It’s hard to believe that the Resident Evil series started out on the PlayStation console when you look at it today. From it’s humble beginnings of terrible dialogue, poor voice acting, and tank-like controls, it’s a surprise that it ever got a sequel and has become a profitable franchise for Capcom. Since then the series has gone through several updates and rereleases. We’ll see a true sequel this year in the form of Resident Evil 6.
While previous Resident Evil games had you playing as a specific character, in Resident Evil 6 you will have three different characters to play as with three different campaigns. Each of the campaigns have their own story line and ending, but as you play one campaign the characters will have specific points where they will intersect with the other characters. The developers feel that this will give RE6 a fuller experience that allow you to find out the motivations for the actions of each character.
RE6 features three different pairs for each campaign. Jake and Sherry share one campaign, while Chris and Piers share another, and Leon and Helena the third. When playing cooperatively, each player will control one of the members of the pair. When playing solo, you control the main member of your team and the secondary character is controlled by the AI. The developers have promised that the AI will behave better than Sheva from Resident Evil 5. Both characters will have their own separate inventory so they won’t be leeching your ammo, and the AI should stay out of your way better. All three of the campaigns are unlocked at the start of the game, and you don’t have to play continuously through one campaign to start one of the other ones. If you are getting bored or want to find out the circumstances other characters went through to join up with you, you can do that.
The mission that I witnessed had Leon and Helena catching up with Jake and Sherry. It’s obvious that Leon and Jake have a disagreement with each other by how they react upon seeing each other. Because we haven’t played through the previous missions in the campaign, we don’t understand why they don’t like each other at the moment. Once Nemesis 2.0 shows up on the scene to make life difficult for all of them, they put aside their differences to be able to survive.
What is surprising is that some of the old mechanics you are used to from previous Resident Evil games are no longer found in RE6. First of all, you will be able to change weapons in real time instead of going to the inventory screen to select your weapon of choice. Moving around while shooting has been added as well, making the game focus more on action. Dodging is important to beat bosses, and you can do they by rolling on the ground. If you find yourself on the ground you can shoot from that position if you feel that it will get you another kill. That doesn’t mean that you are going to have an easy time, because ammo will still be scarce. Physical attacks can be used on your enemy to help you conserve ammo.
When you meet up with characters from the other campaigns, sometimes you may find yourself with the partner of the other team. In the demo I saw, Nemesis 2.0 trapped Jake and Helena so that he could just deal with Leon and Sherry. Jake and Helena needed to work together to start a bus so that it could be moved since that was the obstacle blocking their path. Once this was accomplished the entire team focused on taking out Nemesis 2.0.
As you progress through the game, you will get skill points. While previous Resident Evil games had you upgrade your weapons, you will be upgrading your characters throughout each of the campaigns. I’m guessing this was done since you won’t be following the same character for the entire game.
One interesting new feature involves the point in time where you start a crossover adventure. If there is someone playing online at the same time as you using the characters you are meeting in the crossover, you can actually play with them. You won’t be able to communicate with them over voice chat, but working with other people will probably be a little better than just playing with AI players. Should the people you are playing with drop out unexpectedly, the AI will take over for them so you won’t miss a beat. If you don’t want to play with complete strangers though, you can turn this feature off completely.
We won’t know how Resident Evil 6 will turn out, but having three different campaigns to play should break up some of the monotony we often find in other shooters. RE6 is scheduled to be released on October 2, 2012 for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.