Resident Evil 6 PC review

What Resident Evil 6 PC Got Right

+ Story woven well through four campaigns

+ Big, explosives setpieces

+ Good co-op

+ Looks & sounds amazing on PC

What Resident Evil 6 Got Wrong

– Quicktime is terrible

– Disjointed experience

– Camera is even worse on a keyboard

– Use an Xbox 360 controller

Resident Evil 6 has casually strolled onto Windows, but do PC gamers care? Almost six months after its console debut to a mixed reception, RE6 has joined Windows and it’s largely the same experience. There are four campaigns to wade through — Ada’s is now available immediately — and only Leon’s has any semblance of a genre once known as survival horror.

The eerie atmosphere rises to a new echelon with the added grunt from a semi-respectable PC. Resident Evil 6 joins the growing club of games that demand a new console generation — even as a delayed port. It’s amazing how improved rendering and a few extra shadows help bring Resident Evil 6 closer to the horrific environments the series is renowned for, which is amplified further by a decent headset.

But it’s still an action game at heart that wants to be a cheesy motion picture.

This is a game that suffers from an identity crisis of epic proportions because it doesn’t know whether it wants to be an action game, a survival game, or a movie. Yes, a movie: Resident Evil 6 is hampered rather methodically by over-long cutscenes, boring quicktime and scripted events, which make you feel less in control of the characters. Is RE6 bad? No, but it’s not especially good, either. Funnily enough, the game’s tagline perfectly outlines the future of Resident Evil: no hope left.

The best part of this PC port is that it will inevitably end up dirt cheap on Steam; a couple of bucks well spent to see a zombie US president.

Unfortunately, the experience can be frustrating, disjointed and restrictive. When you’re blasting away at zombies…mutants…whatever, the gameplay is a moderately enjoyable blast of solid shooting and satisfying combat, but it almost feels like a rarity. Resident Evil 6 just tries too hard to be a movie, and while that’s not particularly bad — if you can at least offer an engaging gameplay experience, then by all means, break the gameplay up with cutscene after cutscene after cutscene — the failure here is offering an experience that is flowing, consistent and coherent. This game just doesn’t offer those things.

The game’s disjointedness spreads across all four campaign. Leon and newcomer Helena Harper team up for an experience closely reminiscent of eerie locations in Resident Evil 4. Shooting mechanics are a little looser and refined this time round, but for the most part, Leon’s experience seems like an (attempted) ode to the series’ better days. Unfortunately, it’s plagued by quicktime events and button prompts.

Chris Redfield’s and Piers Nivens’ campaign is basically a military shooter, although the tight environments and closed alleys make for some truly awful camera work. Just like Leon’s campaign, this experience is dampened by the most ridiculous button prompts and quicktime events, including one where you have to continuously smash the X/Square button to climb across a wooden plank. No analog stick, no balancing, no combat; just button pressing. It’s a moment that actually, literally made me, as a gamer, feel like an idiot. I couldn’t help but wonder if you’re going to implement such a trivial, pointless mechanic, why not just have the character move across the plank by themselves? Either some sort of engagement with the movement or don’t have anything.

Jake Muller and Sherry Birkin’s campaign takes the cake as the most scripted. Aside from some truly breathtaking set pieces, this campaign is arguably the least enjoyable, as you’ll spend most of your time jumping across gaps, running towards the camera away from large enemies (and boy does that send the camera into hysterics), and a countless array of trivial button prompts that, just like with the Chris campaign, would have been better served not to have been included at all. It just feels like lazy game design.

Ada Wong’s puzzle-driven campaign, which is unlocked once you push through the first three campaigns mentioned above, is co-op free. It has a number of interesting and challenging puzzles, which should please classic Resident Evil fans. But it’s still hampered by quicktime events and button prompts.

There is plenty to like about Resident Evil 6, though. For one, the story is good enough to persuade you past the overused quicktime events. And even though those events are frequent and interruptive, they can make for some truly tense and memorable moments. It’s just that they’re all too frequent and sometimes implemented in such a way that is indicative of lazy, casual development.

The B-Grade horror plot is fascinatingly woven through all four campaigns, and in that regard, it does a good job of remaining coherent while the gameplay remains anything but. Certain moments, like an epic fall from a building, or a virus being spewed out all over unsuspecting citizens, make for memorable points. For the most part, Resident Evil 6’s story is entertaining and explosive and goes hand-in-hand with the game’s action-focused gameplay experience.

The cooperative experience is solid — you’re pushed to play online more on PC. The drop-in, drop-out online co-op system works well, and RE6 is certainly a great experience with friends. Quicktime events and scripted events still disjoin the experience, but gameplay execution is more effective when playing with a human counterpart.

While combat is promising, it hasn’t carried over to PC with a competent control scheme. It wasn’t designed to be played with the accuracy of a keyboard and mouse, and it just doesn’t feel natural. It makes headshots too easy when you can align your crosshairs with the target, but that’s undone by unusable camera controls leaving you mashing Leon’s hefty right hoof — as with the console version, spamming the kick attack is by far the most effective approach to combat. Furthermore, quicktime events pulverising the ‘R’ or directional buttons feel ridiculous on a keyboard.

The Final Verdict

Resident Evil 6 on PC benefits from a striking bump in visuals and atmospheric sound. However, its improvements are undone by some awkward quicktime events and terrible camera controls when using a keyboard and mouse instead of an Xbox 360 controller. It’s a wash as to which is the definitive version, reliant on personal preference. As for the game itself, Resident Evil 6 is a solid, high production value action game with enjoyable, engaging combat, great set pieces and an intricately told B-grade horror plot. However, it’s a mercilessly disjointed experience, hurt by incoherent pacing, an overbearing number of quicktime events and trivial button prompts that slow the experience considerably. The best part of this PC port is that it will inevitably end up dirt cheap on Steam; a couple of bucks well spent to see a zombie US president.