Yesterday Capcom released an intense twenty-minute two-part video of the hotly anticipated Resident Evil 6 in action. Due for release on October 2nd, Resi 6 follows series vet Leon S. Kennedy who’s now at the tippy top of the career ladder as a special agent and personal friend to the President of the United States.
Check out the official synopsis:
“It has been ten years since the Raccoon City incident and the President of the United States has decided to reveal the truth behind what took place in the belief that it will curb the current resurgence in bioterrorist activity.
Due to be by the President’s side is his personal friend and Raccoon City survivor, Leon S. Kennedy, but when the venue suffers a bioterrorist attack, Leon is forced to face a President transformed beyond recognition and make his hardest ever decision.
At the same time, Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance member Chris Redfield arrives in China, itself under threat of a bioterrorist attack.
With no country safe from these attacks and the ensuing outbreaks, the entire world’s population is united by a common fear that there is no hope left.”
Check out the brand new videos below but be warned, you might want to shoo away any sensitive children or nervous pets; it gets quite jumpy at parts and no one likes wee on the carpet.
There’s no bigger symbol of the western world than the President of the United States. The fact that this footage shows Leon facing off against a Zombie President is indicative of just how much shit has really hit the fan.
If the President isn’t safe, then no one is safe.
The opening cut scene is masterfully animated and almost hyper-realistic with some incredible dynamic lighting. And the setting and character models look no less impressive once we’re into gameplay footage either. It’s a detailed environment, hyper-rich in fact and I can imagine this place packed with people – but there’s something about the darkness, the emptiness, the general disarray that feels consistently unsettling throughout.
This is classic zombie genre stuff but it’s been pulled off here to such a degree that it feels almost fresh.
The video details what is most likely one of the the opening chapters of the game; a search and rescue mission for a lost girl, the daughter of a clearly infected government official, amidst an attempt to escape an eerily deserted government building.
As the evidence of infection presents itself, it’s hard to envision a reality where this doesn’t end badly.
If you’ve played Resident Evil: Revelations on 3DS you’ll no doubt sense some similarities while watching this footage. The gameplay feels quite similar tonally to its Nintendoid cousin and I mean that as a whole-hearted compliment.
Like Revelations, I can’t help but feel that in Resident Evil 6 Capcom are attempting to strike a balance between their earlier emphasis on claustrophobia and survival from the original Resi games and their more recent emphasis on action in Resi’s 4 and 5. I’d like to think that this is in response to the disenfranchisement felt from many of the series’ veteran players.
One major bone of contention carried over from Resi 5 is the infuriating stupidity of Chris Redfield’s bot controlled partner ‘Sheva’.
As you can see they haven’t done away with this partner concept all together (Capcom are clearly keen on producing a co-op experience to stave off the dreaded game churn). But from the looks of the video, your new ward Helena Harper is much less idiotic and in turn much less frustrating than Chris’ former buddy.
Of course it’s impossible to tell how much help Helena will really be until October, but if the above footage is anything to go by, Capcom have at least attempted to reduce the time spent mourning first aid sprays and sub-machine gun bullets.
Throughout, I noticed a rather seamless integration of what I would call ‘mini cut-scenes’; these are quick and feel almost organic; they’ll focus Leon’s perspective on a detail, or even shift our perspective as the player to a set camera angle.
Far from coming off as annoying or intrusive (as they so easily could have) these mini cut-scenes give the gameplay an intrinsically cinematic feel; this in turn racks up the tension ten-fold. In fact with the subtle manipulation of camera angles and character perspective, it’s hard not be reminded of the early Silent Hill games.
And did I detect a hint that moment to moment choices have moment to moment consequences?
When Helena is attacked by Zombie Liz in the lift, Leon shoots her in the back causing her to roll over (in a moment that appears to be player-controlled). But Zombie Liz remains animate, until Helena dispatches her with a point-blank shot to the head as part of a cut-scene.
The burning question though is what would have happened in this cut-scene if Leon had hit Zombie Liz in the head? This mightn’t seem like a big deal to most people, but it’s exciting to imagine a core mechanic that takes our choices, our ability and our accuracy into account when presenting cause and effect in its cut-scenes.
Speaking as someone who has followed the Resident Evil franchise from ground zero, from the original PSX game, I’m glad to see a return to classic zombies.
Not crazed villagers, not amorphous pink blobs, but classic, bread-and-butter Romero zombies.
In a social climate where your old-skool slow-moving zombies are all but despised by general audiences, it’s bold of Capcom to take Resident Evil 6′s fodder enemy back to basics. And with the almost ‘Mansion-like’ setting of the new footage it’s hard not to be reminded of that initial outbreak in the outskirts of Racoon City.
Combat wise, Leon appears to be just as much about melee as he is about gunmanship. It looks as though strategic quick time event takedowns will play as much a part of surviving this new holocaust as guns and ammo management.
Overall, we’re giddily excited by this new footage. Resident Evil 6 really is shaping up to look like a superb inclusion to the well-loved, sometimes controversial franchise. Of course only time will tell for sure.
The footage leaves us on a down turn. Leon is clearly a saviour, a leave-no-man behind type of guy. But Capcom are keen to remind us that society is on the brink of collapse here; it’s a literal dog eat dog world in which personal survival must reign supreme. And we cannot wait to get involved!
Resident Evil 6 is due for release on October 2nd on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. Keep watching this space for news and updates as they rise. You can follow all of our coverage of the game by heading to our dedicated Resident Evil 6 hub-page.