The lights are on
Resident Evil 6 tinkers with the series’ formula by allowing players to move and shoot, fire from the ground, and choose between three separate campaigns. It also experiments with bursts of four-player co-op and a competitive multiplayer mode built into the campaign. While the additional options are interesting concepts, their implementation is too random to consider true selling points. We didn’t get a chance to play thoroughly test these peripheral online-only modes prior to the game’s release, so consider this a supplement to our proper review.
Two-player co-op is the main draw of Resident Evil 6, but the duos of protagonists cross paths throughout the campaign for some four-player action. Suddenly, Leon and Helena may be battling a Nemesis-like beast in China alongside Jake and Sherry. Or Chris and Piers may align with Jake and Sherry to destroy AA guns and kill building-sized monsters. You can be randomly paired with two other human players that also happen to be playing these sequences if there are any. You can’t voice chat with these players, so don’t expect any masterful coordination. There’s no built-in matchmaking to experience these moments with friends, either.
I didn’t notice any dramatic changes to the flow of battle when I was finally paired with human counterparts. AI-controlled partners are invincible, so naturally your human-controlled friends are more vulnerable. I did notice being healed more often by my human allies, but that’s about it. From my experience, dying during one of these four-player scenarios triggers your human allies to be replaced by AI. I like that my death didn’t disrupt my new partners’ playthrough, but it makes the whole rendezvous feel moot.
The other mode, Agent Hunt, allows you to play as an enemy in a strangers’ campaign. The mode becomes playable after completing any given campaign. It’s conceptually similar to Left 4 Dead’s versus mode, but less empowering. I controlled a basic J’avo enemy during my time in Agent Hunt mode. Being restricted to sluggish melee attack means you’re going to die a lot. You can upgrade your monsters’ abilities with perks that improve damage, stamina, etc, but you’re still going to die before you do any meaningful damage. Playing as a human, I didn’t notice any difference between AI-controlled and human-controlled monsters.
Neither the four-player co-op or Agent Hunt offerings are destination modes for Resident Evil 6, but rather novel-yet-benign bonuses. Both are also completely optional. Not being able to coordinate these matches with your friends is a bummer, but doesn’t detract from the overall experience. Don’t let these two, undeveloped four-player modes sway your thoughts on RE 6, you should plan on playing for the thrilling two-player co-op.