The Xbox One version of Resident Evil 6 was primarily tested for the purpose of this review.Resident Evil 6 follows three sets of characters in 2013, which puts it roughly four years following the events of Resident Evil 5. The stories all begin at different times and in different locations – Leon (of Resident Evil 4 fame) begins his adventures in a small American town called Tall Oaks where an outbreak has recently occurred. Chris Redfield (from Resident Evil 5) is sent to Lanshiang in China to rescue diplomats from the midst of a nationwide outbreak. Jake, Albert Wesker’s son is teamed up with an all-grown-up Sherry Birkin in Edonia, an Eastern European region where it’s militia have been infected by the same virus.
When Resident Evil 6 was being marketed loads of emphasis was put on how “Evil Has Gone Global”. Resident Evil 6 really isn’t lying when it says that. Gone are the days where a game in the series takes place in a quaint little mansion entirely. Instead, we have a globetrotting adventure that is unapologetically Hollywood schlock. There’s twists and turns that are just as unbelievable as they are shocking but anyone and everyone will enjoy playing through the games four (unevenly paced) campaigns and see how each of the characters’ stories lines up with one another.
While it is a story that those who have been following the canon of Resident Evil since its inception will revel in, it’s also very melodramatic and over the top. Many argue the series is ripe for a reboot given the complexity of its narrative but it’s still enjoyable to see how these outbreaks keep escalating in magnitude with each instalment. At the end of the story, you’ll feel like everything is wrapped up with obvious hooks here and there for a potential sequel (if Capcom ever bothers to put it out). Long term fans will enjoy the interactions between the characters that might’ve never previously had an opportunity to happen in other games.The original launch version of Resident Evil 6 had some incredibly variable quality in its environments. Some areas looked amazing while others suffered from severely crushed blacks and as a result looked rather lackluster. Textures were low resolution and there were some trade-offs to even get the game running at a stable (and not necessarily good) framerate. The fantastic news with this remaster of Resident Evil 6 is that almost all of the visual issues that plagued the original have disappeared – the developers have really gone the extra mile to make this the best looking version of the game yet.
The remaster runs in full 1080p and at 60 frames per second, which brings it more in line with the recent Revelations 2 rather than other games. This is a small improvement that has a big effect on the gameplay – which in and of itself is very fast paced. Character models look sharp and clean and while textures are still somewhat low resolution the game overall runs without problem.Explosions, blood, gore and bullets will be thrown into the sky across a bright neon cityscape in China without any drops in framerate. It’s a true spectacle and really encouraging to see so much effort put into this port to make use of the new hardware. The small effects are still all there – dust and sweat will accumulate on your character as they step through dirtier environments – and they make the experience feel “real”.
The voice work is great but the script is unapologetically hammy leading to some rather larger than life performances. Series stalwarts Matthew Mercer and Roger Craig Smith do great jobs at bringing Leon and Chris to life in some of the more dramatic moments of the game, while Courtenay Taylor brings an air of elusiveness and mystique to Ada too. Resident Evil 6’s script is by no means directed or performed to the same standard as games like The Last of Us but it does a good enough job to bring everything to life.Resident Evil 6 is easily one of the more controversial games in the series because it drops all pretense of being a horror game and becomes an all our thriller and/or action experience. As such, it’s played primarily like a third person shooter. Think Gears of War or Vanquish, but closer to the latter. The new movement system means players can do almost anything at any time. Run, slide, move into cover, move while shooting, aim and shoot while lying prone on the ground. There’s plenty of options and most are barely explained in the game’s lackluster tutorial so we really recommend getting to grips with Resident Evil 6’s movement system and its multitude of options before really getting into the nitty gritty.
You’ll play through four campaigns in Resident Evil 6 – each slightly attempting to differentiate themselves from one another. Leon’s one is a slower and more atmospheric experience where zombies are the prime enemy. Chris finds himself in China fighting the J’avo, a new threat created by a new virus in a more action orientated campaign. Jake’s campaign is more experimental – there’s some stealth segments, some hand to hand combat and some elements from both Chris’s and Leon’s. Ada’s acts as a way to tie the story together, but features a few (easy) puzzles here and there. All the campaigns are great with some memorably set pieces in each – but the array of content on offer here means that the game can feel bloated at times and definitely could’ve used an editor.The crux of the experience will be spent combating enemies, and to go with the varied combat system there’s a heap of different enemies to take on. The new C-Virus provides a new kind of enemy in the J’avo. Shoot off a leg and it’ll (at random) mutate into something much more challenging. It’s a cool but natural evolution from the things that used to burst from the head of enemies in Resident Evil 4 and 5 and keeps combat interesting from time to time. Sometimes, enemies even enter cocoons and transform into entirely new bests. This dynamicity in the enemy design and variety makes every battle in Resident Evil 6 feel hectic and fast paced, and it’ll see players continually tailor their approach according. It’s fun, it’s fast paced and it rarely gets boring.
When it originally released Resident Evil 6 was plagued with design issues that stopped many from embracing it as freely as Resident Evil 5 and 4. Some of those issues still remain – namely the distended four campaigns to play through and the reliance on arena based set pieces. But many others have been modified since the game came out – your field of view and camera is now completely modifiable so you can pull the camera in or out as far as you want. Quick time events are now simplified and rarely result in frustrating instant deaths. Enemies have been rebalanced in terms of damage. All in all, while it still has a few fundamental problems, this version of Resident Evil 6 is a much more approachable beast than what was originally served up in 2013.As with the other Resident Evil games, Resident Evil 6 also includes a slew of online and multiplayer modes. The entirety of the four campaigns will take roughly twenty or so hours to complete and can be played co-operatively too either split-screen or online. There’s roughly three or so multiplayer modes that provide a more traditional PvP experience, while the series now infamous Mercenaries mode returns for some co-op fun. Coming over from the PC version is the No Mercy mode of Mercenaries, which doubles the amount of enemies thrown at the player within the same amount of time. It’s incredibly hectic and impressive to see this many enemies on screen at once with little to no slowdown.Resident Evil 6 returns to the new generation of consoles with a small range of improvements. It runs much smoother, it has had a large majority of its design issues patched out (although these are also available in previous versions) and it has every piece of downloadable content, adjustment and mode that was added to it following release. This is a huge package of modes and adventures and to be given the opportunity to experience it all for such a low price is a steal.
But it’s also important to highlight that the fundamental issues with the game are still here. Yes, it runs at a steady and responsive 60fps. Yes it represents tremendous value for money. But there are some times where the pacing is quite off – a far cry from the perfectly honed Resident Evil 4 and 5. If you can put these things aside, and go into Resident Evil 6 willing to learn the intricacies of the games fluid and varied combat systems, Resident Evil 6 is a fantastic buy.