When it comes to Resident Evil 6, the phrase "mixed review" has never been more applicable. The latest installment has returned to the series' roots with multiple simultaneous campaigns, each with a strong co-op focus and its own specific gameplay style. Now judging by the last two installments, 5 and Operation: Raccoon City, Resident Evil and co-op haven't exactly been playing well together. Fortunately, RE6 addresses that issue immediately with notably less stupid AI partners. Due to the distinctly different natures of each campaign, I feel the most appropriate way to review this game would be to explain each campaign individually and how they connect with each other. The first campaign features the return of old hat and powdered wig enthusiast Leon S. Kennedy and some other woman named Helena, whose story and character are not well explained enough to formulate some kind of analogy for her . That’s one of the few things I’ve noticed about Capcom games that they’re consistently not good at: characterization. Unless, you’ve had multiple games to establish a relatable personality, like Leon, you’re just going to end up either boring or stereotypical. For our new friend Helena, it is most definitely the former. And if you need more than one example, at one point in the campaign, the static duo meet up with 6 other survivors, each distinctly different from the last. Capcom must have noticed the stress this would have on their writing department, because all 6 are dead within twelve minutes leaving absolutely no impact on our heroes. Overall, the gameplay of the first campaign is similar to the earlier Resident Evil games, with aimlessly shambling zombies, tight hallways, and an emphasis on handguns and close-quarters combat. The classic RE feel combined with modern third-person shooter controls actually work quite well. You’d underestimate the newfound ability to move and shoot, but it transitions to the new game very easily. There’s an incredible number of setpieces and experiencing them in co-op is a blast. I just wish that after a boss fight the game gave you an option to stomp on its head a few times because, in all three campaigns, you fight the same three bosses multiple times, and it starts getting rather aggravating after about the third time. For instance, in the last two chapters of Leon’s campaign, you encounter mutant Derek six times. Overall, Leon’s campaign feels like a return to form and it is far away the best of the three. The second campaign follows fridge-on-legs Chris Redfield now in some unexplained state of PTSD that never gets firmly resolved and his new tagalong, Piers, whose level of characterization leaves him somewhere between an irritable teenager and a plank of wood with a scowl drawn on it. The gameplay of Chris’s campaign leans more to an action-packed third person shooter using the game’s newly implemented cover system. This abrupt gameplay shift us balanced by introducing new mutated enemies that shoot back. Overall, the cover system takes a little while of getting used to do to the fact that it’s still completely optional. There’s even a driving and VTOL flying sequence for some reason and surprisingly, it’s not on-rails, and lets you maintain full control of the vehicle. There’s even a really good bit in which one player is in the plane and has to cover the other player who’s avoiding giant monsters on the deck of aircraft carrier. Despite this abandonment from the RE formula, all of these new gameplay styles control quite well, and while this campaign isn’t as smooth as Leon’s, it’s still fun. The final campaign stars the son of Dick Dastardly lookalike Albert Wesker, Jake, and Sherry Birkin, for some reason. Unlike the previous new characters, Jake actually has a focused characterization. It’s just that it makes him COMPLETELY UNLIKABLE. His constant one-liners and “tough boy” attitude will leave you sighing with anxiety throughout. This campaign feels very loose and schizophrenic, like an amalgamation of the two previous campaigns. It contains the frenetic, cover-based, shooting of the J’avo, but with the tight corridors and small arms of Leon’s campaign. It all feels very unfocused and is considerably the least enjoyable of the three campaigns. Overall, RE6 is not deserving of the mediocre reviews and fan outcry it has received to this point. The fact is, Resident Evil 6 is not bad, it’s just different. It’s unfair to judge solely by comparison to early Resident Evil games. It set out to be an action packed third-person shooter, and it succeeded in doing so. It’s very fun, especially in co-op, and there’s enough game here to keep you occupied for quite a while. One campaign alone takes around 5 to 6 hours. Keeping up with three stories at once is a=hard on the brain, so this is a game that should be thoroughly enjoyed for its gameplay, which is good, because the gameplay is quite enjoyable. It’s a little uncertain at times, switching between gameplay styles and vehicle segments, and there are an absolutely inane number of quick-time events, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you don’t like those, you might want to shy away from this game. If not, this is a must-play.