by Chris Davis
reviewed on PS3
A Tale of Two Viruses
As previously stated, Operation Raccoon City is a four player cooperative third person shooter that pits you against both the hordes of infected as well as the government forces attempting to curb the outbreak. Playing as one of six different characters whom conform to a unique class, you battle through the streets of the destroyed city while trying your best to stay alive. This is a task easier said than done, and it’s not because of the game’s setting.
Put simply, this latest entry in the series is, by far, the most unbalanced and frustrating entry to date. While most games that feature zombies tend to put less emphasis on the term ‘horde,’ ORC amps the tension up significantly by throwing wave upon wave of infected at you with little regard for your ammo count or health situation. Despite the logical conclusion that headshots kill zombies every time, more often than not the result is an enemy that keeps stumbling after you even after two or even three rounds enter their skulls. Even the most coordinated team of gamers will find themselves unable to stand ground against a wave of zombies, even when taking into account grenades and melee attacks.
Almost every single creature featured in the Resident Evil universe’s first three games make an appearance in Operation Raccoon City save for the giant spiders and the more obscure mutations like giant frogs. This would have been a nice contribution to the game’s focus on fanservice but the end result only frustrates the player more than helps them. Every single enemy is far more difficult to kill than in any other title released to date as each and every one of them are bullet sponges, absorbing more damage than seemingly seems possible for the creature. For reference, a Hunter in takes several shotgun blasts to die in most games in the series. In ORC however you can unload well upwards of thirty shells into a Hunter before they keel over. Couple this with less than frequent ammo drops and never facing anything less than two or three enemies of such strength and you know you have a problem.
Playing alone in Operation Raccoon City is an exercise in building tolerance, one that few people can every hope to achieve in the game’s current form. Enemy AI across the board is almost unacceptably dumb, so much so that it’s fair to say that you don’t have much hope of beating the game without seeing the ‘You Are Dead’ screen dozens of times without playing with human compatriots. Enemies will regularly switch between not even knowing you are there to being the deadliest things ever to exist. Your AI teammates are not programmed to pick you up if you go down and regularly charge into incoming fire unaware that they won’t get two feet closer without going down. There is no mercy to be had in ORC even on the game’s normal difficulty.
Apart from having a five to six hour long main campaign, Operation Raccoon City features a multiplayer suite that actually fares better than the story mode. Players can choose from four competitive modes including the standard Deathmatch mode. Heroes mode, one of the few bright spots of the game, allows you to play as series staple characters such as Leon Kennedy, Jill Valentine, Ada Wong and HUNK among others in a 4v4 bout. Biohazard has you collecting G virus samples for points and it can be relatively fun. The clear highlight of the multiplayer has to be the Survivors mode which has two teams facing off against wave after wave of zombies and BOWs while you wait for a rescue chopper to arrive. The catch with this mode however is that there are a limited number of seats on the helicopter so you have to battle the other team as well in order to insure getting out alive. The multiplayer isn’t exactly one you’ll be coming back to after the first week but it definitely offsets the deplorable main campaign.
With absolute certainty, the most egregious part of the game is not the game itself but rather Capcom’s plans for downloadable content for the game. Normally I do not make mention of DLC plans in a review of a game as I want to focus on the product at hand but Capcom’s strategy is one of the worst post-launch support plans in recent memory. The game launched with day one paid DLC which included a whole multiplayer mode featuring Nemesis, one of the most notorious enemies in series history. This alone is bad enough but the game, despite word to the contrary, will only feature content and missions from Resident Evil 3 only as DLC (albeit free) later on. This is also the only way you get to play as the US government forces in any story capacity, negating any chance of actually playing as protagonists in the core product at launch. Capcom is also offering downloadable packs of weapons and alternate costumes at exceptionally high prices, going so far as to rival that of the work Namco Bandai has done this generation. Some of this content is even already on the disc! For shame, Capcom, you should know better than this by now.
Interesting multiplayer modes
Unbalanced, seemingly unfinished gameplay