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Resident Evil 6 preview - Hands-on with the first hours of all three campaigns

Resident Evil 6 is one of the most anticipated sequels of the year, the next entry in one of the biggest franchises in gaming history. To date we’ve seen an incredible amount of RE6's settings and characters. We’ve met classic stars like Leon and Chris, old enemies like Ada Wong, and new characters like Jake and Helena. We’ve seen so much, yet so many questions remain about the massive game. Now we’ve at least had some time with a near final version of the first two chapters of each of the three campaigns, and while we may not know how it ends, we at least can be satisfied with knowing how it starts.

The game begins with several bangs, as massive explosions toss Leon Kennedy and his partner Helena Harper into a car. They slowly recover their bearings, and it's revealed that they’re trapped in the destroyed Chinese city shown in past trailers for the game. After only moments to introduce the controls, you’re thrown into a crazy sequence of cinematic moments. You dodge falling planes, collapsing streets, do your best to fly a helicopter while shooting a zombie at the same time, and ultimately crash land. It’s an exciting start, though with many more quick time events than we’re used to in Resident Evil. QTEs were numerous in the demo, though we aren't sure if that's for the best or not.

Once the prologue is complete you start with any of the three campaigns, and it seemed only fitting to first continue with Leon and Helena. After a surprise outbreak in a small US town and killing the zombified President of the United States, the two federal agents are trapped in a city riddled with undead. Soon they're teaming up with a ragtag group of survivors that don’t do a great job of surviving, and ultimately the two end up at a church which Helena says holds the secret to the infection. By the end of the second chapter that secret isn’t uncovered, but dozens of undead and Ada Wong are. Overall the pacing of the Leon areas felt the most familiar to the series, but updated with current gaming concepts in mind.

Next were the Chris Redfield chapters, featuring a mildly amnesiac, guilt ridden Chris that’s pushed to confront the death of his squad and return to saving lives with the BSAA. Here Chris and his partner Piers faced the J’avo, the shape shifting, terrorist cell that's purposefully infected with the C-Virus. The virus causes damaged limbs to regrow in dangerous, ghastly ways. Chris’ sections felt the most brainless. The majority of his story was based around clearing out a room of monsters, opening a door, then killing the next room full of monsters. Also, strangely, Chris’ punches are usually more reliable than his bullets, leading players to often settle for melee damage over the using up ammo with less reliable shots.

Finally, we came to the Jake Mueller stages. The new hero of the series, a man that teams up with Sherry Birken, the now-adult girl from RE2. Jake is a snarky tough guy that seems to be only interested in earning money for his troubles, though he has moments of compassion that are counter to his supposed lineage as Albert Wesker’s son. Jake’s stages are a new touch for the series, with a bigger focus on cinematic action and hand-to-hand combat, mildly reminiscent of the Uncharted series. Of course, the hulking creature chasing Jake and Sherry fits in with RE history, as the unstoppable, perhaps unkillable Ustanak is continually chasing the two like a latter day Nemesis. Also, in Jake’s section we got our first taste of how the campaigns intersect when Chris and his team make an appearance in a longish sequence.

Overall it was pleasantly surprising how long it took to play through the start of the three stories. In a world where 10 hour campaigns are becoming the norm, we spent at least that long on beginning the plots of the three leads. There are still some strange balancing and control hitches that may take some getting used to or hopefully be adjusted by the time it ships October 2, but so far Resident Evil 6 at least seems massive enough to earn its blockbuster hype, even if the gameplay hasn’t totally proven itself yet.

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9 comments

  • Odogx44x - November 20, 2012 6:54 a.m.

    I want to know why PC gamers like myself have to wait longer for these games to come out... I mean the games are programmed on computers right? So we should get them first I mean come on.
  • BottleBank - August 29, 2012 3:43 p.m.

    I realise this is a kneejerk reaction, but this game seems to betray the core concepts of Resi even further. Get rid of the fucking co-op or put it in a separate mode, it totally rids the player of any feeling of isolation and terror. Resi 4 is one of the greatest games of recent years for a reason, and it seems capcom don't know how to replicate it (hint - don't undermine shinji mikami so much that he leaves the company).
  • jackthemenace - August 29, 2012 11:25 a.m.

    From what we've been told, Leon's campaign's supposed to play the most like traditional Resi, but from what I've seen, even THAT seems to be far more action-oriented than the gameplay of Resi 4. And if THAT'S supposed to be the toned-down, scarier stuff, I'm not particularly looking forward to Chris's sections. I mean, it's one thing to change the genre totally and market it as something different- look at Metal Gear Rising, one of my most highly anticipated games. But to change the genre up so much, and then say it's a direct sequel seems like a ballsy, if not disastrous, move.
  • Imgema - August 29, 2012 2:41 a.m.

    QTEs, hollywood-ish events like planes crashing on you, punching zombies instead of shoothing them... This is what the series that invented survival horror has became. And if it continues to sell good to the brainless mainstream it will never improve, it will only get worse and worse until it become a CoD FPS clone. What a pity.
  • joabbuac - August 28, 2012 3:59 p.m.

    Chris Redfield's parts sound terrible.
  • archnite - August 28, 2012 3:06 p.m.

    So no access to the bonus Ada Campaign then? I was really hoping for word on the 1 single player component of this thing.
  • GR_HenryGilbert - August 28, 2012 3:24 p.m.

    Ada's mode only unlocks after you beat the three campaigns, so it wasn't open yet.
  • asspills - August 28, 2012 11:56 a.m.

    Can I save myself some money and just spend like 20 bucks on the Leon campaign? I'm not overly interested in playing Resident Evil: Modern Warfare.
  • gilgamesh310 - August 28, 2012 10:51 a.m.

    I really hope this game isn't going to be a case of quantity over quality.

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