Wednesday, October 2nd 2013 marked the full one-year anniversary of the release of Capcom’s sixth installment in the highly popular Resident Evil series. While I reviewed and enjoyed what Resident Evil 6 had to offer, there were many critics and hardcore fans that deemed the game a critical failure in their eyes. After diving deeper into the subject matter, I decided to come up with a short list of 3 specific reasons why this sequel failed to impress the masses. This list is in no particular order of preference.
Ever since the mysterious Albert Welker first made his appearance in the original Resident Evil, fans have easily identified him as the definitive villain for the series. His deceptive nature and lethal fighting skills made him a certifiable threat long before he injected himself with the Uroboros virus in Resident Evil 5. After meeting his untimely death in that very same game, one could only hope that the next major villain would be just as good. Unfortunately for many, this just didn’t seem to be the case at all.
RE 6 antagonist Derek Clifford Simmons was known as the former head of The Family organization and one of the culprits responsible for the destruction of Raccoon City. While all of this provides the framework for a compelling villain, there never was any proper buildup for this character due mainly to the fact that he never appeared in any of the earlier games. On top of all that, Simmons also suffered the same fate as Wesker in the sense that he too eventually became a mutated creature. After finally taking him down with Leon, the overall experience lacked the same excitement that you would have gotten from a villain you genuine hate and want to defeat. This is a key lesson as to why villains need to be better developed in video games and hopefully Capcom can improve in this area in Resident Evil 7.
Often times some of the strongest elements in both horror movies and videos games come from the unsettling uncertainty of what’s ahead. This theory is not only related to experiencing horrifying events, but it also goes for which characters can go down at anytime. In Resident Evil 6, Chris Redfield’s BSAA partner, Piers Nivans, ends up sacrificing himself to save Chris. Since Piers was a relatively new character, I personally didn’t have the same emotional level of investment in him as I did Chris and Leon for that matter.
If Capcom actually decided to kill off characters like Leon, Jill, or Chris, fans would obviously be stunned and probably turn their backs on the series for good. However, a well-executed shakeup of this multitude could force the franchise in another direction completely and prove that the studio is willing to take risks. After all, Resident Evil is still considered part of the survival horror genre and therefore that alone dictates that every character can’t always be safe all the time.
The single biggest reason why Resident Evil 6 still remains a disappointment for many today stems from the simple fact that the game just isn’t scary. There is never any point within the branching storylines where you feel powerless in enemy encounters and for a survival horror game that is simply disappointing. Capcom did instead go the route of exploring more grotesque looking creatures and the occasional oversized reptile for you to faceoff against. While these gestures are admirable at best, the experiences are all too often quite predictable. This is especially evident when you know your character already has more than enough ammunition to effectively deal with each situation.
While it may sound like Resident Evil 6 is the only game guilty of this tactic, Dead Space 3 also falls victim to this. In my eyes, the developers see themselves as running out of new ideas and therefore experiment with other ways to make scenarios scary. The latter results in them creating action-oriented games that are nowhere near what a survival horror game should be. There are a few games though that utilize the core basics of survival horror and keep players on the edge of their seats. Bethesda’s heavily anticipated The Evil Within is expected to be one of these titles and has a great shot at reviving the genre once and for all. Hopefully the Resident Evil developers will learn from their mistakes and take note of what this game does right.
This concludes my list on 3 Reasons Why Resident Evil 6 Failed To Impress. Do you agree or disagree with my any of my reasons? What is something’s that you loved or hated about Resident Evil 6? Please feel free to voice your opinions in the comments section below.