Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is shaping up to be unlike any Resident Evil game you've played. For starters it focuses heavily on multiplayer. Operation Raccoon City features a four player cooperative campaign as well as competitive multiplayer. In the campaign, you and up to three friends play as Umbrella operatives sent in to clean up Umbrella's mess amidst the chaos of the T-virus outbreak. Zombies are everywhere and your team has a set of specific objectives that you will have to complete. The Umbrella team is composed of six characters that represent a specific class. This ranges from recon scouts to tanks. Each class has its own strengths and weaknesses which will promote teamwork and cooperation in order to survive the mission. Since the story goes back to Resident Evil origins, there is going to be plenty of fan service. Key franchise characters, such as Leon Kennedy, will be making appearances as well as familiar locations like the Raccoon City Police Department. The competitive multiplayer of Operation Raccoon City features two teams pitted against one another and a third factor, the infected. Through the duration of the match, you will have to contend with zombies and other biological terrors while dealing with members of the opposition. It seems like Capcom is trying to capture the intensity of their Mercenaries missions in a competitive package. The gunplay mechanics have been given a bit of a face-lift since Resident Evil 5 and now gives players the ability to move while aiming and sooting. A cover system has also been added and going into cover is as easy as running up to a planter or wall. Hands-on time will be the litmus test for the cover mechanic as I've never been a fan of 'sticky' cover systems but who knows, maybe they got this one right. As you play, experience points will be accumulated which will unlock new abilities and skills to outfit your character. Points will be awarded for enemy kills as well as zombies and other infected creatures. Bonus points will also be allotted for headshots and critical hits. This will allow character customization to further tailor your character to your play style and hopefully, provide wholly unique characters to each individual player. When injured, special care will have to be taken as bleeding will have zombies swarming you since they can smell your blood. Bites from zombies are no joke either as T-virus infections will have to be managed with inventory items that can effectively treat the wounds.
While many Resident Evil purists may snub their noses at this one, I think Operation Raccoon City has the opportunity to offer a new and interesting play style to the Resident Evil franchise. Capcom has definitely taken some risks with this new approach and it will be interesting to see how it pays off. I can't wait to report back to you and tell you more once I have the copy for review.