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Repetition in videogame sequels is naughty. It can lead to boredom and has the potential to ruin aspiring titles and our wallets by displaying a clear disregard for innovation. While Resident Evil 4 completely reinvented the series, Resident Evil 5 seemed to be pretty much the same game with the exception of certain enemies who appear to have been injected with a vast quantity of class A’s rather than Las Plagas. This left many gamers questioning whether the series might turn into the monotonous drag of “Same game, different characters”. So how have Capcom answered these worries? They’re pushing down the trigger on their recliner couches and putting their feet up, handing development of the next title to Slant Six Games. Operation Raccoon City is not Resident Evil 6, but rather a new installment in the series.
For those of you who don’t know where this new title places in the Resident Evil timeline, it sits nice and snug in between the events of Resident Evil 2 and 3. Returning to Raccoon City, previous Resident Evil players will find themselves amongst familiar faces; Leon Kennedy, Claire Redfield, Hunk and Nemesis all make an appearance, and that’s only naming a small handful.
How does this game differ from previous Resident Evil titles then? Although the game is set in Raccoon City, the game doesn’t see a return of the old pre-rendered backgrounds and fixed camera angles. O.R.C. is best describes as a mash up between Valve’s Left 4 Dead and the mercenaries mini game in Resident Evil 3. Rather than focusing on a single protagonist, O.R.C. features a wide variety of playable characters. Playing as members of the Umbrella Security Services, your job is to cover up the zombie outbreak. This means destroying anything that could factor as evidence against Umbrella, including all survivors.
The most noticeable change in the series comes on the focus of multiplayer modes. As well as featuring a four player co-op campaign, the game boasts an array of multi-player modes. Multiplayer sees you playing as either the USS or the US Spec Ops. Each character of the different teams has their own individual skill or play style, much like the classes in Brink for example. Character traits include skills such as expertise in firearms, healing, curing infection and many more. The later one is of particular use as if your health falls too low, you’ll find yourself turning into one of the zombies and attacking your own teammates – a cool feature that will inevitably lead on to the destruction of many friendships.
Three unique multiplayer game modes have been announced so far. Your standard team death match is self explanatory. Fight for the most kills destroying each other, whilst also taking mind of the NPC enemies around you. Biohazard mode is a test of trying to return samples of the virus back to your base whilst avoiding obvious threats from the enemies in the city. Finally, Survival mode is a battle against the clock. Try and survive against incoming waves of enemies until your chopper ride arrives to take you out of the city.
For the first time in a Resident Evil game, O.R.C. features the addition of almost RPG elements of gameplay. Players gain experience with kills. In return, these experience points can be spent on new abilities and skills to help define your playing style. This is shaping up to be a completely new experience into the world of Resident Evil and indeed survival horror. We”l learn soon if this fast paced action venture tastes fresher than its previous slow paced predecessors, as it arrives for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 on March 20th.