Resident Evil 6 finally met the price requirements I gave myself for putting up with it. Let’s face it, even Capcom has realized they might have made a mistake with Resident Evil 6, considering sales dropped off considerably after the first day. That’s also why we are now getting Revelations for console, so that’s something for all of us to look forward to. Anyway, Resident Evil 6 finally arrived, so now I can start working on a proper review.
First of all, we had the tutorial, which was kind of annoying. Granted, not everyone would want to start with the slower pace of Leon’s campaign, so they needed a way to make sure everyone had an equal opportunity to learn the controls. So, they gave us a starter scenario, with Helena and Leon in China that allows players to learn the basic mechanics of the game. Unfortunately, where the scenario failed was putting Helena into a position where she needed to literally be supported by Leon. Once you get to that actual section in game, Helena is perfectly capable of taking care of herself. However, the game started with Helena in a weakened state, cementing in players’ minds that the secondary character is the weaker character. Which is a shame, because two out of three secondary characters are female.
This was also where we got the world’s most annoying QTE. You literally had to hit a button to grab your partner’s hand just so the cutscene would continue.
After the tutorial was over, I decided to go with the recommended gameplay route and started with Leon’s scenario. I went against the grain, however, because I chose to do my first playthrough with Helena. Everything in the start of the game advised me against that decision, but I went with it anyway.
The campaign starts with a shoutout to the original game and Leon shooting the president of the United States who has been zombified. This is also around the time where he meets new partner, Helena Harper. Actually, she’s not his partner, she just happens to be there and she also happens to be a government agent. She tells Leon that she can explain everything that is going on at Tall Oaks, just as soon as they get to the Cathedral, because it will be easier to show him than to tell him.
Leon, against his better judgement, decides to go along with Helena in hopes of getting answers. The two embark on an escape mission from the college campus, the atmosphere of which evokes earlier, better Resident Evil games. Once they get into the sewers, however, it all changes. There’s a lot of action to this game, which for some people might be a good thing. However, the action has a tendency to happen without rhyme or reason, included because the developers thought it would look cool. Except it doesn’t look cool, because sometimes there’s just too much going on, and you have to conserve ammo because they limit it, and you’re just surrounded by zombies and you don’t know which way to go. If the objective had been to kill all enemies, which it was on occasion, it would have been less frustrating. Unfortunately, the objective was frequently to get out of the area or to find keys, all of which was complicated by the enemies that literally would come out of nowhere at times. There were times I was simply button mashing and hoping for the best because I had no idea what was going on anymore. And I don’t think the developers did at times either.
Without spoiling too much of the campaign, not that there’s much to spoil, Leon and Helena get out of Tall Oaks and are forced to go to China where a similar outbreak is underway. The ending of the campaign was also an ultimate let down. Leon and Helena ran this guy over with a train, shot him about a million times, knocked him into the river, blew things up in his face, dropped him off a tower, electrocuted him, shot a rocket in his face, and the thing that killed him was being impaled on a stake. Like, how much do Helena and Leon have to suck if they can’t do the job of one pointy obelisk?
Here’s the thing about this game: I disagree with their decision to call it “Leon”‘s campaign. You might remember before the game was released, I lamented the lack of strong female characters. It turns out this wasn’t from a lack of good female characters to be had in the game, it was a direct result of the developers deciding to under utilize them or push them to the side to focus on their men. Granted, Leon is the established franchise character, so it makes sense to use him in the promotional material. However, this arc of the game is Helena’s story. Leon is just a little side note. And a plot device to get Ada to help them, because we all know Ada bases far too many of her life choices around Leon.
If you would take Leon out of the scenario and replace him with any other character, you could still use the same plot minus the Ada assistance at the end. Or maybe she would have still assisted. I haven’t gotten to her scenario yet. The point is, Helena is the driving force behind the campaign, it’s her struggle. She’s the one we’re supposed to be rooting for. Not only that, but her quest has nothing to do with a man. She’s fighting for her sister, which is something we can all get behind. And the game itself tries to sweep her under the rug by putting her in a secondary position.
Leon’s campaign by itself had the potential to be a great game. All the ingredients are there. Unfortunately, they got ignored in favor of bad dialogue, nonsensical boss battles, and a tendency to keep shifting the focus back to Leon instead of where it should have been.
Helena is amazing, and she actually had an active role in the storyline. Sheva was awesome, but she contributed nothing other than being a help or hindrance to Chris as the plot dictated. If you would have taken her out of Resident Evil 5 and replaced her with, say, Piers, you could have gotten the exact story. For the first time in a long time, the story of Resident Evil was dependent upon what the female character was doing. It’s just a shame they couldn’t recognize that fact themselves. Also, I just want Helena and Leon to be besties forever, but I know that’s never going to happen, because the franchise is terrible at keeping relationships alive if the characters aren’t actually in the game. Does Chris even have a sister anymore? Like, when he told Helena who Chris was, Leon said that he’s been in this almost as long as he has. Nothing about how he went to hell and back twice with the guy’s sister. You would think she doesn’t exist anymore or something. Or maybe that’s just Leon. Unless your name is Ada, he forgets about you until you show up again.
Stayed tuned for Chris, Jake, and Ada’s campaigns as I get to them.