REVIEW - Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
Raccoon City is lost, and it’s up to you, and three teammates to make sure no one finds out the truth.
ORC is a third-person shooter that focuses on cooperative play. Each member of Delta Team has their own unique abilities, and specialties (which are useful, when they actually work). ORC is a drastic change in the usual Resident Evil formula. For one, you can actually move and shoot, at the same time. Granted, that’s commonplace in gaming now, but considering this is a Resident Evil game; it’s a vast improvement. The game also let’s players take cover, but it’s automatic, finicky, and players can still be attacked if even a tiny portion of their body is exposed.
Regarding the shooting, it just doesn’t feel right. Almost every gun is inaccurate, and feels the same. Zombies go down very easily, yet soldiers and human bosses take an immense amount of damage before finally going down. Enemies range from the B.O.W’s (Bio Organic Weapons): zombies, Crimson Heads (red zombies that are far stronger than their regular undead counterparts), Lickers, Hunters, to soldiers armed with a variety of weapons. The soldiers can prove to be extremely annoying, since a group of them can trap a player in a never-ending loop of melee attacks. Players drop their health items when killed, which makes dying by such a cheap tactic even more infuriating.
ORC works very well when you’re playing with a team of four people. If, by chance, you are unlucky to have no friends and try to play ORC by yourself; then be prepared for hell. Teammate A.I is abysmal, and seem to do everything in their power to do everything but survive. I can’t tell you how many times the bots would run into a trap or open flame, and get themselves killed. Then, after being revived, they go back into the fire! Enemies also seem to ignore the bots, and go solely for human-controlled characters. This is extremely bothersome when the bots on your side are standing a foot away from the enemies, and do nothing. Bots also tend to wander away from the players, and hinder progression until they are brought back by players to the right area.
There are boss fights in ORC, but they too have their share of problems. The fight against the Nemesis should have been an intense firefight that involves moving from cover to cover to avoid getting shot by his gatling gun. Yet it quickly devolves into shooting, hiding until the Nemesis needs to reload, then shooting again. The problems mentioned before about the cover system also hinder the battle, with Nemesis being able to kill players that are in cover. The poor A.I also makes boss fights aggravating, as enemies with guns also have perfect aim, no matter where you are. This becomes annoying when fighting both B.O.W’s, and soldiers at once.
Players will mostly travel through generic corridors, and environments. Playing areas from Resident Evil 2 and 3 is a treat, but they are used far too sparingly for my tastes. Despite all of the issues, ORC was still a lot of fun. I found myself wanting to continue playing the game. The glitches and issues became laughably amusing, as watching the bots get themselves killed became a fun diversion. ORC is enjoyable when playing with a friend, since many of the problems with the enemies, and A.I are remedied when there are more human-controlled characters in the game. Resident Evil games are all about trying to survive, and the fear of being surrounded, so it’s quite sad that ORC just isn’t very scary. Sure, there are some intense moments in the game, but they’re too few and far apart. Sadly, split-screen co-op is not available, and each player must have their own console, and copy of the game in order to play together.
There is also an 8-player versus mode that pits teams of 2 against each other. New problems occur in this game mode, as players can be trapped in melee-glitches were they have no option of fighting back once caught in an attack. There is also a mode that allows players to choose characters from Resident Evil’s 2 and 3 in a 4 on 4 fight to the death.
Taking place during the storyline’s of Resident Evil 2 and 3, ORC is a “what if” story that puts you in the boots of one of six elite spec-ops soldiers charged with making sure Umbrella does not get blamed for the viral outbreak in Raccoon City. ORC’s concept is wonderful, but the execution is anything but.
The story is a wasted potential of what could have been a truly special take on a beloved series, ORC instead provides very little information on enigmatic Umbrella. Also disappointing is the lack of exposition for each of Delta teams members. Only a very brief description is given on each character, and they’re personalities are never fully fleshed-out (though they are far better than the Spec-Ops available for the Versus game type).
Some fan-favorite characters from the series do show up, but feel like they were tossed in for fan-service, rather than to actually push the story forward. With most of these returning characters feeling like bland, useless caricatures of their past selves. Some characters are never seen again, with no explanation as to what happened to them (it turns out that these characters do return, but you have to purchase the optional mission-pack for $10).
And don’t even get me started on the late-game twist that just blew me away with how stupid it was. There was just no build up to this twist, and the way it’s set-up is completely laughable (actually, I was laughing quite a lot every time the story came up). It’s easy to understand why this game isn’t a part of the series official canon.
SOUND AND VIDEO -
ORC’s sound is usually okay, and some of the music tracks are excellent, but is marred with technical issues. Be prepared to mute your sound randomly, thanks to sudden glitching, causing the sound to become a garbled mess. Guns also sound weak, and timid. The voice-acting isn’t bad, but some character’s just sound God-awful (I‘m looking at you Claire).
Technical glitches also affect the games graphics, with enemies getting stuck behind objects, and sinking into the ground. Teammate bodies will also disappear, making it very difficult to revive a teammate once the action escalates. There are also homage’s, and easter eggs thrown in for Resident Evil fans.
FINAL THOUGHTS -
ORC feels rushed, is full of glitches, and has terrible teammate A.I; yet even with all these issues, the game was still a blast to play with a friend. If you simply cannot wait until the next true Resident Evil game (which is out this October), and have a friend to play with; then ORC will provide a great time. If you want a great single-player experience, then avoid ORC, because it will only prove that Raccoon City truly is hell on Earth.
RECOMMENDED PURCHASE PRICE -
ESRB - MATURE
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is rated Mature for strong violence, blood, strong language, and gore. Not recommended for children.
PLATFORMS AVAILABLE ON -
Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC.