About a week ago, I managed to squeeze out close to three thousand words on the Resident Evil 6 Public Demo, and as I’ve been playing the full game since Monday, I thought I’d add a short update.

My feelings were somewhat mixed after playing the demo, and objectively, they’re much the same now; the demo really was representative of the final game. Environmental textures are often painfully low-res, while some objects (such as curtains in a house you traipse through) are so bad they wouldn’t look out-of-place in an N64 game. In general, it’s a great looking game, and the lighting is often used to fantastic effect, but look too closely at the details and it’s striking just how ropey some elements can look. Capcom pulled in staff from other projects to get Resi 6 finished ahead of schedule, and visually, some parts do look rushed. It’s disappointing, because its immediate predecessor is still one of the best looking games this gen.

But this hasn’t stopped me from really enjoying the four or five hours I’ve currently put into it (exclusively in Leon’s campaign). It’s similar to Resi 5 in that it is almost entirely all-out action and relentless forward momentum, but it does have touches of Resident Evil 4‘s tone, if not the survival horror underpinnings of older games that some were hoping for. In fact, I’ve been surprised by the way Leon’s story has started out, with one section giving me a very Dawn of the Dead remake vibe as you try to hold out with survivors, with a later section in Tall Oaks Cathedral reminding me of the castle in RE4. It even throws in some light puzzling, but is mercifully a far shorter segment than Agent Kennedy’s adventures in Salazar’s Spanish abode.

Movement is the same as in the demo (clunky cover system included), but once you get used to it, figuring out that sprinting allows you to auto-hurdle obstacles and learning how to slide and dodge effectively, it really opens up how much scope there is for traversal and combat. The new control system has also allowed Capcom to throw out the over-generous AI from the previous two games, whereby enemies would rush at you before stopping a few feet away to allow you to get a shot off. The result is much more frantic combat, and you’ll frequently be overwhelmed by hordes of zombies if you’re not careful. It’s often a better strategy to create a path and run.

I mentioned that the demo was laden with ammo, and guessed that this wouldn’t be the case in the final game, but here I was clearly wrong. There is ammo all over the place, including drops from defeated enemies, and you will often feel like you’re armed to the teeth. However, this being Resi, you’ll eventually come up against a boss that will seriously stretch your resources. Skill points are also strewn throughout the game, and these allow you to buy skills inbetween chapters that boost your defense or melee strength, or deaden your recoil. Any skills you have already purchased can be equipped and un-equipped on the fly.

Each of the three main campaigns (Ada’s is unlocked after completion of the main trio) are five chapters long, and at around four hours in, I’m still on chapter 2 of Leon’s story. My completion time for chapter 1 was 2 hours 32 minutes (I do tend to be quite meticulous), so if this pace carries on, I’ll be looking at over ten hours apiece for the main campaigns. Word is that Leon’s is the strongest campaign of the three, but it’s hard to take anyone’s word on anything when it comes to Resident Evil 6 – it’s almost impossible to parse the emotional from the objective.

I don’t want to say too much about the way Resi 6 has been received by the internet at large, as I don’t want to be dragged into the maelstrom of stupidity. I will say that Edge and Eurogamer have given the game a 6, GamesTM a 7, and these scores I can fully get behind. Some others are just plain trolling, and the usual hate brigade has jumped on the bandwagon looking to confirm their preconceptions. I have utterly despaired at some of the things I’ve read about this game online over the last few days – some people seem to periodically lose the power of rational thought and deal only in absolutes; if an anticipated new release isn’t the greatest thing ever pressed to a shiny circle of plastic, then surely it must be a stinking pile of putrid crud that blights all of humanity by its mere existence, right?

I’ve seen the game described as anything from “the worst game this year” to “utter shit” (usually from people who’ve tried the demo already expecting to hate it), and this is pure hyperbole. I’ve also seen someone claim that the game should be boycotted by all ‘proper’ Resident Evil fans. I don’t know what that means, because I’ve loved every main series title up to this point, and so far I’m thoroughly enjoying my time with Resi 6. Unless it goes massively downhill from here on out, it’s looking like a solid 7/10 for me.

And I said I didn’t want to get involved…

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