Resident Evil 6 Public Demo Impressions

As the actual game approaches, I assume that most gamers have played the public demo for Resident Evil 6 and have developed many different opinions about it. I just recently went back through the demo and was left with a few very distinct impressions about what this game is going to be and who will be pleased with it. Since the demo is broken down into three separate parts, or campaigns, I will also break this article down into three sections.

Leon’s campaign was by far the most interesting. It starts out with Leon having a personal dilemma, involving multiple vague flashbacks, of whether or not to shoot the now infected president. After some hard thought, and considering the president was about to take a bite out of Leon’s new lady friend, Leon promptly disposes of said president with a swift bullet to the head. From here some of the new story is explained. Soon Leon and his companion, who is Helena Harper, are tasked with escaping the campus they’re trapped in. The section of the game is as close to “classic” Resident Evil as it gets, which still isn’t very close. A good chunk of time is spent inside the campus halls, albeit not exploring. Just sort of following the path that is laid down. And not only following the path, but tripping along it as well. It seems that Leon can’t stop tripping over every corpse that is on the ground. Quite a few infected are inside and, for the most part, they’re easy to take down. Heading out of the building, a good-sized open area awaits. Exploration is possible here, but there’s no real need as bullets are abundant and melee is so effective. After fighting through many more infected which, by the way, is extremely easy, Leon and Helena make their way to a police car. An atrocious quick-time event occurs and the car is rolling, only to crash after about fifty yards. Leon and Helena Crawl in the sewers and I am left with a bitter-sweet taste in my mouth. While the gameplay is smooth and the controls are easy enough to use (once you figure them all out), it’s far too easy to mow down infected after infected. It would be okay if killing them was easy if the bullet supply wasn’t so large, and the melee wasn’t so powerful.While those problems could cost the game in the long run, I enjoyed both the narrative and the look of the game.

Chris Redfield is back. And he’s more of a third-person shooter than ever! In this part of the demo, the player takes control of Chris or his partner, Piers Nivans. Chris is in command of a tactical squad that is currently in Edonia, Easturn Europe, to, at least it seems, neutralize a group of intelligent infected. A sentimental tidbit occurs at the very beginning with Chris giving a motivational speech to his men about how none of them are expendable and that they’ll make it out alive. Once the player is able to control Chris or Piers, it’s very apparent just how much of a powerhouse both of them are. Each is loaded out with a fully automatic combat rifle with a ton of ammo. Melee here is no different from Leon’s section, it’s very effective. This time the infected are able to wield fire-arms; however, this makes them no less easy to deal with. Once the player moves up the road a bit, shooting every thing in sight, a gigantic monster appears. Chris and Piers are forced to run away, only to find that the exit is blocked by a gate and they are forced to wait for their back-up. Dealing with this beast is no problem though. A couple of shots to the back, an awful quick-time event of the player ripping the monsters hump off, and he’s down. Again, far too easy if you ask me. Chris’ back-up arrives, as luck would have it, just as he slays the beast. The player is now tasked with following the very late APC. Once behind the APC, more bad guys begin to appear and they are easily dispatched. Again, no need for exploration because enough ammo is supplied from the start and enemies drop it like crazy. The final part involves the squad defending a fellow squad mate while he rigs a train car to explode, revealing the path to safety. There are a lot of enemies at this point, but almost none of them make it to the train car with the combined killing power of Chris, Piers, and their squad. This demo is really quite boring. While the visuals and controls hold up, there is just absolutely no challenge, and makes for very stale gameplay.

And finally, it’s Jake’s turn to play. This portion of the demo opens with a very slick scene involving Jake really handing it to one of the infected. After this ferocious fist fest (alliteration is great), Jake encounters Sherry, who happens to be the second playable character in this campaign. She tells him that he could be the savior of this world and they both jump down what looks to be some sort of garbage disposal. From there Jake and Sherry make their way through the abandoned streets of Edonia. Jake has the choice between using weapons, like the other characters of the game, or hand-to-hand combat. The shooting is just as nice as the previous campaigns, but the hand-to-hand feels clunky and not well done. It’s safer to just stick with a firearm and melee. The enemies in this area are easy enough. Although, one enemy, a quick monster like thing with a hard outer shell, requires either a lot of bullets, melee, or hand-to-hand to kill. These are, at least for this demo, the only substantially challenging things I’ve encountered. The next area is basically the same as the last, just with fewer enemies. After these baddies are taken care of, Jake takes quite a nasty fall and has to fight his way through infected on the ground while Sherry covers him, and herself, from above. The demo is over after this final fight, ending with a brief cut-scene of a monster that will surely have to be dealt with in the final game. By far, this campaign was the most difficult out of the three. The hand-to-hand feels like a big let down, but Jake and Sherry seem like interesting characters. But I hardly think that story alone can drive this game to success.

Based on this demo, I would say that Resident Evil has many things to change to become great again. The new tight controls are a plus, but if the abundance of ammo and pure physical strength translates to the full game, then the challenge is close to none. Along with that and the blatant hand-holding (lack of puzzles and exploration) really drive this game into the depths. Long has it been since the survival-horror that was the original Resident Evil. Yes, every game needs evolution. But Resident Evil evolved with its’ fourth entry in the series. These past two games have not been evolution’s, they have been almost complete transformations. Whether that’s for good, I am not convinced.

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