned their mistake. It’s just stupid to have to fit in two players constantly and it must really shackle the game designers in what they can do. One campaign is built around having just one player, but they do allow a second magical coop character if you’re one of those people in love with coop in Resident Evil games. And if you are, you’re worse than Hitler.
* The save system is horrible. You see “Checkpoint Reached” pretty constantly, but that only applies to your current game. If you want to keep your progress, you have to wait until you get to a section where “Saving” appears (you see that each time you restart after dying, but that one doesn’t count). These save section can be like twenty minutes or more of game time between them. Was this game made in the 1990s? Twenty minutes between checkpoints is just unconscionable these days. Allow someone to stop the game and pick it back up again wherever; we have the technology, people.
Also, I just miss the typewriter areas from 4 and previous. You’d be fighting for your life and then have this little respite when you’d hear the save room song. That’s a big thing to be missing.
I have a few other gripes (like the same button being used for both shooting your gun and melee which seemed clunky), but they seem minor. The issue is that Resident Evil 4 was one of the greatest games ever, and this one was okay but forgettable and I’m trying to understand why. Come on, Capcom. Figure this out and finally make a worthy follow up to 4 next time.