Will Resident Evil 6 Save (or Kill) the Franchise?

29 Sep


The year is 1996, I was 11 years old, and I was having a sleepover with a good friend from around the block. With a little help from my parents, we moved all of our furniture out of the living room and set up a tent right there indoors. It was fucking dope. The evening’s chosen entertainment? Resident Evil, beginning to end (or so we thought). I had just gotten a PlayStation, and Eddie convinced his mom to go out and buy the game for us. I don’t need to go too deep into the specifics, but needless to say we never got around to getting any sleep. Unfortunately we never got around to beating the game either, though we did get pretty far. Eventually Eddie and I got into a fist-fight, and I ripped his shirt, and he moved away without telling me. It wasn’t until high school that I found a friend with a comparable love for Resident Evil who could share in my all-night survival horror marathons. Since then we’ve played every real Resident Evil release since the first. (Point of clarification: when I say real, I’m referring to 1, 2, 3: Nemesis, Code: Veronica, 4, 5, Zero, and Outbreak and Operation Raccoon City. I know there are tons of others, but these stand out as the primary entries in the series.)


It’s become a bit of a tradition with us, and nowadays it is no different. When we heard about Resident Evil 6, we started making plans to get together for a few weekends in a row to plow our way through it (while plowing our way through several cases of beer also). But lately the mood has been different. Sure, 4 was good. But 4 was the last entry in the series that had any semblance of being a survival horror game. 5 was enjoyable, but not as a Resident Evil game. It seemed like a re-skinned Gears of War 2. As with most things in this world, I suppose, the slow and methodical horror of yesteryear is being diluted by in-your-face action and punch-a-minute plotlines. Give me Code: Veronica any day of the week. Capcom has lofty goals for Resident Evil 6. Some fans have clamored for more action, others have complained about the lack of horror, and it seems the developers have tried to please everybody. The game boasts three separate campaigns out-of-box: Leon Kennedy, Chris Redfield, and Wesker’s son Jake Muller. Capcom has said that each campaign will pander to a different kind of gameplay, without giving specifics. I imagine that Leon’s campaign will focus on survival-horror, Chris will have an action twist, and I’m not sure about Jake. Also, when all of those are beaten, an Ada Wong campaign will unlock. There is also some speculation of a Prelude campaign, possibly available on beating all of the above, or possibly as DLC.

 

Above: Officer Zombie tries to snack on Leon in a screenshot from RE6.

 

On the surface, this could be a good thing. Having three campaigns to choose from could allow horror fans to bypass all the action-oriented run-and-gun and get to the good stuff. The same can be said for the action fans. However, as I think history has proven, developers with lofty goals often stretch themselves thin. What good are three different campaigns, when each one only takes six or seven hours to beat? Maybe I am just a jaded miser who’s always wishing for a return to the way things used to be, but my faith in Capcom and the Resident Evil franchise has been waning ever since the movies started coming out. I almost lost it altogether when I started playing 5.

Will RE6 save, or kill the franchise?

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