This holiday season is packed with tons of great video games to play, but how do you know which ones are good? One of the biggest games to come out is Resident Evil 6, a horror/3rd person shooter game developed by the video game company Capcom. The game released on October 2, 2012 for Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows.

     The main focus of the game comes down to killing zombies and other infected individuals while trying to uncover who was behind letting loose the virus on the world. Yes, unlike most zombie games and movies where the cause of the outbreak is usually an accident, in the Resident Evil series there are antagonists that want to watch the world burn.

     Gameplay is a satisfying mix of shooting mechanics and melee. You can switch between weapons like the pistol or shotgun on the fly, use grenades to blow enemies up, and utilize melee weapons like the knife and stun rod. If you are running low on ammo you can attempt to use up your stamina meter to preform punching and kicking attacks, some of which can instantly kill certain enemy types if used correctly.

      If you’re running low on health, you can pick up healing items like herbs and first aid spray. Herbs can be converted to tablets that heal one health block for each consumed (You can have up to six health blocks), and you can heal other players directly next to you when you consume one. First aid sprays are a full heal, and can fully revive each player if near death, but they are few and far between.

     When players get downed (The state right before death), they need to either wait for their AI (Artificial Intelligence) controlled partner or another player come to revive them.  This system could use some work, as there are times where your partner cannot get close and you’re left completely helpless.

     Within the game there are 3 distinct story campaigns (You unlock a fourth focusing on the character Ada Wong upon completion of the other three) that tell the perspectives of Leon, Chris, and Jake, two of which are returning main characters and one new for the series. Each story has its own enemies, settings, and characters.

     Leon’s focuses on the horror aspect of the series and has you facing off against classic mindless zombies. Chris’ is heavy on being a third person action military shooter, and has huge set pieces facing off against huge monsters across the world. Jake’s campaign is basically a mix of both, along with featuring an unstoppable boss character, similar to Nemesis ( Enemy from Resident Evil 3), that chases you for the entire story.

     Even though they are separate storylines, in select sections of the game you cross paths with another character from their own story. This allows for some unique cooperative gameplay with other players online who are also playing, and up to 4 players can be playing together during some missions. This leads to some epic boss battles that scale huge city blocks with players working together to bring down bigger than life monsters.

     The biggest missteps I found while playing the campaigns were the god awful vehicle sections. There is a point in Jake’s story where you have to race down a mountain on a snowmobile as an avalanche chases behind you. The controls are less than graceful, and I constantly found myself running into trees, or running too close to the sides of the area. One simple mistake and you have to repeat from your last checkpoint. Even when I got better at using the snow mobile, a friend I was playing Co-Op with wasn’t as lucky. Overall it was an experience that frustrated and provided very little thrills.

     After players finish the story campaigns there are other game modes to try, like Agent Hunt, which allows player to become an infected character and attack other players by invading their game, and Mercenaries, a fan favorite mode where players are thrown into a huge map and left with only a few minutes to kill as many enemies as they can.

     Let me say upfront, that this is a game for the fans of the Resident Evil series. Most of the characters and plotlines will only be understood by people, who played previous games in the series. I’m not saying the game can’t be picked up by newcomers, but the most appealing parts of the game will be appreciated more by fans.

     As a fan driven game, Resident Evil 6 is an action packed joyride. It provides a compelling story, great voice acting and overall a refined game play experience compared to previous games. Besides some issues like cheap deaths and broken vehicle sections, the game is one of the best games to come out this year. I would call RE6 the perfect blend of horror and action.