Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City Xbox 360 Review
Publisher – Capcom – Developer – Slant Six Games – Genre – Action – Players – 1-8 – Age Rating – 18+ – Other console/handheld formats – PS3
We’ve already seen Resident Evil get reinvented in the past, and it’s also a series that has been cast by Capcom into various genres over the years. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is a neat twist on what has come before, with a reimagining of the Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis plot lines, and squad-based gameplay is also something that isn’t very typical for a Resident Evil game.
Yes, in terms of setting, Operation Raccoon City is set during the events of the first two sequels. Being that certain elements of the plot have been altered for dramatic effect, this is actually non-canon, although it’s a fairly decent reimagining, witnessed from a team of Umbrella operatives. There’s not a lot of plot there, although small cut-scenes do break all the shooting up, and, as brief as their appearances may be, it’s nice to see some familiar faces crop up from time to time.
The most similar games to Operation Raccoon City are actually the Resident Evil Outbreak games, being that they also had a very strong focus on multiplayer. For the lone wolves out there, it is indeed possible to play the game solo, with three AI-controlled partners accompanying you into battle against the zombie hordes, nasty creatures that could really do with some nail cutters, and human enemies with guns. It’s just that the AI isn’t actually all that good, and they do little to actually help you out. They are in constant need of reviving, they walk through fire and into tripwires, sometimes they just stand around when you could do with the extra firepower, and other times they’ll just get in the way. Developer Slant Six Games have placed little effort into the AI, and this also goes for the enemy AI. I’ve witnessed enemies running against walls, and I’m not talking about the zombies – these actually have an excuse for their dimness – but rather the human enemies with guns.
Bosses are meanwhile largely very uninteresting. The game does do a good job of building up to an encounter with Resident Evil 3’s Nemesis, although the actual encounter is disappointing – the big guy just stands their firing his chain gun at you, with next to no real AI to speak of, whatever happened to the relentless mutation that would chase you anywhere in the third game? There are some decent bosses in there, although most are completely unmemorable.
Multiplayer is definitely the focus, although the broken matchmaking system means that it can be difficult to find others at times. More positively, the shooting is relatively satisfying, and you’ll be going up against a huge variety of enemies, which makes the large scale battles all the more exciting. Sometimes there will be zombies, other mutations, and people shooting at you, which certainly makes for a very intense time when all of this is coming at you at once. It has to be said that some of the tougher enemies take way too many bullets to kill, although it does add to the challenge. The game also has a cover system, which works well enough. The cover system is context sensitive, and generally your chosen character will latch onto cover as soon as you are next to it, although on the odd occasion, I did find my character unwilling to enter cover, which sometimes led to some frustrating deaths.
Operation Raccoon City is also the grittiest that Resident Evil has ever looked and felt. Never has a Resident Evil game felt so based in the real world that it does here, and the grittier feel is definitely a nice change, bringing about a darker and more grown-up feel. The visuals bring to mind something like Rocksteady Studios’ Batman Arkham games, certainly in terms of the moody lighting, and there’s a real sense of atmosphere to each and every one of the detailed locations, which have been largely redone from the games that they originally appeared in. If you have previously played Resident Evil 2 and 3, a few areas may look slightly familiar to you, but this is hardly a game that can be called a true nostalgia trip.
Outside of the six hour campaign, there’s also a versus mode. There’s a nice twist on the deathmatch, in which killing AI-controlled zombies and BOW’s will earn you points, although killing another player will earn you even more points. The Heroes mode, on the other hand, allows you to play as famous characters from the series. The Biohazard mode is basically Capture the Flag, although you capture G-Virus vials as opposed to the typical flag. Finally, survivors has you battling to reach an extraction helicopter. These multiplayer options are decent enough for what they are, although it still suffers from some of the same problems as the campaign.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City has some nasty design flaws, glitches, annoyances, and doesn’t actually feel very much like a Resident Evil game, but it still somehow comes through and actually offers some enjoyment. With its grittier feel and focus on Umbrella operatives, this is a different breed of Resident Evil game, although it’s also a game that has too many flaws to recommend it above anything but a rental or a bargain bin buy.