Review: Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

Fans were excited as Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City seemed to be a prime opportunity to execute Resident Evil: Outbreak at a next-gen level, but unfortunately, Raccoon City has turned out to be a disaster zone in more ways than one. I’ve never been so afraid to play a Resident Evil game alone. Not because of scary zombies or suspenseful moments, but because of control issues, poor level design, unpolished cutscenes, and terrifyingly stupid friendly AI. Without being able to play it with a friend, Operation Raccoon City is an epic Mission Fail.

Why is this game scary to play without a friend? The friendly A.I. on your elite squad acts like they didn’t even pass Zombies 101. Expect to see them run into flames, jump in front of your grenade launcher, trigger explosives in the absence of enemies, and loiter next to mines you’re required to explode. They will selfishly heal themselves with first aid spray when they could have easily healed the group at the same time. They will be content with standing and fighting infinite waves of enemies during mission critical moments which require you to run. Here’s a quick list of things they won’t do: help, pick up green herbs when near death, sit still so you can heal everyone at once, and move when you’re in tight quarters

The game plays like a bad Army of Two in that only half your bullets hit the intended target (which is unexplainably worse with human enemies). The lazy laser pulls bullets like the guy from Wanted if he had just taken two Ambien. It’s best to simply grab a heavy weapon and hip fire your way through a lot of the game’s more action packed sequences.

One of the more annoying aspects of the game is that the aiming reticle needs to be directly on the item you wish to pick up. While just a tiny gripe during the many dry “Let’s lock and load” areas, this “tiny gripe” compounds into massive headaches when action sequences develop. Killing an enemy atop a green herb means you’ll forever swap your weapons instead of picking up health. This also happens when you’re attempting to revive a fallen teammate. Why not spam the pick-up button while running to make sure you grab what you need? Oh yeah, because it triggers video game history’s all-time most useless dive.

The level design can be boring (especially in the first couple levels), but the variety is impressive, bringing you many RE’s trademark areas: the cemetery, the mansion, the park, city streets, and Umbrella laboratories. Then there’s the busy work for EXP which ranges between tedious and entertaining. You can collect incriminating evidence, find three typewriters (probably the most creative), shoot hidden surveillance cameras, and grab up each level’s raccoon city mascot. Yep, it’s a stuffed raccoon (taxidermy reference stretched to the extreme). The game features a long list of neat character cameos, a couple of creative spins on the behind-the-scenes details, and a couple of new/reimagined baddies.While the cameos are nice, the cast of characters in your Umbrella unit are pretty forgettable, ranging from cliche to…cliche.

The multiplayer is amidst a vicious cycle ; no one plays it because they’ve heard it’s awful, and it’s even worse because no one plays it. Adding insult to injury is that they didn’t even implement local co-op, the one chance at making this game remotely fun off the table.  It’s a shame as there were some creative ideas for multiplayer modes like an exciting race to a helicopter that only one team can board.

Closing Comments: 

If you’ve never played a Resident Evil before, don’t start here. Ultimately, it is a failed third person shooter and a laughable Resident Evil entry. While it could be a fun afternoon for diehard fans, it’s just that — an afternoon. Any hopes of this game being repayable is dashed by how broken it is.