Posted Fri 11th May 2012 3:19pm by Ruser Saldana
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City Review
According to Wikipedia, the idea for Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City came up during the development of Lost Planet 2. This makes me curious. Lost Planet is an action game about stomping around in a mech suit, blasting aliens on another planet; what about any of that made someone think: “hey - this gives me an idea for Resident Evil”?
If you have never played or were not a fan of the first five Resident Evil games (Zero through Code Veronica) you might be able to embrace Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City more readily than I. But that really depends on how patient you can be with the game’s odd design choices.
For instance, you don’t take cover during shootouts so much as cover takes you. There’s no button to press against the shelter scattered throughout Raccoon City (residents have a penchant for bulletproof boxes apparently); you sort of just rub up against something and your character does the rest whether you like it or not.
There is also the issue of your squad. During cutscenes, you and your teammates will go on and on about Umbrella (your employer), but in the midst of gunfire, it is not possible to communicate with them. Characters have their war cries as they take out waves of zombies, but nothing of importance to say. This includes your character, supposedly the leader yet isn’t able to give orders. Honestly, I don’t care that I can’t set up fancy flanking strategies or whatever. I just wanted to be able to say two things: “heal me” and “stop running away from me so I can heal you.” If these people don’t want to work together, fine (understandable since they’re all kind of jerks) but I’d appreciate it if they were all just a little less self-destructive.
You can play with people online which circumvents the problem, but when a game is dependent upon players covering up its shortcomings, it makes the developers look either apathetic or clueless. In other words, “the AI is dumb, but people can play with friends instead” is not proper troubleshooting. There is a worry out there that the availability of patches and DLC is making developers sloppy; I guess we can add multiplayer to that list.
The game is more flawed than this, but once I was able to get over these issues I found myself enjoying the game quite a bit. If you like zombies (which, in a video game and occasionally movies, I do) and guns (ditto) then it’s hard not to enjoy mowing down zombies with guns. The other creatures (Lickers and Hunters, Nemesis and Mr. X., etc.) are less fun to take on as there is no elegant way to dispatch them. In a battle with Mr. X, I found the only non-suicidal tactic to be running around a derelict truck, occasionally turning to spray a few bullets in his direction. This went on for six or seven minutes before, out of nowhere, another Mr. X appeared and started chasing me around the truck as well (my teammates were long dead at this point). As I ran around in circles, a couple of eight-foot mutants chasing me, I wanted to believe that this wasn’t what the developers had in mind when designing this part of the game. But now that I think about it, I’m not so sure – that truck was awfully well-placed in the center of that map.
The game, as the title suggests, is set in Raccoon City. Raccoon City is, in a way, the epicenter of Resident Evil, and it certainly brings back memories of unicorn emblems, cranks, and Jill sandwiches. Streets are filled with the aforementioned creatures and characters from Resident Evil 2 and 3 make appearances throughout. It might seem as if all this constitutes a Resident Evil game, but Operation Raccoon City makes it clear that the brand relies more on what is done with the content than the content itself.
Perhaps the best example is this: Resident Evil is a series more or less about zombies, yet the bulk of Operation Raccoon City’s gameplay is designed for shootouts. The game begins this way, and as I ducked and covered my way through the first level, I wondered where the zombies were. This, I would argue, is a problem: when I am shooting bad guys, my mind should not wander off and think about shooting different bad guys. Zombies make their initial appearance in the second level (in other words, one level too late), at which point I had already given up on the Resident Evil part of the game. If Capcom and Slant Six Games decided that people’s first impression of Operation Raccoon City should be shooting people instead of zombies, then I think it’s pretty clear what type of game they wanted to make, and it wasn't a Resident Evil game.
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