When I first heard the concept behind Operation Raccoon City, I was taken aback by excitement. I would have the ability to not only influence and see first-hand the events of Resident Evil 2 and 3, but I’d be able to go on missions with fan favorite HUNK himself? I had to be dreaming. Well, if I was dreaming, actually playing the thing was the pinch that crushed my sweet, sweet slumber.
Buyer beware – only hardcore Resident Evil fans need apply to this outing.
ORC is a squad based shooter — the “squad” part is non-negotiable, as you will be required to tackle missions with three other computer or player controlled teammates. When I first started up the game and dove into the single player campaign, I was having a blast. All of the cast is fairly unique, both visually and mechanically, and their powers were fairly unique (Healing, tanking, stealth, etc). I initially played as Vector, stealth/infiltrator expert and protege of HUNK. Our first mission as Umbrella special ops was to infiltrate the lab of Dr. William Birkin, and steal the G-Virus sample.
At first, things were simple enough — we encountered a team of mercenaries and engaged in a shootout, all behind the backdrop of Resident Evil guns, pickups, herbs, and sound effects. Everything was going great until the mutated Birkin came into play, then the veneer of a finished game started to slowly degrade until a broken and bloody mess was revealed.
The first issue is that when Birkin actually came to attack me, I was stuck in an animation where I was constantly chain-juggled until I died. After respawning, I was able to run away from the monstrous foe, but I kept snapping to cover constantly and died again (there is no “go to cover” button – it’s automatic when you touch a wall or box).
The third time was a charm, but during our next encounter, he burst through a wall and instantly knocked me into a glitch state, which didn’t allow me to dodge his attacks (eventually there is a QTE-like prompt to dodge his attacks, as you are “supposed” to get hit). Things started to fall apart around me as I stood there trying to figure out how to solve this glitch.
This one broken encounter kind of sums up a decent portion of the game. Squad mates will run into danger, explosions, and hazards like they’re candy. I also realized that nothing was done to get new players up to speed on anything at all, from the game’s backstory to upgrading your squad.
While the entire five hour campaign won’t feel like this — most of it will. It’s a shame, because the campaign itself isn’t really bad at all — in fact, there’s some replay value to it at higher levels of difficulty, as well as the fact that you can find intel to exchange for XP and concept art. But if you’re looking to avoid the horror of AI squadmates, you’re going to have to go online, because there is no local play of any kind.
Multiplayer also has a similarly broken feel to it, which is a shame, because when it works, it works well. The helicopter escape mechanic in particular is fairly engaging, as it tasks two teams to get their squad to an extraction point after a certain amount of time — the only catch is, not everyone on either team is guaranteed a spot. Other modes that pepper in zombies and enemies are very fun, and fairly reminiscent of Resident Evil 5‘s Versus Mode, except it lacks that engine’s smoothness.
There’s also a Heroes Mode (which pits two teams against the main characters of the Resident Evil series), Survivor Mode (FFA), and Biohazard Mode (CTF). Biohazard Mode, on paper, is actually quite fun when the game doesn’t get in the way of it, due to the fact that there’s a ton of outside influence that can screw up your clean flag run — it helps mix things up a bit. Heroes Mode would be interesting, but it drags considerably as the Heroes have so much health, they can basically just tank enemies and waste time.
During a few of my multiplayer games, I fell through the floor, and was able to live after being gunned down as a ghost (all the while my respawn timer was broken). These kinds of issues need to be fixed immediately, and I hope Capcom is sincerely reading these reviews, as a few fixes will go a long way. The MP has potential, but it’s marred by the game’s sloppy code. Thankfully, actually getting into games doesn’t seem to be an issue.
As a die-hard RE fan, I wanted to like Operation Raccoon City, but the fact remains that the game is mostly broken. Truth be told, I hope Slant Six stays far away from any major IPs in the future.
This review was based on a retail copy of Operation Raccoon City for the Xbox 360.