“Resident EEVVIILL!” , is stated cryptically when you first start the game, and instantly I am perked up and excited for some Resident Evil action. Capcom has hooked up with Slant Six Games to release yet another title in the long running franchise. The original two titles in the franchise were released in 1996 (R.E.1) and 1998 (R.E.2), and have been claimed by millions to be two of the greatest games ever made. Any release in this franchise line is sure to draw immense amounts of survivor horror followers. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City however has changed the formula, being a third person, squad based shooter with a survival horror feel. The main menu pops up after you hit start, and it has the looks of a classic Resident Evil game. When starting the campaign, you can choose your character and see that there is the ability to unlock other weapons and goodies (Still excited for action!). The characters each have their own specialties which include surveillance, recon, medic, field scientist, demolition, and assault. Being a squad based game, it is probably wise to choose your teammates accordingly. This is a review of the single player campaign only, but there are options to have friends or other online gamers join your squad if you want back up or assistance.
The CGI in the opening scene is beautiful and reminds me of Resident Evil 2’s cinematics. Once it breaks to a cut scene before you start your mission I notice that a lot of detail was put into the characters. I did notice however that shadowing under my teammate’s chin was very pixilated. The characters seemed to have been pasted over the background and not blended in (or the background is just not as well done). Another thing I noticed was that the voice acting was pretty cheesy, but I wasn’t expecting Oscar performances.
I was surprised to find that the hit detection and aiming was pretty well done. The guns seemed responsive when firing and reloading times seemed perfect. Your secondary weapon actually feels like a secondary compared to other games (Call of Duty, cough cough), firing slower and having less damage. The cover system is well done as well from your character’s standpoint, the enemies cover system however is horrible. Enemies were taking cover, sounds normal right?, but I could still see them or their asses hanging out the side of a crate. Ammo and item pick ups were hard to see, being small beams of light that just looked like wall illuminations. Once you cleared out a room from up top, you were prompted to drop down (I would have rather had stairs) and the movement to jump over the barricade and down to the lower level was not fluid and happened in a frantic motion that had me saying “what the hell”. It literally looked like I teleported down a floor each time I attempted to jump down. The teammate AI is useless to put it blunt. They didn’t take down a single enemy, from what I could tell, and when I was injured they never came to my aid. Also, there would be long corridors (I was the Demolition “shotgun guy” class) with enemies posted up at the end, and I would have to advance and take damage because my squad wouldn’t move. The Hunk from R.E. 2 was there to guide you through your mission and follows your squad, but the hell is the point if he does nothing. One thing I noticed often was that, even though he was running with your squad, he would be on the other side of doors that you had to open. It had me wondering how could this have happened? The running looks cool, but I found it hard to control once you were in full stride. Also, there were instances where you were prompted to run from an enemy but had no way to turn around to book it. You just had to back up and hope you would make it before the monsters or soldiers got to you. This made for some long and frustrating missions.
It is good to see that Capcom is still pumping out games in the awesome franchise, but does this entry in the franchise spell doom for titles to come? Lets hope not. The small amount of “shining light” that does come from the game have been overshadowed by the major flaws that leave this game way more frustrating than enjoyable. I went into playing this game expecting a rewarding experience, but was left with a sour taste in my mouth. Only the die hard fan of the series should give this a look, but don’t be surprised when you are yelling at the TV as you exit out and pop in another game.