Tuesday, December 11

Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City Review

I played on: PS3
I paid: £3.48
Available on: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Notes: N/A

Resident Evil returns to the iconic streets of Raccoon City with this PS3 game. Also moving away from the traditional survival horror roots of the series instead towards a more fast-paced third-person shooter style. This is certainly a fun idea for a spin-off and one that got me very excited back in 2012. When I got my hands on it, however, I was very disappointed as all we ended up with is a below average cover shooter.

Let’s start with the positive points first. Having not seen Raccoon City since the PlayStation 2 it does feel nice to return. Fighting your way through the police station, having to take on Nemesis and chasing down Leon are all very fun and enjoyable ideas. Since Resident Evil 2 or 3 are yet to get a remake in HD like the first game this is the closest fans will get to relive the events of those games. I wish we had a better chance to see Leon and Claire’s escape from Raccoon City or Jill Valentine’s citywide battle with Nemesis. Replaying iconic moments from the original PS1 trilogy now from the other side as Umbrella soldiers sounds like it should be amazing. If these ideas played well I dare say they would be but in the game we got they are sorely lacking. While on the subject of the original trilogy let me ask you a question. What’s your favourite monster from that trilogy? The brutal armoured Hunters? The wall-crawling Lickers? The unstoppable Tyrants? Whatever it is there is a good chance they will be found in this game. The vast diversity of monsters is probably the best thing about Operation Raccoon City. Taking on a number of previous foes or even bosses from the PS1 classics was more fun than it had any right to be in a game this overwhelmingly bad. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that through simple nostalgia and love of monsters like the Crimson heads I didn’t have fun with parts of this game.

Sadly the previous paragraph sums up all the good things about Operation Raccoon City. Now we move on to the much larger subject of the negative points. This is a PlayStation 3 generation game and it looks worse during gameplay than the Resident Evil remake on the Gamecube. Honestly, that’s just shameful. This is made even more obvious when you compare the models for the crimson heads that appear in both games together. On the Gamecube, they have torn skin exposing bloody muscle and jagged bone like claws while on the PlayStation 3 game they are just red zombies. To say I was disappointed with the graphics would be an understatement. Although normally visuals are not something that would ruin a game for me here seeing Raccoon City in HD was one of the biggest selling points. I would recommend Resident Evil Outbreak for any fans that did want to see a beautifully realised Raccoon City through the eyes of a spin-off game.

It’s not just awful visuals as the controls feel even worse. If you’re running and press X then you will dive to the floor but you also have to press X to pick up ammo and other items. This lead to me trying to pick something up only to instead go flying through the air right over the item I wanted and into a crowd of monsters. The shooting itself feels, well just weak. Never once did my weapons feel like they were doing much damage to the enemies I was firing at. Even the human targets would stand there taking shot after shot to the head without even flinching. Every boss and most monsters require no tactics or skill instead just amounting to nothing more than bullet sponges. You’re able to melee enemies but somehow that feels even more ineffective than your guns unless you use your special attack and then it’s overpowered taking down most foes in one hit. Your grenades also feel like they do next to no damage. I bought this game to feel like a bad ass Umbrella soldier like Hunk from the canon but instead, I felt like a kid with a Nerf gun.

Speaking of Hunk from Resident Evil 2 you start the game with him leading your team and this felt amazing but then he dies at the end of the first mission. Your team then proceeds to fail every objective they’re given by Umbrella minus one. I didn’t feel like a badass here, I felt like an ineffective soldier unable to take on any task given to me. The tone is all wrong. None of the characters you follow has any sort of arch or character progression to speak of. For a spin-off non-canonical story the game feels unwilling to take any risks. The events of Resident Evil 2 and 3 are just sort of happening around you. I never felt like I was involved in what was happening at all besides the last boss fight and then even that made no sense. During this final encounter, a few of your team will turn on Umbrella with no reasons given at all. Honestly considering none of them even have a personality that’s not surprising. This is one of the worst stories I have seen come out of the Resident Evil series. When you look back at the amazing stories from not just Resident Evil 2 and 3 but also the Outbreak series it’s almost impressive how the developers seemed to miss every interesting event during this era of the lore. So much could have been done here but instead, it’s a 4-5 hour experience with no atmosphere, character or excitement. If I had to sum this plot up in one word it would be: slog.

If you really loved the original trilogy and the monsters found in those games then maybe pick this up for under a fiver. I mean if you were desperate to kill a weekend it might do because the nostalgia alone lead to me having a little fun but even then you can find better games for that same itch. It’s not terrible but the only thing saving it from that is my nostalgia for the older games so maybe without those rose-tinted glasses this game is terrible. As it stands it was kinda fun to shoot at Lickers, Hunters, Crimson Heads and more for a bit but even that is a flawed experience.

Recommendation Rating: 3 out of 10.

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