Resident Evil 6 Review: So Much Game You’ll Have to Like Something
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I complained a lot about Resident Evil 6 when I was playing it.
“What a stupid design choice,” I’d cry, gripping my Xbox controller, white-knuckled, in frustration as I died for the fifth time in the same place. Or I’d ask rhetorical questions to no one, like, “How am I supposed to know what to do here?” and “Why do I have no ammo if I’m expected to kill all these guys?”
Colleagues, listening to my annoyance, asked me pointed questions like, “So the game is kind of a mess, huh?” And yet, I could never answer. I couldn’t say, “Yes, I hate it.” I don’t hate it — not all of it.
I actually think … I kinda like Resident Evil 6.
It’s by no means perfect, but it does try very hard a lot of the time. And it delivers more game than many full franchises ever seem to manage, and does so, often, pretty well.
Resident Evil 6
Platforms: Playstation 3, Xbox 360 (reviewed)
Released: Oct. 2, 2012
The brilliant thing about Resident Evil 6 is that it contains a lot of what makes the franchise great and crams it all into one package. The campaign is divided into four parts, and each of those parts hinges on a different set of characters. And all those campaigns and characters play a little differently, invoking different elements from Resident Evils past.
Along with the gameplay, the narrative is differentiated into four parts as well. The first campaign follows Leon Kennedy of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 4; the second is about Chris Redfield from Resident Evil, Code: Veronica and Resident Evil 5; and the third sticks with Sherry Birkin of Resident Evil 2 and a new character, Jake Muller, who turns out to be series antagonist Albert Wesker’s son (a fourth campaign is unlocked upon completion of the other three). Each of the three primary campaigns gives a portion of the story from the perspective of those characters, and occasionally they cross over. But no one ever really knows what’s going on.
This is kind of a brilliant way for Resident Evil to develop its often-convoluted, intricate stories of evil people who create evil monsters — never tell anyone the full deal. None of the characters really know what’s going on, and because of that, it’s a little bit more okay for the player not to really know what’s going on, either. It helps in a way, because even when all the pieces are in place, there are still some big gaping holes.
But despite the issue of plotholes, Resident Evil 6 nails its character arcs. All of the protagonists are well-rounded people with their personal dramas and demons; this is easily the best-written Resident Evil on those terms, even if the greater plot dynamics are a little wonky.