Resident Evil 6
|Platform: XBox360, PS3,
XBoxOne, PS4, Switch & PC
|Genre: Michael Bay’s
Transformers: The Game
Playable Character: Leon Kennedy & Helena Carter, Chris Redfield & Piers Nivans, Jake Muller & Sherry Burkin, and Ada Wong.
Resident Evil 6 shamelessly indulges in every imaginable action movie cliché while simultaneously checking off every single game design sin—both ad nauseam—culminating in the most abhorrent, atrocious, unbearable, and obnoxious video game ever created.
This prompt indicates a cooperative action, usually involving doors that arbitrarily require two people to open, pairs of levers to pull, helping a partner to a higher platform, and most obnoxiously: continuing a “touching” cutscene that was already playing.
Review by Jay Wilson
If I had to summarize Resident Evil 6 in one word, that word would be: overkill. This is a game where in the very first chapter of Jake/Sherry’s campaign, you fight not one but two building-sized monsters—one of which gets air dropped into the action—and those two are only the mid-bosses. In a good game, the building-sized monsters would be something you save and build up to, maybe show hints in the form of experiment reports or maybe you fight smaller versions that haven’t matured yet. Maybe you intercept enemy chatter that the bad guys have “something big” up their sleeve. This not only inspires anxiety during the leadup, but also gives the reveal a sense of weight and impact and makes the player say, “Holy crap! How the hell am I going to deal with that?” However, by making these guys the first throwaway mid boss, Resident Evil 6 proudly declares that it’s just throwing everything at the wall, hoping something sticks. Then it doubles down by making the actual chapter one boss a mini-Nemesis named Ustanak who you fight in a transport helicopter, trying to prevent him from breaking in as it flies over the countryside. Then you shoot at the three enemy attack helicopters he hangs from who are firing missiles that literally travel too slow to stay airborne, but then again, how else are you supposed to shoot said missiles out of the sky with your turrets? Pray tell, how exactly are you supposed to escalate from a helicopter hopping unkillable half-man/half-tractor without becoming silly?
As if that spectacle for the sake of spectacle isn’t enough, let’s talk about Leon/Helena’s chapter one adventure. They escape from a university campus in a police car, but Leon crashes the car. It rolls over several times and bursts into flames. They make it downtown where a car crashes, a motorcycle crashes, another car crashes through a flaming barricade, yet another car backs up and crashes, an ambulance crashes, then another ambulance crashes, and finally a gas station explodes—oh and by the way, the first car and both ambulances can kill you—and at the end you get on a bus where you have to wait until the opening cutscene of chapter two before it crashes (and then a semi crashes into the crashed bus, knocking it off a cliff).
This face-in-the-wall boss literally cannot hurt you. It spawns one minion on Normal difficulty and two minions on Professional; however, one spawn location is in the ceiling where it can’t reach you, and you can blow the other minion’s headoff and it’ll stick around but won’t do anything.
You can find and pick up chess pieces which offer experience points that you can spend inbetween chapters on things like steadying your eternally wandering laser sight, being able to survive more than two hits, and making your guns worth a damn.
The directional pad activates the weapon select (shown). Left and right selects guns and melee weapons. Up and down selects granade weapons and first aid spray. Pressing Y opens up your inventory (not shown) to manage herbs and ammo. You can then put herbs in their own special inventory (capsules) so they don’t take up space in your normal inventory.
Serpent emblems are scattered throughout the game, some hidden, others in plain sight. Shooting them unlocks a goodie in the Extras menu, but when the game sucks this much no amount of collectibles or rewards will make you care.
These unkillable enemies always appear when you need to hunt down three or four items, they’re usually accompanied by extremely repetitive music, they sound like babies whining, and if they hit you the QTE and kill animation take for-frickin-ever.
Ada gets to fly a helicopter and Chris gets to fly a harrier jet for some boring air-to-air combat and some extremely boring domination of utterly defenseless ground forces.
Everything respawns in this game. Even these helicopters supporting Ustanak come back. You have to shoot them all down at the same time. Nothing can be simple. Nothing!
Everything—everything—has to be convoluted.
Now let me point out I’m only mentioning times a vehicle crashes and/or something explodes in the first ninety minutes of gameplay. There’s four other chapters after this and three other characters, each also sporting five-chapter campaigns. I’m not including those in my list. I’m also not including the time you push a dumpster off a platform onto a car, the two-and-a-half times you have to dodge trains in the subway, nor does this list include dramatic reveals like the fireman zombie swinging an axe at your character’s head, nor does it include a morbidly obese boss zombie bursting through a wall in slow motion, nor does it include things like the bus running over one of the three morbidly obese boss zombies. Furthermore, let me point out all this follows a fifteen-minute Prelude where a tanker trucks explodes, a harrier jet / tanker truck combo explodes (yes two different tanker trucks explode) which takes out an entire city block, plus a helicopter that almost crashes into a building, almost crashes into an elevated train, finally does crash into a building, and then its debris crashes through a skylight—again, fifteen minute prelude followed by a ninety-minute first chapter which feels like each and every checkpoint is trying to outdo the previous one.
And it doesn’t stop with action clichés. Let’s throw the “monster that won’t die” cliché into the mix as well. Jake and Sherry tangle with Ustanak five times—not counting the time you can only run from him, the ten minutes you spend sneaking past him, the two and a half QTE sessions with him, nor does it count when you blatantly repeat one of the battles from Leon/Helena’s point of view. Ada faces Ubistvo, a monster with a chainsaw for an arm, no less than twice—again not counting the time you can only run from him, the time and a half you have to snipe him while Jake/Sherry deal with him, and the two de facto QTE prompts to swoop in and save the day. Plus, I’m also not counting the three times you have to fight Ubistvo from Jake/Sherry’s perspective. I’m also being nice enough to count the battle on top of the bus and the battle on the train tracks as one multiphase fight because they happen back to back—that and half the battle is a de facto QTE fight and the whole thing is on a timer, but more on that later. The worst offender, by far, is Derek Simmons with whom you have four multipart marathon fights with as Leon/Helena (and two with Ada) where he transforms into a hell hound, a skeletal / tentacled-centaur thing, a tyrannosaurus rex, a fifty-foot giant fly, and in one phase he grows a scorpion tail. You fight him on top of a train, inside the train, on a parallel train, on the parallel train track, on the same train track. Then you fight him on foot, in a humvee, on foot again, and in a helicopter. Then you fight him halfway up a skyscraper, standing on an elevator, hanging from ropes (twice), and up to three times standing atop wind tunnels. Then you fight him on the roof of a skyscraper, in a window washer basket, on another section of the roof, and finally on a helipad. Now there’s nothing inherently wrong with action clichés or the “monster that won’t die” gimmick, especially in an action/horror game, but if you do anything repeatedly enough, it gets annoying. And Resident Evil 6 repeats this shit so many frickin’ times, that if each one was a text from a lover promising sex, it would still piss you off.
Now let’s talk about the excess of quicktime events. The battle with Ustanak in Jake/Sherry chapter two goes like this: press A by the door to start the QTE, circle the left analog stick to work the wheel, then press B to open the door and wait for the slow animation of your character opening the heavy door, entering the room, you partner entering the room, and your character closing the door. Do this three more times while Ustanak tries to break down the previous door. But we’re not done. Now Jake and Sherry come across a giant drilling vehicle. Rotate the left analog stick (for the fifth time). Now press either Right Trigger or A at the appointed time to drive Ustanak back. Now do this six more times to drive him into the far wall and impale him with the 5’ diameter drill bit. Does it get worse? Yes it does! In the fifth and final chapter, alternate pressing LT and RT about fifteen times to climb hand over hand as Ustanak climbs out of molten lava after you. Now press B to send debris his way. Now climb away with fifteen more LT and RT presses. Now press B again. Now mash A to send more crap at him. Now press LT and RT again until the cutscene. Now press LT and RT yet again to reach the magnum. Now press B for Jake to steady Sherry’s hand, and for Sherry to shoot. And you know what? This isn’t counting the mano a mano de facto QTE slug fest between Jake and Ustanak that literally just happened in the previous scene because while your dodges are QTEs, technically your attacks are true gameplay. The Ada bus-top battle? Technically that’s not a QTE either. It’s just functionally identical one.
And the excess continues: there’s a scenario in both chapters 1 and 2 for Leon/Helena where an NPC behind a locked door (a gunshop and church respectively) won’t open up until you deal with the zombie siege—exact same setup, exact same scenario. Keep in mind there’s also a siege early in chapter 1 where you fight off waves of zombies in a campus hallway while Leon’s home-base support, Hunnigan, hacks the door. Not to mention right before the gas station explodes, you have to fend off zombies in a siege-like battle, and the crashing ambulance brings a wave of zombie reinforcements. Plus I almost forgot: the gunshop siege has two distinct phases: the first floor, where fodder NPCs crack under pressure while waiting to be let upstairs, and the second floor where you fight one wave of undead, go into another room, then fight the morbidly obese zombie boss, then go out on the roof, fight another wave of zombies and another morbidly obese boss zombie, ultimately ending up aboard the escape bus where you have to clear the third and final morbidly obese zombie boss from in front of the bus which is under siege by endless waves of zombies. Most of these siege sequences are on a timer. Survive for X amount of time. Even the ones that technically aren’t, still kind of are because in addition to your partner you have a girl, a guy, a cop, and later on the gun shop owner—all with guns—and yes, they can kill zombies. By the time I got to the gun shop, I suspected I could just run around in circles until the timer ran out and/or until the other characters killed the prerequisite number of bad guys. And I confirmed my suspicion at the church siege forty-five minutes later. Or to phrase another way: about 10% into Resident Evil 6, I learned that basically nothing I did mattered, and I spent the remaining 90% of my playthrough exploiting this.
All four campaigns are basically the same linear corridor third person shooter: all of them have a chase sequence, all of them have unfair QTEs, all of them have respawning enemies, all of them have a key hunt with the same unkillable enemies, and all of them have ridiculous, over-the-top, multiphase bosses, etc.
There’s a snowmobile chase, a motorcycle chase, and a humvee chase. For the latter two, one character drives while the other shoots. In the snowmobile chase, both Jake and Sherry get their own snowmobile to drive.
There’s also stealth sequences, stealth kills (both ranged and melee), and even cover shooting using the same mechanics (LT to hug the wall, LS to move back and forth and peek around corners, RT to perform both melee/ranged attacks).
I got away with it because Resident Evil 6 wants to be a movie, as evidenced by the thirteen bajillion cutscenes and the fourteen bajillion QTEs in place of real gameplay. But a movie is a very carefully choreographed and timed linear medium. A director positions actors around the set and within frame, an editor splices the takes together, and the end viewer can only watch the final product in the predetermined order. In a game, however, players can wander around, take as long as they want, and do or not do things as they feel like it. And in fairness, there are stretches in Resident Evil 6 where this is true (usually at the start of each chapter.) As the plot escalates, however, Resident Evil 6 becomes more and more cinematic and your actions become inconsequential because the relentless barrage of cutscenes before and after your limited time of irrelevant interactivity are set in stone. At the gas station siege, for example, the cop, the guy, and the girl that you’re supposed to help cannot die. Why? Because they’re alive in the following cutscenes. So what’s the point of wasting your ammo helping them when you know A. they can’t die and B. the game will continue with or without you anyway?
The boss fights are the worst culprits. In both Ada and Leon’s Chapter five parade of Derek Simmons mutations, I set the controller down for back-to-back segments because it didn’t matter. Ada stands on an elevator and all she has to do is survive for about fifteen seconds, and Simmons cannot kill her in fifteen seconds. She deals zero damage and can’t even stun him to prevent him from attacking. Even dodging is pointless because you respawn with full health and the game is overly generous with checkpoints. Next Ada fights Simmons on a wind tunnel while Leon and Helena climb a rope, and again, Ada deals no damage. This segment only ends when Leon and Helena reach the top, so you’re only wasting your ammo. If Leon’s team is fast enough, you might be able to just stand there and tank the hits until the next checkpoint without even bothering with herbs or first aid spray; I tried with the AI and came close enough that I suspect I could do it if I maxed out my Defense Skill, but I’m not about to farm XP in a Resident Evil game. Especially this Resident Evil game. Anyway, when Leon and Helena make it to the top, damage might actually start mattering; however, there’s three characters in play, so you still do not have to shoot as long as someone else does (and if the other two are AI controlled, they will.) And to be 100% truthful, I wouldn’t be surprised if this one is on a timer too because participating doesn’t seem to make it go any faster. Next Helena and Leon climb on the rope again and—this is the funniest part—Simmons scales the building and swipes at Leon, but Leon cannot die here. All Simmons does is knock him down ten feet. I literally went and got lunch, letting Simons have his way with Leon for twenty minutes. Came back, climbed the rope, Leon had full health. The next leg is basically a cutscene where Ada is unconscious and Leon holds her in his arms while Simmons mutates back to his human form and gives a speech. If you’re playing as Leon or Helena, you can shoot Simmons, but he’s going to finish his speech no matter what, he’s going to mutate again no matter what, he’s going to shoot to kill Ada no matter what, and Leon is going to block with his body no matter what. If you play as Ada, you just get to watch all this with zero control. Why? Because Resident Evil 6 has a “touching” cutscene it wants to show.
“Well, how are the cutscenes at least?”
Leon watches a zombie walk up and bite him like he’s never seen one before, Jake punches out the unkillable Ustanak, Helena tries to reason with her mutated sister even though she’s been a slimy spider-monster hell-bent determined to kill her for ten minutes, Sherry gets her spine severed in a helicopter crash by a giant piece of shrapnel and just wills herself better, and Chris is suddenly a depressed alcoholic.
And after appearing in this game, frankly, I don’t blame him.