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Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
Capcom's latest installment of the Resident Evil franchise, Operation Raccoon City hasn't received the warmest critical reception. While some of the complaints of the title are well warranted, I ultimately think it's not anywhere near the atrocity that critics are claiming it to be. Raccoon City is a co-op squad based, multiplayer heavy third person shooter. Think Resident Evil's version of Left 4 Dead and you get this game.
The game takes place in 1998, during the events of the first and second resident evil games in Raccoon CIty. However, Instead of controlling lead characters from those games, you are in control of an umbrella squad, sent into Raccoon City to clean up the mess of the virus outbreak, destroying all evidence of Umbrella's involvement. I actually really like the story here, even though the characters of the squad aren't particularly interesting.
I am one of few who likes the shift of gameplay from the previous RE games. Instead of a slow-moving, stop to aim your gun, and unstable controls of the previous games, it's replaced by quick and responsive controls that allow you to engage in fast paced combat. Many fans of the series do not like this as they still cling to the "survival horror" aspect, where you have little or no ammo and firefights are nonexistent. I may be one of the few who likes this change, but actually being able to move your character without feeling like your controlling a slow tank is a warm welcome. Operation Raccoon City takes everything you're used to about the franchise in terms of gameplay and turns it upside down. This is a classic third person action game, moving from room to room, spraying bullets into the flesh of zombies. Granted, despite the controls of the previous games, I did like the eerie atmosphere and scary moments, but since I'm a bigger fan of the more action oriented RE film franchise, this game fits me perfectly. Part of the reason I like the films so much is because it delves heavily into the conspiracy of the Umbrella corporation and that is definitely present in this game. I don't completely disagree with the critics on this one as there are a number of gameplay mechanics that don't work as smoothly as I would have liked them to. The cover system is probably the biggest issue with the gameplay. Instead of hitting a button to slam against cover, there is a "sticky" cover system that automatically sucks you against a wall if you get close enough. At times this works, but more often it does not. This is really a minor frustration I had, and it's certainly not game-breaking. Aside from a few undesirable mechanics, the shooting is satisfying enough, melee combat is a joy and popping zombies has a very simple arcade-like feel. And that's what the gameplay really boils down to. It's a fun, easy to pick up and play third person shooter that may be low budget, but still packs some good fun, especially if you're playing with a few friends.
Graphically, the game suffers from an unfinished look. Textures lack detail and environments are somewhat bland. However, the character models of the squad, zombies and other classic RE monsters looks good enough, just not anything mind-blowing. It's an ugly game that is thankfully saved by some pretty satisfying gameplay.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City isn't the blasphemous entry that you're hearing about. With a big franchise like this, nit picky fanboys are tearing the game apart simply because it's not a return to a more familiar gameplay form. I think this change of gameplay is what makes Raccoon City enjoyable. How many times can Capcom make the same game, not offering any new gameplay mechanics? I will say that the 60 dollar price tag is a little too much to ask for, considering the arcade-like feel and short campaign. This feels more like a 20 dollar Playstation or Xbox downloadable game. Still, it's a solid rental and a good purchase when the price drops. The new action based approach to the franchise isn't pleasing every fan, but it's certainly pleasing me. If you can forgive some of the hiccups, poor graphics, and a less conventional change the the franchise, you're bound to have a decent time plowing through zombies.