by Lisa Thrasher
previewed on PC
The virus evolves
It has been over a decade since Leon S. Kennedy was taking on zombies and lickers in Raccoon City. The town fell to the T-virus and was destroyed barely a week after the outbreak. Despite the destruction of the ravaged city, the world can’t seem to catch a break. Now, there is a new C-virus spreading in a town named Tall Oaks, and Leon is once again setting out to help.
The year is 2013, and the C-virus is the new strain of infection that was first released 6 months ago in Eastern Europe. Ninety percent of Tall Oaks’ population is infected, generating about seventy thousand zombies for Leon to deal with. Since Leon’s entire goal is to wipe out bioterrorism and he is now a government agent, appointed by the President Adam Benford himself, this seems like the perfect place for him.
Few against many
Thankfully, Leon is not going at this completely alone. Ingrid Hunnigan from Resident Evil 4 returns as Leon’s communication link for information about Tall Oaks from a secluded base. Leon also has a new female partner, Helena Harper. Helena was attempting to transfer for the U.S. Secret Service, but became involved in the bioterrorism attack in Tall Oaks. She seems to feel that what has happened in the city is all her fault. Unfortunately, that seems to be the extent of Leon’s allies since everyone else is set against him, his country included. He's accused of having killed the President. While this is technically true, it was only because President Adam Benford was turned into a zombie and tried to attack Leon. Besides, with all the bioterrorism going on, you would think that treason would be of a bit lower importance than everything else that is happening.
But Leon and Helena aren’t the only ones fighting off the infected. Chris Redfield returns, after the trauma of his team being murdered a few months before, with vengeance in his mind. He is the Captain of his troop in the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance with a new partner named Piers. They are sent to the coastal town of Lanshiang, China, with orders to rescue the United Nations VIP and deal with the bioterrorism attack there. Redfield and Piers find out that the same unidentified woman who killed their squad months ago is also responsible for the outbreak in China.
There is another duo whose story is important in this cross-world tale. The man is Jake Muller, a mercenary with a vendetta against Eastern Europe, where Bio Organic Weapons have a confirmed presence. One day, he is told he is Albert Wesker’s son and that he is destined to save the world. While he does not understand exactly what that means, he does consider the profit he can make. The world needs his blood since he is resistant to the virus, and as long as he gets paid, he is willing to donate as much as is necessary. Muller is accompanied by Sherry Birkin who has become an agent for the United States. She is tasked with going to Edonia in Eastern Europe and providing safety for Muller and his valuable blood.
Enough about the living
Despite the drama between the humans and regardless of whose fault it is, there are still plenty of infected to deal with. Even though Leon and Chris have experience with the viral outbreaks in the past, this new strain is a great deal more sinister. Unlike the T-virus, the C-virus allows the host to preserve most of its intelligence. These zombies do not just shamble around aimlessly. Instead, they are much more capable of killing you. They will run towards you with pale skin and dead eyes and if you get too close they will leap at you. And when there are hoards of zombies jumping at you, things can get pretty hectic.
Thankfully, with the increased capabilities of your enemies, you also have a few new tricks up your sleeve. There will be melee combat, hopefully providing an opportunity to use the environment to your advantage. Characters are now able to take cover and roll in any direction, as well as (finally!) being able to move and shoot at the same time. Unfortunately, there are some new foes that can reach over cover and render your cover useless.
The J’avo make up the new, intelligent antagonist species in this tale. Named after the Serbian word for “demon,” they are the infected that can work as a group, understand speech and use weapons. Their humanity ends there, however, as the J’avo are extremely aggressive and often act on pure instinct. These creatures also have the ability to regenerate from superficial wounds. If they suffer major damage like a blown off limb, the J’avo will mutate the affected appendage with a variety of different forms, including extending their arm to reach over cover, grabbing you by the throat and pulling you to them. Defeating the J’avo will require even more strategy and diverse tactics than any previous enemy type in Resident Evil games.
Feel any fear?
Capcom has stated that they are trying to bring the horror back into the series, and it seems like they are off to a good start. Intelligent infected beings sound even more terrifying than the blind, extremely fast and powerful Garradors from Resident Evil 4, which were my least favorite encounters. Thankfully, you have your in-game companions as well as the opportunity to join up with a partner for co-op mode to help out. If you have any interest in the Resident Evil series, 6 looks like it is shaping to be an exciting and dramatic experience. Now, the only question is if we get to once again have the joys of inventory Tetris to keep us occupied between battles.