Nearly six months after its initial release on the consoles, Resident Evil 6 has finally made it to PC. Will PC folks be pleasantly surprised with Capcom's additions? Will it be enough for folks to fall in love with it? Come find out.
Resident Evil 6 on the PC is essentially the same title that it was when it was released for the console. You still get the multiple character campaign, which weaves its way in and out through different storylines that criss-cross into one overlaying arc.
I still stick by my love for this game from my October review, which can be found here.
One of the big upgrades for this game is how the visuals look. The rendering is far better than what you'll find on the consoles. Better lighting and shading make for an overall better atmosphere. And that last word there is a key to the success of a Resident Evil game. Atmosphere, which creates uneasiness, is what makes Resident Evil shine and is what has kept it alive for so many years. Walking into a room and seeing a body on the floor, maybe a shadow on the wall that moves quickly out of sight and then no one is there to compensate for it; all of these types of things create the atmosphere for the game. You'll get these experiences throughout RE6, and doubly so on the PC side because of how visually rich it looks and feels. In the first part of the game, when Leon is helping Helena escape the ruined city, the rooms and lighting they've set up for you on the way through gives you a preview of what's to come. It will make the entire set of moments an uneasy venture.
Of course, it's no surprise that a PC game looks superior to the console version, but it's still a treat to behold, and a firm reminder of who rules the roost.
In addition to the visuals, you get some nice sound effects with this game, which again is another element of the RE series that adds to the atmosphere. Maybe something drops here and there, maybe a growl comes from a shadowy part of the level; there's a lot to hear and see with Resident Evil 6 that will give you goosebumps. It uses all the patterns of a horror movie to keep the ears, eyes and heart constantly going. Also, it's nice that the actors actually give a damn about the series. Fantastic voice-over acting for this one (like you didn't know).
With all this said, I do understand why people weren't crowing about this title. They've been griping about it since the initial release in October. I'm not blind to the fact that Capcom has shifted away from its traditional horror/survival/puzzle solving formula and replaced it mostly with action and quick time events. I acknowledge fully that this is the case. I know that most RE traditionalist absolutely despise that and that Capcom has basically pushed forward without satisfying the needs of those traditionalist. Heck, Resident Evil 5 was the first departure from the entire formula into this new one, and it was received with a lukewarm embrace by critics. So, it's no surprise that most people can't stand this version of Resident Evil, despite that the game does a good job with urgency and some solid characters. Sure there are more action sequences, less puzzles to figure out and far less moments where you fear for your life, but what did you expect?
Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2 were groundbreaking in their day. In 1996 and 1998, both those titles scared the bejesus out of gamers. Have you gone back and played these things after 15+ years? You won't get the same experience, nor will you get the same feeling for them. Hell, I reviewed Resident Evil: Code Veronica, which is one of my favorite Dreamcast games of all-time. I remember playing the hell out of that game when it first came out and beating it multiple times. When the HD version popped out in 2011, I was so excited… until I played it… and realized how very much it belonged back in 2000, and not in the present day. While I will concede that some of the moments in the game still had some scare-edge to them, I wouldn't trade anything after Resident Evil 4 to go back to that formula prior. Too slowly paced, too unbalanced when it comes to coming/going with scary moments; the game is a mess.
Which leads me to another point, for all you Walking Dead fans out there (and I know most of you love the RE series), you do understand that running like hell is a good portion of zombie encounters, right? Zombies want to run and eat you. Zombies have to have your fresh brains. Any zombie film will show you that piles of zombies are trying to find you and consume you. There isn't much time for puzzles and slowdown in moments like that. There are only moments of trying to escape the situation you're put in. This doesn't even take into account the monsters created by the virus in the game, which are trying to get you -- and you are best running than gunning in the game. So, it would make sense there is a lot of action involved when it comes to rotting folks trying to literally consume your life. Sitting down and trying to get a gate open, which takes you across multiple scenarios might seem charming and thoughtful, but it just isn't accurate in zombie-esque type situations. Quick time events and action make more sense.
Which brings me to the point in the Resident Evil series that changed everything, Resident Evil 4.
Resident Evil 4 is the pinnacle of the series. It's the peak of the mountain and it's literally the game changer. It strayed away from horror survival and started leaning towards more action oriented content in the RE series. Sure there were puzzles here and there, but there were more action sequences than what was 'traditional' for the RE title. Play Resident Evil 3 and then dive into Resident Evil 4; absolutely night and day. So, pardon my confusion if I read how much Resident Evil 6 doesn't feel like Resident Evil 4 when they're far closer than people realize. They have the same style and they have the same formula flavor which made RE4 epic. I do understand that the gameplay in RE6 is a far less exploratory and that the game has more of a linear feel to it than it should, but I don't think it's way off base from where it was established, which is RE4. Personally, when I dove into Resident Evil 6 in October it felt a lot more like RE4 than Resident Evil 5 did. It felt like there was more urgency, a far better story and just a bit more smoothed out than what you get with RE5. I'm not sure that Capcom is going to re-capture the RE4 magic, considering what RE fans were used to prior to its launch, but RE6 was more on the right path than RE5.
Anyway, I do understand what people are griping about with RE6, but I don't necessarily agree with most of it. I found that RE6 is still a fun game after nearly six months removed from reviewing it. It still makes sense to me in the overall progression of the series. I'm sure that Resident Evil 7 will have more traditional RE 1-3 additions (more survival horror moments, more puzzles, a little less action) in it to satisfy those who have complained, but let's hope they don't revert back to how it was completely.
Now, having said that, not all is well with the PC version of Resident Evil 6.
To be blunt, I hate the PC controls. The mouse and keyboard really don't do any justice to this title. I know that you could probably hook up an Xbox 360 controller and be done with the frustration, but I'm a PC traditionalist by heart and if I wanted a console controller experience then I would stick with the console game. I don't like using an Xbox 360 controller, so what I have is some loosey-goosey controls that are sensitive to the touch. The camera movement in the game is by far the worst part of it, as it's literally fighting you the entire time you're trying to adjust it. What that affects the most is the crosshairs as you're trying to shoot the infected. I've probably missed more heads because of this than I would like to admit, but it's totally not me -- it's the controls.
In addition, the quick time events are burdensome when you've got a keyboard in front of you. Hitting a button at the right time (like the letter R) or trying to tap WASD appropriately as the QTE calls for it isn't as easy as it seems. It was far easier to perform the QTE on a controller. I'm not sure how Capcom's developers could have corrected this for the PC, but it needed to be corrected or at the very least simplified. These problems with controls are a big reason that I don't prefer the PC title over the console version. I don't want to fight with the control scheme to get the game to work. I just want the game to work without much thought.
So, is the game fun? You're going to get four different ways to complete the storyline. You're going to get all the action you want out of the campaign, which I find absolutely entertaining still. In addition, the co-op modes, such as Agent Hunt, are amusing for what they were, but like the original release, I felt that the campaign was far more fun as a whole. The fact that Resident Evil 6 comes with all the updates that were done after the fact for the console is a nice thing, and it makes for a better time.
Sadly, the control issues really do hurt the game's fun factor. I hate struggling through controls and this is the first PC game that I've reviewed that didn't make me want to go back and play it. I know it's beautiful and I know it's the same game I enjoyed in October, but when you can't really control things as tightly as you want, it becomes less fun and more of a burden. The only redeeming factor to this release is that it's just $39.99 on Steam. That's not bad considering what you get, but it may not feel as nice as a $29.99 price tag on a console version (that's the 'new' price on Amazon). To each their own, and for PC folks out there it might be worth the extra $10 -- especially if you don't own a console (then it's definitely worth the price, if you must have it).