PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Developer: Slant Six Games
Release Date: March 20th, 2012
The title is actually very sleek in it’s presentation, as if taking after the style incorporated into the first Resident Evil film. The load times for aren’t too long when playing without downloading to the console’s hard drive, and the animations that come up on screen as games or other segments load are subtle, but usually interesting, ranging from a zombified hand randonly twitching, to a vial of the g-virus in motion on the floor. Many of the original circa Resident Evil 2 characters are here, and are programmed pretty close to the original designs, but are only playable in certain Verses modes, as well as appear as non-playing characters in cut scenes. The main group you get to play as end up being Hunk, and a group of new Spec-Ops you are introduced to in the main campaign, and are largely the only playable characters in the entire game. The cut scenes are handled well, and all have some kind of link to the early titles of this series, though to say these really took a good deal of effort isn’t saying much since many characters wear masks for lip synching does not become a problem at all. However, the voice overs for the characters sound very suiting to each one, and are often done pretty well, though nothing remarkable or award-worthy to speak of.
One of the biggest issues for this title is the lag. This happens a lot during on-line play, so if someone happens to host and be a bad connection, the game skitzes out. While not necessarily a problem by the developers, it’s impossible to ignore the enemies standing around staring at the ceiling as you slice them up in close quarters combat, or take time to precisely shoot them in the skull, only to have them fall after the tenth shot to the head with the strongest pistol you acquired. Aside this problem with campaign, you also have the issue of the game kicking out all the players if one happens to leave, giving a random gamer the hosting priviledges. These issues carry over into Verses as well, but largely take on the general plight you would come to expect from any multiplayer mode or title, such as slow controller response time, players walking through the same spot multiple times but are really behind you, a literal “god mode,” and more.
Sadly, that’s not all that makes the on-line mode difficult. As you play Campaign and Versus mode, you earn experience. The more experience you earn, the more weapons and physical abilities you can buy and upgrade using those acquired points. This can make for some really tough battles for a rank one player, especially if the other you’re up against is a rank eighty nine. There also happens to be no real balance when it comes to the multiplayer matches. Teams are divided into four, for a total of eight players per game if that many are found, lumped together in the order they join the lobby. Sadly this can often lead to very one-sided fights, and if anyone happens to leave, the characters just progress to the top. If you’re the first of the latter four characters and someone from the above team leaves, you end up with them. If they are all under rank ten while the team you left are seventy or higher, chances are you’re going to lose, especially if playing a Verses mode like Heroes or Team Match. You also have to contend with the automatic start of matches, having really only two minutes in the lobby, and if anyone leaves, the game continues either way, even if that means four on one. There also is no balancing for lost team mates once you get to the character select screen.
But, the modes available in the title are at least fun, if not the most generic. You get the traditional Team Match which is four on four to get the most kills to win, as well as Rescue, which has you surviving until the last copter appears with only four seats and your final means of escape. There’s also Heroes, a mode that has you play as various characters from Resident Evil‘s past, but when you die you must play as one of the new spec-ops introduced in Campaign while trying to keep the others of your team alive, or kill all the heroes from the opposing team. First set to have all the main story-based characters die loses. Finally there’s Biohazard, which is an enjoyable mode of play that has you racing to grab the virus containers and bring them back to your home base before the opposing team. But that’s not all, though sadly it is on the disc. On day one of its release, Capcom made an additional mode available on the marketplace that is basically a Capture the Flag mode, but costs extra. Given the track record of the company as of late, chances are its already on the disc. Even if it’s not, it’s sad that such a potentially fun mode, as well as crucial multiplayer fan favorite, is not available already loaded onto the final product.
The only other gripe to really be had about this title are the glitches. While these are infact very rare, they can be game ending for you, especially in Verses. You can easily get stuck in a wall if an explosion goes off nearby and sends you flying backward, or if you happen to be pressing against a door or slight garage opening when zombies come out, allowing a split second for your character to fall in and be trapped until the game is over, or you reset. I also found myself staring at the very last scene of the skirmish I just finished when I died at the very last second, ironically freezing at six hundred sixty six experience with my corpse on the ground below a few zombies.
But in the end, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is not a bad title, it’s just very boring. The main campaign really isn’t all that great, though the multiplayer aspect does increase the difficulty and makes it insanely frustrating, or just a lot of fun with friends. Versus definitely has it’s problems, and the lack of balance really does put an end to the game’s fun factor, making you want to tackle any of the six campaign stages in harder difficulties just to boost your experience and better your characters. The lack of any new or fresh multiplayer concepts, as well as the changing for the aforementioned “Capture the Flag” mode, really put a damper on much of the game’s selling factor, and the random game ending glitches have the chance to just throw away long stretches of your life waiting for the match to end so you can move, if it even lets you get back to the lobby, let alone the main menu. It has some bugs that should have been worked out, or at least picked up on in quality control prior to its launch, but in today’s digital age it all seems to be fixed later on. As of now, this title doesn’t really offer much outside of iconic characters in various original or inspired by the story settings against extremely generic and unbalanced game play, making this a title you’ll quickly grow bored of, but eventually come back to while the servers are still up and running if you have nothing better play, as well as a suitable time killer prior to the release of Resident Evil 6.
Physical review copy of this title provided by personal funds.