Capcom fans who purchased new copies of Dragon’s Dogma also got a special treat as part of their purchase: an early playable demo of the upcoming Resident Evil 6. Here are some impressions I took from the game based on my time with the demo
Old Dog, New Tricks
The demo features three separate sequences, each starring a different pair of characters. Each sequence does a good job of highlighting some of the new maneuvers characters can now perform such as being able to move and shoot, pop health-restoring “green herb” pills on the fly, take cover behind walls, and perform evasive maneuvers such as rolling to the side and sliding on your back on command.
Each character has their own loadout of weapons; ranging from pistols and assault rifles to knives, stun batons, grenades, and sniper rifles. Thanks to a handy new “wheel” interface, switching between weapons and items is relatively simple even in the middle of a tense firefight.
The entire control layout has been overhauled, allowing for a much smoother experience that pretty much completely negates the need to pause the game and fiddle around with menus. While their presence in the demo was never revealed, a new “skill point” pickup also hinted at the possibility of being able to unlock new skills and abilities as players progress.
Trottin’ Around The Globe
As I mentioned before, the demo features three different gameplay sequences, each starring a different team of both familiar and new characters. Each sequence can be played either solo or co-op, and, since both characters in each sequence are playable, replayability is encouraged. The first sequence lets players step into the shoes of Leon S. Kennedy who, until now, hasn’t been in the spotlight since Resident Evil 4.
Leon teams up with fellow Secret Service Agent Helena Harper after the two are forced to execute the zombified President of the United States and who must now escape a campus in Tall Oaks, U.S.A. while dealing with everybody’s favorite undead baddies: zombies. Leon and Helena’s escape from the campus manages to re-instill some of the creepy atmosphere that made the very first Resident Evil such a hit with clever usage of lightning flashes from outside, dark hallways, and flickering lights.
It isn’t until the very end of the segment that Leon and Helena must contend with the zombie threat directly, but a new “quick shot” ability, activated by simultaneously pressing both triggers on the controller, allows players to line up a shot on the closest enemy and squeeze off a round all in one seamless motion, a very handy feature to have if you’re low on ammo and surrounded.
While Leon and Helena’s segment has some action and gunplay, it isn’t until Chris Redfield’s segment that we get to see the true capabilities of the game’s new combat engine. Teaming up with fellow B.S.A.A. member Piers Nevan, Chris journeys to China to fight back against a strange cult of infected locals called “J’avo” and to help save a group of U.N. officials who have been captured by J’avo forces.
The J’avo function much like the Ganados from RE4 and the Manjini from RE5, able to wield both guns and melee weapons as they seek to stop Chris and Piers. Shooting a J’avo in certain parts of their body will sometimes cause them to mutate; these mutations can range from a long tentacle to replace a severed arm to a full on “moth form” to replaces blown off legs, turning an ordinary J’avo into a deadly flying adversary.
Chris’s segment is also the perfect place to try out the new melee system. No longer do you have to wait for an enemy to be in a “stunned” or “weakened” state in order to run up and unleash a barrage of punches and kicks. Striking an enemy twice will force them to their knees, allowing for a third “finisher” strike that is capable of hitting multiple enemies at once. A new stamina gauge prevents players from just infinitely spamming melee attacks, but the melee system’s facelift is still a nice compliment to the solid gunplay.
The third and final sequence stars newcomer Jake Muller, a mercenary who’s rumored to be the offspring of legendary Resident Evil-villain Albert Wesker, as he teams up with Sherry Birkin, the daughter of scientist William Birkin who Leon helped back in Resident Evil 2. The pair must work together to escape from a crumbling building complex in Europe as they are chased by a massive Nemesis-wannabe sporting a biotic claw.
Rumors of Jake’s Wesker-heritage are supported by his ability to unleash a variety of deadly martial arts attacks, his kung fu-esque movements eerily mirroring those of his supposed father’s. Jake’s cavalier attitude never wavers as he and Sherry take on both a group of mysterious armed thugs as well as the larger claw-wielding monster in a tense showdown in the middle of an abandoned warehouse.
Capcom is aiming high with Resident Evil 6; hoping to appease both fans of the earlier survival-horror games as well as those who prefer the more action-heavy later entries. Judging from what I played in the demo, I’d say they’re on the right track to delivering a globe-spanning survival-horror adventure that will make fans very happy.
With entirely new actions and features meshed seamlessly into the already familiar gameplay, a massive storyline that spans three separate campaigns, and a well-crafted narrative that blends action and horror into one complete package, I’d personally recommend any and all Resident Evil fans to mark October 2nd on their calenders as they are not gonna want to miss out on this experience.