When most would say, "Another year, another Resident Evil offshoot", I say "Hi offshoot, hope you are having a great day! Now lets get cracking!"
In this iteration of Resident Evil, you are back in Raccoon City. This time you get to play as the bad guys and, no, I don't mean zombies. Well, technically you kind of get to, but I'll touch on that later. Here, you get to play a part of the Umbrella Security Service (U.S.S.) and you have a mission of destroying any evidence that might be able to tie the company to the atrocities that had enveloped the quaint little berg of Raccoon City. In this third person shooter, you will get to choose from a variety of characters that work for Umbrella in order to fulfill your mission. The story takes place during the Resident Evil 2 timeline where Claire and Leon are in the city trying to find out what had happened to the STARS team.
To start off, I love the premise of the story and for some reason. Being able to play from the view of the baddies is just more fun. You start off in a team of five USS where you will be traveling deep into Umbrella's Offices withing Raccoon City in order to destroy any evidence of them having anything to do with the outbreak. In that team of five, you get to play as one of the traditional character classes of either medic, assault, sniper, etc. From there, you begin a game which is built for a co-op experience but at the same time, you can play it as a single player with AI controlled characters running around with you. I must say that it is much more fun playing with real people because there is unfortunately no way to really tell your AI teammates what to do. More often than not, you will find yourself screaming at them for just standing there and not doing anything to help out the situation.
The gameplay is quite fun coming from the team Slant 6 which has worked on earlier versions of SOCOM. When first playing it, I felt like I was trying something that I have played before, until Zombies started coming out of the woodwork. Perhaps one of my favorite aspects of this game is that it is full of action as opposed to other Resident Evil games where there are longer periods of downtime in between bouts of firefights. The horrible AI of your team can at times make it very difficult for you to be able to complete some of your tasks, but at least they do try to defend their position sometimes. One aspect that I found quite unique to this title is that each character has their own death move that they can perform when certain conditions are met when you are fighting your enemies. This makes it fun to see the wide variety of gruesome atrocities that your character can let loose on their enemies.
Speaking of enemies, you will be encountering many of your favorite creations from the series from the loveable Lickers to the destructive Tyrant. One fun aspect of this game is that you can at times become infected by the zombies that are running around. Unless you find some anti-viral spray quickly, your character will turn into a mindless zombie. At times it can be quite comical when they are running around with their arms wailing while pursuing any other living creature.
In terms of gain experience and leveling up your characters, each character is given a weapon, side arm, and a special power such as unlimited ammunition for 15 seconds. You get to purchase new weapons and abilities but you can only improve the abilities. The weapons are as is. This might limit game for some but It works perfectly for players such as myself who like to just find a nice load-out that works for me and can continually use it in the game and online. There are also new costumes and characters that you will be able to unlock and purchase via upcoming downloadables.
In terms of the online experience there are four modes to play with friends or enemies. The first is Time Attack where you will play as either the USS, or the Spec Ops teams in order to try to score the most points within a given amount of time.
There is also Hero Mode which is a team death match mode where you are split in the two opposing teams in order to just simply kill off everyone.
The capture the flag mode in this game is interestingly called Biohazard where each team has to retrieve the G-Virus and escape with it.
There would be no RE game with out a mode of survivor and in this case you will be team vs. team trying to survive against the hordes of zombies while waiting for your rescue helicopter to pick you up.
The biggest complaints that I have about this game are some of the holes in the story. One major one is that the main bad guy in the game just kind of disappears in the game outta nowhere. Even with that, it just left more questions but I cant ask them here without revealing spoilers. In terms of the AI, well, it was horrible. The single player team should not even exist because they will just stand around and not do anything while your are busting your butt trying to manage every little aspect of the mission.
Aside from that, there are minor glitches in the online atmosphere where you will find yourself playing and then at times the enemies might just zone out. In one instance, all the zombies just stood around and let me shoot them while the consistently replenished themselves every few minutes. But, even with these challenges in the game, the story is what carried me along and I was happy to see it from this perspective.
With all of the flaws in this game, it is offset by giving us a unique experience that we generally do not get to see in this universe. The story makes the game quite interesting, even though it is based on a story over ten years old. Is it worth the money? Sure -- especially for fans of the series and other action games such as Gears of War 3. Now get out there, meet some old friends and bust a cap in a zombie or two.
Final Game Guys grade: B+
- by John Speerbrecker for news10.net's Game Guys
(A copy of this game was supplied by Capcom for the purpose of review.)