Previews// Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

Posted 13 Feb 2012 16:53 by
Capcom is no stranger to collaboration with Western developers, but Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (REORC) is the first time that the publisher has allowed a studio outside of Japan to have some creative direction on its flagship survival-horror series.

I?ve already covered how Canadian outfit Slant Six has mixed up the traditional RE formula in its co-op campaign mode, but it?s in its other multiplayer modes where things really kick off.

In gameplay terms, REORC is a fast and frantic third-person shooter, which happens to involve zombies and BOWs (Bio-Organic Weapons) as enemies. To be fair, a multiplayer Resident Evil game could probably not have worked under any other circumstance.

As an advantage, this focus on action (rather than slow-paced horror) has allowed the controls to provide a flexibility in movement that past Resident Evil games have never been able to offer.

While there is a promising co-op campaign that can be played solo, the real meat of Operation Raccoon City is in its competitive modes. These pit the shady Umbrella Security Service directly against the US Spec Ops team in a fight for supremacy in the quarantined city. Most of the time, however, you?ll be distracted from your mortal enemies by the need to defend yourself against a common enemy - the undead.

One mode throws away team play however, and is a simple free-for-all point-scoring affair. Cap zombies in the head and defeat BOWs for massive points, while you can keep the high score ticking by turning the gun on your frenemies nearby. It becomes a very rapidly changing game of loyalties - help a fellow player to nail a Tyrant, then fight them for extra points (or leave them to a gang of zombies that they didn?t see).

The Apocalypse stage was the setting for this mode, set at night in a closed-off area of Raccoon City. As you duck and weave through garages to confuse the zombie AI, cars are blowing up outside and the black sky is highlighted with a constant orange inferno. Guess the name is apt, then.

I was playing with three other journalists during my multiplayer session, but the game will have support for up to eight players at any one time. When you consider that the all-for-one point-scoring mode resulted in hilarity and absolute mayhem, I can only imagine what would happen with another four players involved.

There are, of course, straightforward deathmatch modes (where your primary aim is to kill the opposition, but nobbling zombies won?t hurt) and variants of the kind too. The most intense is one that sees eight players split into four teams of two. Each member of your double-act has to protect the other and survive for as long as possible for maximum points.

Perhaps my favourite of all these modes is Survival. This fascinating twist on the classic separates all players across a particular map, and forces them to survive against an onslaught of undead and mutants for a set period of time.

When the clock reaches zero, a helicopter appears to rescue you - the twist being that there are only four seats on the chopper, leading players to happily stab each other in the back at the last second so they can secure their safety.

Further owing to its Western development roots, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City also features a rather in-depth experience system - as well as an array of different character classes to take control of. I had a look at six classes - Recon, Medic, Field Scientist, Demolition Expert, Assault and Surveillance - and each offer a range of different passive and active abilities that can be unlocked using XP, as well as a vast selection of different guns. Pistols, automatics, launchers... you name it, basically.

There have been a number of attempts to try and present an online multiplayer version of Resident Evil. All have been abject failures. Perhaps Slant Six will be able to finally make Capcom?s dreams - and those of the fans - come true. It?s certainly looking promising enough. We?ll find out when the game is released this March.

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Amarok 3 Mar 2012 05:31
Fantastic RE podcast. I've been grleaey anticipating it ever since you guys first talked about it, and part 1 definitely did not disappoint! A little bummed that you guys sort of breezed through the plots of 3, CVX, and 0 though. I would like to hear more opinions on the stories. :)Since you guys are doing the all encompassing RE podcast, are you planning on talking about the movies? Live action and CG?I love hearing about everyone's first experiences with the series. I remember the first time I saw a RE game. My cousin was really into RE, but because I hated scary games, I never payed em any attention. One day he came up to me, all excited, and said, Come here, you just HAVE to see this! . He dragged me into the other room in order to show me the opening cinematic of Code Veronica for the Dreamcast. I thought it was incredible, so naturally, I wanted him to show me the actual game. Unfortunately, he did. Needless the say, the game looked and played nothing like the opening cinematic, and the section that he showed me let's just say it didn't do the game any favors. I was turned off RE for life.Or so I thought.A few years later, that same cousin dragged me into his room to show me another RE game. He was, once again, really excited. I hate scary games, especially Resident Evil. I'm not interested. , I said. Just play it for a few minutes. Please? , he asked. It was the demo for Resident Evil 4 on the Gamecube. For the first time while playing a scary game, I wasn't scared. At least, not scared enough to stop playing. It was a different kind of fear than other horror games; a sort of exhilarated fear. I wanted to keep playing. I wanted to find out what happened next; I wanted to know who was behind the paper bag. (chainsaw guy) Plus, the game actually controlled well and looked amazing.From that moment on, I was turned on to RE for life and I've since gone back and played through some of the earlier REs. I still haven't played all of them yet, but I'm working on it. ;p
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