I’m impressed, Slant Six, I really am. It’s rare I find a game this bad. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is -impressively- bad. Stupendously so. It’s a walking monstrosity that could hold its own alongside Nemesis as a freak of nature the BSAA and S.T.A.R.S. could fight. This may top out as one of the worst games I have ever played, of all time, and that’s saying something because I’ve played some real stinkers, including Warface earlier this year. Yes, seriously, somehow… this game exists and is, inexplicably, Still Alive!
Yeah, we’re off to a great start today, but I wasn’t expecting this. After Aliens: Colonial Marines, you could say I was getting optimistic. I mean, this game there were even fans telling me they enjoyed it, that there was fun to be had. I foolishly believed them, and regret that decision to this very moment. No, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is not only a terrible game, but it’s just a d*** mess of design. Normally when I pick a title to be more of a teachable conservation piece, there’s one to three things really wrong with it. This game has everything wrong with it. The story is pathetic; the graphics are terrible; the animations are sloppy; the game design is all over the place; the multiplayer modes make very little sense; and there’s practically no balancing whatsoever. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is fundamentally broken, yet somehow is more popular than any game I’ve covered thus far in this series.
No, really, I mean it. There are people playing practically every game mode and even still replaying the co-op campaign. There are people who reached the game’s absurd maximum rank of Level 99, and are still playing. I even got a chance to try and ask some voice chat using members of the community, and they acted like it was absurd I had to ask. All they then said was “Because it’s fuuuuuun!” before I proceed to log off and beat my head against a wall because someone actually thinks this is good. A game where almost every element is either badly executed, pointless, or just downright sloppy, and yet this is the one everyone is playing. I’m not saying someone shouldn’t enjoy a game, but dammit if I can’t feel that if their time is being wasted. Even Sniper Elite V2 had a certain element of skill-based sniping battles in its, rare, good moments. This game doesn’t even have that.
There are guns that are objectively more powerful than other weapons. Yes, really, because even in PvP, you’re taking from the co-op’s gunpool. So you can get objectively better weaponry, and then abuse this in multiplayer. I even tested it — when I picked up higher level player’s guns, I got kills. When I used my guns, I barely made a dent most of the time. You do get enough experience early on to unlock some new basic guns, but later ones require a lot of grinding. Even pistols can go so high as 275,000 experience points. 275,000 is more than it takes to level up five times, and it’s just a pistol. The rifles can go higher than this. You also have to purchase the perks (even if you already unlocked them for another character) for each and every playable character in every mode. So it doesn’t matter if you’ll only play Ada Wong in Heroes Mode, you have to pay to get her perks and abilities. It doesn’t matter if, unless you get the DLC missions, there’s hardly a point to upgrading the Spec Ops members your main characters fight in competitive multiplayer. All that matters is that you grind infinitely so you might have a chance to possibly not get curb stomped by max rank players who came before you.
Here’s the thing though, even the extensiveness of this doesn’t have to be a downside in every game. Assassin’s Creed always has additional unlocks at Prestige levels after the default max rank of Level 50 in its multiplayer, but these are all balanced. All the extra levels do is give you new, equally balanced tools that you can tweak to your playstyle. Maybe increase the recharge rate at the cost of lower damage for your throwing knives. Maybe take shorter time to fire your pistol but you can only use it every four minutes. Reasonable things, handled with a great deal of care, and only really impact a certain high level of play only pro players at that level will notice. This is not the case here. It impacts everyone; it’s unbalanced; and it’s unfair. It is, without a doubt, one of the worst (yes, that phrase is going to get said a lot today) progression systems I’ve ever seen.
You know, even if gameplay is unbalanced, it could still have some fun to it. H***, some of the most popular competitive multiplayer games like Uncharted 3 have balance issues that no one seems to blink an eye at them. Except… the gameplay is not good here. You can’t take cover except by pushing forward and bumping up against a wall. Even then, cover doesn’t fully cover you as your head still keeps popping out (to which the point is asked — why do we even bother staying in cover?). You can try to blind fire your gun but depending where your left stick (yes left not right) is pointed while behind cover. You can aim but that requires you keep the left stick up and then hold in L1 to aim. There’s no precision mode for aiming so you’re basically spraying and praying regardless of your weapon choice. Combine this with the terrible AI, and the shooting starts to resemble six year old kids playing with Nerf guns.
Combat with zombies and other players is no better. You can stun lock players to death yet can only chain two-hit combos with zombies. Grenades both under and over reach their aimed destination depending on how the physics engine performs, and some don’t even seem to perform properly. Stun grenades don’t actually stun enemies, but instead just take out a bit of your peripheral vision. Fire grenades are the only dependable explosives, and they are the rarest. Famous enemies like the Lickers are just an annoyance of repeated QTE sequences that happen over and over again. You can actually gain more experience by killing AI controlled zombies and monsters in multiplayer than by killing other players. You can only dodge while sprinting. You actually melee faster if you aim behind yourself. The game’s auto-aim is spastic at times when tracking moving enemies. Full health-giving items and full ammo restocks are haphazardly placed around levels for no good reason. Characters’ abilities range from the ability to infect other players to outright becoming temporarily invincible for nearly half a minute. Spawn points seem randomly thrown around with no rhyme or reason.
I could go on about almost every part of what this game gets wrong, it’s so bad. Every element is handled with the kind of care and execution you’d expect from a brand new studio, not a team that had shipped several games previously. H***, I even got a weird, mild amount of enjoyment out of Slant Six’s final game, Unit 13. At least there, I could laugh at the game and feel like I was playing an Expendables video game. There are definitely some different ideas attempted here, but none of them work well. There’s even a retro-style alternate aim mode you access by holding down L2, but it’s so poorly implemented, it’s impossible to use. The game can’t decide if it wants to use the classic series laser sights or targeting reticules. The dodging and melee moves feel like they want to be RE6’s agility/melee system, but are neutered beyond belief. The Heroes mode is a mess of two teams trying to kill of the other side’s hero characters (Leon Kennedy, Claire Redfield, Ada Wong, Hunk, etc.), but just falls apart into a protracted firefight. Survivors has you fighting over who gets to go on an escape chopper, but it just becomes a camper’s heaven, especially if you have the invincibility ability. Team Attack is just team deathmatch with zombies running around. Biohazard is just capture the flag with zombies.
Even the levels make no sense, instead being made to be weirdly accurate to scale sections of city buildings. This odd decision leads to levels have little to no flow and are just generic cover based shooting sections mixed with zombies and frustratingly copy-pasted art assets. There’s nothing fun here, and sure as h*** nothing distinctive enough to make you want to trudge through the garbage to try to find something good. Characters make cameos as awkward as jokes in Scary Movie, and even the game’s big “kill Leon Kennedy” twist leads to a mediocre bit of PvP at the end of the campaign.
There has to be an upside to this game, right? They can’t have gotten everything wrong, right? Well, yes, they got two things right. First, the D-Pad inventory system, while limited, is functional and works quite well. Second, they included an “Any” option for matchmaking, so you can always find a game. These are the two things I can compliment the game for, other than that it doesn’t crash and has an actually fairly stable network connection. I wish I had something nice to say about it because apparently for some people it works, and I really, really couldn’t tell you why. The competitive modes are below average. The campaign is borderline stupid in design and execution. There’s not even a really solid idea to root for amongst it all. I mean it when I say this game is garbage. It is not even junk food gaming like Army of Two. There is absolutely no reason to experience this game, and you have my sincerest pity if you were one of the people who pre-ordered this game when it came out.
Infected with the T-Virus
Lessons To Be Learned
You see this game? Do not make a game like this. Don’t. Don’t even for a second consider it. If you can’t do better than this, you’re in the wrong field of work.
Worth Digging Up?
NO! Do not open. Place in hazardous waste box and have sent back to Umbrella.
To Be Decided (Ask me before publishing so I can decide in time)