Review: Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

The Resident Evil series finally returns to Raccoon City, but does a departure from the canon make or break the game? Longtime RE fan Reagan Morris delivers his verdict.

NameThird-person shooter: Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
Summary:By all means make a new Resident Evil game, just don’t mess with the canon.
Games Info:Developer: Slant Six Games Publisher: Capcom
Platform:PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Test Platform:Xbox 360

In the last 16 years, gamers have returned time and time again to the mansion that started it all through various remakes and ports of Resident Evil. Raccoon City, however, hasn’t returned as often as many gamers would like, so having a new entry in the franchise that runs parallel to Resident Evil 2 is sure to get the fandom excited. While it is an amazing feeling to walk through Raccoon City once more, it’s sad that the developers have thrown caution to the wind and created a non-canon hypothetical scenario. Events don’t unfurl in the way you might remember them and certain enemy types are just a different kind of fodder for your bullets, rather than the challenge they once were. The game's hypothetical scenario follows a team of soldiers known as Umbrella Security Service Delta Team, aka Delta. Delta has been called in to assist Alpha team: they have to stop Dr. Birkin from handing over his T-Virus research to the US military and also have to retrieve the G-virus. Things turn nasty very quickly. The T-virus leaks into the city and turns everyone it touches into flesh-eating zombies. It’s up to you – in control of Delta Team – to erase all evidence of Umbrella’s involvement in the incident.

RE:ORC is a multiplayer game and it never tries to be anything else. While the main 4-5 hour long campaign can be played offline and ‘solo’, the frustrating team AI will beg you to keep the connection on in case someone decides to join you. There aren't many people playing through the Campaign Mode at the moment, so you’ll likely have to battle the hordes of zombies and creatures alone. Hunters, Tyrants and Lickers all make an appearance, but they just don’t offer the same level of threat this time round. Lickers swarm your team, but instead of lopping off your head with one lick of their razor sharp tongue, as they do in RE2, they merely grab you until you kick them off. Rather than Lickers being terrifying and powerful, there's just many of them. Often times you’ll find the best decision is to run; not because you feel underpowered but because your controls are incredibly limited. It seems strange that a game featuring creatures that charge lacks a dive button. not only that, but the cover system is completely and utterly broken. Sure, you’ll be able to get into and out of cover without any hassle, it’s utilising it that creates frustration. Most games automatically stop you when you get to the end of cover, but here nothing stops you from sliding along the cover until you're crouched awkwardly out in the open with cover controls still activated. But let’s not skip over how bad the team AI can be. You’ll often take on a horde of Hunters solo because your team is running about uselessly or bleeding out on the ground around you. Of course, while your companions have the ability to trigger their special abilities, they’re usually waiting to trigger them again after they used them up in an alley way with one shambling zombie. Obviously the main attraction here is the multiplayer modes but there’s nothing unique here that other shooters don’t already do. What we’re left with is a poor-man's version of Left 4 Dead set in one of the most amazing environments ever. It shows sparkling moments of promise but never really delivers; any fans of Resident Evil 2 should leave RE:ORC well alone.

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Tags resident evil: operation raccoon cityresident evilgaminggamesoperation raccoon city

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Reagan Morris

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