Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City Review by Lasombra
Every time a new Resident Evil game hits the market there is a lot of hype and high hopes. Operation Raccoon City looks to expand the horizons of the typical RE fair and change the series in a different direction. Out are the new age Spanish and African non-zombie zombies, and in are the nostalgic days of RE2 and 3. Zombies, dogs, lickers, and even Mr. X grace this high octane title in the franchise.
Before ORC can be understood, people need to understand what the game is not. This is not a traditional RE game. No involved storyline. No characters of old or new to try and win us over. This is a squad-based third person shooter meant to sate our thirst for blowing up tons of zombies. Every stage in campaign mode wants you to blow zombies up. There is even a kill counter at the end of the mission to tell the gamer how many kills they got. Don’t like your AI teammates? Blow them away as well. The story is sacrificed for the action.
Each stage takes you through re-envisioned familiar areas of RE2 and 3, and some of our favourites return for cameo appearances. From retrieving the G-Virus sample with HUNK to trying to track down Leon Kennedy through the streets of Raccoon city, and even a stroll down memory lane in the RPD station, nostalgia will be gripping at the sleeves of the gamer. The story for the game is bare bones. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it comes off as an alternative ‘what-if’ scenario kind of game. As a member of Umbrella’s Wolfpack you’re tasked with helping hunk get the G-Virus sample but the mission does not go as planned, leading the team to fight their way out of the city for their very lives. In order to gain the right of extraction, Umbrella tasks the unit with fulfilling objectives as payment for getting them out of hell. If you go into the game with an open mind and don’t expect to be watching a Kojima masterpiece then the story is pleasant and does enough to move the story along and keep people interested. However, if you were expecting to see RE2.5 you will be disappointed. What is refreshing about the game is the player is the bad guy for once. In almost all video games the gamer is the hero, or even an anti-hero, but either way they’re on the side of good. In this game you are Umbrella. You are the enemy.
The gameplay is nothing new. It is standard 3rd person shooter fare. 4 difficulty settings make the enemies harder, and you and your teammates weaker, but as long as you’ve played RE5 then you shouldn’t have a problem. For those new to the series Professional difficulty will make you want to throw your controller at the wall. Enemies get cheap hits, special forces soldiers are a pain to fight as even a couple hits will almost kill you, and if you start to bleed and gather a crowd of zombies after you, then I hope you enjoy looking at the YOU DIED screen over and over. Players have a large arsenal of weapons to choose from, ranging from SMGs and heavy machine guns, to magnums and shotguns. Although there are a few automatic choices for your weapon slots, the wide array is nice and balanced. Grenades, first-aid sprays and anti-viral sprays are all useable with the press of the D-Pad, getting rid of the annoying way everything had to be equipped in RE5. One surprising exclusion is the lack of a rocket launcher. Slant Six must not have had love for the launcher. Since this is a squad based game, up to 4 human players can play at the same time via PSN. This is great for those who want to shoot zombies with friends, but it comes with a drawback. For every additional human partner in the game the enemies get stronger. On casual they would still be a walk in the park to kill, but put it on professional with a team of 4 and the average gamer will break their controller in rage.
The game does have a few glitches which makes the gameplay harder than it should be. Some are minor like aiming auto-aiming at a target and sticking with it even though there is no function in the game, to the major like the revive icon not showing up over a dead allies body. Additionally having dead allies drop their gun over their body in such a way that it’s painfully slow to find the revive icon instead of the switch weapon when focusing on their body. That part is not a glitch but more bad design.
Multiplayer in the game is a shining point of the game. 4 modes keep the gamer busy and happy. The 4 modes are team attack, survivor, biohazard, and heroes. Team Attack is exactly like team death match with one difference: the zombies. Zombies, hunters, lickers, basically all the enemies of the game are attacking you and your enemies as well. The team with the most points when time runs out wins, with player kills getting more points (75) compared to zombies (10). Heroes mode lets you play as one of main cast of RE2-3. The goal is to kill all the other teams’ heroes. Once you die you respawn as one of the ORC cast. Biohazard is like capture the flag, tasking the player to find a G-Virus sample and bring it to an extraction point. One subtle difference is there is one sample at a time and anyone can get it. Survivor is a 2 part game. The first half you are simply going around killing anything and everything. Once half of the time runs out a chopper will land. When any 4 players get on the chopper, it leaves, thus leaving behind the remaining players to die. It is a very morbid but realistic game mode.
After playing a lot of versus mode I’ve come to be a fan of it. Since the game is only a week or so old at the time of this review, a lot of people are picking the same few characters. But after experimenting with other characters because the ones I liked were chosen before I could select them, I’ve come to appreciate that this game has the potential to be a good professional game. Each character has an individual class with 2 different permanent abilities and 3 different active abilities. The permanent ones are always on, while the player has to choose only one of the active abilities to use in a match. They can all be unlocked using XP points gained through playing the game. But since each player has to be a difference class, it adds a balance and strategy to the game. Will we see this in Major League Gaming? I hope so once the game is glitch free. These abilities are also useable in the main campaign as well. Some are more useful than others depending on if it is campaign or versus. For example Beltways tripmines are useless in campaign but are a tricky surprise in versus.
The graphics are on par with the current generation of graphics. Everything looks smooth and designed properly. Nowhere did my mind think something looked horribly textured, but neither did my mind stop and think ‘wow’. Every character was given a unique design and it shows that Slant Six wanted to make sure their costume tried to reflect their personality and skills. Beltway, the demolition guy, looks and talks like a tank. Bertha, the German medic, looks like she came out of a bondage flick, which matches her sadistic nature, as told by her background info.
The music is forgettable, but then again every RE game can be said the same. The games theme at the beginning sets the tone for the game, as it is darker than previous titles, and thankfully it doesn’t get grating since it’s the only song heard in all the menus. Play versus a lot and you will hear that theme a lot. The sound effects are the same as every RE game. Pick up an item for the first time and you will hear the familiar chime. Nothing about the game speaks horror in the sense of trying to scare you. The music and sound effects were created for the ‘zombie war’ flick in mind rather than the ‘are they around the corner’ kind.
The trophies for this game are all relatively straight forward and easy to obtain. The only hard trophies will be Success and Great Success. If they are hard to get for you then the game is a hard plat. If they are easy, then it is an easy plat. After getting those trophies all the rest just take time and should come naturally from just trying to get Great Success. The only tedious trophy of the list will be You Love to Hate my 98. If you love versus mode then it won’t be a bother, but if versus mode is not something you find fun then boost it to speed it up.
Operation Raccoon City is not a game that will win any awards but it wasn’t designed to do that. It is a solid title in the RE franchise. It adds a different style and flair to the series before the gaming community goes back to saving the world when RE6 hits store.
Positive: Re-imagined Raccoon City done well with dark backgrounds
Negative: Par for the course. Nothing will stand out and say WOW
Bells and Whistles 8
Positives: Lots of different characters, classes, weapons, and modes.
Negative: Nothing specific is added to the franchise
Positive: Online is refreshing and has professional potential
Negative: A few annoying glitches can ruin the day in campaign
Positive: Multiplayer focused RE title
Negative: It’s a love or hate kind of game
Replay Value 9
Positive: Multiplayer will keep you playing forever
Negative: Hate multiplayer? You will hate this game. Very short campaign experience