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Resident Evil 6 Preview – First Impressions

Resident Evil 6Earlier today Capcom released a brand new playable demo of the forthcoming Resident Evil 6 on both PS3 and Xbox 360. So one slow-ish download and several caffeinated drinks later we fired it up to see exactly what it’s all about.

The demo gives you the choice of three playable preview campaigns with two playable characters. Each demo campaign clocks in at around twenty to thirty minutes and offers just a small insight into the different types of play available in Resident Evil 6. Given they vary from pure action to eerie survival horror it’s likely you’ll have a favourite.

The full on action scenario

If you’re a long-term Resident Evil fan you may well be tempted to jump into the demo with original Resident Evil star, Chris Redfield and his new partner, Piers Nivans. Before you do just that, a word of warning – this campaign strays the furthest from its survival horror roots and in fact is much more comparable to the likes of Gears of War and Call of Duty. Visually it’s up there with the best video games available today, but given the screenshots of dimly lit corridors and old school zombies it’s hard not to feel a little letdown at this stage as you make your way through a warzone with a full squad of comrades for backup. There are signs of virus-infected monsters that occasionally crop-up but for the most part this is a pure adrenaline-soaked action fest that has much more in common with Resident Evil 5 than any of its predecessors. A competent slice of action gaming but for horror fans this is no doubt underwhelming.

A return to old school survival horror

The mission in which you play as either Resident Evil 2 star, Leon S Kennedy or Helena Harper is presented in a similar style to the Resident Evil of the nineties and early noughties. Taking place within the grounds and buildings of Ivy University there are plenty of slow-moving old school zombies and dimly lit corridors. Whilst there may not be any moments quite as terrifying as the infamous ‘hellhound through the window’ of the original, there are certain moments within Ivy University that will see you clutching your sweat-kissed controller that little bit tighter. Zombies hiding in shadows, satisfying head shots and a suspenseful score are exactly what Resident Evil should be about, and on this occasion Resident Evil 6 manages to get it right for the most part. This is incredibly promising, let’s hope there’s a lot more of this in the full game.

New hero: Jake Muller

If the two scenarios above will divide gamers, it is perhaps this final segment that will bring them back together. Straddling the lines between horror and action, Jake’s scenario sees a plethora of new J’avo enemies, some of which resemble Japanese dragons gone wrong (seriously). Heavy on the action but just as heavy on the dark and unsettling, this must be played with a finger firmly on the trigger and a sense of urgency, unless you’re to fall victim to the hoards of J’avo.

The final word

Capcom’s new demo is certainly enough to whet our appetite for Resident Evil 6, but whether it will be the perfect blend of action and survival horror sought by so many remains to be seen. It’s reassuring to see fan favourites Chris Redfield, Leon S Kennedy and Ada Wong (there’s the smallest of cameos in this very demo) returning for action, but it would be a terrible shame if it were solely action and the horror suffered. One thing’s for sure our interest is well and truly piqued and come October 2, we’ll enter the nightmarish world of Resident Evil 6 all over again.

MICHAEL WILSON

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