Game Review: “Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City”

  Resident Evil 6 crushed hardcore fans of the Resident Evil franchise when it was released. It received mixed reviews from critics and was often criticized for its more upscale and action-oriented material. It wasn’t really horrid, but it left a lot to be desired and resulted in a much more boring and unfulfilled offering than what fans had come to expect from Capcom‘s horror franchise. All of the hatred directed toward Resident Evil 6 is mostly justified, but I think the video-game before it shows that they’ve abandoned their roots a lot more than they did. Nobody talks a lot about Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City and a lot of that’s because nobody cares. Operation Raccoon City was set in-between Resident Evil 2 and 3, and follows the story of several members of Umbrella. I think that’s an intriguing concept, but the fact is that the title was nothing more than a filler meant to keep the brand alive as they waited for the much-anticipated Resident Evil 6. (Operation Raccoon City came out five months before.) The video-game received negative reviews from critics, but sold remotely well considering the miniscule budget and marketing efforts that went into it.

    Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon, known in Japan as Biohazard: Operation Raccoon Cit, is a third-person shooter video game for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, co-developed by Slant Six Games (now defunct) and Capcom. The video-game bares little resemblance to what we’ve come to expect from the franchise. It’s action. It’s an action video-game, and while Capcom might be able to get away with calling Resident Evil 6 ‘dramatic horror,’ that isn’t the case for this one. This is a gleeful shooter with absolutely no sense of strategy and easy enemy annihilation. You won’t be running out of ammo in this one, unlike most other Resident Evil games, and also, you’re unlikely to die even once throughout the whole thing. Everything’s most laid-back and directionless.

    I said earlier that it follows the story of several members of Umbrella, and it does, but it’s all so paper-thin and thrown together that it’s difficult to really appreciate the novelty of which side you’re fighting for. I don’t blame Capcom for venturing Resident Evil into action-territory. I don’t, because I understand it. Resident Evil 4 was an absolute masterpiece, and while it retained various horror elements, Resident Evil 5 took a lot more of them away and still managed to keep high-reviews and become a colossal success. I think that’s because, while Resident Evil 5 took away what we know and love about Resident Evil, it was still a well-made action video-game with a storyline that kept itself inside their established storyline. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City stays inside the storyline as well, in that, all of it’s technically possible, but it isn’t a good video-game. It shows a different side of the series, which could’ve been a refreshing change of pace, but instead, it didn’t exactly work.

    The zombies drop like flies and never offer even the slightest bit of challenge or difficulty, except for when they do, and when they do, it’s usually because they infected you and you’re scrambling about trying to fight a cure. Other-wise though, they’re like pigs lining up for the slaughter, accepting their fate as your bullet-sponge.

    It’s almost therapeutic after all the years that Resident Evil has been kicking me around.

    And it’s not completely unsatisfying. I enjoyed myself, at least to a certain extent, it’s the blissful glee of feeling like a complete and total bad-ass by destroying everything insight without even really having to try. But after that amusement goes away, there really isn’t much else. Puzzles are non-existent, along with character development, and the boss-battles are a complete and total afterthought. I use the phrase ‘bullet sponge’ earlier, and in-fact, I should have saved it to describe the bosses. That’s all they are. They take a lot to kill, but aren’t difficult at all, and it’s just firing and firing for a tedious amount of time. The graphics aren’t terrible but that’s only on a technical level because in-terms of inspiration, there’s absolutely none at all whatsoever. It all just feels thrown together to hold everyone over until the next title, and that’s a strange thing to feel in hindsight.

    The controls are the whole thing’s saving grace. It feels like a cross-between Resident Evil 6 and Gears of War. A cover-system that’s a little overtly sensitive and buggy but a unique and fun feature to see in the Resident Evil games. It’s done a little sloppy and it definitely needs polishing but it’s not terrible, and at the very least, it’s intriguing.

    Meanwhile, the biggest flaw of the video-game is the campaign’s short-length. I finished off this video-game in five hours, and that’s counting the amount of time I spent looking for collectibles and going after achievements. I don’t care if a video-game says it’s main-appeal is the “multiplayer” or “online” features. I think that’s completely irrelevant, and if a video-game can’t stand on its own two feet other-wise then it can be ready to be ripped apart. The campaign was nothing more than mindless action and enemies thrown about for the hell of it. I wasn’t even that much against it until the third-quarter of the game where it started to become so chaotic and messy that everything became an absolute mess. The interaction with Leon, Claire, and Ada, while carrying a certain novelty, hurt the whole thing more than anything else. They killed the rhythm of it all and are a lot of the reason that the title started swallowing itself before the end.

    Is Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City the worst title in the series? Probably. I can’t really think of any titles off the top of my head that are worse. Though, I haven’t played Dead Aim or Survival yet. The video-game isn’t so terribly bad that it deserves to be on any “worst of all-time” lists, and is mostly a pleasant experience, but for all its faults, I can’t help but pity the folk that actually pre-ordered or bought this title when it was new. (I spent $3.99 and feel a tad ripped off.)

Rating: – 1.5 out of 5.0