Resident Evil 4 was a critical turning point for the highly acclaimed, survival horror series. It marked a brand new direction and a new beginning as developer Capcom abandoned its survival horror roots to grow some third-person shooter petals. It was a bold and brass move and one that was not taken lightly among Resident Evil fans and critics alike. Luckily though, the leap of faith that was Resident Evil 4 was an astounding success spawning iterations across almost all platforms. The fifth installment tried to build on RE4’s formula and added a teamwork element which ended up a mess thanks to dumb AI and sharing inventory, but thankfully, all was rectified in Resident Evil 6. Resident Evil 6 was bigger in every way, which I will get to, but how does it fare in its remastered state which is now out for PS4 and Xbox One?
Well, for those who missed the original release, the first aspect in which Resident Evil 6 was considerably bigger was its story mode. Players can take control of one of the seven characters which are all separated into pairs with the exception of the mysterious Ada Wong. Each pair has their own story arc which does eventually cleverly cross over with the other characters at some point. Following the standard plot of the series, a virus has been created by an organization known as Neo-Umbrella which turns humans into monstrosities known as bio-organic weapons or B.O.Ws for short. It’s up to returning veterans Leon Kennedy and his partner Helena Harper, Chris Redfield and his partner Piers Nivans, and Sherry Birkin and her partner Jake Muller to investigate. Each set of characters fights for a different cause but for the same outcome. It’s a traditional Resident Evil storyline, however, this time it’s jam packed full of tense, action-packed moments that keep the blood temperature high, if you can pardon the iffy dialogue. I’m not talking the legendary “master of unlocking” type stuff, but there are some lines in here that will make you tilt your head and raise an eyebrow. That said, the overall story is quite enjoyable albeit predictable.
The gameplay is a refined version of the third-person, over the shoulder perspective made famous in Resident Evil 4, and thanks to the pairing format, Resident Evil 6 encourages cooperative gameplay be it on or offline. There are plenty of elements within the story that require the use of a partner, but thankfully playing solo isn’t a drag as the AI is spot on. If you are down, your partner will rush to your aid or help solve any puzzle that requires two people. The combat is tense and fast-paced with a nice variety of enemies. Zombies can run at you and leap towards you triggering a struggle quick time event to get free, emulating the struggle displayed onscreen. Dogs are back and the deadly new enemy, the J’avo, who are basically mutating bandits similar to Resident Evil 4’s Los Ganados. Thanks to the power of current consoles, Resident Evil 6 runs at a beautiful 60 frames per second at 1080p resolution, meaning combat is quick, uninterrupted, and sharp.
RE6 has some unique online features. During story mode, you can leave it open for other players to either join you or invade your game as a monster which adds to the challenge. It’s incredibly fun, but they soon become pests, and there are some modifiers which allow infinite ammo to ease a bit of that tension, especially on the harder difficulties.
Even though all characters move the same, they all feel different thanks to their melee attacks that can be linked to form combos. Leon’s karate style kicks are a world away from Chris’s brawling style haymakers. They make every character unique, and sneaking up on an unsuspecting zombie to deliver a WWE style bulldog maneuver is seriously satisfying but no double team moves sadly.
Resident Evil 6 is filled with tense and exciting cinematic moments, some of which use quick time events to get through. Whether it’s wiggling the thumb-stick, mashing buttons, or timing a button press just right, they are common and keep the player engaged. Be it escaping a plethora of exploding vehicles or fighting an oversized B.O.W., Q.T.Es are everywhere. Personally, I like them. They kept me switched on and alert, but I can see how they can annoy people who just want to sit back and enjoy the show.
This remastered version of Resident Evil 6 comes with loads of modes to play outside of the main story. Mercenaries Mode makes a comeback plus the multiplayer modes contained in D.L.C. released later in RE6’s lifespan: Survivors, Onslaught, and Predator. Survivors Mode is classic deathmatch modes, Onslaught is a 2 player survival mode, and Predator allows players to take control of the hulking Ustanak monster seen during the story in a hunt or be hunted style match up akin to 2K Games’ Evolve. With these, plus the split screen or online co-op play within the story chapters, Resident Evil 6 is perfect for multiple players and it’s great fun too.
Resident Evil 6 looks great on PS4 and Xbox One. Graphics are cleaner and sharper with emphasis on key characters. Enemies look great too, especially when they mutate. Lighting is an issue, however. Shadows tend to have visual oddities that are hard to ignore. Environments can be muddy at times and moving creates a tunneling effect but apart from these niggling annoyances, Resident Evil 6 is a successful overhaul.
Resident Evil 6 is a good, strong entry to the series. It’s time to come to terms with the fact that Resident Evil has been uprooted from its survival horror foundations to take a more cinematic action approach. The baddies are still ugly and, at times, frightening but there are hardly any scares in favor of high octane action, which I’m okay with!
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: 29th March 2016