I can safely say that the world is at an end! Who would have seen it coming…the scholars of the world were correct. No one could have foreseen this insane turn of events but its a reality! On May 20th the world is going to end…Resident Evil; Operation Racoon City launches to the public and it has…Competitive Multiplayer!
Brace yourself though because you may not like what I have to say next. It actually looks very good and very fun!
Come on now; don’t be naive. We all saw the sign of it in the last Resident Evil game. RE5 had less horror and more action than previous titles in the series and it was only a matter of time before someone realized that the third person controls could be streamlined to accommodate fast paced shooting mechanics. That combined with the super cool world that the games come to life in and voila ; you have the perfect mixture for a delightfully awesome shoot em up…or do you?
Here are the basics. The game is based around the events that transpired in Resident Evil 2 ( one of my personal favourites) and involve two factions trying to accomplish their own set of agendas. Umbrella has deployed a task force intro Racoon city with the intent of acquiring some biological samples and to eliminate anyone who gets in their way. The US military have deployed a Spec Ops team and are aware of their presence and are trying to stop them from achieving whatever their nefarious goals are (Resident Evil Operation Racoon City does have a dedicated story mode that can be played with up to 4 players cooperatively however it is the multi player modes that I am going to be talking about)
In the middle of all this is a city overrun with infected civilians ( Zombies to you and me) and all manner of biological weapons unleashed!
This third faction serves to deliver Resident Evils own blend of tension to the multi player matches and act as a wild card during matches attacking both sides as the opportunity presents itself. Expect to have zombies busting through doors and dogs jumping through windows eliciting screams of terror from you and your opponents.
Game modes are limited to 4 types; Team attack( TDM), Biohazzard ( Capture the flag), Heroes ( TDM with iconic characters) and Survival( “Get to tha choppa!!!”).
What makes all of this fresh however is that the game has a very cool narrative weaved into it. These aren’t just generic team deathmatches and capture game modes. There is a reason and a plot point behind each match. You aren’t just facing off against a different colored character version of yourself or a re-skinned version of the class you chose; you are selecting named character skins from each faction and that drastically affects the immersion factor ie. Fun factor.
Now all of this would be moot if the controls and gameplay did not match up. From what I have seen so far the game has a traditional 3rd person camera view with the ability to shoulder aim ala Gears of war. The pacing looks to be fast and fluid and while I will have to pass final judgement when I get the game I don’t see it being a sloppy experience based on what I have seen. I havent been able to determine if the game has a cover system as of yet but a few videos I have seen showed what appears to be a system. Graphics and animation as well as character models all look amazing and suitably moody . This game looks like a Resident Evil game and that is a VERY good thing!
As the title asks; can this game truly hold up under competitive play scrutiny? The multi player community these days are very fickle and any slip up in controls or balancing will be enough to turn them away. I for one would welcome this game to be embraced and played in an organized fashion. I mean Gears of War is played at a competitive level and no one seems to care that it was always intended to be a single player game ( Yes folks Multi Player Gears of war was a bolted on feature later in development).
After all is said and done we will have ourselves a unique product. A game that started off as a single player experience designed to scare the crap out of us but over the years has evolved into an action oriented shooting experience. Resident EvilRacoon city represents Capcom fully embracing that direction for better or worse. At least we still have Resident Evil 6 to look forward to if this experiment escapes and starts to ravage Racoon city.
Dwayne “EVO Knight” Morash