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Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (Xbox 360) Review

April 6, 2012 | Posted by Mark Salmela

Title: Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Slant Six
Genre: Shooter
Players: 1 – 8
Rated: M for Mature

Operation Raccoon City had so much potential. A squad-based shooter taking place during the Raccoon City outbreak of Resident Evil 2 and 3 where you play as Umbrella sounds awesome on paper. However poor execution has absolutely ruined a game that should have been much better than it actually is.

The biggest problem with Operation Raccoon City is the absolutely abysmal AI. If you play Raccoon City by yourself you’re given 3 AI companions who have absolutely no will to live. They’ll run out into the middle of a battlefield with no regard for cover, they’ll stand around aimlessly while you’re fighting off a horde of zombies, and they’ll practically try to get themselves killed at every opportunity. They don’t act as a real squad. You have no control over your squad and they won’t help you in any way. I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen artificial intelligence this bad. It’s quite frankly mind boggling how if you wait long enough they’ll actually run through trip mines and manage to kill themselves in a room that has no actual enemies.

The horrible AI isn’t just regulated to your AI teammates either. I understand that zombies shouldn’t have any sort of intelligence, and should stick with running towards the closest source of human flesh, but even the military that you confront in this game has horrible AI. They’ll randomly jump in and out of cover, sometimes going into cover that leaves themselves completely exposed, doing nothing when you start unloading a clip into them.

Speaking of the cover mechanic, it doesn’t work very well. Operation Raccoon City doesn’t have a button for sticking to cover; you simply walk up to it and are supposed to stick to it. Supposed to is the key word. Sometimes you’ll be trying to pick up ammo or revive a teammate and stick to cover, and sometimes you’ll actually be running towards cover and you won’t stick against it right away, which can lead to frustrating deaths. Other times you’ll be trying to stick against cover and you’ll lean up against the wrong wall, and moving between cover is extremely frustrating. For a cover based third person squad shooter, this is a huge issue.

Another big issue with Operation Raccoon City is just how poor the guns handle. Considering Operation Raccoon City is developed by a team who spent years making SOCOM games this is unacceptable. None of the guns in Raccoon City have any real weight to them. Besides how big the clip is and the burst first rate there isn’t any real difference between the assault rifles and the sub-machine guns. Not to mention how spotty the aiming can be. Blind firing with the pistol is often one of the most accurate methods of shooting in the entire game.

One of the reasons people were so excited about Operation Raccoon City is because this game had the potential to really explore the origins of Umbrella and tell a cool story in the Resident Evil universe. The story of Raccoon City is not only underwhelming, it falls flat. All of the Umbrella controlled characters in your squad have absolutely no personality other than their stereotypical accents. There’s no reason to care about your squad. The main antagonist of the game is completely predictable and has no real motives other than to be a dick for the sake of being a dick.

It’s a real shame that the story of Operation Raccoon City is a joke, since the character models are fantastic. The members of Umbrella’s USS force look completely badass and fit the description of the anti-hero perfectly. If they actually had a personality and a reason to care for them they could have been memorable additions to the Resident Evil universe.

With terrible AI, a bad cover system, and poor aiming, you’d wonder what the development team spent all their time on. Well, unfortunately it wasn’t the actual missions in Operation Raccoon City. The environments seem rather dull and uninspired, and the layout of the levels is rather confusing. If it wasn’t for the picture of an umbrella on the screen at all times telling you where to go you’d get lost constantly. This is a problem. Whenever the game has a chance to really win over Resident Evil fans with set pieces against familiar enemies such as William Birkin or Nemesis, the battles often devolve turn into scripted events that frustrate the player. It becomes especially annoying when you die from these set pieces and then can predict the button prompts on the screen before they appear when you try again after a checkpoint.

The only time Operation Raccoon City is enjoyable is when you’re playing the game co-op with friends. Operation Raccoon City commits a fatal flaw however in that the game doesn’t support split-screen. Why the hell not? Resident Evil 5 allowed split-screen, so why doesn’t a squad-based shooter? It is completely inexcusable to not have split-screen as an option, especially when the game already suffers from framerate issues and screen-tearing with single player.

Operation Raccoon City has 4 different multiplayer modes for up to 8 players. Biohazard is a variation of capture the flag, which is pretty fun if you get a team who works together. Survivors is a variation on horde mode where you try to survive against waves of zombies and other enemies until a helicopter arrives. The final 2 modes are Heroes and Team Attack, which are variations of team deathmatch. The multiplayer modes are a fine distraction, but won’t hold anyone’s attention for a long period of time. It’s doubtful Operation Raccoon City will develop any sort of an actual multiplayer community.

Pros

– Great looking character models.
– The music sets an eerie tone.
– Familiar sound effects such as using a health spray will elate Resident Evil fans.
– Online multiplayer can be a fun distraction.

Cons

– Scripted events are frustrating rather than fun.
– One of the worst AI’s I’ve seen in a video game this generation.
– The guns have no real weight to them.
– The cover mechanic is frustrating and doesn’t work when you want it to.
– No local co-op or local multiplayer.
– Characters have no real personality and the story isn’t interesting.
– Single player missions are neither fun or exciting.

The 411


I didn’t realize Sam Fisher was involved in the Umbrella incident.

Operation Raccoon City is an example of wasted potential. There’s the potential to tell a really cool story from the perspective of Umbrella during one of the series’ most important events, but this game doesn’t do that. Instead Operation Raccoon City is a squad-based shooter with horrible AI, a bad cover system, poor aiming, and a bad story. The multiplayer modes are fun to mess around with for a little while, but can’t make up for the horrible campaign. Operation Raccoon City is a completely forgettable experience and Resident Evil fans won’t be missing out on anything by skipping this game.

Graphics7.0The game looks really good in screenshots, but there are framerate issues and the occasional screen tearing. 
Gameplay4.0Operation Raccoon City sounds good in concept, but this is a terrible execution.  
Sound8.0Resident Evil fans will enjoy the familiar sound effects and eerie music. 
Lasting Appeal4.0Don’t bother trying to play Operation Raccoon City alone. It can be fun with friends, but it’s still a bad game. Your enjoyment won’t be coming from the game. 
Fun Factor 4.0It’s hard to have fun when everything in the environment not controlled by a human looks broken. 
Overall4.0   [ Poor ]  legend

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Mark Salmela

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