Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City-A Review of the Single Player Campaign

As promised, here is my single-player review of Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, I won’t be covering EVERYTHING in detail because my Myths and Legends article (which I will place a link to at the bottom) covered some things in great detail, in those areas I will be a little more vague, but only because I’ve written about them, however, everything else I intend to take a good hard look into.

So, we’re all familiar with the Resident Evil series as a whole, and if you’re not and this your playthrough of a Resident Evil game, you will be terribly confused when you play the rest of the series, bottom line, we’re all used to the suspense, horror, and downright terror that Resident Evil always consistently and expertly produces; Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is completely different from all of that, so prepare to be confused as hell and a little underwhelmed. To begin with, this game is missing a lot of key elements that make the Resident Evil series what it is, for instance: the suspense, the jump moments that scare the Hell out of you, the survival horror aspect (that has become slim ever since RE 4 hit), and along with that the desperate feeling of your situation made all the worse with you being alone, surrounded, and slim on bullets. All of this is gone, unfortunately. The suspense is broken by many factors—the overabundance of ammo, having three teammates with you at all times (all who have powerful weapons and deadly skills), strong melee attacks that can easily take down zombies, enemy soldiers, and the like, and the lack of dread for what’s hiding around every corner waiting to kill you. The jump moments are also missing, and even the moments just meant to scare you are also gone; no giant spiders dropping from ceilings on top of you, no Hunters jumping out from hidden hallways, no real hidden zombies to speak of, even the boss fight against Nemesis is pretty underwhelming. The idea of this series being a survival horror series is also missing, and has been arguably MIA ever since RE 4, but this especially commits crimes against the term. There is no need to conserve ammo, and running around a zombie or enemy isn’t usually an option, sometimes you can or have to, but those are never ample in nature. There are green herbs everywhere and you can have a medic on your team, so health is almost never an issue and if things get close quarters melee is always a powerful option.

To add onto this already grim list, the single player campaign is very short, the levels are decent in length, but there are only seven of them and only five of them end in boss battles (I don’t count Birkin as a boss battle, you’re only running from him), and all of them are underwhelming and missing the grandeur of the boss creatures in the Resident Evil series. Remember how scared you were the first time you fought Yawn, or how about the first you saw that giant crocodile or your terrifying boss battle with Nosferatu on the roof in the Antarctic on Rockfort Island? None of that is here in these boss battles, partly because this game is treated like an action shooter and partly because these boss battles just aren’t scary, they aren’t even set up to be scary. And as I mentioned in my earlier article, the atmosphere is just no longer there, it tries to be, and in the beginning it succeeds, but just past that, it starts to fail, and it’s just a downhill steady decline from there. But, let’s talk about something a little better, like the characters; the characters are my favorite part of this game, at least until you get out of the character select screen, but I’ll come back to that, here are the characters for Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City and their special abilities, both passive and active:

Lupo (Assault/Team Leader)

       Passives:

-Body Armor (reduces damage from bullets by a percent based on level of ability)

-Quick Reload (speeds up time it takes to reload weapon by percent based on level of ability)

         Actives:

-Incendiary Rounds (rounds that catch enemies on fire for a time limit)

-Guns A’ Blazin (allows you to expel infinite number of rounds for a time limit and also increases accuracy and recoil by a percent)

-Super Soldier (nullifies next ‘X’ hits based on level of ability, also increases damage dealt and weapon accuracy by a percent for a time limit)

Beltway (Demolitions)

  Passives:

             -Blast Armor (Prevents you from being knocked down by explosives and reduces damage received from explosives by percent)

- Blast Master (Reduces time it takes to restore all selectable abilities by ‘X’ seconds and  allows you to disable enemy mines)

            Actives:

-Fragmentation Mine (places frag mine on floor, can be detonated by right stick, holding will detonate all placed frag mines)

- Timed Sticky Explosive (Throws explosive that sticks to surfaces and can be activated after ‘X’ seconds)

- Laser Trip Mine (places trip mine that sticks onto surfaces, detonates once an enemy passes through the laser, can be deactivated with right stick)

Four Eyes (Field Scientist)

    Passives:

-Antiviral Proficiency (starts with antiviral spray and increases carrying capacity to ‘X’)

-Biometric Vision (allows you to clearly see infected enemy ‘X’ meters away, weak point identified by color markings, can be activated/deactivated by holding up on the D-pad)

    Actives:

-Induce Infection (hypo gun that has percent chance to infect soldier or zombie and turn them into an ally Crimson Head, auto aims, but Crimson Heads will eventually turn on player)

-Attraction Pheromone (throws attraction pheromone vial, anything caught in gas will become primary target for infected, gas cloud is ‘X’ meters wide and lasts for ‘X’ seconds, can affect teammates and player)

-Program Infected (use hypo gun to control infected, affects weaker enemies for a longer time, choose attack target with right stick)

Bertha (Medic)

Passives:

-First Aid Proficiency (same as Four Eyes’s Antiviral, but with First Aid Spray)

-Field Medic (allows you to restore percent additional health with first aid sprays and green herbs)

            Actives:

-Stimpack (increases accuracy and movement speed for ‘X’ seconds on self or teammate)

-Neutralize Infection (Cure an infection on self or teammate or damage infected (damage increased per level of ability [so why’s there a field scientist])

-Painkiller (Reduces amount of damage dealt to self or teammate by percent, lasts for ‘X’ seconds)

Vector (Assassin)

   Passives:

-Stealth Run (increases movement speed by percent and reduces sound of footsteps, allowing you to sprint without being detected on enemy mini-maps)

-Detection Avoidance (allows you to avoid being detected on enemy mini-maps while moving at less than percent maximum speed)

   Actives:

-Motion Detector (throws motion detector that sticks on to any surface, displays enemies on mini-maps within ‘X’ meters, enemies that trigger detector are stunned), right stick deactivates)

-Mimicry (transform into eligible enemy target, lasts for ‘X’ seconds)

-Active Camouflage (cloaks you from enemies, but some B.O.W.s can still sense you, lasts for ‘X’ seconds)

Spectre (Surveillance)

     Passives:

-Proximity Detection (increases size of mini-map, reveals enemies within ‘X’ meters, enemy targets identified by corresponding markers, notified any time you are targeted by an enemy)

-Item Detection (allows you to see all item pick-ups within ‘X’ meters of mini-map, item locations also clearly identified on HUD)

            Actives:

-Threat Scanner (allows you to scan ‘X’ meters around you for enemy targets, enemies identified in this way are relayed to your and your teammates’ mini-maps, lasts for ‘X’ seconds)

-Biothermal Vision (allows you to clearly see living targets ‘X’ meters away for ‘X’ seconds, health of targets can be distinguished by their color markings, Y/triangle activates/deactivates)

-Sonar Vision (allows you to see and spot targets and allies through walls and other objects ‘X’ meters away, lasts for ‘X’ seconds, Y/triangle activates/deactivates)

 

Nosferatu, the scary as [email protected]#% fan favorite boss from Resident Evil: Code Veronica, unfortunately there are no bosses nearly as scary as him in RE: ORC.

Photo courtesy of DRV3R on http://drv3r.deviantart.com, from left to right: Four Eyes, Lupo, Beltway, Bertha, Spectre, and Vector ready to dominate.

So, those are the characters we get to use in campaign mode, pretty cool, huh, yeah, until you start the game, unfortunately, in which case they lose all personality that the little summaries about them below their characters describes. You almost never hear your characters talk and when you do it is often regurgitated general lines that occur in cutscenes that someone in your party must say, the utterance does not change based on the character. In-game, your characters will say little things and make little comments, but in the single player campaign this is few and far between and typically only your character talks, in the multiplayer campaign everyone’s character talks at least a little bit, but it still isn’t much—not nearly enough to get attached to them or get to know them and come to care about them like the previous Resident Evil games are known for. Remember the broken-heartedness you felt when you saw Steve ripped from Claire’s arms and turned into a monster she had to fight just as the two were developing a loving relationship, remember the heart-warming feeling you got when you learned the lengths Carlos went through to save and protect Jill when she was infected, remember the sting of anger, want for revenge, and then sudden panic when you learned Wesker betrayed not just your entire team, but the entirety of S.T.A.R.S., yeah none of that here; the voice acting isn’t bad, it’s just you aren’t given nearly enough moments to get to know these characters that you are playing with and supposedly, rooting for.

As I mentioned in my earlier article, the ally A.I. in the campaign does not help this cause of lack of caring for the characters much either, you will have your allies walking into bombs, needlessly wasting first aid sprays, and charging right into oncoming fire or, God forbid, Nemesis (I’ve seen it happen). This drops your caring for your allies significantly, and if they become infected, just pop ‘em in the head or let them become Crimson Heads and then kill them and you’ll just simply be able resurrect them without any penalty to you or them. This detracts from the caring for your teammates even further and in fact makes them start to feel like nothing more than tools to use for your mission, nothing more.

Finally, there’s the horrendous lack of any story. We all know stories of Resident Evil 2 and 3, and if you don’t, you certainly won’t be learning them here, that’s for sure. The heroes for 2 show up a total of once each, except for Leon, but I’ll get to that later. You’re on the outside of all of the action and get to see everything from a different point of view, and sometimes affect it, mainly by shutting off the power to Raccoon City, killing Dr. Birkin, letting a particularly nasty Mr. X loose, and restoring control of Nemesis to Umbrella, kind of significant, yes, but it sure doesn’t seem that way because you never really get to see the outcome or effect of ANY of your actions on the main story line of those surrounding it. You’re basically on a loose search and retrieve mission, which becomes a search and destroy mission with occasional input from the Umbrella Corporation administrators on your objectives and status of your mission, that’s about it, and when the story is most crucial, it is never explained. THE WORST example of this is at the last boss with Leon S. Kennedy, after wounding him, you approach him asking for the girl (Sherry), Claire agrees, but only on the condition that no one hurts him, nothing comes of this until the final cutscene for some reason, then you choose whether you want to defend or exterminate Leon, with no logical reasoning or arrival of thought on either of these options, they’re just offered up and then it’s a quick cut to the boss battle, no explanation, no who’s fighting with who and why cutscene, nothing. And to make matters worse, when you do either kill or protect Leon, the ending is horrible and accomplishes nothing, leaving you to wonder why you even put yourself through that horrible boss battle in the first place (especially if you’re fighting Leon, HE WILL NOT DIE!); I won’t spoil any endings for you here, but I can say this, they are horrible and they leave MUCH to be desired, one is just “WHAT THE HELL?!” leaving you feeling like you just got ripped off, and the other feels like you just completed half of the game, but, just kidding, you completed the WHOLE game, just sad, what happened Capcom, you used to be master storytellers, what happened..?

In conclusion, this game isn’t horrendous, but it isn’t good, either. It’s got some cool moments in it and can be a blast to play with your friends on the multiplayer campaign mode, I’ve also been told that the versus multiplayer is very good, too, but I’ve gotten a chance to play that yet and will be writing a review just on that once I get a chance. Overall, good with friends, not good at all alone, this game was practically MADE for JUST multiplayer gameplay, cooperative and versus, but the single player story mode is awful and should be approached with not a grain, but a teaspoon of salt. This game is fun to play and isn’t terribly bad, and is certainly not unplayable, but it is NO WHERE NEAR worth its $60 price tag, maybe once it comes down to $30 give it a try, but even then I’d caution you to rent it first or try a friend’s copy because this game IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. Next up, I’ll do a review on just the multiplayer aspect of this game, and the link to my Myths and Legends article about this game will be at the bottom for more detailed looks into ammo dispersement, objectives, A.I. (both ally and enemy), atmosphere, the auto cover system, the melee, and short look at the multiplayer. As always, I hope this helps, and happy gaming.

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