It’s easy for fans of the “Resident Evil” series to get excited for any title that bears the name of the popular franchise. We got our first look at ORC last year at E3 in Los Angeles and this week Capcom released “Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City” on the PlayStation 3, XBOX 360 and PC and the toxic reviews are hitting the internet hard as the media has voiced its distaste for ORC.
As someone who feels he can look at things pretty objectively as a gamer and not as critical as many in the media world, I’ll try to be short and to the point and let you decide if “Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City” is for you.
Before I even popped the game into my XBOX, I decided to look into the story a bit to find out what exactly was happening in the series as I hadn’t played a RE since 4 released on the Nintendo GameCube. This is what I found:
It is September 1998 and the action centers on the ill-fated Raccoon City. When the Umbrella Corporation learns that one of its top scientists, Dr. William Birkin, plans to sell the experimental G-Virus to the US Government they order an elite team of Umbrella Security Service (U.S.S.) soldiers led by Hunk into their secret research facility to secure the only known sample of the virus. The operation takes a turn for the worse when Dr. Birkin injects himself with the last vial, mutating into a deadly creature, G-Birkin and over powering the team. During the battle the deadly T-Virus is leaked into the sewers and spread through Raccoon City, infecting the entire population.
Hearing of the outbreak, the U.S.S. team is given fresh orders to destroy all evidence of Umbrella’s involvement and silence anyone that might discover the truth. The Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service (U.B.C.S.) are also deployed to help contain the situation. Meanwhile the US Government has quarantined the city and dispatched its own team of special operatives to determine the source of the mysterious outbreak. Caught up in the chaos are rookie police officer Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield.
I immediately took interest as it sounded like a show JJ Abrams would have produced. You are part of a team who is sent in to clean up Umbrella’s mess and you have to do your job at any cost.
The first thing I noticed was that the controls were similar to those in the recent RE titles and much more user friendly. If you have played 3rd person (or even 1st person) shooters before, you probably won’t struggle much and will be able to jump right in and play.
Once you’re in the game, it doesn’t take long to pick out some of ORC’s flaws. The AI characters on your team lack “intelligence” and can be more of a hindrance than an asset. The level designs are a bit bland and though the framerates are smooth, even with a lot of detail going on, there just isn’t much visually that will blow away gamers. On top of that, the game is extremely dark. Not the fun dark that you could turn off the lights and get scared to, but rather dark to the point where you don’t even know if you are being attacked or not.
Another problem I had, is that this game is just tough. I don’t mind a decent challenge but I wanted to get the gist of this game in order to get a review up and even on the casual difficulty, I found myself running out of health and ammo way too fast and getting my ass handed to me by the very first creature that doesn’t resemble a human (though the glitching didn’t help much).
The reason it has taken a bit of time to get a review up is because I wanted to step away from the game and reexamine it with a fresh mind. Instead of trying to progress on my own, I called up a few friends and Co-Op’d it for a few hours.
This made me see the game in 2 different lights: either this is a horrible game that you should not even bother playing solo or this is a fun game that RE fans can play together Co-Op. Who doesn’t love the idea of plowing through zombies with some familiar “Resident Evil” content?
The bottom line is, don’t run out and buy this game with the full expectations of it being another installment of the “Resident Evil” series. It’s not, and fans will be able to get their hands on RE6 later this year. This is a game that won’t win game of the year but is pretty fun to play over PSN or XBOX with your buddies.