‘Resident Evil 6’ prevails with engaging plot

Since its inception in 1996, the “Resident Evil” franchise has seen many game releases, comic books and even a popular film series to flesh out the lore. While most of the games go back and forth in the over-arching storyline and add details, each one continues the convoluted mystery. From battling the Los Illuminados cult in a rural European village in “Resident Evil 4” to the Majini of the African desert in “Resident Evil 5,” “Resident Evil 6” continues the mutated enemy tradition on a global scale. The zombies that the series has become known for also make a return.

The latest entry is a bit different from past experiences in that instead of players following one set path that developer Capcom envisioned, this game has more options. After the forced prelude to set up the plot, which is a thrilling experience itself, players can choose between three different campaigns and switch between them at will. There are series staples like Chris Redfield, Leon Kennedy and even an unlockable Ada Wong story as well as new characters like the fourth campaign’s Jake Muller, who bears an interesting secret. Each storyline plays out differently and crosses paths at certain points with the others, all combining into a unique tale of the new “C-virus” and another zombie outbreak similar to Raccoon City. Leon’s campaign feels most like the classic games since he battles zombies and it is more about headshots and survival horror. Jake is biologically enhanced and can beat his enemies to death with a variety of melee moves, though guns still play a part on the tougher enemies. Chris is a mix between the two but is still very action oriented. The days of tank-like controls and jumping at sudden frights may be gone for the series, but the new format works well. The new set pieces are engaging and still provide a fair challenge.

With five chapters for each character and quite a few beautiful cut-scenes, each campaign feels like a movie that eventually combines to form the overall plot. These segments are fun to play with each chapter taking about an hour to complete. However, the overuse of quick-time events hinders the experience instead of helping it. There are some interesting enemies and tough boss fights, familiar weapons like the shotgun and combat knife and several hidden plates that unlock extra content. Another nice addition is the skill points earned that are used to buy certain perks like more firearm damage and finding more items. Besides completing the campaigns, players can take part in the arcade-feeling mercenaries mode, agent-hunt mode, where you become the enemy, along with online or split-screen co-op for any chapter. With all the extra content here, seeing everything will take a while for those die-hard fans.

Some people may not like the new direction “Resident Evil” has taken, especially with parts of this entry feeling more like “Call of Duty” than the survival horror of the past. There are, however, many reasons to give it a shot despite its few flaws. The quick-time overload and sometimes shoddy camera can be overlooked for the intense action, interesting plot and sheer abundance of content, not to mention slaying zombies and mutants with a friend is always better than playing alone.

“Resident Evil 6” takes a new turn by providing more options, content and exciting action that will challenge any player.