Operation Raccoon City is the latest installment in the Resident Evil universe from a developer far more famous for making the SOCOM games. The game is a departure from the mainstream Resident Evil series. Many of us have grown up with the original clunky stop and shoot controls of the survival horror genre that Resident Evil built its foundations on. Many players have also grown to expect a certain standard from the series, although over the years many of the games out with the core series have explored their own gameplay territory, and this title is no different. Operation Raccoon City is the first and hopefully the last squad based shooter in the franchise.
The game takes place during the events of Resident Evil 2 and 3 with you operating on the other side of the story. The game starts with you being tasked to prevent the spread of the T-Virus and exterminate Dr. Birkin. The majority of Resident Evil enthusiasts know where this leads so I’ll spare you the details. In short, a zombie apocalypse once again ensues. As part of the Umbrella Secret Service you need to cover up any involvement of the ludicrously evil organisation and attempt to calm a rogue tyrant. Unfortunately the story is rather short and lacks any real depth or character development, but there are some points where you get to see what happened on the other side of things when the outbreak occurred in the old games.
I don’t quite understand how metallic shades of blue can quite constitute an art style but Capcom appear to be really pushing the envelope with this in ORC. The art is hard to make out amongst the poor lighting and overbearing shades of black; even the whole team are kitted out as some sort of fetish group’s big day out. Every character has their own wonderfully Matrix-esque gas masked ensemble that seems highly inappropriate for a covert mission as amongst a city of survivors and zombies they stick out like gimps in the apocalypse. The series brings very little ingenuity to the already established characters of the Resident Evil series and the limited range of monster designs is rather bland.
The gameplay should be where this game flourishes. Can you see “should” carefully placed in that sentence? Good. The game itself isn’t particularly bad but feels like a very weak rendition of Left 4 Dead crossed with Clive Barker’s Jericho (there’s another bondage based game we would all rather forget). You play as one of four members in a team and fight your way through several levels in an attempt to kill zombies. As for controls, the game plays very similarly to nearly every other 3rd person shooter with a few twists for each character’s specific power. These powers are special to each class of character and tend to be rather generic, with armour, detection and invisibility type traits.
The worst part about the game is the computer AI for your teammates. They bring a new definition to the phrase dead weight as on many occasions they joined the ranks of the living dead and proceeded to slabber intently as they lumbered after me and then they got infected. On several occasions they could be found rubbing up and down against door frames or blocking the only exit to the room in an attempt to act as some form of edible zombie blockade. This difficult hurdle can be overcome with the addition of friends online but without a full team of 4 you will have to be accompanied by the wonderfully stupid AI. The best analogy for them I have managed to concoct was that of a bunch of children juiced up on red bull and blue smarties. They constantly run around you each individually begging for your attention before they crash in the middle of a rather crowded street and proceed to cry for the next 10 minutes about how they need help.
The online modes are very similar to different deathmatch and capture the virus type scenarios. This tends to be on a 4v4 with one side playing as the USS and the other as Spec Op forces. There is a lot of fun to be had online but it can drag at some points when the lag results in floating guns and what appears to be some odd sort of stasis mode for some players. In this case the players do not appear active but are actually present somewhere on the map and are continuously on the attack. My personal favourite was the Biohazard mode in which the player had to capture vials in a capture the flag based game mode. On the whole the multiplayer did feel rather bare and lacked anything that would make it stand out.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is barely worthy of it’s name. An awfully short campaign and bare bones online leaves you feeling cheated at the end. The game could have been great but with so many issues and a lack of modes coupled with the abysmally short story you will honestly question if you even want to buy RE6 in the future. Long gone are the days when Resident Evil spin-offs had the complexity or the storyline of Outbreak or the atmosphere and panic of the Survivor series. Instead we are presented with a lacklustre attempt to keep up with the times.
3 dribbling AI out of 10