For the latest entry in its "Resident Evil" series, Capcom has decided to go all out, delivering big action set pieces usually reserved for Hollywood movies — with four story campaigns revolving around seven (!) playable characters. This is a long way from the first game's foray into a monster-filled mansion. "Resident Evil 6" ($60, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3) goes for more of a mainstream action approach, and while that might anger a few dedicated fans, it's a good game overall despite a few missteps.
The story splits into different sections, with returning heroes Leon S. Kennedy and Chris Redfield working with new partners. Jake Muller, son of long-time villain Albert Wesker, fights his own battles. And fan favorite Ada Wong makes her return in her own story. These stories all intertwine over the course of the game. It's interesting how they all tie in together, despite occasional missteps of logic.
Capcom has made the gameplay more action-oriented, as you'll be shooting enemies with various guns and rifles and taking out lesser zombies using melee attacks, kicking their heads off or turning their own weapons against them. It's a solid system, though the overuse of quick-time events — where you have to perform a repetitive function in a limited amount of time — gets tiring. Failing to do so costs you precious health. At least your partner still comes through in a clinch, saving you if they're close by.
Along with the lengthy single-player campaigns, "Resident Evil 6" offers plenty to do online through Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. You can team up with friends in co-op, completing the story as a team. You can join together for Mercenaries Mode, where you score points and earn bonuses by working together to meet objectives. You can also join in games as an enemy through Agent Hunt, though that's not nearly as entertaining since you're not as well- equipped as your adversaries.
"Resident Evil 6" has a lot going on – maybe too much. Some of the set pieces are fantastic, like a firefight through a downtown city or a slow crawl through a darkly lit graveyard. But sometimes the game is too cinematic, requiring you to work through a driving sequence or slow walk through a section before the next big event occurs. Some of the animations are lacking, too, like when zombies lurch at you jerkily, though Capcom has promised to clean them up with a forthcoming downloadable patch.
And the audio? Vintage "Resident Evil," complete with cornball dialogue (especially from Leon) and plenty of ambient sound effects. The music's good, too, though aimed more at general action than trying to send chills up the spine, like the original game did. And we could do without partners saying "Roger!" every time they acknowledge our commands. Just say "Yeah!" or "Got it!" guys.
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"Resident Evil 6" is a little too big, and some fans will resent that. However, Capcom has still created a very good action title, one that'll keep you on your toes no matter which character you're playing as. And there's plenty to play through here, between a campaign that will take you hours to fully complete and online modes for everyone – agent and zombie alike – to enjoy.
Still, for "Resident Evil 7," Capcom might consider taking it down a notch. Several, actually.
RATING: 3 / 4