I was excited. More excited than I had been about previous Resident Evil releases (4 and 5 to be more precise). The TV adverts had me drooling. I thought "This is it, finally. Back to the good old days of true Survival Horror!"
How wrong I was.
I'd accepted many of changes Capcom had made to the Resident Evil series, specifically from Resident Evil 4, even though it took me a while. The over-the-shoulder camera angle was my first gripe, but I grew to accept it, even though I still don't fully like it. I understood Capcom were only trying to move with the times. Resident Evil 5 annoyed me on more levels than just camera angles. Mainly through its lack of thrill, suspense and being set predominately in broad daylight. Zombies themselves didn't feel like traditional zombies. Just a bunch of annoyed villagers who took a disliking to the "New Guy".
But yet I thought Capcom might have learned. Gone back to their roots and pull out a game that would frighten the life out me, yet still wouldn't let me put the controller down. Unfortunately I did the opposite and the controller went back to its resting place, after a mere half an hour of playing time.
Now, don't get me wrong, the initial deep, dark, city suburb setting had me reeling memories of Resident Evil 2 (my favourite of the series I must add). The lights went off in my room, door shut, just me and RE6, ready to do battle in to who was going to give in first. From the onset, I could see this game was going to annoy me. The mere calibration settings for the brightness were a complete and utter shambles. For those that are unfamiliar, this is the test you must adhere to, to ensure the brightness settings for your TV are correct. You must reduce (or increase) the brightness levels to the point where a large "6" becomes almost invisible. Yet, when you do this, you can decrease the settings to its lowest point, yet vividly still see the number 6. I continued nevertheless as this may be pivotal to the game play. I couldn't see a thing. Short of making out the back of Leon's head, nothing else in the deep dark surroundings were visible. I couldn't continue to play like this, so I had to significantly increase the brightness.
My rant was over. I continued to play. You begin by helping Helena Harper, who you later understand is a United States Secret Service Agent. She's injured and you're being the lone warrior that only Leon can be, and carrying her while she remains immobile. This prologue seems to be nothing more than an introduction in to the game play of Resident Evil 6 and how things function, such as you'll come across a door that requires the two of you to open and how to mix herbs etc. You (of course) come across your first zombie in this part of the game and to my joy it was a back-to-basics, old school, true sense of the word, Zombie. He comes towards you and, as many of you will instinctively know, you start firing bullets. Deliberately, you do not have enough ammo to eliminate it, and you engage in a grapple with the beast. This again, seems to show you what you need to do in this situation. Indeed what you need to do is rotate the analogue stick around like a lunatic. Yet another gripe of mine I'm afraid. With this "button bashing" mentality Resident Evil seemed to have developed, it feels like this game doesn't belong on a console, yet it feels like it would be more suited to being sat in the corner of run down pub, with a pathetic joystick and a few buttons. I do not like having an arcade mentality in a game where I am supposed to feel threatened by my surroundings, made to jump at any given opportunity. Not hit buttons in the right sequence. This is a survival horror, not Just Dance.
I won't go in to fine details with regards to the Prologue, but it doesn't last very long. After that, you're taken to the start screen, where you're given the option to start a story with three different players; Leon Kennedy, Chris Redfield or Jake Muller.
Unfortunately, I cannot comment on the latter two, as I opted to continue from the Prologue and stick with Leon. Immediately, after selecting Leon, I was taken to a screen with a number of Xbox Live settings. Again, this was something I didn't like. I got the feeling Capcom were trying to gear up players to play online as the default setting and again, this is something I am not familiar with and I believe all Resident Evil games need to be played alone to fully grasp the effects. After selecting the offline mode, we were off, straight to a nostalgic cut-scene with Leon talking to the President. It moves to the current scene, where the President has turned in to a Zombie and Leon and Helena are pleading and bargaining for the President to back away. Of course he doesn't and shots are fired. Your story begins from this point.
You make your way around a university campus and I must say, the suspense is no longer there. Moments that are put there to shock you are made very obvious from the dialogue of Leon and Helena. The navigation tool (enabled by pressing LB), makes the game feel a little too easy, instructing you of every turn to make, whereas the classics made you find your own way, even if it took hours! From the small time I played it, killing zombies seems to be just as awful. I liken it to playing the Zombie mode on Call of Duty: World at War. I don't want to have to blindly smash the trigger on zombies, where quite frankly it ruins the whole feel to the game. Not only is it the killing of zombies, it's once there dead the glowing XP points that hover over their body is another truly ridiculous trait. For me, it doesn't feel like I'm in that situation with Leon and they are losing a lot of realistic effects and adding a lot of gimmicks.
It was after this point, where I continued to play for a further 20 minutes and couldn't come to terms with this modern, tacky and quite frankly dead game. I was sorely disappointed with this game, and the fact I gave it a 5.5 is I believe if you can put all of the modern tweaks to one side, then I imagine it is a very playable game, with quite a good storyline, but unfortunately it's not for me.
Which leads me to my final point and this is Capcom should seriously consider putting a stop to the once great gaming giant that was Resident Evil and stop trying to make improvements to a series that quite frankly is getting worse after every release.