Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City Review

Developer: Slant Six Games / Publisher: Capcom / Played on: Xbox 360 / Price: $59.99 / ESRB: Mature [Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language]

Playing Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is like sleeping with a prostitute. It sounds awesome in theory, but once you get there it’s really awkward and full of bugs.

There’s a functional third-person shooter in this game, but there’s so many little problems dragging the game down, why would you bother?

1

STORY

Conceptually, Operation Raccoon City sounds great. In the game’s main campaign, you play as a four-man Umbrella Security Service team that does Umbrella’s bidding through the events of Resident Evil 2 and 3. Fashioned after Left 4 Dead, you can play with AI or three other humans (though notably not split-screen). You can shoot a bunch of zombies and see the events of past Resident Evils from a new perspective. What’s not to like, right?

Problem is, for a series that’s all about zombies, you spend an awful lot of time shooting not-zombies. Droves of generic spec ops soldiers are a more common enemy, with zombies mostly relegated to a nuisance aside from the heftier enemies like Hunters and Lickers.

To top it off, the game’s story ends up being more of an alternate version of events rather than a retelling. Even though Resident Evil’s story has never been serious business, series fans won’t enjoy the liberal tinkering that Raccoon City takes with the game’s canon.

2

CONTROL

You’ll notice some problems with Raccoon City the first few seconds you play it. First off, the camera is extremely sluggish, even on the max sensitivity. Cover mechanics are a little funky too — I like the fact that you snap to cover just by walking into a wall, but you have no control over how you aim around the cover. I hit a lot of instances where I could only fire into level geometry because I was wrapping around cover at a funky angle.

Aside from that, the game is riddled with weird annoying glitches. It’s extremely difficult to revive downed players, not because of zombies, but because player corpses will just disappear, making it impossible to find that mythical sweet spot where the revive prompt appears.

The AI is amusingly broken too; they’ll frequently run into mines or stand in fire until they die. To the AI’s credit, they’ll actually shoot at enemies and do a decent job not dying, but excellent partners they ain’t.

3

GAMEPLAY

Looking at the game’s mechanics, you can see what the developers were aiming for — a shooter in which zombies are an unpredictable wildcard and smart players could utilize their behavior. Zombies are drawn to sound, and certain guns are more likely to make a character bleed, which attracts a horde of crazed zombies. Some classes even have abilities that directly alter zombie behavior, such as a pheromone bomb that draws zombies to a particular location.

In practice though, these mechanics don’t change the game in a meaningful way. If you make an enemy bleed, you’re already shooting at him… you can just shoot him to death and be done with it. Same goes for the pheromone bombs, it could just as well be an explosive grenade and be far more immediate.

The infection mechanic is a perfect example of this. If a zombie bites you, you can catch the zombie infection which causes your life to tick down. If you die while infected, you transform into a mindless zombie and attack your teammates. Sounds awesome, but in practice if someone gets infected, you can just blast them in the face and revive them immediately. That’s Raccoon City in a nutshell – cool ideas but they fall apart in practice.

In an attempt to provide gameplay variety, you can pick from different classes which come with different abilities. These abilities are diverse and actually useful when used properly, like activating incendiary ammo that cuts through zombies way quicker than normal ammo.

Aside from that you can unlock guns and equipment with the experience you earn in matches, but once you have a good arsenal there’s not a lot of reason to keep unlocking equipment aside from the fact that there’s nothing else to spend experience on.

4

MULTIPLAYER

With a disappointing campaign and lacking progression mechanics, I’d hoped that multiplayer would harness the game’s potential, but it falls flat in the same way the campaign does. Nearly every mode in the game boils down to team vs. team third person shooting, with some zombies thrown in to no real effect.

Team Battle is just team deathmatch, Heroes is team deathmatch without respawns, Survival is team deathmatch with a race for a helicopter at the end of the match, and Biohazard is a capture-the-flag-esque game in which you have to grab a virus sample from the middle of the map and run it back to your capture point.

That sounds decent, and the game isn’t outright broken, but the Resident Evil side doesn’t have much an impact on how you play and what you do. In most circumstances, you could take all the zombies off the map and play games that are roughly identical.

I did have a few circumstances where zombies would swarm an enemy for me, or I’d be tied down attacking a hunter when I got ambushed, but these occurrences happen too rarely to define the experience. What you have at the end of the day is a clunky shooter that doesn’t give you a lot of reasons to keep playing.

5

VISUALS

This game is dark, and I don’t mean that in a thematic or racial way. Every map is incredibly black, to the point that it’s difficult to tell where to go. Ammo pickups and health items are hard to see too, which makes the scout class extremely useful since it’ll place icons on the minimap for you.

The developers might’ve wanted to create a spooky and dangerous atmosphere, but in a game that plays so run-and-gun, it’s just annoying. The parts of the game you can see look decent, and it’s pretty cool to see some of the more recognizable areas of Resident Evil 2 and 3 in full 3D like the Raccoon City Police Department or the city streets themselves.

Other environments like the Umbrella research facility are bland and boring, filled with bleak lighting and sterile hallways. Ultimately, like the rest of the game, the visuals are decent but unremarkable.

7

BOTTOM LINE

Operation Raccoon City is not wanting for cool ideas and ambition, but cool ideas don’t create a new game experience by themselves. It’s a clunky, glitchy third-person shooter that just happens to have zombies in it. You can do better, so you might as well.

6.5 / 10

  1. Thank you Inside Gaming THANK YOU! i personally think you gave this game and honest and fair review Thank you!!!!

  2. Cant agree with the camera being sluggish. But everything else is pretty much spot on.

  3. I think I’m just gonna wait for a significant price drop before I pick this one up.

  4. Yeah, I’m gonna grab this used. Seems like Left 4 Dead: Resident Evil Edition, really.

  5. This seems like a game to just rent, I wouldn’t want to spend any more than a few bucks on it

  6. i dont know what people didnt like
    yes controls are a lityle weird
    but over all this game is awesome
    9/10 from me

  7. Lawrence this is the only review I have ever disagreed with you on. This is one of the best coop games I have ever played.
    9/10

    • I had fun with it in co-op, but I’d be surprised if you still enjoyed it all the way through to the end. Some of those later missions drag like crazy.

  8. this game is obviously made not to fight the zombies and creatures only. They were there to be a wall between you and taking out the real objective. either way i agree with you guys but the aiming part is actually mediocre. the terrible cover mechanic is what sucks. they should just patch it

  9. I bought this game without reading any reviews at all and loved it & had nothing to complain about at all.To me, everyone who has reviewed it is being picky and everyone who has bought it and played it actually love it just like me.There is just something about these reviewers picking through this game with a fine tooth comb and only pointing out flaws that to them hurt the gameplay but really its just them complaining about it not being resident evil 6.Even so the pickiest gamers have been complaining about Re sense re 5 but I take every re game to be its own entity and a different story or alternate universe no matter if it has zombies or not.I will say that re 4 & 5 just didn’t feel right without zombies where as revelations did so well without them I forgot they existed.All in all re orc is not as bad as they make it seem.If you look at the comments on every review on various sites from people who bought the game vs the ones who haven’t, they are all saying the same thing.They are stating how they cant see why reviewers don’t like this game and give it such a bad score because they love it.Listen to those guys & know that this game isnt a waste of money or even something to wait til its cheaper.

    • lawrence isn’t picking the game with a tooth comb hes just pointing out what he doesn’t like, but still looks fun and im still going to play it.

      • I was more referring to the reviews given on ign & ccc etc..I like gamers like you though who even with somewhat bad reviews will still play & buy a game.This game needs a lot more sales and fans so in turn we may get another one later down the line with some fixes that were complained about by the reviewers…Again I loved the game and just think it could use more content like a few extra story modes,multiplayer modes & extra maps etc..It probably wouldnt have hurt being able to play as some of the enemies as well but they probably didnt want to copy the multiplayer modes of left for dead & dead space in that regard.

    • It’s possible for a game to be fun but still not get a high score. Readers often complain that reviews don’t use the whole number scale for reviews, but situations like this are where it comes into play.

      RE:ORC isn’t a bad game, and I had some fun playing it. There are still lots of issues that make not AS fun as other, more highly-rated third person shooters. 6.5 doesn’t mean the game sucks and you should hate it, just that there are issues you should be aware of before you decide to buy it.

  10. i knew this game wasn’t going to pan out well but it served it’s purpose.. let’s start with the CONS, first off it wasn’t even made by capcom.. the gameplay is drab and the presentation is just awful, i mean the intermission cutscenes were ripped straight out of the pages of CoD and the in-game cutscenes are even worse.. it just doesn’t feel nearly as cinematic as resident evil 5. there is no backstory for the characters, just a brief bit of text. the AI is deathproof and can take an entire clip to the head. on the PRO side, there is a nice weapon selection and each character has different abilities that can be upgraded, giving it an RPG kinda feel.. in conclusion, if you like co-op 3PS games then you should rent this one and try it out but i wouldn’t advise buying it until the price comes down. 6/10

  11. Imo the RE franchise has totally gone downhill since RE 3. The developers have totally lost the feel and direction of Resident Evil. Just like Milla Jokeabitch’s RE films have ruined it cinema wise. The whole idea ad appeal WAS survival horror. Now it’s just another 3rd person shooter and a pretty poor one at that. Shame all the classics are falling into the quick cash, games for hyperactive foul mouthed 12 year old kids with consoles den of crap. Ghost Recon, Rainbow 6 ,Resident Evil the list is endless.

    Thanks goodness for developers like BIS with their ARMA series, Steel Beasts, Battlefront and DCS with their flight sims etc.. At least some developers take their craft seriously. And make accurate and realistic simulations for the more mature gamer.

  12. regret buying this off of RE hype solely… The sound is broken on the pc version and cuts off, impossible to get back on. The team AI is N64 grade. The unlockables are bland, the classes are completely unbalanced for multiplayer, and you spend more time shooting soldiers than zombies >:(

    Also, only several months after release, multiplayer on PC is a ghost town.

    Save your money, save yourself from my misfortune

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