Health now breaks down into individually recharging blocks, giving players just enough license to ignore damage that you're able to manoeuvre under fire, but not so much that you'll charge in half-cocked. New melee moves make close-up fighting more of a thrill, but there's a stamina gauge to stop you roundhousing your way out of every tight spot. AI partners are far less irritating than they were in Resi 5, mainly because you no longer have to manage their inventories.
One casualty of the kitchen sink approach is the plot, which isn't so much a plot as a tug of war between Jake, Chris Redfield and Leon Kennedy (there's also a fourth, ultra-tough campaign starring Ada Wong, unlocked when you finish the first three). The campaigns share a few locations, an over-arching upgrade system (think reduced recoil, more potent melee, and so forth) and some utterly bonkers B-movie writing, but each has its own feel. Leon goes old school with trad undead shufflers, Chris is the Modern Warfare man, and Jake likes kicking people in the glands. But there just isn't enough room for each storyline to flower, making the excellent motion capture feel something of a waste.
Beyond that, a multitude of minor frustrations drag the game down. The reliance on press-X-to-win QTEs is most damning, but you'll also have to contend with lazy stealth sequences, on-rails bike escapes and environments that stubbornly resist interaction till gainsaid by the level script. Despite the mutating enemies, the gunfights also settle into something of a drop-and-pop rhythm towards the finale. Sadly, many of the worst bits feature in Capcom's first demo, potentially poisoning the game's chances months ahead of release.
Still, Resident Evil 6 is an accomplished shooter on the whole, and a fittingly thunderous send-off for current gen Resident Evil. The next instalment needs to tighten the focus, deciding which ideas are worth sticking with, but this could be the definitive videogame blockbuster - huge, colourful and surprising.
An ungainly mutant crowd-pleaser
- Massive campaign
- High intensity shooting
- Icky zombie variety
- A touch incoherent
- Hit-and-miss design