Sunday, March 25, 2012

Operation Raccoon

Resident Evil – Operation Raccoon City
Dev – Slant Six Games
Pub – Capcom / Biohazard team
Release – 2012

Back to the beginning – Years ago, we were introduced to the Umbrella Corporation. Known to many RE fans as the “enemy” of the ongoing saga. A corrupt: very powerful organization that had control of literally everything. Only to let loose a nightmare that would take an entire city. But we never knew of a certain clean-up crew, until now.

Gear up! – Right from the start, you are introduced to the Wolfpack. A team of mercenaries, that are sent in to infiltrate a bio-lab that was destroyed in a planned upheaval once information was leaked. Hunk, an operative that is only known by his nickname, takes the team under his wing. Until a certain monster is unleashed, sadly he takes the fall leaving your crew off to find out what you can, and escape.

Just from the intro alone, you get to know your comrades. Being able to choose from a: medic, sniper, surveillance, or technical expert. Each class is able to gain XP, depending on the mission. From collecting data discs;  to successfully finding secret rewards by taking on all sorts of challenges throughout. (XP is also awarded online through team play, and judgment calls on part of each member). These points can be used towards skills by type from better awareness, or even faster maneuverability. 

Ammo supply – There is a plethora of nasty toys available once you meet certain requirements. XP can also be applied towards armaments. From handgun: , to assault rifles, sniper, or shotgun.  There is no limit depending on your characters class type. In fact, each weapon can also be swapped in missions, in case you run into some nasty foes. Thankfully ammo is carried to any weapon picked up, or dropped off. But be advised, some have limited supply until you can acquire more. If all else fails, CQC (close quarters combat) is an open substitution. “who brings a knife to a gun fight!?” This team does!

Positives or Negatives
Pros –
Open to any style of play
Work offline, or play with friends (or enemies)
Solid campaign (RE2 with a spin)
Still carries the classic “tension” RE fans remember

Cons -
Contains several bugs in several parts of the game (to be fixed soon)
A bit on the short side (campaign can be played through 8-10 hours)
Team mates are kinda tricky to co-operate, due to limited tactical style (no command option given)
(hopefully it may be an added feature sometime soon)

Afterthoughts – For a long time, there was a squad based game hiding within Resident Evil. Sadly it wasn’t being harnessed to its full potential. Although in RE4, there was the introduction of Mercenaries mode. A side mission where players could work co-op with a team, and pursue the in-game campaign in a unique way. There was another online co-op released right after called “Outbreak”. Sadly it wasn’t received well, due to its clunky controls, and limited commands (no mic?). It was a diversion until RE5 broke the mold, letting two friends work together and take down each mission consecutively both offline and online.

However, RE was receiving several tweaks thanks in part to the ongoing films. The series was pitched as a side story that would lead into the main series. Oddly enough they actually added more to the mix, because a lot of the influences are being shared. Not just by RE alone, but every other game out in the market as of right now. (*I don’t think many are realizing that until now, so shame on them)

So is ORC a horror / survival game? Honestly, I don’t feel fussy about the concept. It works, and it feels like a worthwhile experiment. Gameplay is frenetic, crazy, arcade style quick. But most of all fun, even with several flaws that seem to rear their ugly head. Is this for the hardcore RE fan? To be honest, I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys a squad based shooter. Even with a minimal campaign, there is a lot to be explored through the XP system, online, and upcoming extra goodies. But if you want to take a taste of this experiment, rent it for a weekend.

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