Resident Evil 6 may very well be the most polarizing game of this generation. I’ve never seen critics and fans so divided on what I thought was a pretty great game, but they are, and after spending an unhealthy amount of time with it, I can see why. Don’t get me wrong, I still love it, but there’s no arguing that it’s pretty heavily flawed. So let’s take a minute to discuss where Capcom went wrong, and how they can fix it after the break.
The most common complaint I’ve heard from agitated fans is the abundance of quick time events, or QTEs. Capcom sprinkled them onto Resident Evil 4, but they were modestly used — usually reserved for the more intense moments like running from a boulder Indiana Jones style, or cutting a rope wrapped around Leon’s leg before he gets dragged off into a lake by a mutated catfish. They added a few surprises and made the cinematics just a little bit more engaging.
Then Resident Evil 6 came along and the strategy of using them sporadically to keep you interested in what’s going on on-screen was tossed out the window so it could be replaced by Capcom’s “fuck it, we’re going big” approach. This translated to a QTE roughly every five seconds.
This is a serious problem. QTEs are fun in moderation and when they’re used intelligently, but when you have so many crammed into a single game, the player quickly learns to keep their eyes focused on the bottom of the screen, just in case one pops up. This means the player isn’t looking at all those lovingly crafted cinematics that undoubtedly cost a fortune to produce.
The solution? Either cut way back on the QTE use, or remove them entirely. The latter might be a better move, because after this I don’t think many fans are going to want to see another in some time.
My biggest problem wasn’t the overuse of QTEs, but the enemy designs. I know, I praised them in my review, but since then I’ve played it with several other people, all of which have actually laughed at a handful of the more humorous enemies. For the most part, I noticed these reactions are reserved exclusively to the J’avo, and specifically the spider, chicken leg, and wasp shoulder mutations.
Look, Capcom, if you want to make a horror game, or an action horror game, or even an action game with very light horror influences, you cannot have silly enemies. You also can’t hide their faces with those colorful masks, because it makes them infinitely less intimidating. Have you seen the J’avos’ faces? They’re scary as fuck. Why hide that behind a mask?
One of the more unsettling things about playing Resident Evil 4 were the villagers’ faces, and specifically their dead eyes. They looked at you with a zombie-like intensity that was actually unnerving, but you don’t get that in Resident Evil 6 because all their faces are hidden behind those stupid masks.
To solve this issue, Capcom needs to hire someone to trim the fat. They need someone to look at everything before they try and cram it into the game. This person should have a horror background, possibly in games journalism, and they have to be a fan of the series. I hear Bloody Disgusting has someone who would be perfect for the job.
Obviously, Resident Evil 6 isn’t a horror game. Even Leon’s campaign, which brought back zombies, isn’t scary in the least. I can even see Capcom trying to play the role of the horror director, hiding jump-scares, creepy hallways, and eerie nighttime excursions through cemeteries. They’re solid enough attempts at injecting some much needed horror back into this franchise, but I don’t think these admirable attempts actually worked on anyone.
Because I no longer consider this a horror franchise, I’m not going to ask that Resident Evil 7 be scary. That’s just not a realistic thing to ask from this series anymore. Horror doesn’t sell like Call of Duty, and Capcom has publicly stated that they have an eye on that market.
I know, I sound like a grumpy old man, but I promise I’m not. I actually like what Capcom’s done with the series. I can get my horror elsewhere. Only Resident Evil can give me that silly and delicious, over-the-top action horror fix, and I’m okay with that. If I want to be scared, I’ll play Amnesia, Silent Hill, Fatal Frame, Condemned, or Dead Space.
Speaking of silly and over-the-top, can we please drop these awful goddamned endings? There’s so much cheese that it actually makes me a little nauseous. RE4 ended with jet ski riding off into the sunset, RE5 ended with the same thing, only replace the jet ski with a helicopter and a horribly out of place song. Minor spoiler here: every single campaign in RE6 ends in an annoyingly sappy way. I’m so sick of this. This is a cheesy series, sure, but is it too much to ask for a bleak ending? Or a twist? An ambiguous ending that leaves me questioning what the hell just happened? Something?
You know what? I might’ve lied. The enemies didn’t annoy me quite as much as the removal of gun customization. Who thought it was a good idea to get rid of such an awesome feature? Having the ability to choose my own loadout, buy new weapons, and upgrade them made me feel unique from my partner, and it gave me a feeling of progression. A few hours into RE4/RE5 and I was noticeably stronger. The skills were added to replace this, but they aren’t enough.
If someone from Capcom stumbled across this and you ignore everything I ask for in this article, this long-winded plea, please bring back the weapon customization. I hate a nearly identical loadout as my partner, and when you don’t even let us get rid of the weapons we don’t want, the inventory clutter soon becomes unbearable. Speaking of which…
The inventory in RE5 sucked, but the one in RE6 sucks way harder. It’s clunky, overly complex, and unintuitive. The weapons are separated, but the healing items and the ammo are not? And why can’t we upgrade the capacity? For the love of all things holy, stop experimenting with the inventory. Resident Evil 4 did it right and in a weird way it was actually fun to mess with. Since then it’s all gone downhill.
I’m sick of being so negative — let’s talk about something Capcom did right. The Agent Hunt mode is fantastic. It makes the games more unpredictable by adding a little Demon’s Souls into the mix. It’s simple and refreshing, and with Resident Evil 7, I think it can expanded upon to make the mode even better. Hell, you can even bring it over to Mercenaries to make that a little more intense.
The four-player co-op sections are a great idea too. My only complaint is I wish they were only used during the boss fights, because that’s when I had the most fun playing with another duo. Beating down the Ustanak with three other players is crazy fun, but standing on platforms sniping J’avos with little to no interaction with the other players was dull.
While we’re on the topic of boss fights, what’s up with reusing the same bosses three and sometimes up to seven times? That’s ridiculous. I should never have to fight the same guy seven times, even if he mutates into different forms. That’s frustrating and it sucks all the fun out of an area where this series has historically excelled. Limit the use of an individual boss to two times in a single game, or three if you absolutely have to. Trust me, this is for the best.
Did anyone else have a problem with the dog tags? I know it’s a weird thing to complain about, but they just felt so out of place in a Resident Evil game. I can understand them in Battlefield or Crysis, but in Resident Evil 6 they feel misplaced and unoriginal. I suggest replacing this with something players can really customize, like the ambiguous player cards in Call of Duty. Something like that could work in any game, not just a military shooter. Just replace the military icons and ranks with BOW ranks (Zombie, Crimson Head, Licker, Hunter, Tyrant, Nemesis, etc.) or with the BOWs we encounter in the game, then we could unlock new BOW ranks by killing certain numbers of a given enemy, or whatever. Dog tags aren’t Resident Evil, and adding them felt half-assed.
I saved the most important change for last. Yes, this is even more critical to Resident Evil 7′s success than the return of gun customization.
I want you to drop the multiple campaigns. I’m not saying anything that hasn’t already been said by a myriad other critics and fans, but this game is bloated as fuck. Capcom tried to do too much, and the end result is one fantastic scenario (Leon’s), followed by an interesting one (Jake’s), and one incredibly dull one (Chris’). Ada’s is good fun too, so why not drop the excess baggage and focus on the strategy that helped make Resident Evil 4 one of the defining games of the last generation.
Imagine how much bigger and better Leon’s campaign could’ve been had those other scenarios been dropped. All those resources could’ve been invested into making Resident Evil 6 a RE4 on steroids.
If you’re reading this and you haven’t picked up Resident Evil 6, I hope it doesn’t deter you from doing so. It really is a fun game, and it’s even more enjoyable when you share it with a friend. If you enjoyed RE4 and/or RE5, you’re practically guaranteed to love this, despite all the aforementioned hairy bits. Hopefully Capcom will use the RE6 feedback to drive the inevitable next game in the series. So far they’ve proven more than willing to rebuild this franchise from the ground up, and I think it may very well be time to do it again. There’s still plenty of hope left for this series, even when it sprouts chicken legs.
Missed a day? Check out the rest of the 13 Days of Horror:
Day 1: The 12 Best Weapons In Horror Games, Part 1
Day 2: The 12 Best Weapons In Horror Games, Part 2
Day 3: Our Premature Evaluation Of Black Ops II Zombies
Day 4: Why 2012 Has Been The Best (And Worst) Year For Horror
Day 5: 12 Horror Games To Look Forward To Next Year, Part 1
Day 6: 12 Horror Games To Look Forward To Next Year, Part 2
Day 7: Eight Games You Should Play This Halloween
Day 9: 12 Upcoming Zombie Games To Be Excited About, Part 1
Day 10: 12 Upcoming Zombie Games To Be Excited About, Part 2
Day 11: Why We Love Zombie Games
Day 12: Comment To Win A Copy Of Resident Evil 6 And Other Awesome Swag
Day 13: Don’t Be Scared, It’s Just A Dead Pixels Halloween Podcast