Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City review
While gamers wait patiently for the next instalment of the core Resident Evil franchise, they can still get their zombie-bothering fix with Operation Raccoon City, a squad-based spin-off that puts you in the shoes of an elite Umbrella Corporation mercenary.
For anyone unfamiliar with the series backstory, Umbrella is the evil company responsible for the T Virus, a lethal serum with the ability to turn human beings into the walking dead. Operation Raccoon City is the first time players have been put in control of Umbrella operatives, letting them see the story unravel from a new perspective.
Umbrella Security Services Delta team is comprised of six playable members, ranging from explosive and reconnaissance experts to medics and snipers. Each one has three unique abilities, but you’re able to use any weapon in the game’s arsenal regardless of your preferred class. You unlock more special abilities as you progress, so it’s only towards the end of the game that each character begins to show any hint of individuality.
Primarily designed as a multiplayer experience, each of the six campaign levels can be finished in less than an hour. The occasional boss fight or set piece breaks up the action somewhat, but without a massive variety of locations or types of enemy, making progress feel more like a grind than it needs to.
It’s unfortunate that, as well as being short, hardly any part of the campaign actually felt fun to play. This is partly due to the shoddy control scheme, which was clearly intended for a console controller rather than a mouse and keyboard, but also because of the abysmal friendly AI, which constantly thwarted our attempts to progress through each level. Many doors require your entire team to be present before they will open, but squad-mates would frequently stop short, leaving you to push the interlopers forwards an inch at a time. Even for a game designed to be played cooperatively, it feels as if the developer is actively punishing anyone that wants to play by themselves.
There’s absolutely no doubt that this PC version was an afterthought by the developer – it retains the auto-aim system from its console counterparts, despite a mouse and keyboard combination being much more suited to accurate aiming, as well as on-screen prompts that clearly show console controller buttons.
The game does at least look reasonably good, once you see past the gloom. Each of the six levels is little more than an incredibly dark series of tunnels and corridors, with very little opportunity to take in the character models or scenery, so the surprisingly detailed character details are often hidden from view. You won’t need a particularly powerful PC to play it on maximum, but you gain very little from cranking up the details anyway.
There are several competitive multiplayer modes designed to add to the game’s replay value, including one which puts a player from each team in control of an iconic character from the Resident Evil series. These are fun for a while, but when gameplay as a whole feels lacking compared to the competition, there’s little incentive to keep playing.
Even die-hard resident evil fans will be disappointed with Operation Racoon City. It makes too big a leap from the original franchise, copying gameplay mechanics from other, more successful titles that aren’t as effectively implemented here.
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