The lights are on
When I first heard word
of Capcom’s plans to inject tactical shooter elements into Resident
Evil, I was worried. With Slant Six behind the project, what I
envisioned was simply a SOCOM game with zombies thrown in. In reality,
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is shaping up to be a tight
shooter with engaging class-based mechanics, cool enemies, and visceral
The E3 2011 demo I played took place
immediately after Clair and Leon S. Kennedy are separated by an
exploding gas tanker on the infected streets of Raccoon City. The
Umbrella Security Service is tasked with cleaning up the nasty undead
outbreak, and that begins with the pesky survivors. Leon is the primary
target, but the U.S.S. will inevitably take down many zombies, bio-organic weapons, and members of the opposing United States Special
Operations task force.
I chose to play as Vector, a deadly agent
mentored by the infamous Hunk. Weapon loadouts are customizable, as are
certain skill sets. I decided to go with Vector’s cloaking ability and
suppressed rifle in order to keep a low profile. The game’s tight
third-person gunplay surprised me. Shooting from the hip and zooming in
for precise shots felt great, resulting in plenty of decapitated undead.
Holding down a shoulder button immediately draws a sidearm, pulls the
camera back, and automatically locks on to close enemies. This move is
crucial when reloading in the heat of battle is not an option. I felt
comfortable with the controls after just a few moments of gameplay.
good way to save your skin when the undead begin closing in is to mash
on the melee button. Each soldier is trained in highly effective
close-quarters combat, unleashing a flurry of kicks and knife slashes
that quickly take down zombies. The U.S.S. operatives make the
S.T.A.R.S. look like geriatrics by comparison. I had an amazing time
using melee to control crowds, and actually found myself relying on CQC
more than the firearms in certain moments. Tapping the melee button and
steering your character in the direction of the next zombie threat was
very simple. Switching between gunplay and melee is a fast process,
making it even more appealing.
Hand to hand combat isn’t an option
when confronted with the game’s larger B.O.W. threats. Lickers crawl
from the vents of a claustrophobic garage, a scene reminiscent of James
Cameron’s Aliens. These clawed abominations will literally tongue-tie
you, leaving you incapacitated and vulnerable to enemy fire or zombie
attacks. A few wiggles of the analog stick or a helpful partner can set
you free. A more devastating challenge is found in the Hunters, bipedal
reptile creatures with a wicked vertical leap and razor sharp claws. I
poured dozens of rounds into these beasts, and many of my teammates
didn’t survive the encounter.
Vector’s invisibility skill came in
handy during these intense encounters. Cloaking not only helps dispatch
nasty B.O.W.s, but I also used it to my advantage against the human
opposition. In a move that would make Solid Snake envious, I cloaked,
grabbed a zombie to use as a meat shield, then safely took pot shots at an
enemy sniper. Being able to execute entertaining feats such as this all
within the Resident Evil universe made me giddy. I can’t wait to get my
hands on it again so I can try out the other U.S.S. agents such as
demolition man Beltway, or medic Bertha. Unfortunately the demo I played
only pitted two human players against A.I., so I’ll have to wait to get
a better sense of the tactical teamwork.
As for Leon S. Kennedy,
he made it away unscathed during this playthrough. I’m enamored with the
idea of rerouting Resident Evil’s history, so I’ll be sure to take down
the Raccoon City survivor the next time I get to play the game, which I
hope is soon.
Email the author Tim Turi, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
Cool, this game sounds like a lot of fun, and the screenshots look great! Good to see hunters and lickers again. :D
I must play this game!!!
I am sooooo ecixted for this game even more now than before I saw all of these screen shots. I'm glad I put my reserve in for it already.