Resident Evil, the long-standing survival-horror franchise from Capcom, is a game series that has had great success throughout its lifetime, but has suffered from a pretty severe loss of focus with its latest installments, basically shunting horror from the formula. Now, going on to its sixth numbered installment, Capcom is hoping to win both old fans and newcomers over alike by creating a game that is, by all means, a little something for everyone, provided you like shooting games, at least.
Featuring three distinct campaigns right from the start, Resident Evil 6 will have a lot to offer from the moment you start it up. There has also been revealed to be a fourth unlockable campaign after completing the original three, as well as a couple of bonus modes, so there should be plenty of content on-disc.
Leon's got the cure for arthritis: Bullets.
Returning to the series for the third even-numbered installment in a row, Leon Kennedy is now accompanied by newcomer Helena Harper in his campaign. Capcom is bringing co-operative play back in full swing with this installment, with both online and split-screen offline play for two players, as well as special sequences when the main characters of your campaign cross paths with characters of other campaigns which allows up to four player co-op as well, though the extra two players can play online only and not locally.
In trying to please all different kinds of fans with one game, Leon's campaign specifically will be oriented in a direction focused more on horror than the others, featuring the long-awaited return of Resident Evil's standard foes: Zombies. Despite the change from their more recent action-based focus for his campaign, the controls in Resident Evil 6 are tighter, more fluid and, most importantly, much more advanced for all campaigns, Leon's included. Expect to walk and shoot, dodge roll, slide along the ground (while shooting, even), melee at will and walk in any cardinal direction without turning like a tank. For the first time in the series, Resident Evil 6 not only doesn't feel like the controls are outdated, but almost feels ahead of the pack, really.
Zombies will be more formidable against Leon and Helena, as well, coming in new shapes and sizes, including hulking fat ones which look reminiscent of Left 4 Dead's Boomers, but rather than exploding in one shot, they are bullet sponges and difficult to kill. Other zombies wield weapons such as fire axes and crowbars, which they'll mindlessly swing around or even toss at the player. Using the new counter mechanic, though, players with excellent timing will be able to steal the weapon from an attacking enemy and execute them with it.
In case of emergency, kick ass.
For players who have little to no interest in Zombies and are more fans of modern shooting games, perhaps even just fans of Resident Evil 5, Chris Redfield is accompanied by newcomer Piers Nivens in a high-octane campaign. Facing off against new foes to the series infected by the C-Virus, known as the J'avo (pronounced Ju-ah-voh), expect to face off in large-scale combat sequences against other armed combatants. The J'avo will actively attack the players with their own guns, as well as mutate their bodies depending on where the players attack them.
Shoot off the legs of a J'avo and wings may grow in their place, flying the torso around upside-down while it still shoots at you. Take off an arm, and a bigger, more disturbing one replaces it, ready to maul you. Blow off the head, however, and what do you know, for the first time in a few games now, the enemy just dies. A nice change of pace from random chance mutating heads popping out when you land a perfect headshot that should, by all means, be a kill.
During large portions of his campaign, Chris and Piers will be accompanied by standard BSAA soldiers, making his story feel more like Gears of War than Resident Evil for a while. As his squad dwindles down over the course of the story, though, things get more intense as Chris and Piers face off against unsettling beasts akin to classic Resident Evil boss fights.
"Uh, hey, dude. Look out."
In the third campaign, with newcomer Jake Muller and Sherry Birkin from RE2, expect a sort of blend between the other two campaigns, though the focus is still much more on action. Jake Muller is the son of a long-standing Resident Evil villain, Albert Wesker, and his blood holds the key for solving some mysterious corporation's problems. Since his blood is so valuable, it's obvious that they're going to go after it, so this campaign finds the players hunted down by a towering monster known as Ustanak, whom they will encounter several times in their journey, Nemesis style.
Jake and Sherry will also find themselves facing off against the J'avo in their campaign, the clear sign that action is what they had in mind for the most part. Jake also has a unique fighting style that other characters cannot access, in which he can fight purely unarmed with a large repertoire of combat moves. Sherry doesn't have the luxury of such things, but has a unique Stun Rod weapon which alters the way her dodges function to accommodate close-quarters combat.
Hold on, I'll save you! Then kill you afterwards!
For players who clear out the three campaigns and want more to do afterwards, there are some bonuses to be unlocked to keep you going. A fourth campaign, tailored for solo play, features Ada Wong and focuses heavily on more classic gameplay from the series with puzzles and zombies. A new mode will also be unlocked, known as 'Agent Hunt', which lets the player take control of a random enemy in a random player's game online. It's an interesting idea, but little is known about it, such as whether or not the player controlled enemies will have more health or otherwise be different from the AI controlled ones.
If players tire of the campaigns at any point, Mercenaries Mode, Resident Evil's time-attack mode since Resident Evil 3 returns once again, unlocked from the very start. Using the characters from the campaigns (and probably others, but none have been revealed as of yet), you try to wipe out as many enemies as you can on set stages within a time limit, racking up more points for consecutive kills. You can see gameplay of Mercenaries Mode here, showing off not only the mode, but also the new combat mechanics as well as Leon's special ability to dual-wield pistols.
Look for Resident Evil 6 on Xbox 360 and PS3 on October 2nd, and on PC soon after, though no concrete date has been revealed.