When your game more or less begins with its main character shooting the President (who is, mind you, a zombie by this point), you’ve got a lot to live up to. Such is Resident Evil 6‘s plight, and I imagine Capcom’s hoping 20 solid minutes of gameplay footage might help assuage our fears. Or at least replace them with other fears – you know, the kinds that generally accompany the prospect of grotesque, entrail-devouring death lurking around every corner. But, after watching Leon Kennedy somberly subdue the President, talk for a while, shuffle down hallways of dramatic tension, talk some more, shoot zombies, and generally do whatever’s needed to avoid becoming a dead Kennedy, I’m not entirely sure what emotion I should be feeling.
So that sure was more Resident Evil. I mean, yeah, it was nice to see a slower-paced section after Resident Evil 4’s creepy chaos and Resident Evil 5’s treetrunk-armed shootpunch co-op killfest, but this section didn’t really do anything with it. It was just walk-talk-walk-talk-BOO-I-am-a-scary-ceiling-tile-falling-for-no-reason. Compared to more recent strides forward in gaming horror, this just feels cheap. Also, it amazes me that Leon could continue to be so braindead about brain-munchers after dealing with them for so many years. Yes, let’s bring the obviously infected people onto a rickety elevator. I’m sure it’ll be no trouble at all.
The new move-and-shoot mechanics at least look a little more mobile, though – even if sudden moments of fluid motion seem oddly tacked on to RE’s typical herky-jerky tank controls. And honestly, I squealed a little when Leon finally unleashed a couple of his trademark pointlessly show spin-kicks, because I love me some Resident Evil B-movie silliness. On the whole, though, this demo struck me as an awkward middle ground between old-school RE scares and the series’ modern obsession with extravagant big-budget action.
Admittedly, though, this was only a look at one of three playable characters. And honestly, I’m not expecting much more than a big, dumb romp out of this one anyway. Still though, it’s a shame Capcom doesn’t seem particularly interested in trying anything the least bit new. I mean, we’ve played five of these things – by which I of course mean 12 billion, if you count spin-offs – so a bit of fresh air couldn’t hurt.