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Greetings. I am the Illusive One. For many years now I have been a huge video game player, movie viewer, and book reader. For almost as long, I have been a critic of these things and many people respect my opinions of these things and have often said I belong on G4 doing reviews on X-Play or a similar show. Sadly that is not likely to happen. So instead I shall do reviews for you, uninfluenced by other reviewers, of video games books, movies, and, occasionally, music and political actions. I hope you find this informative and helpful. Thank you for your time.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Resident Evil 6

            Well, everyone, at long last it’s time for me to do a full review of a video game.  It has been way to long sense I’ve done one and I decided to a review of one of the latest game of one of my favorite franchises, Resident Evil.  For those of you who aren’t aware, the Resident Evil series is a franchise that focuses on a group of heroes who are constantly fighting the bio-terrorist actions of the Umbrella Corporation.  Now, I openly admit that I missed out on the first few games of the franchise, as I was really too young to play any of them.  Not that I was scared by them or my parents wouldn’t allow me to play them, but from what you’ve seen of my favorite video game list, around the time these games were released I was in to simpler games like Spyro and Star Fox and wouldn’t have enjoyed the difficulty factor of those games.  However, that all changed when I got my hands on Resident Evil 4 and holy hot damn was that one good!  The gameplay was challenging, the boss fights were incredible, the protagonists were likeable and the villains were menacing.  If I had one major complaint against it, it’s that the storyline wasn’t very complex and almost insultingly simple.  But in spite of that it’s actually one of my all-time favorite games and only just missed my Top 15 list and if I had to rate it today I would probably give it 8.75 out of 10.  After playing the game I very became very well versed in the characters and storylines of the series, reading all of the wiki articles I could find and watching all the play throughs of the games on YouTube.  In other words, I was hooked and have considered myself a moderate fan of the series ever sense.   
            Resident Evil 5, on the other hand, didn’t fare so well for me.  Just about everything that was good in 4 was dumbed down in 5.  Our main protagonist was not as interesting, nor were his relationships with the people around him.  The gameplay was dumbed down, making it far less difficult with ammo in abundance and felt more like action horror then it did survival horror.  And then we had Wesker.  Oh dear God, what a cheesy villain.  To put it simply, he came off like Agent Smith’s, (the villain from The Matrix Trilogy), less talented brother who was trying to prove himself and his actually goal was beyond cartoonish, (something that they actually poke fun at in the game).  But in spite of all of this I still liked the game and found it enjoyable.  I consider it to be among sequels like Iron Man 2 that are still good, but are prime examples of how a sequel can and will take a step backwards if you’re not careful.  If I was rating it today I would give it 7.75 out of 10.
            Now as we all know in the years since, Capcom has developed something of a…controversial reputation to put it lightly and has been subject to a huge amount of criticism and fan backlash over their Day One disk locked DLC practices, games that are just half-assed in many areas, and flat out lying to their customers regarding their games’ capabilities and often make you pay for an enhanced addition of said game to have these problems fixed.  The list of their bullshit just goes on and on.  And I am sad to say, Resident Evil 6 is just the latest in their line of colossal fuck ups.  Now I am going to keep this article as professional as possible, (but given the amount of cursing that I’ve already done that doesn’t seem likely), and do a proper review of this game, pointing out all of its pros and cons.  Just don’t be surprised if I start ranting on how certain things about how this game sucks and how it feels like a sell-out of a once great franchise, etc., etc.  So I present to you The Illusive One’s Review of Resident Evil 6.

The Plot

            Where do I even begin?  I mean, the series was never exactly Inception with its storylines but this…Ok I guess I should start with the “larger” plot.  It’s basically the same as the first few games and the crappy Paul W.S. Anderson films; Umbrella is attacking the world with mutating viruses, apparently being led by Ada Wong, and it’s up to a handful of people to stop them.  Oh, I’m sorry.  It’s Neo-Umbrella that’s doing this.  That alone just raises so many questions.  Like, what the hell is this organization?  Why do they call themselves this?  What are their goals?  Why the hell are they launching attacks all over the world?  How and why do they keep developing viruses that basically do the same thing but react radically differently depending on the person?   Now some of these questions do get answered, but often they just confuse the hell out of you and are so obviously aimed at the movie audience of the recent zombie trend that it just feels like a complete sell out, is utterly boring and underwhelming, and fails to grab you attention in any way.
            But then we have the individual storylines and this is one of those things where you will just ask “what the hell were they thinking?”  For starters you have to play each campaign individually that will start at one point, but all of the campaigns end at the same time, ensuring massive spoilers for the other campaigns.  It seemed like they were trying to go for a sort of Vantage Point style but it just doesn’t work at all and even once you have beaten all the storylines, the overall plot isn’t satisfying and still leaves you confused as all hell.  After playing the first campaign, I immediately started to wonder why they didn’t just have it all as one continuous story where the point of view shifted.  Maybe it’s because other games that tried that were commercial and critical failures.  OH WAIT!  THEY WEREN’T!  They did it in Transformers: War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron, and Batman: Arkham City and it worked like a charm!  Hell, even Capcom did it with Resident Evil 3 and Coder Veronica and from what I gathered it worked pretty well there to!  So I have to ask, WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING CAPCOM?!?!?!?!  GOD!
            Anyway, most of the individual storylines suffer from the exact same thing as the overall story; they aren’t well written, are uninteresting and boring.  For starters, Leon’s campaign just drops you in the middle of everything where he is in the middle of another zombie attack and has to kill the president who has become one.  Apparently a very high level official is responsible for the attack and throughout most of the campaign you are trying to take said official down who is laying the responsibility of the president’s death at your hands.  And, while these are great ideas for a story, it doesn’t work, due to poor pacing and completely failing to take advantage of the ideas.  You could have based an entire game around the protagonists trying to take this guy down while killing zombies and his goons and they just fail to do so.  It also doesn’t help that the main characters are completely unlikable but we’ll get to that in a minute.
            Chris’ storyline fares a little better.  Most of it focuses on Chris as he hunts Ada who is apparently responsible for the death of his BSAA team.  While it’s still incredibly confusing when playing without the others, it somewhat works, due to the development Chris goes through.  Unfortunately it’s still not very interesting until you get towards the end and they fail to invest you in the story.  It also doesn’t help that his storyline is also relatively stock for a soldier.  A guy suffering from survivor’s guilt finds his way back to fight his old enemies?  I mean come on!
            The one shining light in this entire cluster fuck is Jake’s storyline.  He happens to be a mercenary who is immune to the C-Virus, (the virus of this game), and the government needs his blood in order to make a vaccine.  His campaign actually works because of the two main characters of it, (more on that later) and because of a reoccurring villain who just won’t die and is the highlight of this game’s storyline.  But again, if you just play this storyline you’ll still be confused as all hell without the others and the latter reason for it being so good was ripped straight out RE3 so make of that what you will.
            There is also an additional campaign that answers some the questions you will inevitably have at each campaign’s ending but this one is just as dull and uninteresting as Leon’s.
            So in conclusion, the storylines for this game just suck.  Jake’s storyline is ok, but it’s an all-around terrible, confusing plot with really bad storytelling and just makes you wonder just what the hell Capcom was thinking.

The Characters

            Then we have the characters and they are almost as bad as the plot, (and in some cases worse).  Now in Leon’s campaign the four big characters are Leon, newcomer Helena, Ada Wong, and the villain Derek Simmons and this is where you get the biggest betrayal of the entire series.  For you Resident Evil 4 fans, do you remember how Leon was this upbeat, likable, snarky hero who constantly threw out cheesy one liners?  Yea…that character doesn’t exist anymore.  Now he’s this unlikable, brooding, douchebag who comes off as some emo hero from bad JRPG without a personality.  I mean, it’s unbelievable how badly they fucked this guy up.  Now you could make the argument that all the stuff that he’s been through has damaged his formerly sunny deposition.  But, I would make the counter argument that he went through RE2, a situation that I would argue that was a lot more hellish, and was still a likeable hero in RE4.  This sudden shift in his personality just really doesn’t make any sense and comes off as a complete betrayal of the character.  All I can say on this is FUCK YOU CAPCOM!
            Ada Wong fares a little better and her storyline actually does have some decent twists but is still a little to brooding for my taste.  Actually, her role in this game brings up a question that’s been bugging me for a while and has only been made worse by this game; why the hell is Leon still not over Ada?  I mean this woman has betrayed and tried to kill you on several occasions and is a terrorist apparently responsible for all the recent C-Virus outbreaks.  I mean, GOOD GOD MAN!  GET OVER HER!  SHE IS CLEARLY NOT GOOD FOR YOU!  THERE ARE PLENTY OF OTHER GOOD LOOKING WOMEN IN THIS SERIES TO HOOK UP WITH! USE YOUR HEAD MAN!!!  God!  It really pisses me off when characters are stupid in storylines and this is just Leon’s stupidity at its highest.
            With newcomer Helena, there really isn’t much to say.  She doesn’t really bring anything new to the table and is one of the Resident Evil characters that will probably be forgotten about in the long term.  Then we have our main villain of Leon’s campaign, Derek Simmons and oh dear God does this guy suck.  I mean, he makes Wesker from RE5 look like Hannibal Lector in comparison.  He has no charm, no charisma and no menace and calling him a one dimensional villain would be an insult to one dimensional villains.  This guy JUST SUCKS.
            Again, in the character department Chris fares a little better.  For one thing, unlike Leon his character has a personality and any changes his character experiences is explainable due to events within the game, going from reluctant soldier, to a crazed leader who wants revenge, back to a man who wants to serve the world by doing what he does best.  But even still his character is pretty unlikable and it would have been far more effective if the BSAA agents he lost under his command were characters from previous games as opposed to the anonymous flunkies that they just introduce for the sake of killing off.  It’s the kind of thing that smart writers just don’t do any more.
            Like Helena in Leon’s campaign, newcomer Piers doesn’t really offer anything new and you get about as attached to him as you do Billy from Expendables 2, (in other words you don’t).  As a villain, Ada is a much more effective and menacing antagonist then Simmons and truly feels like the kind of villain that I would expect from this series.  The only problem is that you will be extremely confused by her actions if you play Leon’s campaign first and her deal is only explained in the bonus campaign.  All around, not as bad as the characters in Leon’s but are still relatively underwhelming.
            And once again, our main shining light comes from Jake’s campaign in the character department.  Newcomer Jake Muller actually has a personality, is interesting, likable, and charismatic and just comes off as a cool guy.  Plus he is probably the only character that I know of who could take down a nine foot, 800 pound B.O.W. with his bare hands.  This guy is just sweet.  Sherry likewise is a likeable character and the chemistry between the two actually helps move the storyline along and you just can’t help but wish that the whole game was about the two of them.  It also seemed like they were trying to set up the next generation of RE heroes and if another game comes out that’s about the two of them, I’d actually be happy with that.  The only downside is that their character arcs move predictable ways and it will dilute from the experience.
            But still, Jake and Sherry aside, these characters just underwhelmed me.  Leon was a complete betrayal of what he was before, Ada was a mixed experience for me, Chris didn’t impress, Helena and Piers were forgettable, and Simmons was just a joke.  I mean what the hell happened?  I mean, the characters in the Resident Evil series were never Rockstar level of good, but this…this is just sad….

The Gameplay

            Now, after all of that, how well do you think the gameplay holds up?  Well, again this depends on who you play as and what you prefer in your gameplay style.  Unlike previous games you can actually move while shooting which is a change that I liked.  As usual with the series, the graphics look great, the enemy designs are fantastic and creative and the deaths are grotesque and interesting.  The combat in the game is intense and know how to get your heart pumping.  In terms of gameplay, Chris and Jake’s campaigns are the best as they fully embrace the action horror style that the developers clearly wanted to do and all of these things do bring the game up considerable and makes it playable and you’ll probably get around 25 hours of gameplay on a normal play-through.
            The problems really start to show in other areas.  For one thing, Mercenaries mode is exactly the same as it is in previous games and the control layout just sucks and will confuse the hell out of you until you get used to it.  Likewise the camera and aiming controls feel very clunky and awkward until you get used to them and to be honest I don’t think that I ever did.  It also happens to have one of the worst leveling systems that I have seen in a mainstream videogame in years and just has to be seen to be believed, as I honestly don’t know how to describe it.  Ammo is way too easy to get and for some reason there is an option to have unlimited ammo before you even beat the game.  The rest of the problems go hand in hand with the campaigning.  There is a laughable attempt to bring survival horror elements into Leon’s campaigning but it just fails and it’s clear that it’s still an action horror game and the last boss fight just goes on and on and on when it clearly should have been dead a long time ago.  And as mentioned before, the levels fail to keep you invested and often feel really padded, (which is terrible considering they average around an hour and a half in length).
            So in the end, the gameplay is what it is and even if it was fantastic it still wouldn’t change the fact that the levels are boring and the plot and character are completely fucked.

The Verdict

            I think that it’s pretty clear by now that I HATE this game.  There are some elements within it that makes it playable, particularly with Jake’s storyline but it was an all-around turd of a game and an insult to what was once a great franchise.  I was oblivious to a lot of Capcom’s practices mostly because none of those really hit home for me.  This one did and Capcom has gotten away with this crap long enough.  This is why I am asking people not to buy or play anything made by Capcom in any shape or form.  Capcom clearly does not care about its fans and has ignored all of us up until this point so we’re going to have to hit them where it hurts; their wallets.  We need to find a way to make the listen and this is the only way that I know of how.  Again, I am asking you all not to buy this product or any other product made by Capcom in any shape or form and encourage others to do the same until they shape up or go under.  We have got to show this company that they can no longer get away with this and that they either need to up their game or burn.  The choice is theirs and I hope you will all help me in making it happen. 

All Around

It’s time to hit Capcom where it hurts.

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