Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City Review: A Fun “Multiplayer” Experience Through Familiar Grounds

Posted: March 21, 2012 in Now Playing (Video Game Reviews)
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Pros:
Fun game in co-op and competitive multiplayer
Heroes Mode and Survival Mode are a blast to play
Killing zombies, B.O.W.s, and Tyrants

Cons:
AI teammates are not as helpful in single player
Weapons don’t feel as effective
Inside areas don’t look as good as the outside atmosphere

So here I was on release day staring at my unopened copy of Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City from Capcom and Slant Six Games (known for the team-based SOCOM games) making a big decision. Do I open it? Do I return it back to the evil empire also known as GameStop? Over the weekend several people who acquired the game early gave their two cents talking about how the game completely sucked. On release day a couple of review sites finally offered their negative opinions. Wow! Well all it took me was six hours. Six hours of constant debating was all it took for me to make my decision to finally break open the shrink wrap and play the game. After about an hour of playing both single and in co-op all I can say was “What were these other so-called professional reviewers playing? Was it the same game?” I ended up playing all night saying that Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City has quite a bit of faults, but it’s damn sure fun to play…with friends.

OK, so four out of five players, or even reviewers, may not agree with what I’m saying. Now I do agree with some people about some of the game’s faults which I will discuss later. These negativities is what fuels all the internet trolls out there flooding the message boards saying the game sucks, but what they don’t realize is that when you engross yourself into the game those thoughts begin to fade away leaving you with the experience. No longer am I thinking about how enemies are like bullet sponges or shitty AI. All I’m thinking about is how am I going to survive the zombie apocalypse, along with some other human threats, while playing as the bad guys of Umbrella.

So let me set the stage. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City takes place between Resident Evil 2 and 3 with the zombie outbreak in Raccoon City. Your role is part of the Umbrella Corporation out to recover the G-Virus along with eliminating any survivors so that nobody talks. This also includes characters like Leon Kennedy, Claire Redfield and Jill Valentine. The game plays more like a “what if” scenario making Operation Raccoon City more like cannon than actual storyline, but it’s still filled with all the familiar enemies you’ve come to love including zombies, B.O.W.s, tyrants, and even the Nemesis himself. Along the way you’ll also come across Spec Ops soldiers who are trying to regain control of the undead town along with finding survivors. Overall, the storyline is rather bland at times but it does have it’s moments that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

Playing the game as the badasses of Umbrella (Spec Ops coming later as free DLC) is a real treat. You get to choose one of six operatives to play the game as. My favorite is Vector (good luck choosing him in an online game), because he just looks like a badass. Each character boasts their own unique abilities. For example, Vector can turn invisible or mimic enemy soldiers and heroes. Spectre can oversee the environment letting you know of nearly enemies. Bertha can spawn with first aid sprays and when she does a melee kill a green herb will spawn. Beltway will shove a grenade into an enemy’s mouth after a successful melee attack. The list goes on and on. It all comes down to who you want to play and level up as. Sadly, each character doesn’t have their own unique story which would’ve helped the single player replay value.

With the zombie apocalypse well underway, Capcom and Slant Six try to recapture the look and feel of Raccoon City at it’s darkest hour. However, I did get a laugh at the gas station with the $1.15 per gallon price remembering the good old days when gas was cheap. Some areas looked absolutely amazing looking like your in the middle of a war zone filled with abandoned cars, buildings and fires spread out as you make your way through alleys and the city streets. There are some other areas that don’t look as well as you make your way through hallways and other rooms. This is usually typical in most games where developers work so hard making the outside atmosphere look amazing like in Dead Island and then there’s the bland inside corridors reminding me of the original F.E.A.R. game.

Now Operation Raccoon City is a big departure from the typical Resident Evil games that we all know and love. The biggest difference is the fact that you can now run and gun as well as take cover from enemy fire. This style is welcome to some while hated by others. Some may call it evolution in the series, but I have to say that with how this game plays it really makes sense. Besides with all the gunfire taking place it wouldn’t make sense to just stand there taking constant bullets from soldiers. You’ll also find yourself running from hordes of zombies and other abnormalities so that you don’t get infected and become a zombie yourself and attack your own teammates. Operation Raccoon City also features a cover system. Taking cover happens automatically when you come near a surface as you duck down, peer out from the sides and use blind fire. if taking cover is not your cup of tea then take a zombie as a meat shield and use them for cover while blasting away.

As a team-based shooter, Operation Raccoon City does have a huge fault. It has to do with both the team as well as enemy AI. As your making your way through the campaign I do suggest playing with a few friends, because playing in single player can be frustrating at times due to the AI. Your computer controlled teammates act really stupid as they fire at nothing to not even healing if you if your in danger of dying. They also seem to have this problem of getting in the way and not moving especially in the middle of a gunfight and taking cover. This is unacceptable. In Left 4 Dead, your AI teammates are pretty helpful especially in providing health because it’s all about survival. Now I did have a moment or two in the game when Bertha, an AI controlled teammate, did use a first aid spray or two when the time was needed. However, in a gunfight she sucked ass as she would either become a lead magnet and look for a revive or just get infected and become a zombie.

Another problem that I have has to do with the weapons. They just don’t seem as damaging. You start out with your basic assault rifle or submachine gun. As you earn XP you can purchase upgrades in abilities as well as weapons. You would think that these upgrades in the weapon department would help, but instead it still feels like your spilling just about the same amount of rounds into enemies. I also want to add that I don’t understand why it takes so many rounds to kill enemies. At one point during a co-op game I took control of a sniper rifle while enemy soldiers fired from the upper floors. I then placed a clean shot to the head only to see the soldier flinch for just a moment, smile, and keep on shooting. Seriously, in any other game their dead. Not here. Even the Licker laughs at your puny pea shooter while salivating at the thought of using it’s tongue ready to choke the life out of you. There needs to be some sort of balance here Slant Six since a headshot is an instant kill. I am a bit forgiving on the B.O.W.s and Tyrants though.

Single player games can get quite boring even if you have the XP system for replay value. The internet trolls went wild on this. the only problem is that this is only one aspect of the game. What about the multiplayer? Well I’m here to tell you that this is one area that the game doesn’t disappoint. Whether you play in co-op or competitive multiplayer is where the fun is in Operation Raccoon City. Playing the game with friends or complete strangers makes killing zombies and soldiers exciting leading to good times and plenty of laughs along the way while trudging through the campaign. Competitve multiplayer is great as well. Here you’ll find all your typical game modes of team deathmatch and capture the flag (called Biohazard). My personal favorites are the Heroes mode where you take on the iconic characters in single elimination gameplay. There’s also the survival mode where you take on hordes of zombies and other monstrosities while battling your opponents while waiting for the chopper to arrive. Only four of the eight players can survive meaning every man or woman for themselves at that point. Who will it be? That’s all up to you. Overall, I enjoyed Operation Raccoon City’s multiplayer more than a lot of other games I’ve played except for maybe Gears of War and Halo. It’s definitely better than any Call of Duty game. The zombie mode in Call of Duty still kicks ass though.

With all this said is Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City worth the $60 purchase? This is where I question how big of a fan you are of the series. Fanboys will buy instantly because of the Resident Evil name and have a goods time. Others may choose to rent or eventually wait for the price drop. For me the game didn’t cost a dime due to trade ins and I’m having a great time with it despite it’s noticeable flaws. Internet trolls and so called professionally paid reviewers like IGN may trash the game, but when the price drop occurs and the game heads to the bargain bin even the biggest of internet message board trolls cannot resist picking this game up. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is just great fun with friends. Isn’t that what gaming is all about in the first place?

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