Saturday, 4 August 2012

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

Between the success of Resident Evil 5, and the anticipation of Resident Evil 6, Capcom have given us R.E, Operation Raccoon City, in order to tide us over and sate our zombie slaying appetites. Unfortunately, this game seems a little...well, for lack of a better term, awful. Just plain awful. This is a 3rd person shooter with a few minor entertaining features that are completely pushed out of view by the overwhelming number of faults. Trust me when I say, this game is not even close to being worth the price you’ll be charged to buy it.

At first, the plotline may sound pretty interesting. You play as one of six faceless soldiers, who have been tasked with entering Raccoon City and clearing away any evidence that would associate the Umbrella Corporation with the T-virus outbreak. This could have made for a pretty cool storyline, and had it been done well, it could have simultaneously provided a satisfying back-story for some of the more mysterious characters, and given a completely new and original story. Sadly, this was not to be so. Aside from being given your initial objective at the start of the game, there is nothing to really suggest any sort of reason for what you’re doing, aside from “the man on the radio said so”. There is no character development, and the 4-6 hour campaign eventually leads to an incredibly anti-climactic finish.

As well as that, the game doesn’t feel like a R.E game. O.R.C has no dark corridors, no tense music, and basically, no atmosphere. If it weren’t for the appearance of characters such as Leon S. Kennedy or Ada Wong, I wouldn’t have been able to guess from playing the game that it was a R.E title. Rather than having slow moments, where the player feels like something terrifying is about to jump around the next corner, you must shoot your way through a series of bland environments, filled with hordes of the same zombies, soldiers, and various T-virus monsters. In each area, there will be plenty of ammo caches, that supply infinite ammo for as long as you need, green herbs to restore any health, and plenty of cover, all of which remove the tension that fans of the series have come to love, as you never feel in danger of being caught off guard.

As mentioned earlier, you play as one of six soldiers. You get to choose your own character, then select another three to make up your team, making for a four man squad. This team will be with you throughout the game, (you can switch members in and out between missions). Aside from being yet another factor to take away from the tension, you as a player will inevitably feel like you’d be better off without them. The AI is genuinely shocking. Your teammates will blunder into obvious traps, throw a grenade when you want to be stealthy, and stand just behind you blocking the over-the-shoulder camera view. With no way to direct your team, you are forced to break cover and find a new place to fight from, whilst your AI companions shuffle mindlessly around the battlefield.

Ah yes. The cover system. Just one aspect of the gameplay that is broken, frustrating, and basically makes you want to throw your controller across the room in disgust. You can take cover behind flat objects by running into them (it seems that the developers want to make the AI look a little less stupid by having you run madly into things. Doesn’t work.). There is no way to stick to it however, and you can only peek out when you’re far enough to the edge. Finding such a spot will require you constantly, albeit accidentally going too far and running out into the open. The design also has you getting into cover as you try to run past an object, which isn’t so bad the first few times, but it eventually becomes another tedious flaw that adds to the ever growing list.

One more thing that caught my eye is the dramatic inconsistency in the enemies. By this, I don’t mean that the enemies aren’t all the same, (trust me, they are) I mean that you can empty all your ammunition into an enemy soldier’s head, then have to reload to finish him off, then go to another enemy soldier, who will take a few hits to the torso before falling to the ground. This made for some very frustrating battles, and tough decisions when choosing which weapons to take, because I wouldn’t know how much firepower the next guy would need before he dies.

The online multiplayer is where things start to look up a little. Players can join your game at anytime, and you can join theirs. I can’t begin to describe how happy I was when I saw the notice that another player had joined the game. Now you can fight alongside someone who has a brain, and can think, rather than running into a horde of undead and beginning to kick, despite having a full clip of ammo. There have been many occasions where the dumb AI has made me die, and it’s quite obvious that another online player can mean the difference between life and death.

As you complete missions, you gain XP. XP is used to rank up (which honestly doesn’t do much) and can also be spent on new upgrades or weapons for your character. Each character has unique upgrades, so this provides some replay value, as you could try to get enough XP to buy all the weapons and upgrades, but I honestly don’t think I’d be able to do that, as numerous flaws mean I’m only going through this once.

R.E: O.R.C isn’t a bad game, it’s a terrible one. After about half an hour, I felt physically depressed, and as the credits rolled at the end of my ordeal, my spirits lifted, as I knew I could look forward to the pleasure of shouting my feelings from the rooftops...of the online world. If you’re a hardcore 3rd person shooter fan, this game is not for you. Sloppy mechanics and incredibly dumb AI will have you screaming with frustration. If you’re a hardcore R.E fan, this game is probably not for you either. You’ll find no story or chilling atmosphere here, and will undoubtedly be bored with this drab attempt at a R.E game. Whatever you’re into, you’re probably best to wait for Resident Evil 6, and hope for the best there, because there's certainly nothing to see here.

2/10 - Painful

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