PC owners deserve better. Resident Evil: Raccoon City was hardly a quality game on consoles, but you'd hope that developer Slant Six Games might have given the PC platform at least a little respect. Alas, all the signs of a sloppy port are apparent from the moment you boot up the game. Ridiculous menus that only half-support the mouse and quick-time events that indicate to wiggle the C key like it's an analog stick are just a couple of these indicators. Capcom, the game's publisher, earned a reputation for careless PC ports years ago with games like and . It now carries on that dubious tradition with Raccoon City--only this time, the game it's debasing is one that was never worth your time in the first place.
6378377Resident Evil: Raccoon City is infectious. Like a disease.None
These problems are a shame, considering the possibilities. The game puts an intriguing spin on events you might have already witnessed in previous Resident Evil games. You're a member of Umbrella Security Services' special Wolfpack team in the infamous Raccoon City, where the T-virus has turned the population into voracious zombies, and mutant dogs lurk in shadows, ready to ravage the defenseless. From this new perspective, you face a glowering Nicholai Zinoviev and watch Ada Wong wilt in Leon Kennedy's arms. You infiltrate storied locations like the Raccoon City police department, and fight off zombies in front of the Kendo Gun Shop. Some of these regions are legitimately atmospheric: city streets are awash in a neon red glow, and ominous-looking equipment hints at the atrocities that occurred within Umbrella's underground laboratory.
You might miss some of the more subtle touches, however, given how dark Raccoon City is. This is a Resident Evil game, so you expect to push through pervasive gloom. But environments are poorly lit, everything cloaked in a dim cloud that obscures your vision without ramping up tension. (Compare this visual design to the infinitely superior , which provided proper visual contrast and still elicited your innate survival instincts.) The problems don't end here, though: Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City drowns in its own faults, many of them so basic it's a wonder they appeared in a final product.
These faults infest the gameplay from the very beginning, and remain to the very end. Consider a battle versus the infected William Birkin, which takes place in the very first mission. At first, you can't turn and run; all you can do is slowly back away and shoot. If you brought a shotgun to this unexpected battle, sorry: you really should have brought an assault rifle if you wanted to be effective here, assuming you have enough ammo in the first place. Eventually, you're allowed to flee, but the game doesn't tell you that, and so you back into the streams of flame bursting from the corridor's walls. Want to run past the beast? There's an invisible barrier on either side. You'd suppose that AI-controlled teammates might help, but they're not even in view, apparently filing their nails in the corner while you get caught in an inescapable series of knockdown attacks.
With AI this dumb, you might have been better off going it alone.
That entire scene is absurdly bad, as if the game is actively working to make you hate it. But the problems aren't just specific to individual encounters; some invade the entire game. One such problem is the cover system, a core component of third-person shooters like Raccoon City. Here, you don't need to press a key to take refuge behind a wall or curb. Instead, you lumber up to it and automatically stick--a fine idea in a world where games are able to read your mind. Raccoon City, sadly, does not exist in such a world, and so you slip into cover when you rub against a shelf, or fail to stick to a wall that, for some unknown reason, won't let you take cover at all. You may seek to pop out and take potshots, but instead slide around the corner, as if volunteering to become a targeting practice dummy.
The shooting model is functional, at least, each weapon handling more or less as you expect it to. There's little joy to the shooting, however, because the weapons don't feel particularly powerful. Normal zombies twitch and lurch based on the impact of your bullets, but enemy forces and larger monsters like hunters don't always react to your shots, so you don't get that sense of power you expect from a shooter. It doesn't help that enemies are bullet sponges. It takes seemingly forever for certain foes to die, so you and your teammates pump out clip after clip, hoping that it's enough to take down that nasty T-103. Well, you might expect a tyrant to take such a beating, but when it's a bunch of lickers absorbing all this damage, the action stops being fun and becomes a slog. How perplexing, then, that the game would be so stingy with ammunition, considering how much you have to waste on these foes. You find yourself without ammo frequently, and scavenging environments for bullets so you can shoot your guns is far less entertaining than actually shooting them.
Boss fights are surprisingly lacking in excitement.
There's a reason that co-op shooters like and Left 4 Dead have comprehensible rules regarding the placement of ammo stashes; the resulting ebb and flow allows you to focus on the shooting and gives teams a moment to refresh and regroup. Raccoon City has no such rules in place; you are never sure whether there is ammo nearby, or where it might be found. Of course, we should want our games to rethink traditional mechanics in interesting ways, but developer Slant Six's deviations come at the cost of fun. One such example: you can't tumble out of the way of a charging hunter, but you can sprint forward and belly flop--always a treat when you wanted to run toward a health-giving herb, but then leap on top of it rather than consume it. Another example: for some reason, you have to shoot the locks off of special weapon containers before you can collect the gun within. Perhaps this was meant to deliver some tension, but it just feels like a waste of time and ammo.