Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City - Xbox 360

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Also for: PC, PS3
Viewed: 3D Third-person, over the shoulder Genre:
Shoot 'Em Up
Adventure: Survival Horror
Media: DVD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Slant Six Soft. Co.: Capcom
Publishers: Capcom (GB/GB)
Released: 23 Mar 2012 (GB)
Unknown (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 18+, BBFC 15
Connectivity: Live Online Enabled


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Capcom has been doing a lot of soul-searching for its Resident Evil survival horror series as of late, with the action-heavy fifth instalment paving the way for similar approaches in Revelations and RE6. It’s no surprise then, that Slant Six has been hard at work on a spinoff that's action-focused from the very start. And ironically, it feels like the most faithful entry in years.

It probably has a lot to do with the fact that Operation Raccoon City is deeply rooted in the franchise’s golden days. Taking place between the events of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3, and after the populace of Raccoon City has been infected by the T-Virus outbreak, the story centres on two factions fighting for survival - the Spec Ops team, who are called out to investigate the disaster and uncover Umbrella’s role in the incident; and Umbrella’s own Security Service.

In a curious twist, this squad-based third-person co-op shooter sees you in the role of the latter team. The shady Umbrella Security Service is on a mission to cover up and destroy all evidence of its organisation’s involvement in the T-Virus incident, at any cost. And it feels quite satisfying to be playing the bad guy - it adds a whole new dimension to the Resident Evil 2 storyline, and ultimately it just feels cool to be controlling a badass mercenary.

In gameplay terms, REORC is a fast and frantic third-person shooter, which happens to involve zombies and BOWs (Bio-Organic Weapons) as enemies. As you'd expect in a shooter with a focus on team mechanics, you can play the campaign with friends, not to mention get involved in a raft of competitive multiplayer modes.

Objectives are generally quite interesting, ranging from recon to assassination and - gulp - even locating and repairing the Nemesis project from Resident Evil 3. In this particular mission, in a stage some four levels into the campaign, you’re presented with some interesting challenges as a team - recovering parts of a key, with fragments dotted in various places in the vicinity. With hordes of enemies everywhere, do you split the team into groups of two, go it alone or all together?

One thing that is very noticeable the second you start playing the game is the controls. Naturally tailored to suit the nuances of a sometimes fast-paced shooter rather than a survival horror, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d be playing Gears of War if you had a blindfold on.

If you've ever fancied dipping your toe in Resident Evil's undead-infested waters but prefer a faster-paced game, this is the one for you.