REVIEW: Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City


Zombies you say? Eeeeeeeeexcellent!

So….Okay. First post…about…video games?

I guess so.

Huh.

Oh well. I’m going to have to give the random fiction musings its own section.

Moving right into it!

Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City…people complain about it. Gaming sites have given it low scores. Me? I LIKE it.
I enjoyed the Resident Evil games. I played up through RE3. This one…was never meant to be a continuation but rather a look back to the events of the second Resident Evil through a fresh perspective. That fresh perspective through the eyes of a group of Umbrella strike team sociopaths. (Huzzah!)

People seemed excited about this prospect at first. And then they got angry. Apparently when they heard ‘fresh perspective’ they thought ‘exactly like the other games’ and therefore were disappointed. (aww!)

That is like the equivalent of Pokemon fans getting to play as Team Rocket (the antagonists) and then complaining about how un-Pokemon it is because the game is in first person view and not the aerial view they love so much. Now before I get stoned at the Raccoon City square for somehow managing to loosely link those two widely different genera together, please allow me to attempt to sneak back to the point that I expertly lost a handful of fragmented sentences ago.

First, and let me be clear; the game is not without its faults.

For one, I take issue with the targeting. Even with a fully upgraded “Assault” class, one perk of which is increased accuracy, the reticle still flails madly. Even the lazar-guided pistol weaves like our expert agents are shaking a soda can in the off hand.

Next, when your teammate gets infected and becomes a zombie (oh no!) you you must then euthanize them…and promptly revive them again.
Who knew it was that simple to get rid of the dreaded T-virus!?

I have to admit; thats pretty lame. It completely ruins any fear of infection.
In my opinion the game should punish you severely for losing a teammate in this fashion. Maybe if they just got shot and got down on a knee and you revived them — OK. But full on zombie-attacking-you and all you have to do is stomp on their head and hold a button for a few seconds to bring them back seems like a highly anti-climatic conclusion to the dreaded undead plague. Unless they casually failed to mention that Umbrella’s soldiers come equipped with the secret of resurrection, this breaks up the immersive(ness?) of the gameplay substantially.

But really, aside from the objection of weapons accuracy that every shooters suffers from to one degree or anther, that is LITERALLY my only major gripe with the gameplay.

Ah yes, the gameplay. Now we can get to why other people take issue with this game.

They don’t seem to like that its a squad based, third person shooter bereft of the tension that our usually lone Resident Evil impromptu heroes subject us to.

These critics seem blind to the empowering perspective this ‘Delta Team’ of hardened killers is supposed to impart to the player. I don’t think this is the game’s fault so much as it is some sanitary objection to change in this offshot of their usual horror genera.

All these critics stand united in a puritan grievance against a game that is SUPPOSED to do something different. They hold hands and congratulate each other on how well they can rip down something out of the norm.

Well done!

Asshats.

It would not bother me if they simply said ‘hey look! I don’t like how this squad based game operates!’ Ok. Fine. There are better squad based games out there. For one, this game doesn’t allow you to order your computer-controlled team around. AT ALL. That would be a genuine issue (one that I am fine with given that I never had an objection with the actions of the AI.  ((and I only ever played it on Professional (((the hardest difficulty))) yet I had no issues with this ‘problem’ they keep bitching about)). Instead these fanboys moan about how not-suspensful the playstyle is.

Well YEAH! This is not a lone police officer with five bullets sneaking around an office building solving puzzels while giant monsters that take a shotgun to kill crawl outside the nearby window. That game is Great!

But that is not this game. Nor should it be!

This game is more like Left 4 Dead meets FEAR set in the beloved RE franchise. It is reminiscent of Left 4 Dead in the playstyle but with a wider selection of weapons and unlockable customizable character specific traits, and FEAR in that ‘I just plowed through an army of super soldiers and now I’m scared of that creepy little girl stalking me in the dark who is immune to my bullets’. Except they replace Alma (creepy little girl who breaks up the super powered vibe of FEAR with some Fear) with Resident Evil zombies, infamous monsters and beloved characters. (wow that was long winded. Oh well. Deal with it.)

Next they complain about how its ‘too hard’. And how even though the game isn’t punishing enough in certain areas (like the zombie teammate thing–and I agree on that), but according to them, its TOO punishing on others…like general combat. They say it becomes too overwhelming and some bosses and soldiers you have to fight through are just too damn tough. Well boo-fucking hoo! I don’t remember RE2 being a breeze. This game, though not the same creepy crawl as the originals–more fast-paced–is still Resident bloody Evil at the end of the day. I had to die quite a few times playing on the toughest difficulty, but guess what? I made it. And not with any heaving breath either. It got frustrating here and there, sure, but  mostly because I was searching every nook and cranny for cameras and data pads in order to score extra experience points in-between getting bulldozed by Mr. X.  How exactly can these purist gamers claim the game is not suspenseful enough while simultaneously bitch about it being too hard?

Okay look, I’m not some wanna be MLG flaunting his shit. I get how a ‘horror’ game can be suspenseful and a ‘shooter’ can be frustrating yet just as rewarding. So…what the hell is the problem? Hone some fucking reaction time.

Also, I really enjoyed the multiplayer.. The only complaint I heard there was that you couldn’t get the player that you wanted. Okay, yeah. You just have to jump to it and then select which character you want. This, obviously, encourages the player to level and experiment with the other classes. What alternative is there? Everyone playing as Lupa/DeeAy? What kind of shit game would that be? Plenty of other multiplayer games take the power away from you as an individual (like voting on a map in Halo Reach). You don’t always get what you want. Its part of growing the hell up. Deal!

Next, they complain about the characters themselves. They claim to ‘love’ the cameos from the usual cast, but find the super psycho umbrella strike team ‘bland’ and ’empty’.

Personally, I find the strike team refreshing. You make of these characters what you will. I found them instantly personable. Lupa is a wicked leader who while still a cold-blooded killer actually cares about the well-being of her team. Bertha is a sadistic doctor and something-something pain killers. Four Eyes is a sweet looking scientist who utterly lacks empathy and loves fucking with genetic codes and viral strands…for fun. Vector is kind of dick but badass as an assassin. Beltway is the classic big bruiser-blow ’em up guy who has at least one prosthetic limb. And Specter is some ex-KGB creep who I never played with.

Also, they are nicely rounded character selections. Whether playing as the evil USS or comparatively goodly Spec Ops the character selection is evenly split with interesting female and male characters each. I approve of that, for certain!

These aren’t the empty Bethesda characters of Fallout or Elder Scrolls that you just ‘fill in’ with whatever you want to imagine but actually have no personality in-game (perfect for what they are). These are lightly fleshed out ideas that you have no real control over. You never get to know them. But you get to share their experience while in the badass setting of Raccoon City!

These characters did not NEED to have a backstory spelled out for me in order for me to care for their psycho lives. They were badass. Evil. And compelling in all the ways that decent bad guys are–not needlessly cheesy (unlike the heroes).

If these people (critics) really miss RE2 so much, maybe they should just go play that. The gameplay in RE: ORC has flaws, and the story is simplistic to the extreme, but it shines in its remake of the atmosphere — an atmosphere that you are usually terrified of suddenly becomes a joyful playground that you dominate: take THAT zombies-who-I-was-afraid-of! Whats more, they revisit all the best parts of that timeline and do it well to the point where I feel bloody sorry for the Leons and Claires who had to crawl through those levels with limited ammo and ALONE.

In other words, everything that makes RE ORC different is that it empowers people who have likely already experienced the thrill of the horror fest and gives them some bloody-good-time-VENGEANCE!

 

 

Addendum: I realized I left out one more valid concern about this game: Its lack of local multiplayer. Unfortunately, despite its many strengths, this game tries to screw you out of mulitplayer with your friends (unless they too chip in to buy a disk..and bring their own console). Only online multiplayer, in other words. Sadness!

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