Resident Evil is one of the few game franchises that I absolutely love. Ever since the original debuted in the dark ages of the PlayStation era, I have rabidly followed the series, getting ridiculously excited about new installments yet somehow never getting the chance to play them at release. However, I am finally current on the series, and the timing couldn’t have been better, as it has given me the chance to enthusiastically prepare for the upcoming Resident Evil 6 (RE6), which is due out at the beginning of October. The months of waiting have turned into mere weeks, and in order to help fans like myself get through the final leg of this metaphorical race, the good folks at Capcom have gone ahead and released a short demo that is now available on Xbox Live and PSN.
Clocking in at a total of around forty-five minutes, the three playable campaigns are all quite different from one another; Leon’s bit is dark and creepy, the zombie-infested town of Tall Oaks very reminiscent of earlier RE games, while Chris’ stint in Europe is chock full of the sort of action one might find in Call of Duty or even Gears of War. Jake’s playable level is flat-out insane. The streets of China are decimated and overflowing with J’avo that mutate into bizarre lizard-like creatures hell-bent on procuring some nice, human snacks. Alas, the fourth campaign, which features none other than the always fierce Ada Wong, has been excluded from the demo, which is really too bad; her sections look to include a combination of action, horror, and the classic puzzle-solving elements of the earliest games in the franchise. Checking out a small piece of it would have been cool, but I digress.
Each of the unique segments included plenty of opportunities for unbridled carnage, which meant plenty of opportunities to play with the updated control scheme. Moving around in general was a little strange for me; coming off of RE4 and 5, where the controls felt a little stiffer, yet more precise, here I felt sort of like I was using a desktop PC with an overly sensitive mouse. It took a minute to get used to, but once I managed to overcome the initial barriers, I was able to get around fairly easily. Switching weapons was quick and easy, and the new system for combining and using herbs to create pills that could be used at the press of a button was quite neat. Also neat was the fact that I could switch my character’s dominant hand from right to left, which altered the side of the over-the-shoulder camera used for aiming and shooting. Speaking of the camera, it hearkened back to the old days of Resident Evil, when it was quite easily my worst enemy. It was particularly bothersome in situations in which more than one hostile was on-screen; the damn thing would simply go haywire, constantly switching angles and throwing my aim off. This happened regardless of my settings, and was quite disappointing.
In spite of the dodgy camera, and some absolutely cringe-worthy plot points (a rookie solider in a war zone? Really?), I quite enjoyed my short time with RE6, and I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on the final product.