Resident Evil 6
In our E3 issue, we went in-depth into the first two chapters of each of the main protagonists from Resident Evil 6’s campaign. Now we delve a little deeper into the game’s opening chapters.
The game's prologue picks up somewhere in the middle of Leon and Helena’s campaign. The two are outrunning helicopters and explosions right off the bat, taking only a few moments to rest and show off the new health system. Instead of pausing the game and diving into the menus to grab an herb, you now convert herbs into tablets to consume on the fly like Tic-Tacs. Before converting an herb to tablet form to heal an injured Helena, Leon decides to administer it the old fashioned way. He applies the herb off-screen, and one of Resident Evil’s greatest mysteries remains just that. How do herbs work?
Things pick up quickly once Helena is all healed and within moments the two are shooting and punching zombies, and re-enacting the scene from Independence Day where the dog outruns the giant cascading fireball explosion of cars in the street. They get onto a helicopter, but the pilot has been bitten and Leon has to take over the controls and simultaneously shoot at the new pilot-zombie while steering a helicopter as it begins to play a game of chicken with a monorail train. It’s crazy and never gives Leon or Helena a chance to catch their breath. It’s an exciting way to begin Resident Evil 6, and it looks to be indicative of the pacing of the rest of the game.
Leon and Helena
After the explosive prologue, you can begin with any campaign you like. We’ve already seen how Leon’s and Helena’s begins. The President of the United States gets zombified, and Leon has the unenviable task of taking him out. Helena claims that everything is her fault and she will reveal why once they check out a mysterious temple. The President was on a college campus when he became a zombie, and Leon and Helena fight their way out of the campus and onto the streets. The action moves quickly, and in many cases moving forward without wasting precious ammo on enemies was preferred. The city is going to hell in the wake of the zombie apocalypse. It’s reminiscent of what happened in Raccoon City. Along with zombies and rampaging building fires, Leon and Helena have to dodge out of control motorists. They make their way to an ammo store where a group of people have been holding off the horde. The gunshop owner lets everyone upstairs once he deems it safe, but not before one of the survivors decides to steal his girlfriend’s gun and loudly proclaim that he can make it on his own. He doesn’t.
Without any breaks for even a cut scene, the group makes their way up through the building and into a bus. They’re all set to head to the temple, but a giant monster stands in front of the bus preventing forward momentum. After lots of zombie shooting and an extreme thinning of the once large group, the bus heads toward the temple.
Of course, the bus crashes and flips right outside of the temple’s cemetery, as buses are prone to do during zombie apocalypses. Leon and Helena fight their way through the cemetery, tracking down a key to enter the temple, but not before fighting off a huge wave of zombies right in front of the door. Once inside the temple, I took part in my only puzzle sequence throughout my entire six chapter playthrough spread across the three campaigns. I used the laser sight on my gun to activate switches, shot at targets to open doors, and deactivated statues with crossbows all to open a secret door to head to a gigantic secret facility below the temple. Helena promises Leon that he only has to do one more thing before she will tell him everything, a promise she makes at least three more times as you progress further and further underground.
Eventually, Leon and Helena make their way to another underground facility that is below the facility that’s underneath the temple where Ada Wong makes her first appearance. For possibly the first time in her life, she is dressed appropriately for combat, a mistake she doesn’t make in subsequent campaigns.
There is a revelation about Helena’s motivations before the end of the second chapter, but it is still unclear as to why everything is her fault, despite her repeated claims that she will reveal everything with each completed task. There is also a strange revelation about Ada Wong that I won’t spoil here, and there is at least one minecart sequence. Leon and Helena’s first two chapters inspire the most interest for continued play. I am most curious in what is going on with those two.
Read on to find out more about the first two chapters of Jake and Sherry's campaign.
Jake and Sherry
Jake is a mercenary, as it is established in the first moments of his campaign. His and Sherry’s campaign open with Jake applying a shot to himself. His mercenary teammates are doing the same thing, except they have an immediate allergic reaction to the shot turning them into rabid monsters. Jake attempts to converse with one of his recently turned mercenaries saying they should be asking for more money. The teammate growls in reply violently attacking Jake, who takes him out easily using hand-to-hand combat. Every character begins with handgun and a subweapon – except for Jake. His subweapon is his fists. He is able to pull off stronger melee attacks outside of the ones that every character can use with the R1 (RB) button.
In the chaos, Jake finds Sherry, who informs him that his blood holds the key to curing the bioterrorism virus that is plaguing the Earth. Jake ponders his worth for a moment, and agrees to lend his blood for $50 million. The only thing Jake cares about is money. The two spend more time fighting real humans than zombies as they make their way to Sherry’s recon point. On the way, the two meet the Ustanak; the giant menacing, seemingly indestructible half-monster, half-robot super soldier. All Jake and Sherry can do is outrun him and blow up the destructible barrels he happens to stand next to.
Allow me to take this moment to compliment the explosive barrels in Resident Evil 6. They offer some of the most impressive, awe-inspiring explosions I have ever had the privilege of witnessing in a video game. If there was an award for best explosive red barrel, Resident Evil 6 would win.
Before taking off into the air and heading to home base, Jake and Sherry meet up with Chris and his fellow BSAA soldiers. Anti-air guns are preventing takeoff and it’s up to Jake, Sherry, Chris, and his partner Piers to take care of business so Sherry and Jake can leave. Also, there is the largest monster I have ever seen in the history of Resident Evil meandering around the city. This is one of the sequences where campaigns intersect and the game opens up to four-player cooperative play. Everyone has to work together to defend Finn, the BSAA explosives expert, while he sets charges on the anti-air guns, all while fighting the gigantic monster as he stomps around the city block. Just as Finn finishes up with the charges, a second giant monster shows up just to complicate things further. Thankfully, by this time you have air support to drop bombs on your four-story tall enemies, but Jake still has to jump from the roof of a building onto the monster’s head in order to perform a quicktime event and expose his weak spot.
Resident Evil 6 is rife with quicktime events. You either put up with them, or you hate them, but they always offer very cool, often gruesome animations to reward your violent control sticking waggling and timed button pressing.
Jake and Sherry finally get into the air, but only long enough for Sherry to make a phone call to confirm that Jake’s asking price can be met. Just when you’re about to relax alongside Jake and Sherry, the Ustanak rears his ugly masked face, and starts taking the plane down from the outside. Despite the best efforts of Jake and Sherry, the Ustanak wins taking down the plane, but not before Jake is able to grab the single parachute available on board to share with Sherry as they plummet to the snowy grounds below.
Once on the ground Sherry realizes she dropped important data that needs to be found. The data is contained on three USB drives, and you are free to explore the wide-open environment to track them down. While you come across many enemies during your exploration, and even a drivable snowmobile (which plays a larger role later), this is the slowest Resident Evil 6 got during my time with the game. Meandering around the snow is quiet, and the lack of visibility created a creepy, harsh atmosphere.
After finding all the missing pieces, Jake and Sherry regroup at a cabin to get out of the oncoming snow storm. It’s here that Jake shows his humanity. Every dialogue experience with Jake has been a series of bland quips and action-movie one-liners, but in the cabin he shows concern for Sherry in non-romantic way. Their rest is short lived (a problem every character in Resident Evil 6 is constantly running into), as soldiers blow up the cabin’s walls and Jake and Sherry are forced to flee both soldiers and a landslide. The snow-mobiles from earlier become very handy escape vehicles as snow cascades the environment behind them.
The two press on, only to run into the Ustanak yet again. This time the Ustanak is in a cave, quietly searching for his prey with the help of bugs that can give up your location if you run across their line of sight. As you dodge the Ustanak and quietly sneak up on his recon bugs, you make your way to a giant drill that becomes the ultimate weapon to destroy the Ustanak. It takes a multitude of quicktime events, but you aim the drill squarely at the chest of the Ustanak pushing him through multiple walls until he appears to be dead.
Jake and Sherry emerge from the cave to see their destination city off in the distance, and suddenly Ada Wong appears inappropriately dressed with a very revealing dress in the middle of the snow. She has a scarf, but her back and most of her chest are entirely exposed. She must be freezing.
She reveals to Jake that he is the son of Albert Wesker, a motivated but very dumb man. Jake appears to have no idea who she is talking about, and the Ustanak emerges from the cave with a giant drill-shaped hole in his chest. He knocks out both Jake and Sherry at Ada’s command, and the chapter comes to a close.
Read on to find out more about the first two chapters of Chris and Piers' campaign.
Chris and Piers
Chris’ campaign seems to lean the hardest on strictly third-person shooting. Through the entire first two chapters of Chris’ story, I never once had to solve a puzzle or do any kind of meaningful exploration. Chris and his partner Piers made their way through a series pathways filled with enemies and cover points. As near as I can tell, Chris’ mission is always to enter an area, clear it out of enemies, and then blow up the aforementioned area. If he gets out before the bombs come through, then he is having a good day. In the BSAA, executing the mission is the main priority, even if it means incidentally killing your best solider.
Chris’s story begins in a bar, with a plastered Chris who has forgotten important elements of his past. His partner Piers is there to bring him back to the BSAA, and his first return mission is in Lanshiang, China where a deadly C-virus outbreak has occurred. Chris, Piers, and a handful of other BSAA agents make their way through the city fighting infected J’avo, saving hostages, and narrowly escaping collapsing buildings. The mission causes Chris to remember what he fought so hard to forget, and what comes next is a memory of a previously forgotten mission.
The scene opens with Chris promising his fellow soldiers that none of them are expendable, and none will be left behind. He takes a moment to check up Finn, the explosives expert and newest member of the team to make sure he is doing okay. The group makes their way through a Eurpoean city, fighting infected c-virus soldiers, gigantic monsters, and blowing up bridges after they have been cleared of enemies.
During the course of their mission, the BSAA runs into Jake and Sherry. The sequence mentioned above involving the gunships and the gigantic monster has to be replayed entirely. You are playing as a different character, but the scenario is exactly the same. It would have been nice to be able to have this sequence relegated to a cutscene since I already played it, but it doesn’t look like that's an option.
After taking care of Jake and Sherry, Chris, Piers, and his fellow BSAA agents move to a new area, an abandoned science research facility. The group runs into Ada Wong, who claims to be an employee of the facility. Chris doesn’t know Ada, so he accepts her claim but tells Finn to keep an eye on her. The group makes their way into the heart of the facility with Ada as a tour guide.
It doesn’t take long for Chris’ suspicions to be rationalized, because Ada manages to separate Chris and Piers from the rest of their group. It would be a spoiler to reveal why Ada split up the BSAA agents, but it has a lot to do with why Chris became the drunken emotional wreck seen in the beginning of his campaign.
Resident Evil doesn’t feel like the tense horror game it used to, and while that may be disappointing to many, that doesn’t mean that the new direction of the series doesn’t stand on its own as a polished action game. Shooting zombies and monsters is still an intense experience, and there are still surprises everywhere, even if they aren’t monster dogs jumping through windows. Resident Evil 6 is coming October 2, and while the series is feeling more and more like a third-person shooter, and less and less like a terrifying horror experience, it’s still a blast to play. I am looking forward to finishing out everyone’s story.