E3 2011: Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City Preview (PS3/360)
Resident Evil: Raccoon City is a big departure for the Resident Evil series. There’s a slight resemblance to the old Resident Evil Outbreak games but for the most part this is a brand new experience. Don’t expect this game to play anything like Resident Evil 5.
For those unfamiliar Resident Evil: Raccoon City is a team-based third person shooter developed by independent studio Slant Six Games. Slant Six is best known for their work on the SOCOM: Navy Seals games for the PSP, as well as SOCOM: Confrontation on the PS3. Resident Evil: Raccoon City takes place around the time frames of Resident Evil 2 and 3, when Raccoon City experienced its zombie outbreak.
Several classic Resident Evil characters will make appearances in Raccoon City although Capcom wouldn’t confirm any of them besides Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield, the stars of Resident Evil 2. In Resident Evil: Raccoon City you play as members of the Umbrella Corporation sent in to get rid of the zombie outbreak and make sure no connection is made to the Umbrella corporation, while the military has been sent in to stop the zombie outbreak and find out what happened. The zombies, well they’re just there to eat as many brains as possible.
In Raccoon City you play as a team of 4 Umbrella Corporation agents as you progress through different levels fighting off hordes of zombies and at times members of the military. You’ll have 3 players assisting you at a time, whether it’s co-operative with other people or AI teammates. Each character in Resident Evil: Raccoon City has unique abilities specific to that character. My character for example could inject themselves with a shot of adrenaline that would temporarily enhance their abilities. Each character also has specific secondary weapons such as grenades or landmines specific to them, and it appears most characters will be somewhat limited to specific guns that he or she can use. It does appear however that everyone will have at least one type of pistol, shotgun, or machine gun to choose from, so characters are not extremely limited based on their class.
As I mentioned Raccoon City does not play like a traditional Resident Evil game. The action is fast paced and ammo is plentiful. Several classic Resident Evil features are present such as herbs and first aid sprays for healing, but there doesn’t appear to be any puzzles in the game. It’s shoot, shoot, and shoot some more in Raccoon City. Thankfully I do find the guns to be satisfying and I had a lot of fun playing with 3 other people trying to make our way through the map.
The demo level at E3 was set in Raccoon City right at the start of the outbreak. The majority of the level takes place in the streets of Raccoon City, with minor sections taking place in doors. The demo level featured mostly zombies, with special sections including lickers crawling over the walls and hunters acting as giant brutes. Towards the end of the demo level the military showed up and they are not easy. There are snipers in the background and soldiers running around the streets using machine guns. They will demolish your health bar quickly and getting shot by a soldier can make you bleed which makes zombies come at you more aggressively. While no one in a party turned into a zombie I have been told if you are bitten by a zombie you will become a zombie and play as a zombie, a first in a Resident Evil game.
The one thing everyone in my party agreed upon is that the game is not easy. Deaths are frequent and even then the mission was difficult to accomplish in our ten minute time limit. Thankfully the respawn timer is short and as of right now there is no punishment for dying, so don’t be afraid to take risks every now and again. Resident Evil: Raccoon City is a fun game but don’t expect it to play anything like a traditional Resident Evil game.