Preview Buzz: Resident Evil 6

For many horror gamers, myself included, this game has been eagerly anticipated for years. Now, on the 15th anniversary of the series, shortly after the initial trailer release for Resident Evil Retribution, Resident Evil 6 has finally been officially announced, complete with a three and a half minute trailer.  I was so excited, I eagerly clicked the play button and glued my eyes to the screen.  Then I watched it again.  Then, just to be sure, a third time.  I kept rewatching it in the hopes I would find something new that would get me excited about this game again.  But nothing did.  From the start to the finish, this trailer was a massive disappointment, and this is coming from someone who actually liked Resident Evil 5.  Granted, it was a horror mess, trying to make up for it with cheaply designed action sequences, but it made up for it with the Chris and Jill subplot, the climax of Chris vs Wesker, and the general awesomeness that was Sheva.

The Lack of Horror

It's the President!

Sorry, Capcom, but not even this callback to the original game is going to convince me that Resident Evil 6 is an adequate blend of action and horror.  Nor the abandoned classroom, the blood on the floor, the eerie hallway, or Leon’s new friend’s voiceover.  Do you know why?  Because for all your talk that this game is supposed to go back to its horror roots while keeping the action appeal, the rest of the trailer shown is all action sequences.  Outside of the intro, it is one heavy fight sequence after the other.  Not to mention, it looks like there was a miserable attempt to put the horror into Leon’s story and the action into Chris’ part of the story.  Which leads me to point number 2.

Three Different Protagonists

In three different story lines, no less.  The only time I have ever seen this tactic used convincingly was in Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep, and that was only because there was heavy overlap between the three story lines.  If Chris is in China, Leon is in Tall Oaks, and Bald Guy is in location number 3, just giving them a common enemy is not going to effectively tie the three stories together.  They are going to have to work hard at making this cohesive, and since they are trying to emulate Call Of Duty, I don’t think they are focused too much on the story this time around.

On a similar note, two of the protagonists have been heavily overused, especially in the more recent games.  In fact, the only part of this game I am looking forward to is Bald Guy because we know nothing about him.  I’ve spent far too much time with Chris and Leon already.  Not to mention, Leon’s scenario is Racoon City 2.0 in heavy action mode.  If I wanted that story, I would just play Operation Racoon City, which is supposedly an action spin-off of the main series.  And Chris’ scenario is just Call of Duty in China with a few genetically mutated enemies thrown in for good measure.

Distinctive Lack of Strong Female Characters

Sorry, Jill, no action for you this time.

This is my biggest issue with the trailer for Resident Evil 6.  From the first game, Resident Evil has been known for its inclusion strong female characters, from Jill Valentine, to Claire Redfield, to Sheva Alomar, and all the ones in between, these are women that you can respect.  Even Rebecca, quite possibly the smallest and oftentimes forgotten member of the female squad, has quite a lot of spunk, and was personally one of my favorite characters to play in Mercenaries reunion.  Now, there are a few female characters shown in the trailer, but their roles are limited, and they are quite easily forgotten in the gigantic mess that is Chris and Leon starring in all the action roles.  For returning characters, we have Hunnigan.  I’m not entirely sure what her job it, but it seems that in Resident Evil 6, she is reprising her role as Leon’s supervisor/contact with headquarters.  Speaking of Leon, we have his new sidekick.  I believe I read somewhere that her name was Helena, and she has no connection to Luis Sera that I can tell other than the appearance.  In the trailer, all she does is beat herself up about the Tall Oaks outbreak being her fault, and then basically falls into oblivion as we have to show Leon shooting a bunch of what I can only presume are not zombies.

Chris is supposed to have a partner.  Normally in a Resident Evil game, his partner would be a woman.  Like Jill.  Or Jessica. Or Sheva.  In this case, there were no woman viewed during the preview of his section.  There was a guy who was yelling at him.  Perhaps that is his mysterious partner.  But Capcom, I sincerely hope you are not implying that there is no room for women in a warzone.  Because then we are going to have to have a very long talk.

Sherry? Ashley? Or quite possibly Rebecca and Billy?

The only female character visible during the early action sequences of the trailer is this blonde girl on the right, rumored to be Sherry from Resident Evil 2.  She’s hanging out with the mysterious Bald Guy, whoever he is, and is often shown running next to him in action shots.  There is a catch, however.  While she seems to be the most prominent female character in the trailer, it seems that she is simply there to be “medic” to the Bald Guy.  In other words, while she is in the thick of the action, she really isn’t important to it at all.

This is a far cry from the upcoming Resident Evil Revelations, which actually features female characters.  Not only is the lovely Jill Valentine (also overused) the main protagonist, but the game also brings us Rachel and Jessica.  Granted, they might suffer from the most ridiculous character designs ever, but at least they have an impact on the story.  At this point, we’re not entirely sure what that impact might be, but considering they feature heavily in the trailers, we’re fairly sure they exist.  I mean, no one would ever actually go out to fight bioterrorism wearing those outfits, and I don’t quite understand why Jessica thinks she needs to wear heavy makeup to trek out to the middle of nowhere, but at least they are featured in the trailer, unlike the women of Resident Evil 6.

I should mention, in the trailer, towards the very end there are brief glimpses of Helena in some sort of action sequence, like all of a sudden the developers realized she was a playable character and they should throw her in there or else those Call of Duty players were going to be in for a terrible surprise.

Conclusion

I am no longer as stoked for this game as I was before I watched the trailer.  If I wanted an action game, I’ll play Operation Racoon City.  If I want a horror game, I’ll stick with Revelations, thank you very much.  This blend that they are attempting to create in the trailer for Resident Evil 6, and quite possibly the game itself, seems to be a giant mess, like a zombie threw up all over the floor or something.  Perhaps as more details are released about the mysterious Bald Guy, I’ll find something to get excited about again.

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