SOCOM Navy Seals meet zombies

Rich Lanci | Staff Writer

Resident Evil was originally a survival horror series, but has slightly evolved into a more action-oriented game with the last few installments.  Slant Six, known for their tactical shooter game SOCOM, has taken the Resident Evil franchise and made it into a similar genre. The result is Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. It’s a non-canon story that follows soldiers from Resident Evil’s evil corporation called Umbrella as they go through Raccoon City (the city Resident Evil 2 and 3 took place in) and encounter monsters and characters that were involved in those games.  You re-meet characters such as Nikolai and Leon, along with monsters such as Nemesis and William Birkin. It appears to be an interesting concept, but how does it hold up to the Capcom made Resident Evil games?

The graphics are good, but not quite as outstanding as those in Resident Evil 5. Most of the game is fairly dark and bloody, considering the time of day the whole game is set in. All of the models are smooth and detailed, though the animations themselves are a bit less smooth at some points, and can actually get stuck in glitches. One thing interesting about this game is that most Resident Evil zombies can only have their heads blown off, but Slant Six went the extra mile and had full body destruction of zombies, which is more refreshing and realistic. Though for some reason this still doesn’t happen to enemy soldiers. Of course, no complaint about that since in many games only the most creature-like enemies are able to get blown to bits.

The music fits the feel of the game nicely. It still has an eerie horror feel to it, but with a more fast-paced, upbeat, techno tune.  Probably more fitting of the music you’d find in Resident Evil 4 or 5’s Mercenaries mode. All of the creatures have their scary screeches and moans.

The gameplay is a lot like SOCOM: US Navy Seals, or any other tactical third person shooter. There’s a primary weapon and a secondary pistol weapon that can be carried. The primary weapon can be exchanged for any weapons found throughout the stage or match. New weapons can be bought at the character and equipment preparation screen with experience earned during battle. The healing items are the herbs and first aid sprays found in Resident Evil, along with an anti-virus spray never used in a previous game. Along with the guns there are melee attacks, and melee kills with the knife. While these are useful and stylish, it is the same with practically all the characters, be it anyone from the Spec Ops characters, USS, and even the actual Resident Evil characters in Heroes mode. They all feel similar. The only differences are the abilities they can learn, such as Camouflage or Advanced Healing. While these are good and help differentiate the character classes, there could have been more variety.

In single player or multiplayer there always has to be a team of four characters.  The game is definitely more fun for multiplayer, especially because the computer AI isn’t the best and not entirely helpful.  Online has very little lag, and it’s generally very easy to find a match.  There are a decent amount of unique multiplayer modes, such as Survivor, Heroes mode, Nemesis mode, and even the currently Xbox360 exclusive mode.   Experience points can be gained anywhere in any mode, and players can jump in and out of online campaign co-op. Unfortunately, like many games these days, this game suffers from lack of split-screen multiplayer.  It would have helped a lot if it did have offline multiplayer, especially since (even though it is made by a different company) Resident Evil 5 had split-screen multiplayer. The reason for it is possibly because RE5 had only two players on screen at once, while this has four. Regardless, having two players and the others being AI controlled would have been better than nothing.

Operation Raccoon City is an enjoyable game, just not as groundbreaking as some main series Resident Evil games. The story campaign can be completed within a few hours, and all there really is besides multiplayer is getting upgrades and concept art. It is certainly a fun multiplayer game, and is a nice tribute to Resident Evil. It just feels like there could have been more put into it. Perhaps a sequel or downloadable content will help. Final Score: 7/10

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