One Hour Play-Test – Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

Imagine, if you will, the most decrepid, foul-smelling piece of dismembered flesh that your mind will allow.

Perhaps you are thinking of a fetid penis, rotting in it’s own juices?

Maybe you are considering a tongue, ripped out by some unseen assailant, and thrown into a bin – that later was the ‘target’ for a drunken reveller. The tongue is now languishing in a cocktail of vomit and toffee wrappers.

Whatever you are thinking, NOTHING compares to the disgusting state of Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, and I really didn’t want to admit that.

See since I first stepped into *that* mansion, since I first avoided being a ‘Jill Sandwich’ and since I first realised how scary some dogs jumping through a window could be, I’ve loved the franchise. Hell, I even played through both of the Outbreak games as well as both of the Guncon focused titles. I’ve never shied away from a Resi game, and when Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (ORC) was announced I was immediately hesitant due to the fact that it was a squad-based shooter, and that it was being handled by Slant Six Games, a company that didn’t do great things with SOCOM: Confrontation.

The Outbreak games had dabbled with a ‘group’ of survivors, but never really as an elite squad of military folks, and my biggest concern was the potential for the balance to waver. The general rule of thumb in a Resi game is that you find bigger and better weapons as you progress, but if you were to start the game as a tooled up operative surely that would ruin that sense of concern and fear?

Well sort of.

See, the game tries to redress this balance by making your guns underpowered, your gun play pitiful and your enemies are often bulletproof.


So, let’s start from the top.

Putting the game in *should* have prompted some great intro movie – as is the LAW OF RESI – but instead you get a crap title screen, pressure to play on-line and dreadful design choices in using thin red lines on a dark backdrop. Hey the Virtua Boy called and it wants it’s eye-fucking detail back!

Starting the game – ensuring to go it alone to test AI team-mates – I still expected a great intro.


Some text.

And a little clip of HUNK – yeah, he’s back – killing a couple of guards before we are introduced to our playable bunch of soul-less husks of character. I chose to play as Beltway, hoping he’d be a Chuck Norris style rogue, but save for a ‘Hey Mr Death’ jibe at HUNK he was as unfunny as dropped toast. Cut-sized cut-scene over you’re in the game. That’s it. Barely any set up, it assumes that as someone who went out and paid £40 for the game you must have loved earlier entries in the series – I’d just assume that you were a sadist who wanted to spend their wive’s wages to compensate for a lacking sex life, convinced that she’s fucking Emilio down the gym. This presumption hits the game hardest when you first go after William Birkin.

To Resi fans that name is infamous.

To anyone else that may think that he invented the penile wig (Willy Merkin?)

This is an issue that could have been balanced out easily by embracing the ‘alternate canon’ world they strived for and presented the original scenes from the original games as portents of what’s to come if you don’t act. This would have justified the fact that you are killing your own team mates – although the game tries to explain that some are mercs and can be bought – for a greater good. Instead it feels like nothing more than murder, but then in the case of Resi: ORC it is more like the haphazard manslaughter you’d expect from the Chuckle Brothers.

The first major area of firefight acts as a tutorial or sorts, cover is achieved by moving towards an object that is suited. This covers most objects. This also means that moving around is frustrating as your unmentioned magnetic underpants seem to want you to squat everywhere, obviously one of the MOCAP folks had a weak bladder and a fondness for public urination. Getting into cover is easy, but if you get into cover too close to a squad mate, your line of sight will be completely blocked, which is of little use when your guns are firing with as much explosive prowess as firework factory after a tsunami hits. My guy, Beltway (who is apparently called ‘Hector’ when not using his oh-so-cool codename) is armed with two firearms, namely a shotgun and a pistol. Hands-up if you know which of these would be effective over a long distance?



But, at the same time, no.

See, the handgun is firing small pellets of old teabag, one enemy took eleven headshots from it, all confirmed with red HUD change, before staggering away, not dead, just staggering. The shotgun would do some limited damage too, but ultimately both weapons were futile. Good job I have a crack team by my side, with better weapons. Surely?


The AI in this game is god-awful, I’ve not seen intelligence this bad since I accidentally flicked channels and caught an episode of The Only Way Is Essex. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if half of the USS team were vajazzled. Running into danger, away from combat, into the line of fire, into the way, blocking cover and generally arsing about, I may as well have gone on-line and allowed some slack-jawed losers just wander around in the game looking at the ‘purdy textures’. Which they aren’t. The William Birkin creature – not wanting to spoil it for those who are playing Resident Evil 2 and 3 to ensure that they understand the ‘plot’ in ORC – is a dreadful character model. I can only assume that a work experience boy was given some Play Doh to keep him entertained and he made this monstrosity. Poorly, obviously. So if shoddy character models are filled with shoddy AI, then do the CPU controlled opponents have better AI? Does this provide the ‘balance’? Nope. Again. All of the AI is awful.

Everything is awful.

Had I actually bought this game I would currently be sticking needles into my thighs, arranging them in the shape of an Umbrella logo, right before diving face first off of the sofa onto the cold hard floor, each needle a stinging, searing reminder that a great franchise will NEVER be great when forced to dance to the beat of another drum. As it is I borrowed a copy from work, and even now I feel cheap and abused.

So with everything being disjointed and awful I bet you are wondering if I managed a full one hour play-test?

Well, yes.

Sort of.

I played for an hour.

But forty-five minutes was spent on the same five minute section.

Fighting William Birkin.

See, you work your way down a corridor, avoiding flame jets and steam leaks, until Birkin bursts in. Now I stood there and unloaded my weapons into the eye on his arm – yup still a weak point. I literally unloaded my weapons, leaving me with my melee attack – which is useless on a normal foe, let alone a bloody enhanced creature. I was hammered over, and over until I died.

And again.

And again.

Until I realised I was fighting alone.

The rest of the squad had gone back down the corridor, so avoiding the flames and jets of steam I worked my way back, popping off the occasional round to slow the creature down. Back to the main door and it’s locked.

So we all died, again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And again.


AT NO POINT did the game give a hint, it just said ‘escape’ and ‘shoot the eye to slow him down’.

That’s it.

No visible exit route, shitty team mates and an enemy that attacks QUICKER than your character can get up off of the floor after being melee’d. No word of a lie I was juggled like a fat, sagging bean bag. After three quarters of an hour of being abused I took the disk out of my machine, put it back in it’s case and sword I would not play the game until some essential changes were made. I won’t touch the on-line mode, I won’t try to play the Xbox-Exclusive Nemesis mode that’s available on the XBLM and I won’t be trying the free DLC that ADVERTISED ON THE GAME BOX! Not as a sticker, not as an insert, but actually on the cover of the game, meaning that Capcom must have realised that they needed something to help push this dead old rotting, fetid shambles of a game off of the shelves. I’d have suggested a budget label price of £19.99. At that price I would have been far, far more forgiving as it would have represented a level of honesty from Capcom and Slant Six. As it stands the game is being marketed heavily on that nostalgia feeling, on the fact that you can interact with key moments in the Resident Evil timeline, and change things. To re-visit locations that you last saw over a decade ago and to kill characters who were the heroes of the canon.

Problem is, in this alternate reality, the Resident Evil games are shite. Who would want to live in that world?

I feel guilty for being so hostile towards this game, as a super fan of the franchise and a proponent of companies taking risky chances, but as I went along with Capcom’s bravery on Asura’s Wrath I feel that I can allow myself to say this following summary sentence:

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is not only the worst Resident Evil game I’ve EVER played, it is also one of the worst games I’ve played since Lost Planet 2. Hell, it’s worse than Lost Planet 2.


If you are considering buying this game, punch yourself, hard, now. If someone you care about is thinking about it, don’t let them, spend all of their money on apples, and sit for an afternoon throwing them at their head. It will be money better spent, and ultimately less painful.

Hell, if you see someone in a shop even picking up the case, know it out of their hands and put a pack of Chewlies gum in their hands instead.



One thought on “One Hour Play-Test – Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

  1. I was worried about this game when it was first announced, then I saw a Game Trailers hands on where a squad mate clearly gets stuck on a wall and runs around in circles. Your review confirms my worst fears*.

    Resident Evil 5 was one of the all time great (couch co-op) games. Yes the screens were small and the controls take time to recall but after two minutes this is forgotten. God help those who tried to play it single player (memories of Outbreak, when the COM controlled characters would run ahead, pick up all the items, pick up ammo for weapons they don’t have then die in a corner somewhere).

    Since then Capcom seem to have had a bump on the head. Mercenaries is them in cash-in mode, Revelations sort of makes up for it whilst adding some more steaming piss to the overarching ‘plot’ but I don’t think a cover based, squad based, shooting based based shooter set in Raccoon City is really going to right the ship. Are they trying to tap into the market of the 1990s? There’s plenty of wallpaper shooters out there and now plenty of zombie games. Sticking them together whilst cutting out the good bits of Resident Evil is a recipe for UNSUCCESSFUL.

    *Yep worse than television, terrorism or the scientific fact of monster under the bed that turn invisible in the light.

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