Wot I Think: Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

By Richard Cobbett on May 25th, 2012 at 4:00 pm.

This is not a good week for a bad zombie game to land. Incidentally, do you think PopCap has approached Bohemia Interactive to discuss a Plants vs. Zombies team-up called 'DayZ, DayZ'?

When we asked Richard to take a look at Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, he started sniffling and claiming to have gone down with the T-Virus. Can this action-packed retelling of the series’ early years be the cure to what ails him, or just one more headache?

I have a pet theory about Capcom – one I can’t in any way prove, but I think would explain a lot. About thirty years ago, its founder discovered a tarnished golden lamp somewhere in Osaka, and rubbing it produced a genie. “What is your wish?” asked the genie. “To have a beloved games company,” answered the excited man in a heartbeat. And in Japanese, obviously.

“I can do that,” declared the genie. “Unto you I grant legendary names like Megaman, and mastery of the arcades with Street Fighter II. You shall bring the world quirky goodness like Dead Rising, and the whimsy of Phoenix Wright. But! There is a catch! To maintain balance, you must sacrifice this hard-earned goodwill on a regular basis, from placing your DLC upon pressed silver disks against all logic, to using Games For Windows Live for your networking. So too will you be cursed to publicly fart down your customers’ throats with cash-ins like Dead Rising 2: Off The Record, and hope their devotion is enough to make them quietly suck a breath mint.”

Like I said, it’s just a theory. In unrelated news, here’s a Resident Evil spin-off.

Wow. You REALLY lost the Mutation Lottery with this transformation...

Operation: Raccoon City is a slice of Resident Evil from the baddies’ viewpoint – Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead, if you will. You’re one of a squad of four amoral soldiers sent in by the Umbrella Corporation (“Umbrella: Always Open To Evil”) to clean up after the T-Virus turns Raccoon City into a charnel house, and get rid of any evidence of their involvement.

Except for the giant Umbrella logos in their secret bases, obviously.

To give it some credit, this is a fun premise – if one that’s instantly let down by a lack of any real story. Technically, stuff happens in a linear sequence that can be seen as a ‘plot’, and there are individual moments that tie into the main series, like making a faulty Nemesis see STARS, but mostly you’re just footling around and being shouted at by your boss. Typical mission objectives are to burn documents, smash servers, try to get out of the city and generally be dicks in the name of Umbrella (“Umbrella: More T-Victims?”) and its concerned shareholders.

Despite the Resident Evil name, don’t expect horror. This is a pure cover-shooter where some of the enemies have tentacles, but most are simply generic zombies or Spec Ops soldiers. Occasionally something leaps out at you, but only because that’s how it gets from A to B rather than because it wants to try its hand at an old-school jump-scare. There aren’t any big spiders (not that I’m complaining), all the encounters are full-on action that skip any ick moments, and you’re always travelling in a pack of hardened, completely amoral mercenaries with big guns and a response to the chaos around them that can be summed up as “Zombies? Pffft.”

Underground, overground, wombling free! The Wombles of Wimbledon Common are... RABID! Run! Run for your lives!

Frustration on the other hand abounds, especially if you try to play on your own. Put simply, there are two ways to play this game – with three other people in multiplayer, or screaming and smashing your controller of choice into tiny fragments of hate-infused dust.

Even at its very best, Operation: Raccoon City isn’t very good. It’s incredibly short, with only seven maps to get through, its cover system is fiddly, its weapons lacking in punch and with absolutely no cool set-pieces or memorable moments to look forward to. It’s not so much bad as grindingly unenthusiastic, from the way it looks at the Resident Evil universe and opts to recreate a few empty streets and labs for your shooting pleasure, to the half-hearted way most of its unlockable weapon upgrades are just mildly different rifles and pistols. There’s no sense of passion behind anything; not a scrap of personality or flicker of inspiration in sight.

GOOD LORD! What are we injecting into this guy - France?!

Avoid the single-player. Not only is it a tenth as good as the already not great multiplayer, it verges on unplayable at points. Your squadmates’ AI is beyond pathetic, with them constantly getting in your way, randomly running around, walking straight into explosive tripwires that they just warned you about, and every other cack-handed thing a computer controlled imbecile can do short of repeatedly blasting you in the face. You can’t even give them orders.

Worse, while in multiplayer you can be instantly revived if you either die or get infected by the zombies, (making a complete mockery of the latter as a mechanic, but never mind), flying solo you’re unceremoniously kicked you back to the last checkpoint. This means you’re left trying to carry the whole mission in a game designed for four; and four players whose brains aren’t functionally identical to a skull full of banana pudding. It’s not impossible, but nor is it fun.

Some companies will hire anyone with a brain. Umbrella isn't so snooty.

Making this worse, the design is often sloppy, and sometimes just plain cruel. Guns hold ridiculously little ammo for instance, especially for the number of bullets it takes to drop enemies, and many encounters feel like they needed at least one more pass before being signed off. The first boss for instance chases you down a corridor, which is fine, but then traps you behind an invisible wall and beats the stuffing out of you if you don’t realise he’s currently invincible and that you’re meant to be trying to get out through the door behind you instead of making a stand. The core logic of the situation is fine. The signposting and prompting are undercooked, especially as you’ve just been introduced to his weakness (a giant globby eyeball) and already been trained to expect most doors to remain locked until you’ve dealt with nearby threats.

Later examples aren’t usually as pointed, but can be just as obnoxious. At one point for instance you have to fight Nemesis, and the whole encounter feels completely untuned. He takes insane amounts of damage without actually being an interesting challenge. Another sequence pits you against what feels like a never-ending army of Lickers, who are exactly no fun to fight even when you’re not sure how long you’re meant to last. Don’t even get me started on an encounter in a power plant, where you have to put up with both being gang-rushed by enemies from all sides, including Spec Ops guys with guns and grenades, and sniped from on-high while your AI squadmates amble around admiring the wall textures. My blood is still boiling.

By far the worst moment in the entire game though is a couple of levels from the end. It starts when you cross an invisible tripwire that crashes an enemy pod down on you, which can easily take 25% of your health up-front even if you know it’s coming. Then you find yourself in a cramped space, fighting enemies that can eat their own body weight in bullets, leap great distances to gut you, has a knockdown attack, ignores your stun grenades, and delivers massive damage with every blow. Four of these bastards, to be exact. At once. Did I mention you have no real dodging ability? Because you don’t. At all. You can’t even roll out of the way.

Oh, and just to rub salt in the wound, instead of rewarding you with a checkpoint after this, Operation: Raccoon City sends in a team of Spec Ops soldiers with machine guns.

That’s the point I gave up on trying to finish this game in single-player mode.

And you are dead TO ME.

In multiplayer, with the ability to revive other players, things are far looser and thus more enjoyable, though still very weak next to the competition. Capcom’s own Lost Planet 2 offers much the same basic action with huge bosses and set-pieces, while Left 4 Dead 2 kicks every shade of snot out of Raccoon City’s clunky cover system and boring enemies.

In public games, expect complete silence. There’s no text-chat at all, only VoIP. Matchmaking also offers no real control over where in the campaign you end up when you use Quick Match. You can simply invite other people into your own game to avoid spoilers from levels you’ve yet to reach properly (though the only big spoiler is that there’s really nothing to spoil) but will probably be waiting a while to get a full team. If you can get three friends together, that’s obviously the best way… but at £30 per copy and with no bundles on sale, it’s expensive mediocrity.

Stretching things out a bit are the dedicated multiplayer modes, including one where the goodies face off against the baddies in a Last Man Standing type fight with wandering zombies. Not much to say about these except that while the idea is fun, the basic combat isn’t satisfying enough to carry the action. In a genre not already up to its brains in zombie apocalypses, the novelty would have helped a lot. As it is, the shambling hordes add little, and nowhere near enough.

Uh, this is a bit awkward... but can you tell me how to waggle the C key so I can break your hold?

What really slams the nails into Operation: Raccoon City’s coffin though is its bugginess and the quality of the port. Setting the tone admirably, I had to restart the first fight after the game failed to notice the enemies were all gone and it was time to open the gate to the next area. Keyboard and mouse controls suffer from the standard porting feel; laggy and unpleasant. The bit of the screen that handles grenades only has visuals for the Xbox 360′s D-Pad, making it a pain to hurl the right one instead of wasting something valuable like a zombie cure mid-combat. The carefully designed PC defaults? “1″ for Grenade, “2″ for Zombie Cure and “3″ for First Aid Spray… demoting the Switch Weapon command to “4″. Attention to detail, right there!

By far the worst issue I encountered though was the sound regularly cutting out. This happened seemingly at random, forcing me to play through whole levels in complete silence. Not only does this kill the atmosphere, it’s a huge tactical disadvantage not to know things like whether a zombie is about to try and eat your skull. It would come on again for the cut-scenes, and occasionally back up in the main levels, only to go off once again, but not once did I manage to get through a whole mission without interruption. Restarts and reboots did nothing to fix this, and while I initially thought it might just be a problem with my audio drivers, a glance at the Steam forums showed lots of others having the same problem.

And yes, the Games For Windows Live parasite is firmly implanted. Sigh.

Ah, Umbrella. Where plausible deniability starts with branding your evil labs, and ends with sending in a team of mooks with your logo on their uniforms to destroy any evidence you were ever there.

Operation: Raccoon City is a fun idea for a Resident Evil spin-off, but too half-hearted in both design and porting to have a chance against the zombie games that felt excited to tap this kind of action. If you’re not a fan of the series, there’s nothing here for you. Even if you are, the limited narrative completely wastes the chance to throw a spotlight on Umbrella (“Umbrella: The Corruption That Cares”) and let us get our hands dirty. Instead, it’s content to wallow in cover-shooter mediocrity of the kind that will only pass an evening with friends, and feel like passing a kidney stone without them. Spend your time and money surviving Day Z instead.

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65 Comments »

  1. Dominic White says:

    What little hope I had for this game disappeared almost as soon as it was announced. The SOCOM developers doing a Resident Evil tactical shooter spinoff? There was no way in hell that was going to end well. And with such a short development time, too.

    Outsourcing can work – Dead Rising 2 was a gem, living up to the original in every way – but that’s very much the exception to the rule. When a much-loved franchise gets handed off to a completely unrelated studio, things usually go bad.

    This is why I have no hopes whatsoever for Lost Planet 3.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      The Dead Rising franchise needs to keep going until they work out that there needs to be one set in a Disneyworld style theme park. That Uranus Zone thing from Off The Record was NOT SUFFICIENT.

  2. foldor says:

    Well this is disappointing to say the least. The worst part is, when it inevitably doesn’t live up to their sales expectations, it will be seen as an excuse to not port other games in the future. It likely won’t be seen as a failure to do it properly.

    • Dominic White says:

      The sad thing here is that the game sold by the boatload (1.4 million copies at a low estimate so far), at least on consoles. It’s awful, but a solid commercial success. The message this tells studios, sadly, is that you can sell any crap you want, so long as you’ve got a recognized brand name on it.

      • Premium User Badge

        Wisq says:

        At least the studios seem hell bent on training their gamers out of the “I’ll buy it based on franchise name alone” habit.

        Unless the fanboys still manage to convince themselves they’re playing a good game, anyway.

        • Baines says:

          The console version apparently sold well despite a constant stream of complaints.

          Capcom has managed to acquire fans that are rather accepting, and even willing to defend issues in their games.

          • grundus says:

            Last time I checked, it’s not just Capcom. Exhibit A: Diablo 3 DRM apologists. Especially those who swore blind they’d never buy another Ubisoft game because of their always-on DRM.

            I had been curious about this game, so thanks for getting this WIT out quickly. It does seem like every un-numbered RE game is shit, though, apart from possibly Code Veronica (which I’m sure some people hated but I quite liked it). I can’t think of any other RE game that wasn’t 1-4 that was worth playing. 5 was alright, but easily the worst of the five.

          • Kestilla says:

            I haven’t bought a Ubisoft game since the arrival of their always-on DRM except for Assassin’s Creed II for $2, and since they refused to patch out the awful DRM on the new Anno game like they did with Tages on 1401, it’s going to be awhile before I buy another.

            Also Resident Evil 5 was awesome and a big seller, thanks to its coop multiplayer. RE6 is a day one purchase on the PC for my friend and I, this being the case. I know people like classic Resident Evil, but like other ancient games they’re hard to get into these days with so many modern advancements being made since then, namely RE4 and the awesomeness it was.

          • ashereize says:

            @Kestilla – I agree, As fun as the classic Resident evils were ( 1- 3) RE4 was fun and satisfying with the lite rpg aspects along with a cheesey story that for some strange reason, I really enjoyed. RE5 was great in that it preserved what was fun about RE4 and added a friend along for the ride (I think a lot of people put it down because they played solo which lets be honest, had a flawed ai partner). Also I think Wez was just awesome.

            Re6 – me and 3 friends will be buying day 1 and then arguing over who plays with who – good times ahead :D

    • Ringwraith says:

      Resident Evil 5 was an excellent port with only one real problem with it (it doesn’t recognise any mouse buttons past the third) and 6 is already confirmed as coming to PC. So for continued ports I don’t think there’s much to worry about.
      At least Capcom themselves have seemed to gotten better at PC ports since the disaster of RE4.

      • Kestilla says:

        They’ve ported a ton of games, including Dead Rising, Street Fighter, and Lost Planet. It really made me mad though when so many so-called reputable reviewers copy pasted their console reviews of Lost Planet 2 for the PC version and called it done. It was dishonest and tantamount to lying, given how much work was done on the PC version.

        And that game rocked hard in coop. Not that anyone will ever know about its gliding robot driving bug smashing Men In Black reenactments with giant lasers and explosions since it was reviewed into a giant black hole money-eating monster of a shock collar around Capcom’s neck by a group of truly atrocious and lazy individuals on the internet who should have their writers’ credentials revoked.

        But I digress. Metacritic is evil. Meryl’s hot.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      “…when it inevitably doesn’t live up to their sales expectations, it will be seen as an excuse to not port other games in the future.”

      I can’t say I would be saddened by that at all. Capcom console ports have always been sloppy, lazy events, and it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if they ceased porting their shit games over entirely.

      • Kestilla says:

        Haven’t seen a bad Capcom port since Resident Evil 4. Whatchoo talkin’ about Willis?

    • Wreckdum says:

      The console version was just as bad. It’s not a bad port. That is just how bad the game was on console too. lol Most review sites gave the Xbox 360 version less than 5/10.

      Everyone got served a plate of shitballs for dinner on this one.

      • Ringwraith says:

        It sounds like it’s a bad port in addition to not being a good game. So it’s a double-whammy.

  3. deadly.by.design says:

    Too bad Amazon ran out of Arma 2 keys.

    • Mattressi says:

      Buy it from Games Rocket instead. It’s only $12 for Operation Arrowhead there, cheapest I could find anywhere so far.

  4. Cooper says:

    Ouch.

    Also, does XBox development come with some kind of giant lever that devs can pull that just pops out a shoddy but mostly-functional port including GFWL?

    Because the abscence of such magical lever means that GFWL becomes something that somoene, at some point, thought was a “good idea”. Which is worrying.

    • JerreyRough says:

      While it isn’t push-a-button easy, GFWL shares similar components to Xbox Live’s in-game menu systems. So in terms of development time it doesn’t take long, since they’re doing a Xbox port anyway. Just unplug Live and plug in GFWL in the same space.

  5. JerreyRough says:

    Men wearing helmets and old-styled dehumanizing gas masks with uselessly tinted eye windows. The woman wears no helmet, un-military standards long hair (even merc’s follow that one), and a protective mask instead of a gas mask. Colour me unsurprised.

    Its too bad that this sounds like a mediocre rails shooter. Letting the player take controls of antagonists can make things interesting (like questioning whether they’re actually evil, that there’s more than nameless mooks, etc).

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      “Men wearing helmets and old-styled dehumanizing gas masks with uselessly tinted eye windows. The woman wears no helmet, un-military standards long hair (even merc’s follow that one), and a protective mask instead of a gas mask. Colour me unsurprised.”

      You could also describe it as “Everyone wearing masks that conveniently mitigate the need to have any lip-syncing.” But that would be cynical, I’m sure…

      • Phantoon says:

        I doubt they put enough thought into it to do it for that reason.

      • lijenstina says:

        They could made a headless zombie/ soldier. It would look much more interesting and also, that would remove one more bone from being animated. If the character had only one arm that is in the range of 15+ bones less. Imagine the savings. Not to mention that headless mutants with one arm is a realistic representation of the AI in most games.

      • JerreyRough says:

        One day developers will learn that the mask does indeed move when you talk. Not much, but some. I know this from experience heh.

        As I said below, I normally don’t nit pick this kind of thing. But gas masks are supposed to be a life saving tool, not something to be creepy/evil (this is mostly due to trying to scare the enemy I think, but still). I dunno, maybe I’m just too used to Romantically Apocalyptic, which is probably one of the best web comics out there.

        • Kestilla says:

          Plus it’s really hard to see out of a gasmask. There could be zombies gnawing on your arm and you wouldn’t see them.

          I think this was the thing with the masked thugs in Borderlands. They weren’t crazy, just misunderstood, because they misunderstood. If you can understand that.

    • Ringwraith says:

      Resident Evil’s never been massive on making everyone make logical sense in their attire.
      Although the only allegory I can make to the long-hair thing is Jill’s ponytail, as she’s the only character I can think of who has longish hair and is part of an official armed division (of some description).

      • JerreyRough says:

        Yea, my bad it’s just a pony tail this time. Normally I don’t nitpick at these things; after all, almost every game with one hand in reality does stuff like this, like the China Lake grenade launcher (only 50 of those were made, and something like only 6 still work).

        • Ringwraith says:

          Although to be fair, the China Lake does look damn awesome, actual production numbers be damned.
          You can give it pass when it turns up in alternate-history games like Fallout: New Vegas though.

  6. DangItBobby says:

    Another lame Resident Evil game? How unusual……………….

  7. Premium User Badge

    DrScuttles says:

    While the main thing I’ve taken from this is that Operation Raccoon City isn’t very good, I also walk away with the knowledge that a videogame of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead with the vocal talents of Tim Roth and Gary Oldman could be one of the greatest cult games never made.

    • DuddBudda says:

      I forget guildencrantz, but Timothy Spall has got to play rosenstern

    • djbriandamage says:

      Yesyesyesyesyes. Yes.

    • SouperMattie says:

      Let me add my “yes” to the pile of yeses. This would indeed be great.

    • Fumarole says:

      That movie was so bad no game derived from it has any hope of being good.

  8. Milky1985 says:

    I tried waggling my C button and my housemates looked at me funny when they saw me doing it :(

    Is this a common side effect of trying this?

    • Phantoon says:

      I think they looked at you funny because you were thinking of buying this game!

  9. sneetch says:

    That’s a shame, I was hoping this one wouldn’t be pants as I really enjoy co-op games and it could have been fantastic if they carried it off.

  10. tlarn says:

    I was honestly excited for this game. When it came out, I did what I usually do with the vast majority of video games these days and wait for reviews to come out, as well as gameplay videos; I wasn’t about to get burned from a blind purchase again.

    When I saw it, it was a complete disappointment. Then I watched a friend play it and mirror that disappointment. Then I gave up on the game when I saw this same friend get the M60 machinegun and how he breezed through most fights with it.

  11. Premium User Badge

    AmateurScience says:

    I remember when a new resident evil game was an event. I also remember having to stop playing Resi 2 until the next morning because I was too scared to continue in the dark. But I am total wet blanket when it comes to scary games.

  12. deadstoned says:

    Any game that uses GFWL is a half hearted port, thats why they use it :P . Its not for our benefit.

  13. Shortwave says:

    Oh it’s baaaaaaad…. : /
    So bad.

  14. noom says:

    That looks awfully like a quicktime event telling me to waggle my C key left and right in that second-last picture. I’m not sure that’ll do my keyboard any good :(

  15. Radiant says:

    Why would you buy another Resi game?
    It’s like people never played the racist pile of garbage that was Resi 5.

    • SpawnOfCthuntoo says:

      When I hadn’t played RE5, I would’ve slapped somebody for saying that….. Then I got to the swamp chapter.

  16. Synesthesia says:

    Lets make a minute of silence for RE. I need some closure. *sob*

  17. bongosabbath says:

    I read “explosive tripwires” and stopped right there. Any interest I had in this game has been lost.

  18. MistyMike says:

    A classic survival horror franchise turned into a cover-shooter? It will be fun to hear Yahtzee unleash his criticisms like a spiked bat to the bollocks.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      It’s been out on the consoles for a couple of months so I think if ZP was going to review it, he would have already.

  19. Roshin says:

    So, basically it’s shit?

  20. Premium User Badge

    neofit says:

    So… Blah blah blah story blah blah blah action blah blah blah “back to the last checkpoint”. Ah, finally something relevant. Why didn’t you start with this bit of information? :)

    Next game then.

  21. PC-GAMER-4LIFE says:

    RPS blindly hate almost every game which uses GFWL so no great surprise of the review is it! Game is not that bad a much prettier L4D clone set in the Resident Evil2 & 3 game universe with decent gfx, a few bugs & in need of a patch (which is coming soon).

    RPS should not bother reviewing any GFWL title in future or find a reviewer who can give a balanced opinion……..

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      When it stops sucking, we’ll stop complaining.

      Because the apocalypse will be here and all things will be dust and bone.

      • PC-GAMER-4LIFE says:

        Richard my friend you will not want to hear this but its your router config skills which suck (and you call yourself a PC Gamer!!). All you need for a flawless GFWL experience is open+NAT + UPNP enabled as per these technet docs….how hard can it be to open a few ports on your router…….I own 95% of every GFWL ever made my experience has been excellent as has many other PC gamers.

        http://support.microsoft.com/kb/937424
        http://www.microsoft.com/games/en-us/support/pages/troubleshootingissues.aspx

        And or go here run this tool it will tell you what NAT cone type you have (Closed,Moderate or Strict NAT are bad for GFWL/Steam):
        http://www.microsoft.com/windows/using/tools/igd/default.mspx

        Sure you should not need to do this but Steam requires similar router config to work properly unless you want dropped connections in MP/Co-Op. I guess they cannot configure your router without your permission & ISP’s are also a big part of the problem as they tend in EU especially to reset router NAT status back to closed from open every month (BT especially).

        Once you have configured your router thats it GFWL should work just fine as intended. Really you call yourself a PC games journalist how hard can it be for RPS/PC Gamer to do this simple config as opposed to blindly taking up the GFWL hate bandwagon (and you wonder why MS are probably not interested in any interviews or insight into what PC gaming is going to evole into from their perspective. Perhaps you could/should change your tune maybe MS would then tell you what Windows8 is going to bring).

        GFWL makes many PC ports possible surely PC gamers would prefer this option to the alternative of having to buy a console. Yes I agree with all the haters GFWL should be more obvious about what it needs you to change to work properly but I guess thats what the tools MS provide are for & they cannot allow for restrictive ISP practices can they. I seriously doubt there are many PC gamers who can say they never ever bought/enjoyed a GFWL title. MS/Could/Should promote the tools/means provided to troubleshoot but after all the hate from the PC gaming community I suspect they no longer bother which is why this sorry situation continues but publishers still use GFWL as it saves a lot of money for development & in many cases makes a PC port even possible. Even TotalBiscuit said so in a recent podcast about Dark Souls……..

    • Nick says:

      oh do be quiet.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      “Blindly hate”

      Nothing blind about it. We play loads of games that use it, and are therefore all too familiar with its problems. Further, we play lots of other games that use lots of other systems, so we get a full picture of how it matches up against other systems with the same or similar functionality. Hell, it’s like we’re an experienced and balanced operation that is actually looking out for consumers and the experience they are going to have with the games they buy!

      • PC-GAMER-4LIFE says:

        Sorry but if your a professional website you clearly mention GFWL in a negative tone in almost any review of any game I have read here. Surely to be balanced you should ensure GFWL is configured to work properly on the reviewers PC then review the game not go on about the same thing which is you simply do not care for GFWL yet I have not seen any detailed explanation as to why this is other than the usual GFWL is poor bandwagon.

        Do you see the problem Jim your reviewers are complaining about something yet not describing what exactly/specifically is the cause of your problem with GFWL. I am not for a moment defending MS as they should just re-code GFWL to work out of the box & bypass any router config but look at Valve Steamworks has similar issues with disconnects or account issues/region blocks/locks. The difference is Valve make millions a year from Steam so you would expect them to spend some money on constant updates as Steam is their major income source.

        PC gamers in general act like Steamworks is a perfect solution but its not by far & look at Rockstar they made their own system for Max Payne3 & GTA5 on PC the dreaded RSC which caused major issues on GTA4 PC. Or Ubisoft with Uplay. I see in the future publishers moving away from both GFWL & Steamworks games (Rockstar already use Steam for achievements only on Steam bought copies as its not a strong DRM at all).

        GFWL works perfectly on all the games that use it do you really think they would make a game which does not even function as intended via GFWL (MS QA is quite strict which is why it takes 1-2 weeks for patches to get approved. Street Fighter x Tekken & Batman Arkham City HQR DLC are both coming in the next 2 weeks on PC). There is so much mis-information about GFWL like the $40k per patch (that applies to XBLA titles all GFWL patching is free & has been since day 1 according to someone who works for GFWL since the project began! ).

        • Jim Rossignol says:

          We’ve run numerous stories on the issues with GFWL, as we have with numerous other services that you mention.

          It is our opinion that it is an inferior solution to most of the others on offer. And that’s based on lengthy experience with all the formats you mention. Nor do we pretend that other platforms are perfect. Far from it. We have been extremely vocal on numerous issues across all platforms.

          GFWL has also proven to be unpopular with our readers, so much so that not mentioning when a product ships with it is seen as a glaring oversight. Which means we take care to mention it when that is the case.

          • PC-GAMER-4LIFE says:

            Jim if you have a PC & both GFWL + Steamworks are configured router wise to use the service properly I am not sure how you can say which is inferior as they are both about the same.If anything GFWL is superior as matchmaking is much smoother/faster & the GFWL overlay uses a tiny little memory footprint due to 2 separate apps no need for the GFW Marketplace to run in the background is there plus GFWL has an always working offline mode (unlike Steam).GFWL can always run in the background in invisible mode you will never even know its there! I could go on but if your stating as fact RPS opinion is that GFWL is inferior & has severe issues surely you need to back that up with some facts otherwise it just sounds like RPS is yet another website who have a hidden agenda against MS & or GFWL so you lose credibility in the gaming community & I suspect some publishers/developers avoid giving you interviews & or games which use GFWL. Windows 8 is using GFWL & Xbox LIVE For Windows so its obviously not going anywhere is it as it makes many PC ports financially viable.

            Batman Arkham City sold over 1m copies on PC to date (quite a few more in the future with the lengthy HQR DLC coming within the next 2 weeks then the GOTY on 7th Sept both using GFWL) despite using GFWL so its not unpopular with the majority of PC gamers either. Ironically when Rocksteady panicked & added Steamworks at the last minute for Steam bought copies it broke the save games & achievements system for Steam purchased copies but all other versions only used GFWL & worked perfectly as intended …..hmm I wonder why! Again where were RPS to investigate this & the still broken DX11+PhysX (both were marketed as selling points by Nvidia on this game yet I have not seen anyone investigating why in Feb 2012 Nvidia had half their TWIMTBP developers onsite @ Rocksteady to try & fix DX11+PhysX FPS yet nothing has changed since other than Nvidia have rolled out the GTX670/680 which if you buy 2 for SLI gives better FPS in BAC….again I wonder why!). There are stories to be told here surely………

            Most of the negative GFWL sentiment never ever says why it just jumps on the bandwagon or goes back in time to the few occasions GFWL was the problem (Fallout3 first DLC pack for instance over 3 years ago well GFWL has been updated many times since then!). How many times does Steamcloud break (all the time many devs refuse to use it). How often do Steam achievements glitch (again all the time on many games). How do people get around Steam region locks (you don’t) but GFWL has no IP checking so anyone anywhere can get around that by creating a gamertag in a supported region like US/UK it allows that. Why do Steam not bundle the latest GFWL client with the GFWL titles sold on Steam so they knowingly sell an outdated game which needs manual updating to the latest version when they only need to bundle the latest GFWL client with the game which would not exactly take long to do & save a lot of Steam support calls. Why do only Steam refuse to sell GFWL games outside the 35 supported countries yet every other digital store sells those to anyone with a disclaimer about ensure your using a supported country gamertag.

            Jim I do not recall RPS reviewing either Toy Soldiers or Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet both are excellent digital PC games surely RPS should have reviewed these by now or is the GFWL bias stopping that? Both these games were pretty cheap at launch as well & match anything else indie wise this year to date (MS Plosion Man is also coming soon to GFWL). All 3 titles are Windows 8 App Store launch games published by MS Game Studios but coming out early with GFWL but also sold on Steam @ launch as MS have obviously acknowledged that as the leading digital PC store right now.

            At the end of the day it sounds to me that RPS & many other high web hit sites simply have not done enough homework on GFWL & just take the easy way out & add to the urban legend……If I can find out a lot about it & I am just an ordinary PC gamer surely the pro’s can do much better!!!

          • Ringwraith says:

            Yes, that offline mode of GFWL which also sometimes doesn’t work, by forcing you to log in to save progress. Not to mention it encrypts saves so you can’t transfer them between computers, and it repeatedly ate people’s Arkham City saves.
            It’s also incredibly slow at patching, and will only warn you of patches when you start up the game itself, so you have to sit there and do nothing else but wait for it to patch, with an uninformative progress bar which says nothing about its status.
            I’ve also had it not sign me in after losing connection for whatever reason, (and it takes an excessive amount of time to log in anyway), until I rebooted the game, which makes no sense at all.
            It’s also horribly clunky to navigate, and takes multiple button presses and waiting for its animations to finish to actually get to where you want to go. Checking achievements takes four button presses whereas Steam takes only two, and even then the achievement list won’t tell what the achievements actually are, you have to click on the individual ones to show that, while Steam just puts the descriptions in with the big ol’ list.

            To put it simply, it’s not perfect, far from it, and many other similar services do what it’s supposed to much better, although they of course aren’t perfect either, but they have less problems.
            A disclaimer of something having GFWL is what people should get the same way if a game is Steamworks-only or even things like Blizzard’s own Battle.net.

          • Guvornator says:

            Dear PC-GAMER-4LIFE. When I get from work, I don’t want to faff about waiting for a clunky update to have 3 cracks at updating itself. I don’t want to have to restart my computer at the end of it. I don’t want to have to set-up my pc in a special way to make a game I bought with my own money to work. I just want to play the damn thing. Steam lets me do that. Desura lets me do that. Hell, even Origin lets me do that (even if relative to Steam it takes an age to start up). So why can’t Microsoft? I mean, they BUILT the damn OS it’s running on – surely they could pop down the hallway to the fellows that made Windows and have a chat regarding making it, y’know, work smoothly?

            Now don’t get me wrong. There used to be a time when this sort of thing was acceptable to me – back in the day unless you had a bunch of floppies with Expanded/Extended memory managers you weren’t playing nothing. But I don’t have the time or the inclination to mess around with stuff that should have been sorted by the people that made it.

  22. marcusfell says:

    I want to see a Zombie: Kinect game.

  23. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    For all the flaws, I rather enjoyed Resi 5 on consoletoy in co-op, so I had some hopes for a bit of a fun zombie mashing romp here, but even the credulous consoletoy reviewers thought this was a stinker. And that was before the lazy port. So best to avoid, methinks.

    • Ringwraith says:

      Possibly better off just playing RE5 Mecenaries co-op then.
      I’ve got hooked on that baaad and I normally dislike score-attack modes. Also, the PC-only No Mercy mode is frankly terrifying in its craziness.