E3 2012 Preview: Resident Evil 6

June 16, 2012

This preview was contributed by Brad Jolly (@DYoshii), co-host of New Game Plus, airing Mondays at 10:30pm on Channel 31, as well as being posted online.

Capcom had a small but very powerful showcase at E3 this year, focusing on current franchises. From the reboot of DmC by Ninja Theory to the snowy battlefields of Lost Planet 3 there was much to feast your eyes on even though the quantity of games was quite low. As it happens, these two games have already been demonstrated in Australia before so there was one game that really caught my eye – as well as many others on the show floor as the lines suggested – Resident Evil 6, publically playable for the first time.

In this hands-on demonstration there were three characters selectable. Leon and Chris make a return from previous games and a new character Jake Muller is introduced. While I was only able to play two of the characters due to time, the rep telling me about the game informed me that all their stories will intertwine and each character has a different style of story. Leon will have a survival horror focus like older Resident Evil games, Chris an action focus like Resident Evil 5 and Jake a mixture of the two.

The two characters I played were Jake and Leon. Jake’s story had me running from a large biomonster with a few cinematics, as well as fighting human enemies. This came to a conclusion with an encounter with the large creature, destroying it with some tactical flammable barrel placement. Ammo seemed to be hard to come by, however exploration of areas like older games is well rewarded as herbs and new weapons were in many locations. Exploring while fighting is also useful – I wasted most of my ammo on this boss creature until I realised there were barrels above me in a bridge area. Grenades were also readily available from standard grenades to flashbangs. The HUD is very minimalistic, with only a small window in the bottom right corner to show ammo count and what gun you had equipped, which was quick to switch with a press on the d-pad. This is very handy as the game does not pause when you are in your inventory. The most notable change was being able to shoot while moving, something missing from the original Resident Evil 5.

Switching to Leon, the game played extremely differently on an atmospheric level. Running and gunning had quickly turned into a very slow horror based game. Walking around a banquet hall with little to no light, with constant communication with survivors and my partner (each character has one), having scenery above and around me making sounds and crashing to the ground served to keep me constantly on my toes, checking every corner and dark area. Leon also had the ability to dual wield two pistols, something I had not seen Jake do. Ammo was even more scarce and even with exploration nothing was turning up.  Zombies are killable with a few kicks though, so luring zombies away so they were by themselves became very important. Leon also had a different themed HUD to Jake, driving the point that both these experiences are very different.

Unfortunately each character only had about fifteen minutes of playable time so there wasn’t much more I could really get from the game. While I could not play Chris, I did watch people next to me play him in between loading screens and the experience seemed to boil down to Chris gunning down stupidly large amounts of zombies – so take from that what you will. The game ran smoothly without any bugs, so that shows promise, as does the entire game. If there are going to be three truly different experiences, then Resident Evil 6 has a lot of potential and means those who may not like one play-style may really love one of the others. However, this could also mean that to get the whole story you would have to play the game with all three characters – and if you don’t like one of them, it could turn what could be an amazing game into a flawed one.