Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City review:
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is a third-person action game set in the Resident Evil universe, particularly during the time period of the first three Resident Evil games. Developed by Slant Six Games (SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALS Confrontation), the game thrusts players into the roles of Umbrella corporation mercenaries. Tasked with destroying evidence, the players try to survive the infested streets of Raccoon City while eliminating anyone or anything that get’s in their way. The storyline doesn’t seem to stick exactly to the Resident Evil canon, which may really annoy some diehard fans but rest assured that there isn’t too much story development anyways. After all, this game is about killing monsters.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is a cover-based shooter, and the first thing that action game vets will notice is that the cover system is just mediocre. It’s not completely broken, but there were many times where I died simply because I was not looking straight at a box I wanted to hide behind. It almost seemed like once I got close to cover I needed to give the game time to show the on-screen prompt before I could do anything. It didn’t always happen that slowly but it is something that is definitely lacking a certain polish. Although, even if the attempt to hide took a bit longer than usual, once behind cover I could usually look around and shoot fairly smoothly.
The game features a campaign that integrates jump-in/jump-out multiplayer which could be turned off, however Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City seems geared toward group play. Since the game is pretty tough even on normal difficulty, I think Slant Six just assumed that most people would have a friend around to help out. If you’re antisocial and you play on the harder difficulty settings, then god help you because the threats to your life will be numerous and hungry. I usually rolled the dice by starting games by myself and leaving the session open for the public to join.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City does have a fairly lag-free multiplayer (although occasionally glitchy) that I enjoyed quite a bit. The game types were diverse and the feature where players could become zombies and go after friends really took on a whole new dimension here. Another game type I thought was noteworthy was one where players from opposing teams fought over available spots on a helicopter. I did have one major problem with multiplayer and that was that human-controlled enemies simply take way too long to die. I like to think that If I empty two magazines from a submachine gun into an enemy they should stop moving, but Slant Six seemed to disagree. I think if the response from the turn and look controls was a bit more responsive I wouldn’t have minded so much. In those situations, the game devolved into two enemies spinning around franticly trying to spew bullets wildly in every direction.
Overall, the game did have a fair amount of replay value. There were unlockable weapons, new characters and different character abilities. Weapons couldn’t be upgraded which was disappointing, but there usually were a few different versions of the same weapon with different attributes. There were also unlockable pieces of concept art, although they weren’t too exciting in my opinion. The gameplay in Operation Raccoon City was certainly fun, especially when playing with other people, but it should be noted that the package is rough around the edges. I would liken it to a fast, sporty car with the seat replaced by a steel folding chair. I think some people have been overly harsh because it is vastly different from the series’ other major entries, but taken on its own it’s a definitely a decent game.
The overall design in the game was very reminiscent of the three original Resident Evil games. I give Slant Six credit for even having music that seemed to be written in the same musical feel and scales as the other Resident Evil titles. The colors and environments also fit the theme very well. I am glad they seemed to nail the feel, since I think mutating that would amount to a mortal design sin. Much of this feel also extended to the menus, which fit the theme well and were easy to navigate. The sound effects were nothing to cheer about. Standard gunshot, zombie and monster sound effects were all present but nothing seemed to jump out as well-placed or particularly stunning. The effects did not detract from the experience though. Finally, the graphics and character models were actually pretty good. If you haven’t played Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City yet, don’t expect to be stunned, but I think the game looked like it fit as a later-generation game release for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 life span.
3.5 stars out of 5
Thanks to Capcom for making this review possible.