Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City — review

Game: Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
Developer: Slant 6 Games/Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
Platform Reviewed: PS3

The last time I took a game back to the shop was 1993. This was because I’d asked for Alien 3 for SNES for Christmas and the shop had accidentally put a copy of Alfred Chicken in the box. This debacle was less disappointing than playing Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. Even Capcom seems to have disavowed the game, affirming on several occasions that this is a non-canon “what if?” scenario, whilst simultaneously saturating the internet with footage of the upcoming Resident Evil 6.

With only a few underwhelming SOCOM squad shooter titles under their belt, one must wonder why a powerhouse like Capcom would entrust their most beloved franchise to Slant 6, a totally unproven developer. After playing RE:ORC it’s safe to say that they made a horrendously bad call and will not be making it again.

Firstly, it’s almost irrelevant that this is a Resident Evil game. The pre-release hype focused on revisiting classic moments from Resi 2 & 3/Nemesis and the pivotal, “Kill Leon?” decision. The classic moments amount to about 5 seconds in the RPD building from Resi 2, and even the option to kill Leon results in just a dull cutscene shovelled on top of every other dull moment of the dull story.

Story aside, the basic gameplay mechanics are broken. When playing alone the friendly AI is great if you need someone to run suicidally into trip mines, or stand in the corner. In fact the only things that your team mates don’t do are shooting at enemies or heal you.

So what about the enemies? Whether they’re spawning directly in front or behind you they are relentless bullet sponges. Everyone knows that zombies die when you get a headshot, and thankfully RE:ORC gets this right. What it gets wrong is the 15 shots to the head that a human enemy can survive.

The immunity to lead that most enemies share wouldn’t be so bad aside from the fact that the maximum ammo capacity is about 150 rounds, and it takes about 15 rounds to down most basic enemies. Do the maths. Any large gunfight is ruined by running off every 30 seconds to get to an ammo crate.

There is a cover system of sorts that snaps you automatically to any piece of scenery you approach, badly. Some cover you can shoot from, some you can’t, but I couldn’t figure out exactly what in-game logic dictated this.

Even the choice of 6 different player-characters makes almost no impression on the gameplay. A couple of underwhelming passive and active abilities separate the squadmates from each other, but as these are largely ignored by the enemies their inclusion is irrelevant.

The highlight of my playthrough was realising that once you hit a checkpoint, every enemy behind you disappears. Upon discovering this it was a relief to find that I didn’t really have to play the game anymore: I could just run through it.

“But”, you may say, “This is really a multiplayer game”. If anything, the multiplayer is worse. The layout of the levels and the missions leaves almost no scope for tactics or need for communication, and the only benefit to playing with real people is that you may occasionally get revived when you die.

So I sent RE:ORC back to the shop with my wife. I thought the sales assistant at XXXX would find her more believable than I would be when claiming that it was a duplicate present and hadn’t come out of the box. I wish it hadn’t come out of the box.

Score: 3/10

Only the liberal zombie death and the fact I’m a huge Resi fan saved this from the bottom score. A shambling brain-dead zombie of a game.

For further reading, visit GameArena – Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City review.