Not long ago, Resident Evil 6 hit the download market with a new lick of paint to a resounding groan from anyone who even remotely cares about Resident Evil at this point.
Often regarded as a low-point in a series littered with low-points, Resi 6 left a very bitter taste in the mouths of many when first released and it seems that nothing has changed in the three years since. Critics were quick to savage its poor controls, poor writing and lack of any real tension. Everything that made Resident Evil so great as a series was stripped away and a big old dollop of generic was poured all over it.
Which begs the question, why even re-release Resi 6 at all?
Well the fact of the matter is money talks and it talks a lot. Resident Evil 6 was a huge financial success, selling over six million copies, thus making it Capcom’s second best-selling game to date. A truly terrifying prospect when you consider Capcom’s string of masterpieces over the past few decades. The game offers a lot of content and can be occasionally fun when played co-op but sales are not a sign of quality.
The franchise has been somewhat stagnant for a while now but Capcom are slowly pulling it together. The Revelations spin-offs are dragging the series roots back to the surface, although the Michael Bay-esque action sequences aren’t giving it a rest just yet. For every attempt that Revelations would make to re-introduce the limited-ammo and claustrophobia from yesteryear, it would shoe-horn in bland action segments and new characters with little to no depth. Resident Evil isn’t exactly known for multi-dimensional characters for sure, but at least its core protagonists have enough charm to keep us interested.
We also recently got the Resident Evil Origins collection which have served as a reminder of how great the franchise once was. Some may snort at the idea of paying nearly £30 for HD versions of GameCube games, but their quality still shines through to this day. Offering genuine scares and challenging gameplay, they’re the closest you can get to an authentic survival-horror experience without dusting off an original PlayStation. The package looked to be Capcom’s way of telling people that they wanted to bring the series back to the original formula, but then Resident Evil 6 Remastered reared its ugly head.
Capcom are due to re-release Resident Evil 4 and 5 in the near future, which are unarguably far superior games. Resident Evil 4 was truly revolutionary for its time and holds up well almost a decade later, whilst Resident Evil 5 is a solid game in its own right, even if it fails to live up to the series survival horror roots. Sure, that game was mostly devoid of scares and leaned a little too much on fast-paced gunplay but it had all the B-Movie self-awareness of the older games and never took itself too seriously; that volcano sequence for example.
That’s where it all falls apart for Resident Evil 6, its most certainly playable but offers nothing new or exciting. A slight facelift, and a very inconsistent one at that, isn’t going to mask the game’s overall blandness or the wavering quality of its four campaigns. The plot goes nowhere, the protagonists seem almost numb to the events around them and the whole thing feels pointless by the conclusion.
The cold hard truth is that this is just another cash-in by Capcom who are trying to renew interest in a franchise on the verge of extinction. We can at least be thankful that they’re getting the awful one out of the way first so everyone will soon forget about it and move on to the much better Resi games they produced in that era. It seems like they’re taking two steps back by giving fans what they want with Revelations and Origins and then following it up with the one we all hated. At least playing through Resident Evil 4 for the millionth time will fill the time until the remake of Resident Evil 2 surfaces. Even then, there’s no guarantee that’ll be the saving grace the franchise needs, perhaps it really is beyond saving at this point. We’ll just have to wait and see if Capcom can actually pull it off and make people care again.