What if I told you you had the opportunity to play a new Resident Evil title right now? Well, you sure can, lil’ buddy, because the demo for Resident Evil 6 is out and ready to play. I took it for a spin tonight, and here are my thoughts.
Upon firing up this demo for Resident Evil 6, I was greeted with the ability to play through one of three campaigns or join in on someone else’s game online. Since I did all of these things, let’s go through them one by one.
Leon and Helena
June 29, 2013
The country is in a bad way, as evident from the opening video to this campaign path. Leon and Helena are standing in a room lit by upturned lamps within Ivy University. Papers and books litter the floor, and there is the president, newly zombified. Both Leon and Helena have their pistols trained on him, and they are forced to take the shot. Helena’s phone rings and on the other end is some government-esque woman at a terminal. She is shocked at what you did, but basically tells you to get out of there. And the demo begins.
The duo starts at the bottom of a poorly lit staircase. While making my way upstairs, I mashed a few buttons to see how everything worked. Shooting has been configured to feel like most shooters, with holding L1 to aim and R1 to fire. Pressing R1 by itself performs a melee attack. L2 brings up some sort of holographic display that points you towards your objective. R2 makes you eat tic-tacs. Square to reload, triangle for inventory (or switching rate of fire when L1 is pressed), X to run or perform contextual things, and circle focuses you on your comrade so you can give them orders. The d-pad switches weapons and items. Pressing Select brings up a menu, but the action doesn’t stop. It also doesn’t when you bring up the inventory. This, of course, is because zombies won’t wait around for you to manage things, and also because playing online makes pausing pretty much impossible. In fact, when playing online, the pause button does nothing. While there is a run button, the control stick does toggle through two speeds: slow and jog. It’s a little strange at first because you have to get used to how far to push to toggle these speeds, but you get used to it.
Rounding a corner at the top of the stairs, Leon and Helena walked into a large lecture hall where I met my first zombie. He was sitting in the front row just dying to take some notes. He saw us approaching and got up. We started shooting at his brain and before long his corpse melted away. In RE6, zombies are melty. Another zombie on the floor was woken up when Leon stumbled his dumb self right over it (although it certainly was a cool effect), and we had words. By mashing R1, Leon’s boot discussed tomorrow’s homework with the zombie’s face. For these zombies, it seems like three rapid melee attacks will finish them off. These attacks are generally roundhouse kicks, and if your are lucky, the last hit will be Leon grabbing the zombie’s head and throwing him to the ground. These zombies dropped super great items like ammo (what college kid doesn’t have 9mm ammo?) and skill points. These can be picked up by pushing square over them. Not sure what the points are for, but surely they let you level something or other. They don’t drop from every dead guy, but seemingly when you kill them with style.
Out of the lecture hall and through some busted up hallways, Leon peered outside. In a courtyard seemed to be where we needed to go. Around and into another classroom showed off some fun visual effects. You can leap over short obstacles like tables and desks, and the papers on the desk in the classroom flew up in the air when doing so. They fluttered down uncaring that there was a zombie getting up off the ground! The zombie took hold of Leon while Helena mostly just looked around the room. A quicktime event came up, forcing me to spin the control stick in time and then press a random button. Doing this perfectly will kill the zombie, but making a mistake generally forces you to put a few more bullets in him. Either way, you will take some damage from having a zombie grab you, how much is just determined by how well you do in the event. And this brings me to the tic-tacs.
Your health bar consists of six segments, and they obviously are removed as you get hurt. Pressing R2 makes your character pull out pills of some sort (that look like tic-tacs) and by ingesting them they gain one of these bars back. These certainly help to quickly heal during a fight, but are far too slow to be useful for large heals. You also only have a limited supply. “But what about herbs?!” CALM DOWN. Herbs still exist, and I found a few during the course of the demo. You can still turn them to paste with your pocket mortar and pestle and mix them together. What I couldn’t figure out, however, was how to use them. In the inventory – at least in this demo – you had but three options: combine, stow in box, and discard. I spent far too long trying to find the “Use” command, but maybe you have to synthesize them in a different way than before. In any case, I never HAD to use them in the demo, but it still was weird.
Through a few more hallways and Leon and Helena burst through to the courtyard. To make sure you and your partner are together when going to new areas, you both have to press the correct button at many doors to go through. I wonder how all of these college kids got around this place when it takes two just to operate the doors. Oh well. Before all hell broke loose, it seems like the school was having a nice party, and the courtyard was full of tables covered in beverages and sushi, and balloons hung here and there. You can shoot them (take that balloons!) but not individually, the whole bundle explodes (weak!). In this courtyard I found another nice interactive visual thing. One of the zombies here had been gardening (obviously) because she carried a shovel. On the third melee attack, Leon ripped the shovel from her hand, swung it, and took her head right off. Other contextual finishers like this exist, too. In another room, Leon grabbed a zombie’s head and smashed it into the wall. The best I saw, though, was Helena pulling knife from the belly of a zombie to then stab that zombie in the face to finish it. Then she just threw in on the ground. Way cool.
Leon and Helena had to find a keycard to exit the courtyard, and upon doing so they find a nice police car to escape in. They both jump in and you are treated with a Heavy Rain-esque quicktime event: using the control stick you have to look around the car for the keys while zombies bash at the car. Upon finding them, you have to press square a few times until the car starts, then you are away! Except Leon sucks at driving and flips the car, and then it EXPLODES. They are both ok, of course, and the only place left to go, duh, are the sewers.
Chris and Piers
Edonia, Eastern Europe
Dec. 24, 2012
If Leon and Helena was more of the standard speed of RE, Chris and Piers’s story is all about action. This duo starts in a bombed out town. Chris is the leader of a military squad moving into the live fire via APC, and we learn that the bad guys are engineering soldiers using the C-virus, making mutant freakos called the J’avo that you have to deal with. Your job is to clear the town of bad dudes.
Chris is equipped with an Assault Rifle for Special Tactics (as its described in the game), a pistol, and a knife. Because he and Pierce are the main characters, they don’t need helmets. Badasses don’t need protection. You start out in a street being shot at by these J’avo people. Hiding behind cover you shoot many rounds into them, and all the sudden their shirts explode off of them hulk-style. They begin mutating, with their left arms flaring out like wings that they then use as shields from your fire. Because you are Chris. Effing. Redfield., you run up and punch through their skulls anyway.
Speaking of cover, there definitely is a cover system in this game, but it is awkward. Instead of pushing a button to get into cover like you might be used to, you instead have to walk up to a barrier to hide behind, pull your gun to aim it, then press X to duck down. It is like the opposite of what your brain wants to do to take cover. It works, but it is weird.
Further down the street, Chris and Piers find themselves in a bit of a pickle. They are by themselves when a giant goblin looking J’avo bursts out from between two houses. We are talking two stories tall, here. The monster was attached via its spine to something unseen, and as it comes from between the houses, it breaks this connection, showing a big, red, juicy tendril that begs to be shot. So shoot you do. The street has places to climb up to a second story on either side, and you will need to to get the best shot at the open sore. The monster will start to break down your hiding spots if you linger too long, so it is best to take him down fast. When you finally do, your NPC military friends come up with the APC. “What was that thing?” one asks. “They can breed them that big now,” replies another. That’s just dandy.
Through another couple of streets shooting dudes and avoiding being shot with sniper fire Chris and Piers find their exit blocked by a train car, and you need the rookie demolitions expert to place a charge while you fend off attackers. Since this rookie has a name and your characters have been talking to him off and on, you just know he is going to die in the most horrible way. The explosion throws the train car up in the air, and your team narrowly John Woos under it before it falls back to the ground.
Jake and Sherry
Edonia, Eastern Europe
Dec. 24, 2012
The scene here begins in the same area as Chris and Piers, but looks like it goes off to a different place very quickly. Anyway, the scene begins with Jake – Wesker’s son! – sitting against a wall injecting himself with a syringe in the neck. Down the hall of the dilapidated building a group of others are doing the same thing, but reacting terribly to whatever they just took. A fight breaks out among Jake and these guys. He punches them to death with ninja magic. Sherry Birkin – that little scamp from RE2 who is now older – comes around the corner and sees that Jake is ok. She tells Jake that he could be the savior of mankind. What he injected didn’t turn him into a lunatic like the people down the hall. As she says this the newly formed bad dudes come running, and Sherry blasts a couple of them. Having nowhere to turn, they jump down a vent. Ada Wong stands in the shadows, listening.
From here the couple end up in some dark streets illuminated by red neon signs. Scaffolding is set up on either side of the street. A raving group of the J’avos wander about and start shooting you when you make your appearance. Sherry is some sort of gun expert, and although she has but a tiny frame, she is carrying: a pistol that shoots three round bursts, a magnum, a sniper rifle, a machine gun, and an electrified riot stick. She probably weighs 110 pounds. Video games, guys!
The J’avos here are different than the ones Chris and Piers met. One variant will have one of their arms mutate into a giant tentacle that can grab you from long distances. These guys are not too difficult to defeat. The OTHER variant, however, sucks mightily. After shooting a bad dude for a bit, their whole body seizes up and freezes up into a juicy cocoon. You first think, “Hey, that was easy” and move on. But you are wrong. These cocoons soon break open and a four legged, horny toad beast emerges. They can spew poisonous liquid and shoot spines at you, and they are a bear to take down. Three melee attacks will only put you into a quicktime event that is really tough to get right. If you do you pretty much kill the thing, but if you don’t they respond quickly and with force. Two of them killed me very quickly before I knew what was going on. Those jerks.
Being all killed did show off some nice damage effects on the characters, though. Sherry is wearing a light colored shirt (all the other characters aren’t so I didn’t notice this before), and blood accumulates on clothes as you get hurt. At one point Sherry looked like she was bleeding from the very top of her head. Poor girl.
Going through a couple of alleys, Sherry and Jake open a door into a street where a crazy monster was making fire. It was scary.
I played through those three stories alone, but the game can also be played with people online. In fact, that’s kind of a big feature. After clicking on Join Game, a list of open games popped up that I could choose from. After clicking one, I jumped into the middle of a match as Piers with some random fellow. (Piers has a .50cal sniper rifle, by the by, and it’s super effective.) We shot zombies together, and we healed each other when we needed it. I saw one different mutation while playing online that I didn’t see in single player. I don’t know if this is because there where then two humans playing, or if I just missed it when I had played earlier.
Since the game is cooperative and pretty straight forward, I found the experience really fun even though we were not communicating at all. You can do simple gestures like saying “Hold up!” or “Follow me!” by holding circle and pressing another button, but that’s about it. I think mics are supported, but I didn’t try that.
The demo ended the same way as in single player. Overall, it was easy to do and fun. So good for that.
What I played tonight was pretty fun, I must say. The game looks great, and all of the RE camp you expect is there. You should give the demo a shot, and if you happen to enjoy it, it comes out in two weeks on October 2nd. Make sure to decide on a version, though.