reHorror: Resident Evil 6 @ Gamescom 2012 (thoughts and hands-on preview)
Gamescom 2012 has come and gone, and this year’s show had quite a lot in store for Resident Evil fans with a strong presence by Capcom. They really went all out with their Resident Evil 6 promotion which even poured outside of the convention center with their awesome “No Hope Left” marketing. But let’s talk about the actual game itself.
Sadly, attendees weren’t able to play brand-new demos for each of the three main scenarios (the demos on-hand were the same as the ones from San Diego Comic-Con last month), but we did get to see a good amount of new gameplay footage. We got an extended look at Leon’s underground segment, Chris battling Yawn’s long-lost brother, and Jake getting cozy with Sherry in a cabin (that soon gets ambushed by J’avo). And while this column does house a preview of each of the three demos at the end, I want to share my thoughts on each of the gameplay videos first.
What’s special about this week’s column is that the aforementioned preview was written by the man that created reHorror himself: our webmaster, Dominik. I wouldn’t be running this weekly column or sitting in the Editor-in-Chief chair for Rely on Horror if it wasn’t for him. So I just want to give him a big shout-out here. Lastly, I do have my analysis for the game’s new Gamescom trailer drafted already, but I just want to wait for Capcom to officially release said trailer before publishing it as an reHorror column. With all that said, enjoy the read, guys. I’ll try my best to not make this post “treat women like sex object(s),” because apparently I do that!
It’s game time. The “Snow-Covered Mountain” gameplay footage from Jake’s scenario looks quite intense, and it definitely reminds me of the cabin scene from Resident Evil 4 where Leon, Ashley and Luis are sandwiched. The J’avo here attack relentlessly (I’m really loving their varied mutations), and it makes it even more personal for Jake since they used to be his former comrades during his mercenary days with La Vita Nuova. But what intrigues me even more about this footage is what happens before the J’avo come crashing Jake and Sherry’s cozy party without an invitation.
IGN released the extended version of this footage, and it showed off a fantastic cut-scene where Jake tries to learn more about Sherry (as they’re both waiting to rendezvous with US government agents). It’s already a memorable moment for me, and I can’t wait to see more of their chemistry together throughout their scenario.
We get a nod back to Resident Evil 2, when Sherry talks about how she obtained her healing powers as a result of her exposure to the G-Virus. She also talks about her dad, telling Jake how it was his research that killed him. I was already in tears while she was talking about all this history, I was an even bigger mess when she mentioned how she continues to do her best to live up to the example set by her closest friends, Leon and Claire, who saved her back in Raccoon City. I can’t wait to see what other references to previous games are made.
This particular cut-scene made me realize how far the series has come. Sure, the dialogue here isn’t anything that’s going to get awards left and right (from what we’ve seen thus far), but it’s a huge step up from the classic B-movie cheesy dialogue the series used to be known for. Sherry’s voice actress really does a remarkable job here with the character, making her seem equal parts sincere and broken inside.
I wrote a silly article about how Sherry could end up becoming a baddie by the end of the game, and I continue to stand by that theory, but the way she’s being portrayed will make her character arc in the game quite significant regardless of her ultimate fate. Jake was also played well here, and I found it interesting how he seemingly avoided making eye contact with Sherry when he was speaking to her, until he jumped on top of her to shield her from incoming gunfire.
The footage ends with the duo escaping via snowmobiles as the snowy mountain is falling apart. Yeah, this is more of that action-y Resident Evil many fans have been crying foul about, but it looks like it’s going to be one hell of a set-piece moment regardless. This footage made me even more excited for Jake’s scenario than I was previously. Sure, it’s introducing melee combat which lends itself to an increase in action, but then again, it also has a dose of Resident Evil 3 thanks to the Ustanak always being on hot pursuit of you. And then you have quieter, character-driven moments like the one shown in the extended footage, where Jake and Sherry get to learn more about each other, possibly leading to some romance sparking between them (I sure hope so!).
Then we have the “Poisawan Inner Area” gameplay footage focusing on Chris and one of the boss fights from his scenario. Honestly, I really wasn’t expecting a boss fight like this to be housed in his action-packed scenario. I would’ve expected something like this in Leon’s scenario, but it’s truly awesome to see it present in Chris’s, giving his campaign a nice dose of suspense and horror with this giant snake encounter (Yawn’s brother!). It’s not exactly terrifying, but scary nonetheless, not knowing when the giant snake will pop up next.
Speaking of giant snakes…I absolutely love the fact that Capcom has included a giant snake boss in Chris’s scenario; it’s a nice nod to his fight with Yawn in the original Resident Evil. I can’t wait to see if there will be more nods like this to previous games, taking on the form of bosses. Imagine a giant alligator boss in Leon’s scenario when he’s underground, or a giant spider boss later on in Chris’s. One thing’s for sure, this new giant snake would definitely destroy Yawn.
I really love how this battle plays out. At first, the giant BOW stalks you, being barely visible as he slithers around showing off his invisibility power. This is definitely going to be an intense battle, and I can already see myself jumping up from my seat a few times after being unexpectedly attacked by the sneaky BOW. I really hope Chris’s scenario has more moments like this, to change the pace from what’s sure to be an even more action-oriented experience than the entirety of Resident Evil 5.
Lastly, we have the “Underground” gameplay footage from Leon’s scenario. I say this all the time, but Leon’s scenario is definitely going to be a trip down memory lane for longtime fans, in terms of pacing and atmosphere. We already saw a lot of the Ivy University campus in prior footage, and now we’re seeing some of Leon and Helena’s trek through Tall Oaks’s eerie underground area.
This is the type of stuff old-school Resident Evil fans want to see the most. The atmosphere in this underground area is superb and I love how you can see the zombies’ shadows in the distance. It also helps that it’s quite dark, making things even more creepy. Yeah, you’re with a partner, but this is classic Resident Evil right here, albeit with the series’ modern gameplay mechanics. This area also plays host to infected doggies! Another nod to the classic games in the series. And as we saw in the game’s reveal trailer, there’s also a new Licker-type BOW we’ll be facing as well.
Leon’s scenario is definitely the first one I’ll be tackling once I receive my copy of the game. So far, it truly looks like an experience similar in feel and tone to that of the classic games in the series. I’m sure players will be brought back to their time exploring Raccoon City while going through the Tall Oaks portion of Leon’s scenario. Poor Leon, he can never catch a break…At least he’s experienced now!
Now it’s time for Dominik’s hands-on preview of the demos that were available for attendees at the show. Keep in mind they’re pretty much the same ones from San Diego Comic-Con last month, but it’s always nice to get a new perspective.
During my time at Gamescom, I was able to dive deeper into Resident Evil 6. The expo has ended by now and a lot of customers will have noticed the enormous efforts Capcom put into their promotion of Resident Evil 6 at the show. The entry that wants to put all discussions to rest, the entry that wants to get old-school and new players into the same boat. Is it going to work?
While at Capcom’s booth, we where shown a play-through presentation of the demo available at the show (which was the Comic-Con demo). For the German audience it may be interesting that Resident Evil 6 will release with USK 18 and completely uncut. “Everything’s through,” Capcom replied after concerns were made. This may not be new for you, but once again, Capcom told us that Resident Evil 6 is going to be the longest entry in the series, with a playtime of roughly 30 hours. While not being able to get a clear answer, Ada’s scenario might be a tad bit less long than the other three.
Later on, and outside of the presentation, press could play the typical three scenario demo that was also playable at Comic-Con. So instead of writing about the things we already know, I will tell you a bit more about my experience with the playable build. If you have followed our ongoing coverage of Resident Evil 6 you’ll know about the new gameplay mechanics, stamina and skill points, so I won’t go into detail on those again.
Anyone following Resident Evil 6 knows that Capcom is aiming for a more horror-oriented experience with Leon’s scenario. Leon and Helena have to find a route through the Ivy University campus. I found the controls to be slightly improved and the camera is positioned in a better way, too. After some slow-paced striking down of some rotting zombies, and getting a key to exit the campus, the demo paces up. Luckily, I tried to avoid wasting ammo at the beginning, therefore I could pass quite a horde of zombies at the end. Leon and Helena get out of an explosive situation with a police car. What bugged me there was all the quick-time events, looking for the keys, starting engine, going forward and backwards again. When criticizing this, Capcom assured me that such long quick-time events are not to be seen very often in the final product.
Shortly after launching Chris’ demo it becomes obvious how different this experience actually is in comparison to Leon’s. Piers and Chris are true soldiers fighting hordes of the new J’avo BOWs and getting affronted with a huge boss enemy early in the demo. Then the demo simply consists of getting down the enemy and finding cover. It does that in a bombastic way; it’s fun to play, but besides the fact that you need to conserve ammo there’s nothing like “survival” or “horror” to be found in this particular demo.
Jake’s demo was more interesting to me again, and I actually had a lot of fun taking out the J’avo here. The problem I had here was: the gameplay, the enemies, and all the shooting which makes you feel like it’s a third person shooter. If you treat it like that, though, you may as well run out of ammo. Capcom says this indicates that it’s not a shooter. But the question remains: is the whole product going to be fun? Because even when you run out of ammo, you won’t have that much of a hard time, because Jake’s melee combat is very strong. And you still have your partner backing you up… Horror? Not really. But we’ve known that before, didn’t we?
We definitely need to see the whole picture to make any final conclusions. Even though right now there’s only 1 out of the 3 main scenarios looking to be horror-oriented, I think Capcom will be able to please us all. Leon’s scenario plays like the much-praised Resident Evil 4, while Chris and Jake’s reminds me of a modern third person shooter. And, personally, I think Ada’s scenario will be eerie and in the vein of Leon’s. Seeing the whole picture and all story elements tied into each other, I am confident that Resident Evil 6 will be a product that pleases many fans, new and old.
Hope you guys enjoyed that lengthy read. Sound off in the comments below letting us know what your thoughts are on the game after all we’ve seen thus far. Also, let us know which scenario you’ll be playing first. You can also feel free to add me on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter, where you can contact me letting me know what topics you’d like to see covered in future reHorror columns.