Mega games get mega reviews in a megaly disordered fashion.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (Or: How To Confuse Fanboys)

So way back in September I played this game at GameFest and thought "hey, this is pretty neat!". Since then Capcom basically told everyone a few even neater facts, namely that you can kill Leon and you fight Nemesis/Mr X. Then they released trailers and stuff and everyone thought this game looked mad good. And then they bought the game. And then traded it back in, or would have done if Game hadn't have gone bust. And then I wrote this review.


Right, so, the big thing with this game is that you get to play a squad based shooter against zombies, then against UBCS (Spec Ops people), and then against BOTH AT THE SAME TIME. That might not sound like anything special but when you're in a pitched battle against people who are basically dicking on you and then you get attacked by zombies: fucking frantic fun. Swinging in with that is that if you cause an enemy to bleed, he'll attract almost all the zombies over to him which is pretty much a game winning outcome. And super satisfying. The zombies also infect people sometimes, which for a while will protect you from zombies but also turn you into a zombie if/when you die  (if you don't have an antiviral spray. But they seem to drop out of half the zombies asses anyway). Again, mega satisfying to do to enemies or to do to yourself if you don't like your team-mates online....

That's all the good things about the gameplay, so before I slag it off here are the other neat-oh things: Every level has a "SHIT, I REMEMBER THAT!" section. From the fire escape ladder or chief of police's office in the Police department to the tram lift and round by Kendo's gun shop, there's something for every fan. The fact that the game starts you off with standing outside Birkin's lab while he gets shot up and then running away from his transformation shows just how hard they've tried to make this fit in with the events of Resident Evil 2/3. The part in the Umbrella facility where the security cameras feature is used to see Leon say goodbye to Ada, which almost made me cheer with fan-ish happiness. Hell, they even explain how Leon did that stupid 180 in his car at the start of Resi 2. And that's pretty much where all the happiness ends.


So a cover based squad shooter. Seems sound, right? Not if they make it so that to aim out of cover your character has to actually crouch halfway out of cover to do so. In the end I stopped trying to shoot from cover because you leave yourself so exposed. This doesn't make any sense seeing as it is one of the core foundations of this type of game, and they've basically fucked it up. Aiming down sites is piss-poor too, with the sniper rifle not hitting where you aim it or hitting invisible cover instead and the handgun weaving all over the place. Bullet drop shouldn't happen in a Resi game. It just makes everyone angry. Which means fighting the almost invincible Nemesis is fucking hard just because of the core mechanics being terrible.

The AI is fucking awful. Even worse than Sheva from Resi 5. They took her ability level and spread it over 3 people so they're all only 33% as good as Sheva is. More bullets land on them than the zombies. And yet them and their stupid accents still don't die.

Most enemies in the game can be taken down with one or two bullets to the head apart from big names (and lickers, even though it's their weak spot). I was standing at point blank range and emptied 20 shotgun shells into Ada's face and she wouldn't go down. She just wandered off. Nikolai took untold amounts of sniper bullets to the forehead and just shrugged and moved on. Now, I understand the need for bosses to be hard, but maybe the design shouldn't have allowed me to have the barrel of my gun against people's foreheads and them not go down. It just doesn't make sense and in a Resi game just looks fucking stupid.

The big thing about this game is (as I've already said) the appearance of old stuff. Unfortunately most of it is really off hand and is just thrown away. I appreciate that this squad needs to be kept in the shadows for the most part so that it doesn't conflict with the canon of Resident Evil, but every time you see something from the just skip away with a big "lol, fuck that". Examples: You see Birkin, run away, he's never mentioned again. You chase down Nikolai, he runs away, he's not mentioned again. You fix the broken Nemesis, run away, he's not mentioned again. I had no idea what I was doing for most of the game and no idea why there were so many mercs fucking about in a zombie infested town. The real sad point of the game comes at the end when you've hunted down Leon and Claire and have to kill them. For untold reasons Leon is a rookie cop who is now a crack shot with a sniper rifle and Claire could 3 star every Angry Birds level with her ability with the grenade launcher. On top of that is that they are being protected by an army of mercs for no apparent reason. Mercs who can't set up a simple baricade to stop you just running past them in the final battle...

And that's when shit gets weird. You have Leon and Claire at gunpoint at the very end of the game and then you are told to make a decision: Kill them or save them (obviously you kill them, because who wouldn't?). You're magically transported to an arena style area and told to kill off half of your team and Leon/Claire EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE AT GUNPOINT. And when you win? There is a 6 second ending of: "Time to die", fade to black, gunshot. The big selling point of the game was mearly a 6 second afterthought. Disappointing. And anticlimatic. Seems to be a theme nowadays.

Cliff Notes: A squad shooter that fails at both shooting and squading plus a pointless level up system. I didn't even play the versus matches because I honestly couldn't be arsed to play any more of this shit.
Rating: 4/10
Would I recommend it to my friends: GOD NO. But if they got given it then it could make a fun-ish campaign multiplayer mode. Anything's an improvement on having doors blocked by retarded AI just standing there.

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