Depending on how it’s received will ultimately decide whether this is a viable option for the future of the series.

 




Developer(s)
: Slant Six Games, Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Release Date(s): March 20, 2012 (US), Others TBA
Platform(s): PC, PS3, 360
Genre(s): Third-Person Shooter, Horror

 

 

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is just under five months away from release, scheduled to drop on March 20, 2012 in North America for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, with a PC version expected sometime after that. While it may be sometime off yet there are enough details and a healthy chunk of gameplay released to gauge what can be expected from Capcom’s latest spin-off title to their ultra-popular zombie franchise.

They've acquired the services of Canadian game developer, Slant Six Games, whose work on a handful of SOCOM titles (Tactical Strike, Confrontation, and Fireteam Bravo 3) has obviously struck a chord in their ability to create a solid third-person shooter. Yes, you heard right, and it's a transition that has been coming for quite some time. Resident Evil 4 was the first sign that they were looking to buck their own trend, adopting an over-the-shoulder perspective and replacing many jump out of your skin moments with blockbuster edge-of-your-seat pizzazz.

REORC takes the experience one step further and goes full-on run-and-gun-em' shooter, reflective, funnily enough, of the SOCOM series. It's here you realise that Slant Six aren't just here to make up the numbers, they're working with Capcom to try and rewrite the formula, and by releasing it as a spin-off allows them to cast their line and see what bites, without tarnishing their brand to any great extent.

 


A law unto themselves

 

The game sits right between the events of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis but doesn't stick stringently to the events that took place over the course of those games, or most other games in the series for that matter. For example, you take on the role of one of a six member team of the Umbrella Security Services (USS) tasked with taking out anyone mutated by the T-Virus, and along the way you'll be faced with choices, one of which is to kill Leon Kennedy - something that neither happened nor was ever alluded to.

As a member of the USS you'll take to the streets of Raccoon City, the setting where the original events of the contamination unfolded, and in a Black Ops style exercise you're dropped in to sort thing's out by any means necessary. The game caters for up to four-player co-operative play and similar to Team Fortress each has their own unique strengths and weaknesses to exploit.

 


Ready, arm, fire

 

Vector is in charge of recon, able to cloak himself and mimic others to avoid direct confrontation. Spectre is the team's surveillance expert and a sharpshooter, with Sam Fisher esque vision modes for detecting enemies. Beltway is the bruiser of the group, armed with a copious amount of explosives; dishing out damage on a larger scale. Bertha is the team's medic, using her healing ability to keep everyone prim and proper. Four Eyes is the scientist, who is able to program bio-organic weapons. Finally, the assault class and overall team leader is Lupo, who is a solid all-rounder.

Overall, there's a nice ability pool to draw from and each seem to balance each other nicely to create an arse kicking equilibrium. Unlike previous Resident Evil games there shouldn't be much effort on your part to take out not one, but many zombies in instant fashion. As a spokesman from Capcom was quoted as saying, they'll be more of a plaything than anything here, tossing them around, using them as shields, and generally having a good time dismembering and decapitating the sons of bitches'. It's only when you come up against some of the bigger mutants that your tactical nous will be called upon, requiring some efficient flanking manoeuvres, or in some cases flat-out running from an impenetrable foe.

Mutants aren't the only opposing force your team will come up against as you'll encounter some hostile opposing forces hell-bent on halting your progress at regular intervals throughout the campaign. Whoever or whatever you do come up against you'll be able to dispatch them with a whole host of weapons, falling into four categories: assault rifle, machine gun, sub-machine gun and my personal favourite - shotgun. Each one upgradeable for more carnage.

 


It’s the claw!

 

When compared to games of a similar type REORC feels like a strange mesh of both Gears of War and Left 4 Dead in many scenarios, moving from one place to the next using brute force to dispatch hoards of the undead. The scary moments definitely take a back seat to the action-shooter shenanigans, with only brief moments of tension building, before reverting back to a heightened level of frenzy.

Aside from your basic running, gunning and covering, there is a simple melee system mapped to four buttons that can be repeatedly pressed for combos and simultaneously pressed for a bloody finisher, such as tearing a zombie limb from limb. If you do ever manage to get bitten by one of these miscreants your screen will glow red until you're eventually turned and your own team shoots you in the head. Nice. Another nifty crotchet comes when you've endured an injury compounded by blood; you'll be smelt and swarmed upon as an easier target.

 


All my best friends are metalheads

 

The multiplayer component consists of Team Attack where four take on four, one taking the role of the USS and the other a military team with mirrored abilities. Points are scored for killing your opponent as well as various zombies and mutants, with more being awarded for the bigger and trickier they are to kill. Whoever racks up the most when the timer runs down claims the bragging rights.

Overall, Operation Raccoon City looks to introduce some interesting ideas into the series and depending on how it’s received will ultimately decide whether this is a viable option for the future of the series. If it falls on its arse and turns out to be another generic first-person shooter then it’s back to what works in Resident Evil 6 and all is right with the world again.


Be sure to check out our further impressions closer to release.


Craig Bryan, NoobFeed
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  • Any game from RE series has hardly failed so far and so won't ORC. It's only a matter of time now.


    Posted Nov 02, 2011

  • Resident Evil number 1 fan coming along. Yea so...i know i will love this game to death...but i feel the series needs to either continue its story instead of continuing with side stories that are not cannon. Although i had enjoyed the system in RE1,2 3 and so forth. i was completely bought and won over with the over the shoulder system from 4 and then 5. but as of this game, they are making this into a shooter and not a survival horror game...which is guess its fine since its not going to be a cannon title...but still.


    Posted Nov 02, 2011

  • I'm curious... Is it this following Resident Action 5, or actually the Resident Evil series? 


    Posted Nov 05, 2011

  • This is very much a stand-alone game, sitting chronologically between Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis


    Posted Nov 06, 2011

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