GAME NAME: Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
DEVELOPER(S): Slant Six Games/Capcom
GENRE(S): Third-person Shooter/Multiplayer
RELEASE DATE(S): 23 March 2012
Resident Evil spin-off titles are generally thought to be less superior to the main series. Whether it is an on-rail shooter along the lines of The Umbrella Chronicles or a light-gun shooter like Resident Evil: Dead Aim, Resident Evil fans don’t generally take kindly to change. Operation Raccoon City (ORC) tries to change this stereotype by introducing new gameplay mechanics to a multiplayer environment. This is a decent enough concept but ORC ultimately falls short of delivering a worthwhile online multiplayer experience.
The change of concept is immediately evident as you start the game as a member of the Umbrella Security Service’s Delta team and not a traditional ‘hero’ character. The plot is a refreshing change from previous instalments but unfortunately isn’t executed well enough to keep you interested for any length of time. ORC was designed to be a multiplayer experience. A multiplayer experience which doesn’t give you the option of local co-op gameplay, not the smartest move taking into consideration the huge success that this feature enjoyed in Resident Evil 5. You are encouraged to play online and this is almost a requirement since your single player campaign AI partners are utterly useless – that kid in primary school who ate paste looks like Einstein in comparison.
The controls are basic but this doesn’t make them practical. The cover system is frustrating as you find yourself automatically taking cover at the least expected of times. In true Resident Evil tradition weapons and ammo are in short supply which adds to the tension nicely. What also adds to the tension is the fact that you have to dance around items for a few seconds in order to collect them. More often than not this results in you picking up a weapon that you didn’t want in the first place anyway. The same can be said for reviving a team member, most times you’ll probably find yourself diving for cover instead of healing your fallen trooper.
Zombies can easy absorb a whole clip of ammunition and keep on coming back for more. Your melee attacks aren’t really helpful in this area, depending on which difficulty you selected at the beginning of the game. This is completely inverted when it comes to you and your teammates as both zombie and human opposition will take you out in a few strikes/shots. This unbalanced gameplay isn’t anything to be too worried about as you quickly become a super soldier once you have upgraded all your abilities and weapons and this transformation can be easily achieved very early on in the campaign.
The environments have an eerie look and feel to them and there are plenty of references to Resident Evil 2 and 3 which fans of the series will enjoy. These environments quickly become redundant and later stages just seem to be a recycled version of what you were exploring a few hours back.
Unfortunately it can’t even be said that ORC is only for Resident Evil fans as it is essentially a generic multiplayer third-person shooter with a Resi skin over it. The campaign can easily be completed in 10 hours and offers little incentive to go back and replay levels despite the option to collect additional data throughout the missions. If you were sitting on the fence about this title rather wait for Resident Evil 6 which launches this October.