by Chris Davis
reviewed on PS3
By the Light of the Dying Car Fire
One of the few things Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City stands a chance of getting right is the game’s graphical content. Texture work in the environment really hits home just what has happened to this once populous town and feels about right for a town in 1998. Character models vary at times as do the particle effects (explosions and fires can be quite bad) but the best item in the graphics department’s favor is the gore factor. Limbs and body parts explode in a gorefest to rival games like Dead Island and, in some ways, surpass them. Melee attacks against zombies and human enemies can be especially brutal. Character animations could use some reworking and proximity interactions, say when you are knocked over by an enemy, do need some work though.
The game’s sound design fares far less favorably. Voice work is shoddy at best and leaves no lasting impression other than boredom and indifference. Sound effect issues such as getting stuck in a loop or disappearing altogether is a frequent problem in ORC and the game’s 5.1 surround sound mix is underwhelming. In comparison to the game’s other flaws however these items are but minor issues.
For any title like this one however one of the largest driving forces for sales is the fanservice factor and, in some ways, it does succeed. Several locations in the game feel very authentic to their original counterparts, particularly the Raccoon City police station. Dialog in the cinematics for the game (at least the ones not altered by this non-canon insertion) actually remain true to its original design. ORC doesn’t succeed however in matching the time period with exact authenticity though. Many of the character designs seem taken directly from previous entries in the series, the Hunters most notably looking exactly like their 2002 Resident Evil remake counterparts instead of the Beta or Gamma Hunters that actually appeared in RE2 and 3. Weapons specific to the Raccoon City games are present in the game but, given the game’s severe lack of balance in the favor of everything else but you and your squadmates, you don’t really get an ample demonstration of their historic power.
Better Off Dead
The Resident Evil series is beloved by millions of fans around the world and while the franchise has had its share of lesser titles no entry to date has been more disappointing than Operation Raccoon City. What should be a nice jaunt down memory lane turns out to be a broken, frustrating mess of unbalanced gameplay mechanics, a story whose brevity is more than welcome and a multiplayer component that will only hold your interest for a short while. ORC had quite a bit going for it and was surprisingly fun to play at E3 2011 but somewhere in the nine months between then and now something happened that turned this into a shambling pile of wasted effort. Even with ongoing DLC and bug fixes this game simply cannot be saved. Thank goodness that this is not a canon entry because, if it were, Resident Evil might truly have lost its way in the eyes of countless fans.
Interesting multiplayer modes
Unbalanced, seemingly unfinished gameplay