After Resident Evil 5, a case could easily be made that the series was losing its way. The game featured zombies, but they (once again) weren't "real" zombies, and the co-op angle took away a lot of the horror and suspense. Resident Evil 6 looks to cater to both interests, featuring three different sets of protagonists, with each set having a distinct play style. While one continues the fast-paced action of the previous game, another is slower and far more reminiscent of Resident Evil 2. With co-op support baked into all of them, there seems to be a little something for everyone.
For our first bit of play time, we chose Leon, reprising his role as a member of the Secret Service and immediately shooting a zombified President Adams in the head. From there, Leon and his female partner navigated the dimly lit presidential building, and there's a distinct feeling of suspense. The effective use of lighting in the new engine caused innocuous rooms to feel threatening, and it certainly brought back memories of past games of the series. Leon and his partner ultimately need to get to the source of this new virus outbreak. Of course, they must fight their way out of an elevator as a horde of zombies try to get in. It's critical to land headshots against the relatively slow-moving zombies in order to conserve enough ammo to make it out.
Meanwhile, playing as Chris is an entirely different experience. He seems to have lost much of his memory, spending a lot of time getting hammered in dive bars. After a man named Pierce gets him back into an organization called the BSAA, he is sent out into a zombie hotbed to clear the area. Playing as Chris was much more run-and-gun, since he's armed with an assault rifle and pistol. The zombies in the area are also heavily armed and are fairly fast movers, and this style of play effectively trades suspense for pure action. We also got some very limited time playing as Jake, who appeared to be partnered with a more grown-up Ashley from RE4. At least this time, she was marginally less whiny and carried a firearm.
We didn't get to check out any cooperative play, but the hallmarks for it were there for all three protagonists. While playing alone, there are both solo actions as well as partner actions that function just as they did in RE5. These actions ranged from mere interactions with buttons or consoles up to a point where Chris climbed across a gap, fully exposed to enemy fire while Pierce tried to cover him. The AI control of the co-op partner was unobtrusive yet helpful, and no handholding was required to work with him/her.
Having distinctly different play modes in Resident Evil 6 seems to have been a smart choice, as it caters to fans of the series' older and newer gameplay styles. The co-op gameplay seems to work well, whether another player takes the controls or you need to depend on the AI. We didn't get much time with the game, but what we did experience was certainly uplifting. RE6 has a release date of Oct. 2, so we shouldn't have to wait too long before we can see how the final product shapes up.
More articles about Resident Evil 6