Resident Evil 6 – Demo Impressions

It’s here at last, and you can play it on your Xbox 360 now if you bought Dragon’s Dogma; or with some (legal) USB trickery if you’re too cool to buy games.

Like many fans of the series, I feared Resident Evil had turned into a generic action game and lost it’s campy survival horror charm; but thankfully I can put those fears to rest now after playing Resident Evil 6. This is definitely a horror game. In fact it’s so scary that the screen itself has become a monster! Right from the first cutscene I was horrified as my TV began eating itself. The cameras in this game have been infected with the T-Virus, and the effect is very convincing; every few seconds the top half of the screen falls onto the bottom half and then quickly collects itself, creating a smudge effect. Like popcorn being thrown up at the movies, this definitely adds to the experience and makes you feel like you could be eaten by zombies behind the camera at any time.

unofficial gameplay screenshot

The environments have some nice details and they look amazing when you can see them. Unfortunately, most of the demo is frantically paced, giving you no time to take in the detail before the whole screen is obscured by its own vomit. Of the 3 scenarios in the demo, the Leon one is my favourite and I’ve played through it a few times now. I discovered a trick to improve the experience: standing completely still. The virus must sense movement and get excited. My imagination was stimulated as I slowly walked through the campus corridors, investigating every sound and scanning my eyes over every object. The other two scenarios aren’t quite as immersive, and involve scripted jumping, 20 second button mashing sequences, and squad based action with hundreds of bullets flying everywhere. None of that is worth talking about, but I did enjoy the boss fight at the end. It features some pretty amazing real-time environment destruction and what was already a scary encounter got even crazier as other bad guys joined in on the action.

The aiming is functional but feels a bit odd; the enemies don’t react with much interest when a bullet lands on them. However, they go completely wild and fly around the room with enthusiasm when you put the gun away and start using your fists! I managed to kill every enemy in Leon’s scenario by punching and kicking with the R button like I was playing Street Fighter. It was fun but overpowered; there was no risk involved at all and I felt like it didn’t matter how I approached the zombies or where I aimed. I was then left pondering the usefulness of my gun.

The demo is worth checking out despite having a lot of problems, the good bits are still there and they’re still good. However, this is a bad indicator of the final game. 3 wildly different scenarios and neither of them have much interaction. I don’t see how twirling a stick around a few times to shake off a zombie makes this a videogame. This demo has as many brain-dead QTE button popup events as the entire game of Resident Evil 4. These action sequences should be getting more interactive, not less.

4 thoughts on “Resident Evil 6 – Demo Impressions”

  1. I heard there was screen tearing, but I didn’t realize they were literal screen tearing. Potato sackman took a chainsaw to it. That and it looks like someone took a blowtorch to a Leon S. Kennedy action figure.

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  2. Oh god, that screen tearing… Capcom, this isn’t the Nintendo 64 generation, WTF is happening in your development houses?

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  3. After RE5 I’m disinterested in playing anymore ‘blockbuster’ entries in this series even if they are polished. It’s typical though that the lower budget, smaller scale 3DS game maintains what little is left of the series horror atmosphere and gameplay. After all, even in movies, smaller scale, lower budget titles fare far better at delivering chills and scares than big budget blockbusters with long running, convoluted plots.

    People think RE4 was a breath of fresh air for the series just because of the gameplay but abandoning Umbrella and going in a new direction was just what they needed. Next comes RE5 and Umbrella’s back, the scale is global, Wesker is more of a Saturday morning cartoon villain than ever and the series has almost become a parody of itself.

    Frankly the only time they’ve ever recaptured the atmosphere of the original was with REmake. I’m pretty much resigned to that being the last truly great RE game.

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    1. Fully agreed, but most people need to remember that Mikami couldn’t do much against Capcom’s business practices. Now that he’s gone, out goes the horror and in is the “TRIPLE AAA HOLLYWOOD BLOCKBUSTER” game that the industry happily gobbles up.

      Excuse me while I play RE4 in ignorance and bliss.

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