Editor's Note: Alex Aniel is a huge Resident Evil fan. He's even pre-ordered the $US1300 special edition of Resident Evil 6.
But he is not a man who loves all RE games. What does he think of the next big one? I asked. In this guest editorial, he answers:
From the point of view of someone who loves the Resident Evil series like no other, one word best describes Resident Evil 6 to me: "overwhelming".
To briefly describe my dedication to RE, I play every version of every game in the series, except for obscure mobile versions. I play them in English and in Japanese. While I'm not the most competitive player ever, I've beaten every RE countless times and have amassed an unreasonably large collection of RE games from all over the world. I even ordered that $US1300 Japanese RE6 Premium Edition. To say I'm simply "looking forward to RE6" is an understatement.
Immediately, one can see that RE6's scale outclasses previous entries. The gameplay formula born in RE4 has been refined with more action-packed elements to meet the tastes of the millions of gamers who purchase shooters every year. It looks promising, as long as you like the RE4-pioneered formula, now more intense than ever. Capcom is even responding to old complaints about the series' controls.
The J'avo monsters look menacing, and I'm pleased to see zombies return, but I'm wary of them using weapons, because it goes against the established zombies of the RE universe: the slow movers and the speedy Crimson Heads did not use any weapons.
RE6 features multiple character scenarios for the first time since RE2; hopefully all three are perfectly balanced, yet have unique aspects to them that all come together to do justice to the game's touted scale.
The Mercenaries mode will be available from the beginning this time, a welcome decision.
Visually, the screenshots look detailed and many action and graphical effects are there, but they don't seem to be a large step above RE5. However, I'm certain more mind-blowing visuals will be shown in the next five months. Music, however, sounds memorable and meets the series' historically high quality soundtrack.
Since I began playing RE 12 years ago, I've always wanted a Chris Redfield and Leon S. Kennedy team up, so I look forward to seeing them work together. They know each other through Claire Redfield, but how will they interact? Hopefully series veterans are surprised by this momentous and tension-filled meet up.
The third main playable character, the new guy Jake Muller, doesn't capture my attention as much. But his Wesker Jr plot should be interesting and unpredictable. My issue is the overload of male protagonists. We have Chris, Leon and Jake, plus Piers Nivans. Helena Harper and Sherry Birkin, who I'm glad to see finally returning, appear to be the only females working on the protagonist side. Aside from RE3 and RE4, the series has been successful in maintaining an equal gender balance. I hope Piers ends up playing a very crucial role; otherwise I can see many fans, including myself, longing for Jill Valentine to have been included instead.
RE turned 16 on March 22, 2012. Capcom's recently reminded us what made past RE so special through HD rereleases and alternative revisits of past titles, and through homage content like the 3DS game Resident Evil: Revelations. Yet for many young gamers, RE6 may be their first foray into an RE. I'm unsure whether RE6 can capture the imaginations of a generation of gamers the way RE1 did, because shooters with "epic" settings are commonplace, while RE1 defined survival horror.
For RE fans, the coming together of multiple plotlines and characters looks promising, but those who desire the pre-RE4 gameplay and atmosphere will still feel alienated.
I'm overwhelmed by RE6; Capcom set the bar high in terms of content, appeal and impact. Moving the release date forward, from November to October, tells gamers that RE6 is THE game to be playing this holiday season, a formidable task by itself. With all its experience and pedigree, Capcom has the potential to meet most expectations. But if they don't, then RE6 could be the series' first true, non-spinoff setback. It'll be interesting to see whether the series peaks with RE6, ends up doing worse than RE5 (which had its critics) or serves to continue the series' steady rise in popularity since RE4.
Alex Aniel is a dedicated Resident Evil fan. He holds a Master's Degree in Japanese Immigration Studies, and currently works at a game development studio in Tokyo. Follow him on Twitter.