Synyster Graves

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

by on Apr.18, 2012, under Xbox 360

While I seem to be in the habit of eagerly anticipating games prior to their release, bigging them up and end up being bitterly diappointed at the end of that was a current occurrence, but the duck was broken with Saints Row: The Third. However the curse has come back due to my recent, zealous anticipation of Resident Evil’s non-canon spin-off Operation Raccoon City. Again I’ve managed to convince myself to fork out the full amount for this game in order to have it in my possession on release day and again I’m wishing that I’d saved my money.

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is third person, Gears-of-War-style over the shoulder shooter set in the ficticious Raccoon City during the events of Resident Evils 2 and 3. The T-Virus outbreak has infected the entire population of the sprawling city leaving sporadic clusters of brain dead corpses roaming the streets like a queue for a dubstep gig. You are sent as part of evil pharmaceutical Umbrella’s clean up team called the USS (Umbrella Secret Security) to go into the infected city or “cold zone” to eliminate all traces of Umbrella’s involvement in the viral outbreak. For fans of the Resident Evil series you get to go to lots of the locations from Resident Evil 2 and 3, for example the Raccoon City Police Department building, which is just as creepy as you remember it. The monsters from those games are back to, from Lickers, Tyrants (T-103s) and Hunters which more than enough for any long standing fan such as myself to appreciate. RE:ORC is designed to be a non-canon game however, and serves as more an “alternative ending” to the ResEvil universe.

Zombies should attack you and the spec ops indescriminately...but they don't

You take the role as one of the USS soldiers and all of them have different roles from medic, surveillance, assault,  etc and the only difference between character classes are the skills, some are useful but tha majority are not. The game also encompasses an RPG-esque element in that the upon completion for every level you gain XP, which can be spent on unlocking skills and weapons. To a degree this is a bit stupid, as you pick up so many weapons in game yet “lose” them when you start the next mission. A Borderlands style weapon cache would have been a much better idea. The weapons all have indivisual stats, but there lacks a function to compare weapons unless you have an eidetic ability to remember a sequence of 6 numbers all the time. The weapons themselves are largely disappointing and don’t do anywhere near as much damage as they should considering their basis on real world weapons. For example the Juggernaut which is based on an AA-12 should be way more prolific than it actually is, and the Lightning Hawk (a Desert Eagle 5.0) would struggle to blow out the candles on a birthday cake, let alone stop a zombie. Even on the simplest difficulty you cannot take down a zombie with a single bodyshot from the L. Hawk, completely unlike RE5.

Ada Wong: immune to damage and has a pistol as accurate as a PSG-1

Unfortunately I think I have already run out of good things to say about RE:ORC, even though I thought it was going to redeem itself halfway through the game. The controls are terrible and while they are loosely based on the movement and cover system of Gears of War, this game certinaly wishes to be GoW but fails. The movements is sticky and the only improvement over Resident Evil 4 and 5 is that you can aim which moving. The cover system in general is whimsical, going into cover when you were too close to a wall when you didn’t want to like a magnetised surface, or standing aloft at a waist high wall running on the spot receiving copious amounts of enemy fire. Either way it is fucking terrible. The cover largely pointless as the spec ops manage to strip tons of health off you even when you’re in cover rendering the whole system completely useless.

You can also get the T-Virus from being near zombie of which your health counts down before you become a zombie unless you spray yourself with the anti-viral spray. Considering at ALL the characters are wearing gas masks, this is an awful attempt to try and make you more vulnerable that you should be. Do you get it when a zombie bites you? No because most zombies try and hit you instead of bite you apart the odd ones which grab you leads to a typical RE style hitting QTE to get the undead oik out of your grill. Why we need to pretty much break the analog stick by waggling it in a stupid way to make a Licker let go of us is beyond me, but hasn’t everybody just had enough of QTE sequences now?

The aiming systems itself should have been improved before release and I was disappointed to not have various stages of zoom (x2, x5, x10) for the sniper rifles like in most games. The range on the weapons too are simply appalling as the Machine Gun (LSW) or even the assault rifle are largely ineffective after about 20 yards. The other massive fail of the game is the inability to carry two primary weapons, forcing you to carry a side arm that does negligible damage, even if you unlock the Desert Eagle. Since Resident Evil 5 was such a good game, it pains me to see that there is no scope whatsoever for upgrading weapons. This was half the fun of Res 5 and to have it missing entirely is shambolic. Another thing missing from the game is the lack of perks upon completion i.e. either a New Game + or the infinite Rocket Launcher in Res5 or the Chicago Typewriter in Res 4. Nothing.Nada. Zilch.

The best way of taking our spec ops is with the sniper rifle...however they seem to very accurate from long range with shotguns and SMGs...which is bullshit

When talking about realism I was never expecting a CoD style dose of realistic warfare action, but RE:ORC takes fucking liberties. The Spec Ops adversaries are an example of piss taking. Whereas in most games enemy soldiers are fodder, in this they are just ridiculous. Unless you have a sniper rifle and very specifically get the bullet right between their eyes, they will usually just recoil and return fire almost immediately. There also is no  natural movement with them, as they pop out of cover like wind up childs toy in an unrealistic staccato fashion. The spec ops take way too much damage also as I’ve shot one soldier three times at practically point black range with the AA-12 to find that they fall over and then get up and resume shooting. It’s stupid. Similarly the Lickers and Hunters take way too much pounding and considering the sheer lack of ammo you can carry, this becomes an arduous and frankly stupid mechanic implemented by the game designers.

Zombie Shield: good idea but in practice is totally shit

There is ammo lying around if you look for it, but its hardly substantial to engage in a firefight with only 150 rounds. Hero characters in the game which you come across are an annoyance because they’re invincible. I uploaded a video whereby I shot Ada Wong in the face with the most powerful sniper rifle about 30 times only for her to stumble a bit and then resume sniping with a pistol (yeah sniping with a pistol is a massive fail too). I don’t care if this is a zombie game or not, and regardless of the nature of it a headshot should be an instant kill. Having somebody stumble back and then resume combat within a second of receiving a bullet to the face is totally unacceptable. Even if you’re not supposed to “kill” them per se, then shooting them in the face should not be allowed, instead of them having their dental work replaced by gunfire. But all the bosses in the game take the piss. They’re either monsters with the obligatory “weak points” and spend half the time covering them up which is a totally cheap way of damage limitation, or humans who can withstand in excess of 40 headshots. I’m not going to throw any spoilers into the game, but the end “boss” fight is complete bullshit and one of the worst boss fights I have ever played, because it’s so fucking cheap. Humans should not withstand 10 direct hits from grenades followed by about 250 rounds from an LSW straight to the temperal cortex. This is just simply awful programming. If you want to make it hard then fine, but having to shoot a soldier three times with a high powered shotgun from a metre away on the easiest difficulty just says to me what a cock the programmer was.

Nemesis makes a cameo which ties in nicely with the Resident Evil 3 storyline...but he's a ridiculous boss to fight!

The storyline is nowhere near as satisfying as the previews suggested. Considering that the campaign mode is only 7 missions in total, this is way too short, even for a Resident Evil game. For all my criticisms of CoD games and Final Fantasy 13 beingtoo linear, this suffers from it the most. You are literally coralled into corridors of zombies/spec ops until you get to the end of the level. Previews suggested it would be more tactical, almost sandbox in nature so you could avoid the hordes of zombies tactically making them more of an ambient hazard rather than a mandatory obstacle. It stops becoming a decent shooter and becomes more akin to a rail shooter like Time Crisis. The layout of the levels is also pretty crap in the fact that it has invisible walls prohibiting access, but also acts as a double edged sword since Tyrants and Hunters have a habit of lauching you into a corner and manage to him you when you’re in the corner and can’t get out, like playing against an expert at Dead Or Alive. I mean come, if you’re an elite solder, can’t you climb over a 4′ box?

The multiplayer isn’t much better. I’ve never been a fan of competitive multiplayer but all the game modes are just boring. Sure the zombies DO act like ambient hazards in these modes but it’s just a giant snore fest. In fact it’s better to play the game with a cease fire between human players so you can score who gets more zombie kills like the Survival mode in CoD:MW3.

They're not even facing the right F**king way! There is a large monster BEHIND you you tits!

Most importantly what is most wrong with this game? The AI. Oh my God the AI are fucking stupid. If you thought that Left  4 Dead’s ambient plonkers were bad, or perhaps even AI-controlled Sheva in Res 5 were pretty brain dead…nothing compared to RE:ORC. The AI controlled team mates do not react always to oncoming zombies, or soldiers shooting at them, will follow you blindly, pushing you out of cover as they go. The medic doesn’t heal you when you’re injured, they all have default weapons which are completely ineffective at long range firefights just run around in large circles spraying bullets willy-nilly like a paper shredder running on nuclear Uranium rods. They are also painstakingly survival impared, running into trip mines and casually walking into fire like drunken moths. In boss fights they tend to wander in front of the them and tend to get annihilated within seconds. Couple this with one of the worst gaming selections of all time which is as follows…to pick up a weapon on the the A button. To revive a downed team mate…is the A button WHO THE HELL THOUGHT TO PUT THE REVIVE BUTTON THE SAME AS THE PICK UP BUTTON. Do you know how many times when being attacked by zombies and trying to revive your teammate I have just perpetually been in a cycle of picking up their gun, followed by mine? This is fucking shit.

So in summation, hmm… I really LOVE Resident Evil games, and I am seriously struggling to enjoy this game, and believe me inbetween all the thrown controllers and high decibel swearing I really started getting into it halfway through, only for the game to completely shoot itself in the foot and fail massively. The beginning mission is utter crap, the final mission is one of the worst levels and final bosses I have EVER played against and it’s purely the result of lazy programming, crap planning and terrible game mechanics. Why is it crap? Well you can only carry one decent weapon, which even then does negligible damage against every which isn’t a zombie at point blank range, the level design is just a long corridor. The special enemies are cheap and absorb WAY too much damage, not to mention the really cheap “roar” attacks which knock you over, when they’ve not got their hand over the ONE point which you have to shoot to kill them. It’s just a mess. It’s a clusterfuck of stupidity and plays like a ten year old RE fan wrote a storyboard on a roll of Charmin. There’s fuck all ammo, health items as you’d expect from a RE game but you cannot avoid the zombies like classic RE games, you have to fight them. Save your money and wait until it’s about £10, because otherwise you will be disappointed. It’s a horrendously implemented shooter with diabolical controls and crap storyline, with the “Resident Evil” brand shamefully bolted onto the front of it. Capcom should be ashamed of themselves.

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1 Comment for this entry

  • Whyte Rabit

    I couldn’t agree more, the final boss fight is ridiculous, in modern gaming you simply can’t have a boss that can one hit kill you, and who takes around 2000 – 3000 bullets to put down.

    The multiplayer lobby’s are a joke, as far as I could see there’s no way to customise a game’s settings (time/kill limit etc), nor change the ‘game type’ once you’re in even a private game lobby.

    The same goes for the co-op lobby. Once you have picked your character and set your starting weapons, if you hit ‘start’ to begin the game, there’s no way to cancel your command while you’re waiting for other players to hit start, for example if you realise you’ve picked the wrong gun or need to change any other setting. The only way to get out is to exit out the game back to the main menu and restart the game. Not what I’d call an intuitive or intelligent system.

    The only gun worth it’s salt is one of the shotguns, as it can put zombies down in one hit, but the spec ops enemies still take about 4 or 5 shots to the face to kill. The cover system is a joke; you take the same amount of damage while behind cover as you do while standing in the open. Those two facts combined lead to the game just being a case of attrition, the best tactic is often just to walk up to an enemy and unload into his face until he’s dead, and then walk up to the next enemy; rinse and repeat. But all this time you’re taking hits from the other enemies, and because player health seems to be much lower than the spec ops health, within seconds you’re downed.

    The level design, as you mentioned, is atrocious. It really is a case of corridor after corridor. As far as I can recall, there is only ONE opportunity in the whole game whereby you can use tactics to surround or out-manoeuvre enemies, and that’s only because it’s an atrium in the City Hall that has an open corridor all the way around it. Other than that, for the rest of the game you’re in a corridor with the enemies in front of you holding down the trigger on your gun until you run out of ammo.

    The fact that the level design is so linear means that you cannot jump off the smallest of ledges, for example off a flat train carriage that’s a mere 2 or 3 foot off the ground. You must walk the length of the carriage and descend down the proper set of steps. It’s like having an overly anal fire inspector;

    “No, you cannot leave from the ground floor window, that’s against health and safety, you MUST exit via the door.”,

    “But there’s a fire, we’re all going to die! Let me out the window!”

    “No. Out the door, it’s in the safety manual that we must use the designated fire exits, not make up our own.”

    The difficulty settings are far too hard for a game that gives out minimal ammunition on guns that do minimal damage and doesn’t allow you to sneak past enemies, which just leads to frustration. Coupled with the fact that herbs are few and far between, you can’t pick them up, and you can only carry one health spray means I don’t even want to see how far I don’t get on Professional difficulty. I think the only way to beat the game on Professional difficulty would be to play with 4 humans as you’re spot on that this is quite possibly the worst AI I’ve ever seen in a game, and I’ve played a lot of them! The AI characters just simply get in the way, if you’re trying to shoot something they often meander in front of you, blocking your shot and the fact that is most frustrating is that about 16 commands are bound to the ‘A’ button, so quite often when you try to revive a player you end up doing anything but that.

    Before I got this game I was a bit sceptical as it was receiving on average about 4/10 from reviewers, but to be honest I think that’s being rather generous, a 2/10 would be much more apt imho.

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