Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City Review
It’s hard not to respond to all of the classic Resident Evil imagery scattered throughout Operation Raccoon City. Couple it with bad guys we miss being afraid of, like the Nemesis and the Hunters, and there are moments where ORC becomes pretty potent. It’s a bummer the game isn’t more fun to play in general, because the B-movie atmosphere and nostalgia elicit a few giggles and smiles among players. It’s nice to revisit Raccoon City.
At least, until you actually try to do anything.
Operation Raccoon City suffers from a lot of issues that seriously detract from the enjoyment of the experience. Probably most glaring and irritating of these is its terrible cover system. For a third-person shooter and a game in which you’re taking on zombies as well as other soldiers and dodging claws about as often as bullets, the cover system is plain terrible. Players stick to things automatically as they approach them, but often the game refuses to let you pop up over or around irregularly shaped objects even when it seems as though you should be able to (like with cars). Shifting between positions is difficult, mostly because you just stand up and walk over, fully exposed. Popping up accidentally happens nearly constantly.
Picking things up is a similarly annoying affair. All interaction is done with a single button — a common, totally avoidable problem in lots of third-person games — but the system of picking things up is executed particularly poorly in Operation Raccoon City. Aiming at the thing you want to grab is often next to impossible, especially if there’s a gun next to it. This is particularly infuriating when trying to revive teammates. You’ll find yourself repeatedly picking up the downed person’s weapon and tossing your own, all while getting mauled or shot to death. Only if you are extremely careful about what you look at and where you stand in relationship to the teammate will you finally be able to revive them. It’s a terrible system, especially in a team game, and there’s no reason for it except sloppy design.
Operation Raccoon City is definitely more fun when played with others and not alone. In fact, playing it alone is probably best avoided, as the AI that guides your three squadmates is at best idiotic and at worst maddening. Teammates love to wander into trip mines and blow themselves up, they’re terrible shots and they rely on their stupid melee moves much more than their guns. It means that when they’re in top shape they top out at unreliable; in rougher situations, they become an irritating liability.
Online, ORC suddenly has more to offer, but it’s not much more. Sure, playing with other people adds a lot to the game, but the nagging details remain. Even the first big set piece, in which players flee a rampaging G-Birkin from Resident Evil 2, is more satisfying to imagine than to actually play — you’re actually stuck running down a corridor backwards as you tag Birkin in his big eye to keep him from mauling you. If he does catch up, a quick-time event determines if he kills you, but the timing and the controls there just feel off, resulting in rampant death. It all just feels less than polished.