Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City Review

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Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Slant Six Games
Platforms: Xbox 360 (Reviewed), PS3
Release Date: March 20, 2012
Price: (Special Edition) $69.99 – Here; (Standard) $59.99 – Here

Overview
Resident Evil has been host to the third person survival horror genre for quite awhile. Operation Raccoon City drastically changes the perspective by placing players in the shoes of the Umbrella Corporation. No longer are the perils faced as the protagonist, the antagonists rule supreme here.

As the horror is quite prevalent, the title evolves into a third person hybrid. Leveling, abilities, and multiplayer are additions that this franchise has not see before. Will it provide a fun and engaging experience? Only one way to find out…

Story
It’s 1998, the Umbrella Corporation has had unrivaled progression in medical advancements of the human body. This international corporation has also been involved in many covert operations with highly questionable legality. Once you join the Umbrella Corporation, you remain for life.

In the depths of the underground secret laboratories, an epidemic is spreading. The cause is linked to a transferable virus given the code name T-Virus. Once administered to a host, the T-Virus will cause the person to become a ravenous zombie. Quickly spreading through the depths of the compound, the Umbrella Security Service (U.S.S) must investigate and destroy any evidence of exposure. With the virus acquiring new hosts, will the U.S.S. be able to prevent exposure of the epidemic? Or even survive?

Gameplay
Establishing the basic moves is a key concept to follow by. The game allows movement with the left analog along with a movable camera on the right analog. Following the basic format for shooters, the right trigger fires your current weapon with an active reload at the end of the clip. Players can also reload their weapon prematurely by pressing (X). When all other available options fail or brute force becomes necessary, a melee can be administered by tapping (B).

Bashing opponents may become tiresome, so finding ammo and grenade refills will make time flow faster. Pressing (A) will allow a player to interact with available objects throughout the environments. Such items include ammo, grenades, health, health spray, anti-viral spray, and data discs, and other rare collectibles. Achievement hunters will try to find all raccoon statues through the storyline.

Before even entering the campaign or any mode, players must enter a squad selection screen. Each character has his/her own unique abilities that provide individualized gameplay. For instance, one of Vector’s abilities allow him to move stealthily without being noticed opposing to Lupo’s incendiary bullets. Choosing your main character is important but developing a support team is also essential. As part of the single player campaign, you will be able to adjust the rest of your team to your liking. A decent group build would include a medic (Bertha), stealth (Vector), assault (Lupo), and ranged attack (Spectre).

Single player campaign provides a difficult playing environment and relies solely on interdependency. Teammates can be killed off quite quickly if a certain level of aggressiveness is not used. While fallen comrades can be revived, your death will lead to a “game over” scenario. Being one of the more annoying aspects of the game, you are not able to switch between characters in single player campaign. Carrying health and anti-viral sprays becomes ultimately important as you would have to restart at a previous checkpoint upon death. One of the only bonuses that single player provides is that you will not be stalled at rendezvous points that require all surviving characters to be present.

Private and public campaigns are available for those that wish a more diverse experience. Attempting a public match will place you once again in the squad selection screen. Similar to before you are able to choose the first character as your main. As players begin to join, your once open slots will be locked with the character of their choosing – granted they cannot take your chosen character.

Advantages far outweigh the negatives in multiplayer campaign. No longer does a single death restart the mission even if you are turned into a zombie. Other active players can gun your character down then revive your body to its former glory. Only until the entire party is wiped will you restart at the last checkpoint making for more of a team effort. Have a microphone? Talking to expert players will definitely give you an advantage by learning secrets of each stage and understanding the concepts of team combat. Calling out incoming targets can only be done with interactive partners as well. One minor setback is collectibles scattered through the levels. While supply crates can provide enough ammunition for a team, individual shell packages are a one-time use. Grenades, sprays, and data discs work similarly leaving your team with fewer available resources.

Invoking a hybrid mix of gameplay, the leveling system provides advancement for individual abilities as well as purchasing new starting equipment. Upon completing any mode a player will gain experience according to the productivity of the event. This can be ranked by the number of kills, deaths, collectibles, and completion time. Points will be attributed to the success of the mode played and allocate money to your available funds. Even though most weapons can be found throughout stages, players are able to purchase each weapon and equip it as their starting weapon.

Ranging from sidearms to assault rifles, the armory is packed full of trigger happy awesomeness. Here is the full list of available weapon types: assault rifles, sub-machine guns, machine guns, shotguns, sniper rifles, and sidearms. One of my favorite weapons of destruction is the heavy machine gun. As a horde of zombies rush towards your position, a stream of bullets becomes necessary to mow down the incoming threat. Laying down a line of suppressive fire, the heavy machine gun has plenty of ammunition to support a team over long periods of time – that is unless you unload a full clip on one target. Sadly, you cannot holster more than one primary weapon on your person.

Money can also be spent on abilities for a character. Character will have a set of both passive and active abilities that can be used during gameplay. For example, the team’s demolition expert (Beltway) has passive abilities that increase his resistance towards being knocked down by explosions. Additionally, he has several active abilities like fragmentation mine, timed sticky explosive, and laser trip mine. Only one active ability can be used at a time, so the situation should call for an appropriate ability. High traffic areas might spawn opportunities where a laser trip mine or fragmentation mine might prove useful. On the other hand, a timed sticky explosive will prove useful if an enemy is on your tail. Turn around, and give them a little surprise!

Enemies will come after your character in all shapes and sizes. Zombies are the most common and provide a surplus of gun fodder but can mutate to greater forms if not dealt with quickly. The mutated form of the common zombie creates a Crimson Head which develops greater movement as well as sharp claws. Of all the infested zombies types, the Licker is by far the most annoying and interesting to deal with in combat. Licker’s can grip onto any surface but will lose stability by continual blows. If not shot down quickly, these foes will grapple with their tongues. The only way to escape the clutch of this beast is to move from side to side or have a teammate shoot ’em down. Pump a few extra shots into a Licker’s motionless body; they might not be dead.

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