When I initially sat down to play Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, I fully expected the game to be a letdown as I had read numerous other reviews all of which trashed the game citing ‘no atmosphere,’ ‘clunky controls’ and ‘no story’ as the reasons for their disgust with the game. Now I’m not here to tell you that Operation Raccoon City is one of the classics in the series, or that this game will be a contender for our Game of The Year Awards, but if you take the time to sit down with this game and see it for what it is, then I think you will be surprisingly satisfied with your findings.So let’s talk about Capcom and Slant 6′s newest title ‘Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City.’
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City turns back the clock a bit in the Resident Evil universe back to the year 1998 and puts you right smack in the middle of the original outbreak in Raccoon City. You find yourself as a member of the evil Umbrella Corporation Security Service, a ragtag group of six commandos, as you have been sent into Raccoon City to eliminate any evidence that would link the Umbrella Corporation to the events that unfolded in the now zombie-ridden city. You are able to choose from six different characters, each of whom has their own unique class ranging from recon to a sniper to a medic class. Each of these characters also comes with their own unique ability as well, the most notable special ability is most likely ‘Four-Eyes,’ a B.O.W. expert who is able to control just about any monster you encounter and make that monster do evil deeds just for her. The game has you sort of working in the shadows as the story of the first three original Resident Evil games unfold, you also run into a few different characters from those games along the way such as Hunk and Leon Kennedy. The concept of ORC is brilliant as long as you have always been a fan of the Resident Evil series and have a solid understanding of what all has happened throughout the course of the series. However, if you are new to the Resident Evil series, I find it hard to believe that you would care about the idea of playing as The Umbrella Corporation or the fact that you are given the choice to kill Leon Kennedy. Slant 6 could have done a better job at fleshing out the story, or at least giving you a bit of a rundown of what it is that you are trying to prevent in the first place, and why you should really care. One of the issues that some other reviewers had with the story was with the characters, and how you aren’t given any insight into who they are. While I understand wanting to know more about who you are playing as, I think that revealing too much about these characters and giving them redeeming/loving qualities would ultimately paint them as a group of heroes rather than the evil group of soldiers who are trying to cover up such a damnable act. One of the outstanding achievements by Slant 6 was the great sense of atmosphere that they created. They really captured senses of panic and chaos, it’s exactly what I would have imagined it would have been like to be in the middle of the outbreak in Raccoon City.
Now onto what some consider the biggest problem with Operation Raccoon City, the gameplay. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City plays much like Resident Evil’s 4 and 5 with an over the shoulder third person shooting style. The core gameplay was solid for the most part, I did run into the occasional bug that would cause random enemies to spawn or get stuck in walls. My absolute biggest problem with the gameplay and the entire game for that matter was the AI, mainly co op. In all of my years of gaming, I can honestly say that I have never encountered co op AI bots as bad as what was unleashed on us in ORC. Your co op partners are literally useless at times and consistently run into random walls, run head on at enemies and block door ways preventing you from proceeding in the campaign. To put it nicely, they make Sheva look like an absolute genius and I would have killed to have had her on my team in this one. However, even though the co op AI bots were incredibly underwhelming, all of that is put to rest when you hop online with three other people. The campaign is playable with only the AI helping you, but I would definitely recommend having atleast one other person to help you along the way, if nothing else to at least heal you if you get knocked down. While the mechanics were useful for the most part, another sticking point that I had was the cover system. While it worked for the most part, I feel as though it would have benefited greatly from having a dedicated button to allow your player stick to a wall or structure. Instead the user simply runs into whatever it is that they are wanting to hide behind and the character will duck behind it. At times, this would cause me to duck behind something when all I was really wanting to do was hug it so that I could avoid enemy sights.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City really shines once you take it online in one of their dedicated online modes. ORC has a few different online modes spanning from a capture the flag style mode to ‘Heroes Mode’ which puts you in the shoes of one of Resident Evil’s all star character as you duke it out with your opponents. All of the modes are enhanced when you throw in the fact that the whole time you are attempting to ‘capture the flag’ or simply kill your enemy, you are being bombarded by wave after wave of zombies and other creatures. It’s basically Call of Duty with horrible monsters trying to rip your throat out. It’s a refreshing take on an online genre that has been beaten to death over the past few years.
ORC’s visuals are excellent, the character models look great, especially in-game, and the textures and lighting create a great sense of dread and sorrow, which is exactly what you would expect and want from a Resident Evil game. The soundtrack was forgettable, but it did the job in giving you a sense of tension and fright that had been missing in Resident Evil 5.
In closing, I feel like a 7 is a perfect score for this game. Is it a blockbuster game that will blow your socks off and have you considering it for Game of The Year? No. Could it have used a few more months under the knife to improve some of it’s AI flaws? Sure. But I assure you that this game doesn’t deserve some of the negative reviews it has been getting and is certainly worth a play through, especially if you are a die hard Resident Evil fan.Pros :
- Great atmosphere
- The "scary factor" is back
- Nice visuals
- Worst. AI. Ever.
- Not enough ammo.