Written by Erik Kubik, kube00 Wednesday, 28 March 2012 05:00
Operation Raccoon City doesn’t feel much like a traditional Resident Evil game. Fans of the series can expect something like Resident Evil 5. Does this make it a bad game? No, not really but certain flaws prevent the game from standing out among the other games.
The Resident Evil games were known for tense moments, tank controls, and a crazy soundtrack with lots of nasty monster surprises. All of this was to ensure the player was scared and felt helpless. But as gamers saw in Resident Evil 5, the series began to really depart from its roots. Co-op and multiplayer were added. The overall game played a lot like action games meets survival horror. I really missed the elements from Resident Evil 4. Operation Raccoon City feels like more of a departure from the ideas that made the series so great.
For starters, Operation Raccoon City is not a survival horror game, no matter what the commercials show gamers. This is an action packed, squad based shooter, built on a Resident Evil environment. I never felt helpless, or scared. There were no panic moments. Here’s what I did feel, frustration. The level checkpoints and the AI can be very frustrating sometimes. But Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City plays best if gamers can play the campaign with three other people they personally know and trust. This makes progressing through the levels facing waves of mercenaries, zombies, Hunters, Lickers, dogs and Tyrants much more fun.
The game has a decent upgrade system for guns and abilities as well as a leveling system. Some of the abilities include cloaking, mimicking Umbrella ops, faster healing, reloading, better armor and incendiary bullets. There is a decent selection of weapons in the game. Everyone has three weapons, a knife, a pistol, and a larger gun. The larger gun is hot swappable with other assault rifles, shotguns, grenade launchers, SMGs, and a few others. Grenades play an important role as well in this game, just like in other Resident Evil games.
The game plays out during the events of Resident Evil 2 and 3. Raccoon City is overrun with zombies and Umbrella has been called in. Gamers have the fun job of hunting down Dr Birkin, removing the evidence of Umbrella’s role in the outbreak, and later on, they’ll be hunting down Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield. Not to spoil anything, but a very nasty, grenade launcher-wielding, old friend makes an appearance in the game.
The game forces the squad to work together. Teammates must heal and cover each other. The AI doesn’t do the best job at this sometimes and this is more evident in online play with two players and two AI players. Some parts of working together are not always fun such as when players shoot their teammates, causing them to bleed, which attracts hordes of zombies. This can lead to getting bit and becoming a zombie. This is an interesting element but once a gamer is infected they lose control of their character until they are killed.
Outside of the campaign there is an online versus mode. Some of the more interesting options include a survivor mode where two teams race to an escape chopper. There is also the much talked about Heroes mode. The Heroes mode lets players play as Leon, Ada, Claire, Hunk and a few other Resident Evil favorites as they race to take down the other team made up of USS Delta Team Operatives while avoiding a map full of nasty zombies and everything else.
By the end, gamers will wish the cover system in Operation Raccoon City was better. The ability to hop over barriers and charge zombies would have been nice. I would have given an eye for a side step or roll dodge. Graphically the game looked good and it ran well on the PS3 with a steady framerate. Raccoon City looks great as an infected city and the recognizable landmarks from the series are always fun to see.
Overall, it’s a fun game. Does it have lasting appeal? Maybe, there is a lot of DLC coming. Fans of the RE series will probably be disappointed overall since the game is short and it feels like it is simply sampling from the Resident Evil Universe. I imagine it will drop in price in a few months and at $30, I would say its worth it to pick it up. My final verdict is that I’d give it a 5.5/10. In the overall series, it’s above the Outbreak games but below the Umbrella Chronicles.