Posted by John on January 30, 2012

Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City Preview (PS3/Xbox 360)

Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City is not a traditional Resident Evil game. It’s a third person, squad-, cover- and class-based shooter set in the Resident Evil universe. You will earn XP based on your performance and can use those points to buy weapons and abilities to make your passage through the game more varied and easier.


Hello there, it’s nice to see you again.The single player campaign takes place between Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 on the timeline and allows you to view the action through the eyes of one of six different Umbrella Security Services Operatives who are assigned to a four man squad and sent in to contain William Birkin’s latest science project: the G-Virus.

Making the player play as a corporate shill for Umbrella is a novel way to approach the fiction but it does have some interesting side effects. For a start, good guys are all floppy hair, rippling biceps and homo-eroticism in this franchise. The playable characters of Operation Raccoon City are clad in shiny black leather, rubber and red-eyed gas masks. It’s like the local fetish store had a blow out sale on gimp costumes and your guys just couldn’t help themselves. It’s easy to mock, thankfully, but the styling is a big part of Resident Evil’s atmosphere and Slant Six has really done a decent job of nailing an aesthetic with sinister overtones.

When you’re making a game that features shooting and cover-based mechanics, you’ve got to expect the odd Gears of War comparison so here it is: Operation Raccoon City is like a slightly faster, more fluid Gears of War except the muscular-necked squad are replaced with psychotic, knife-wielding Gestapo cosplayers. It’s dark, oppressive and jumpy. This might have largely left the formerly key Resident Evil survival horror aspects behind it in the ammo truck but Operation Raccoon City still manages to pull off a few scares.

There are zombies too. Capcom and Slant Six are claiming that it’s a revolutionary new take on the team-based shooter. In most ways, that’s completely untrue. It features all the similar weaponry, classes and mechanics that every other game in the genre has, albeit with different names and in different numbers. But there are unique aspects to Operation Raccoon City which are played out very well, for the most part.


Those pesky zombies just love starting fires.It’s being sold as a “Triple threat battle” which means that there are two enemies to contest with. The human enemies – essentially the army, sent in by Uncle Sam to retrieve the G-Virus that Birkin has sold them – are standard soldier classes and most effectively dispatched with your choice of traditional firearm. There are also infected enemies, including some familiar types that series fans will know and love from Resident Evil 2 and 3. These are often more effectively halted with incendiary weapons. You also have the option of using one enemy type against another so, for instance, you might wound soldiers so that the infected take their time chewing through them and are less likely to reach your squad.

It’s not all good news. There are some twitchy quick time events that require left stick movements and aren’t always particularly clear. It’s also quite easy to be killed as the close quarters combat tends to lock you into animations that don’t give enough of a chance to recover before an enemy has begun another bout of knifing. The cameras are occasionally tricky to manoeuvre during some of the imaginative sections in which you have to forget the shooting and just run. This last point is a real shame as those elements of Operation Raccoon City are the bits which are genuinely different to most of the other third person shooters that sport such similar mechanics elsewhere.

Operation Raccoon City is still in development and the code I played wasn’t final so there’s still plenty of time to tweak the few unkind aspects of the controls and animation so that they do justice to the aesthetic and the tone that Slant Six has accomplished. If they can manage to get everything up to that standard before the game’s release on the 23rd of March, Operation Raccoon City could be a new and interesting use of the exceptional Resident Evil universe.

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