Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hands-On First Impressions: Resident Evil 6 Demo

It's been a while since we've last seen Humor Tumor on the site. And with the release of the Resident Evil 6 demo a while ago, he has been digesting his thoughts on it. The game is easily his most anticipated title of this year, it's hard for him to contain his excitement for it. Luckily, the demo gives you a pretty good taste of the action, and what Capcom is trying to do with the game. Divided amongst the three campaigns, the RE6 allows you to try out each of the individual styles and approaches to three main characters.

Chris Redfield

Chris's demo is probably the most straight forward of the bunch. It seems in much the same vein as RE5's action focus, but in a much more refined manner. The emphasis on tight gunplay and movement actually works quite well, although I will say the aiming mechanics were a bit dodgy. Enemies react to getting shot in an appropriate manner, and the introduction of the different mutations is a good way of keeping you on your toes. Unlike in RE4 and RE5, where only certain scripted enemies mutated when killed RE6's approach is far more free form. Take out an enemies legs and he grows wings. If they lose an arm they grow a massive shield like claw (or two if you take out the other arm, making them very hard to damage). The game is constantly making you prioritize your targets and take care where you aim. And that's only the confirmed mutations, I'm certain there are far more out there to keep you guessing.

What is also put on show is how mobile you are now. Now you can take cover behind any object, not like the few corners you had in RE5. This makes the ranged combat far more feasible. But there is also the dive mechanic which is a great boon. While in an aimed mode (and I believe while sprinting too) you can go into a dive that can go pretty much any direction, it ends with you laying down, gun at the ready. It's a very handy dodge mechanic, and can be quite useful in getting an enemy to open themselves up to attack. It really opens up the tactics and makes the action focus work quite well.

There is also Piers, Chris's partner, who comes armed with an anti-material rifle (ie....a big ass rifle). It's slow to fire, but deals some massive damage and comes with multiple scope settings. Playing as Piers leads you through a similar, although branching route. At one point you provide support fire for Chris from a different building, using your rifle to take out enemies in advantageous positions.

Overall Chris's campaign feels very tight. And it isn't all action, as a recent gameplay demo showcases the duo going through a derelict building, evading and hunting an invisible foe.

Leon Kennedy

Leon's campaign is the one I'm most excited for, as it looks to hearken back to a more survival horror focus. Leon has all the same moves as Chris does, but happens to be a little more proficient in close combat. He's also far more limited in ammo, so the focus on dodging and smart encounters is there.

The demo is very atmospheric, showcasing a mood and tone that is stifling and foreboding. Sadly, Leon's demo is very short, and showcases little of the survival horror elements that inhabit his campaign. Most of the demo is going through corridors, leading to a confrontation with a horde of zombies. The action is fluid, and the zombies can take a beating. This fight also shows a new mechanic which can affect you if you choose to flee. Unlike in RE4 and RE5 (as well as Chris and Jake's main foes), the bodies of the zombies don't dissolve away. Instead they stay, creating obstacles that Leon can trip over, causing him to stumble (and possibly fall down). This new element means you now have to pay more attention to your travel path, as stumbling over corpses could potentially lead to being overtaken. And considering the darker environments you are in it can lead to some gripping, emergent moments.

Sadly, right after the encounter with the zombies the demo ends for Leon. It shows much potential, so here's to hoping it brings back the scares.

Jake Muller

I'm not calling him Wesker Jr. Jake is the third protagonist, accompanied by Sherry Birkins (of Resident Evil 2 fame). And even though he is Wesker's son, and has much of the same qualities as Wesker, I'm hoping he's a deeper character than that. The demo starts with you evading an enemy which seems to have the qualities of Nemesis from RE3. Lag for a moment and you die in an instant, making the threat very immediate. It's an intense intro and helps showcase Jake's campaign as more of escape and evasion (where Leon is more investigation, and Chris is more aggression).

Once you are free of the threat you make your way to an open, 2 floored area. But along the way you pass by a few enemies whom you dispatch easily. This also lets you test Jake's CQC style, which is far more in depth then Leon's or Chris's. Charging an uppercut sends enemies flying in a one hit kill, but it also depletes a bar. So here's to guessing that managing your stamina is going to take a big part of Jake's gameplay.

After making your way to a bar door, the pursuing monster catches up with you, accompanied by some gun toting companions. Fleeing and using smart applications of explosive barrels and demo charges is the best way to take out the massive enemy, who is capable of taking you out in very quick order. I didn't dare to try CQC on him, as getting close to him usually ended up with me getting brutalized. After some tense cat and mouse moments he finally goes down, and Jake's demo ends.

Jake's campaign is still a mystery to me, and although I think the demo merely hinted at how his will play out, its very exciting to see where it could go.

My final thoughts: Resident Evil 6 is shaping up quite nicely. Aside from a few small issues (iffy aiming, some screen tearing), the game is definitely on it's way to becoming a top tier title. I just hope that I'm not being lead astray again. But if Revelations is any indication of the direction of the franchise, this is going to be a very wild ride.


Humor Tumor is full of anticpation.


  1. It's kinda of crazy, the style of story telling they're going for here. Switching up between 3 protagonists is a great idea, and hopefully will keep things fresh all the way through.

    1. I think it'll make for a very good story. And upon completion of all three stories you unlock an extra Ada Wong campaign, ala "Separate Ways" from Resi 4

    2. It's definitely ans interesting way to tell the story! I'm excited to see how it works out for them. I'm liking that Capcom is taking some chances this year. Between Operation Raccoon City, Dragon's Dogma, and the storytelling structure of RE 6, it's nice to see them stepping out and trying some new things. Nothing radical, of course, but still pretty risky.