E3 2012: Resident Evil 6 Hands-On

Resident Evil 6 seems to be moving out of the survival-horror genre and into a more action-horror type setting (you can read fellow writer Josh Garibay’s view on the subject here). After playing as all three of the main characters (Leon, Jake and Chris) in their respective levels, I can safely say that it definitely is taking a step in a completely different direction. This could be good for those who like change but bad for those who liked the game the way it was.

The first demo that I played put me in the shoes of Leon at the beginning of the Tall Oaks zombie outbreak. The President has turned and is killed by long time friend Leon Kennedy. Upon gaining control of the character I instantly got an old-school Resident Evil feel. The slow pace and tense atmosphere really made for some excellent gameplay. That all changed once the action began. Leon has the ability to jump dodge, slide and shoot from prone. This is great when you actually have a reason to do these things. When you are fighting zombies it seems like it would be a dumb move to roll around on the ground with enemies moving about. He can also dual-wield guns which turns into a complete waste of ammunition. It wasn’t really a bad thing by any means, it was just really difficult to get used to. It felt as if all of the tension and scares that built up to that point were immediately watered down by the ability to perform Max Payne type actions.

Next up was the demo level for Chris Redfield, which was all action and no horror. This demo has you utilizing a cover system and gives you fully automatic weapons to mow down the hoards. The cover system is extremely out of place since the infected in the game will bum rush your hiding spot and leave you scrambling to disconnect from cover in order to draw a bead on your target. The coolest part of the demo was the evolving enemies. Enemies would grow new appendages based on where you shot them. Blow off the arms and they will grow tentacles out of the wounds. Shoot off their legs and a bat-like creature will sprout out and provide a new challenge. There were also a few parts which were too reminiscent of Uncharted where the character would have a near-death moment only to be saved at the last minute.

The final character that the demo allowed me to play as was Jake Muller, the son of Wesker who is an expert in hand-to-hand combat. This definitely shows in the demo when you will find yourself engaging your enemies up close rather than using your firearm. His episode had me fighting a mutated creature called the Ustanak which was full of thrills and tension. You must come to terms with the fact that this thing is near unbeatable and that you must rely on your skills and quick thinking to survive. His demo was my favorite just because it was practically like playing as Wesker with all the power he carries in his punches. On a side note: it would be extremely awesome to see a what if level where Wesker and Muller went head to head to see who comes out on top. Who knowns, we still may see it when the game releases on October 2, 2012.

All in all, I believe Resident Evil 6 will be a solid game that players will enjoy. Sure, it strays quite far from its roots but that seems to be a going trend nowadays. The gameplay is solid and the story will fill in more blanks that we must learn in order to complete the series. But hey, if it releases and you are still on the fence there is always the chance to rent it so you can complete the story or try it out to see if it is worth a buy.

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Richard Subia

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