Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is one of the newest games in the franchise to be released, March 20 to be exact. It was co-developed by Slant Six Games and Capcom with most of the development being done by Slant Six. Slant Six is a fairly unknown company who has, until recently, worked solely on the SOCOM series.
The game features a team of Umbrella soldiers, the USS (Umbrella Security Service) Delta Team, who are deployed into Raccoon City to help retrieve all T-Virus research and the G-Virus before it’s handed over to the US military, the Spec. Ops. seen throughout the game. Of course, if you’ve played Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 you know where things are headed. Birkin doesn’t take this betrayal from Umbrella kindly and refuses to hand over the product, which is then taken by force. Riddled with bullet holes and dying, Birkin injects himself with the G-Virus, unleashing havoc upon the Umbrella soldiers and, ultimately, Raccoon City. The new goal for Delta Team is to ‘clean’ up Raccoon City of any evidence of Umbrella’s involvement towards the outbreak.
You control one of four of the Delta Team. Each mission brings the player out of the game and into a selection menu. Here you choose who you will be controlling, the weapons you will have when you deploy, and the special active and passive abilities known by your chosen character. You can also decide who else will be in your team.
A little bit a pet peeve of mine is being ripped out of the gameplay. I see what the game might have been trying to achieve by mimicking Resident Evil 5’s end of chapter routine, but this doesn’t come off as anything but annoying. After every short in-game mission you’ll find yourself back on this screen, giving the player or players a chance to upgrade abilities or purchase new weapons but at the price of immersion. I didn’t mind it in Resident Evil 5 as much as I did here as its chapters where much longer with the overall game being longer. Operation Raccoon City has seven chapters that span in length depending on how ridiculous the objective is: aka, how hard it is to complete.
The game only lasted me a dull 14 hours of gameplay, on normal, including all the time sat on the menu screen, replayed the last chapter to see both endings, and the amount of time spent replaying the chapter with the space Hunters. When, in comparison, Resident Evil 5 lasted me a good 30+ hours, on easy, my first time through it and more than 89 hours total to date. It’s a pretty short experience, and it’s not entirely memorable.
Don’t purchase this game expecting to see all your favorite characters make an appearance, because that’s all they do, is make a cameo appearance. The game does feature Leon, Claire, Sherry, and Nicholai are the only returning characters in the story; the rest are featured as playable characters in multiplayer. The most depressing thing is Nicholai is the character who gets all the screen time; which I do find odd since killing Leon was advertised so heavily I thought he was going to be a major player. Nicholai is apparently a bigger tool in this game than In Resident Evil 3. He’s a major enemy to the Delta Team, somehow with the ability to corral Lickers, throughout half of the game until he suddenly just vanishes. You don’t get any closer, he just up and disappears after a while. I feel so bad for the people who are going into this blind…
You only see Leon a few times towards the end of the game when the mission is to eliminate any surviving RPD members. You watch the cinematic of Claire and Leon meeting and getting separated. Then, you see his back twice as he walks through doors locking them behind him. This is the last you see of Mr. Kennedy until you reach the very end of the game, and I do mean very end. You’re given your first and only choice in the game, sparing or killing him. Either way it’s the same ending fight and same lack of ending before the credits roll.
One of Operation Raccoon City’s biggest issues is the AI. Your computer counterparts will do everything in their power to run in front of you when you’re shooting, run into trip mines, get stuck behind obstacles, Rambo it into a horde of Crimson Heads with only a knife, etc. It’s a mighty long list to what they will do to let you know they just don’t want to live anymore. I spent a lot of my time as Four Eyes throwing my bio bombs on my team and letting them act as bait while I mowed down the infected. At least then they’re doing something right. However this experience is probably completely different when playing with a group of people. I didn’t get that chance and played the game through on single player. I highly recommend getting some buddies together or accessing the online capabilities of the game.
I won’t complain much about the difficulty or learning curve of the game. Overall it’s not a hard game and it’s easy to play, especially if you’re familiar with the series. I did have a rough experience with certain parts of the game that made it feel like a hard game. When I really consider those parts it always turned out to be something that, most likely, could have been avoided or easier had I been playing with at least one other actual person.
All this said, I won’t sit here and lie and say that I didn’t enjoy 80% of my time playing Operation Raccoon City. I did have fun and I feel this would have been even greater had I been able to play with friends. This isn’t a game that I’d go out and purchase, however, knowing what I know about it now. I don’t feel it is worth the $60 price tag it currently has. The only reason I’d purchase it is to add to my Resident Evil collection, but it’s not a game I really see myself returning to at the moment. Not even to achievement hunt. Since the game I played was a borrowed Special Edition, I’ll definitely be picking Operation Raccoon City in the future, but not until the price is well under $20.
If you’re considering picking this up and haven’t played at least Resident Evil 2 and/or Resident Evil 3 you won’t have the slightest clue as to what’s actually going on or what happened to specific key characters. You won’t know that a majority of the major characters are actually missing from the game completely, but you’ll be able to see them in multiplayer. I don’t recommend this if you’re going in blind and new to the franchise. It’s a nice 3rd person shooter if you don’t care about the underlying plot of the game, and I’m not talking about the USS delta team plot. I feel as though, perhaps, Slant Six bit off a bit more than they could chew with Operation Raccoon City. They took a well-known and developed franchise and tried to make an installment similar to what they’re used to in terms of gameplay ultimately flopping face-first. I feel Slant Six should’ve branched out more, in terms of their gameplay comfort zone, and taken the time to learn more about the series before making Operation Raccoon City.
Amanda Zinni (Xbox 360)
This is what I wrote up for Operation Raccoon City last month, I think I forgot to reblog it for my followers here. I’ve been pretty slacking when it comes to King Chu Chuthulu, especially now at E3! Shame on me!