Hello Readers! Usually when I write a post on the site I expect a range of opinions from you good folk whom read it, and more often than not the comments box is the place that people pipe in on the discussion. Rightly so.
Sometimes, though, we get emails.
Which is a bit odd, considering we go to great lengths to be open and public in our discussions, if for no other reason than we enjoy talking to you guys and gals. But when we get an email we rarely reply, mainly as we would prefer, as I previously alluded towards, open discussion on the site. So, and probably just this once, I’ve decided to respond to a couple of emails I recieved this week, following my One Hour Play-Test of Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City.
So, the first email – and I won’t cut and paste the whole thing as a) there are a LOT of grammatical errors and b) it is VERY sweary – essentially made three bold claims:
YOU HAVEN’T EVEN PLAYED THE GAME, IT’S NOT OUT UNTIL FRIDAY! LIAR!
IF YOU HAD PLAYED IT, IT WOULD HAVE SHOWN UP ON YOUR GAMERTAG! LIAR!!!
YOU ARE A SONY FAG!
So, without further delay, let’s get interacting!
In relation to the release date, yes, the game is not in stores until tomorrow (Friday 23rd) but I work for a rental store that has stock available to staff pre-release so that we can made informed recommendations to our customer base. We get ten free rentals a week to assist with this prior-knowledge, and we take it quite seriously that we shouldn’t really be making uninformed suggestions, when we actually have a way of ensuring that those staff who game, do so, and can give feedback to colleagues. It’s a great system, and one that has served us well on The Lolocaust as well, as we are not bound by embargoes as such. So, I did have it on Tuesday afternoon, and played it that evening. I think that covers that.
So, onto point two. Which actually is also quite valid. How come it doesn’t show up on my GamerTag?
Well put bluntly, I deleted it after playing it. I hadn’t unlocked any achievements at that point – more on that later – and as such I deleted the game from my profile to ensure that, given the fact that I wasn’t interested in playing it again, I wasn’t a thousand gamerpoints down on my total. (I am always working to a 42% target). Sometimes when I’m doing a playtest I will play off-line on a secondary profile, if I don’t want to show I’m playing it to the world and his dog. Sometimes this is to avoid a flurry of “HOW DID YOU GET THAT?” messages, sometimes it’s because I’m playing something that I normally wouldn’t touch with a barge pole, and don’t want to sully my own profile with it. Most often it’s played on a different profile if there is some confusion over a ban-hammer being levelled at early players, so I stay off-line with those ones until we know it’s safe. So yes, it doesn’t show up on my profile, as I removed it.
Now, onto that third, nonsensical point.
How does criticising a multi-format title from Capcom make me a ‘Sony Fag’? I have often been highly critical of Sony, and will always criticise poor games, regardless of their origin. As I stated in my feature I wanted to love Resident Evil: ORC, but I didn’t, pure and simple. In fact I was angrier because it was a bad Resi game, much as I was with Lost Planet 2. Some games are bad, but some don’t have to be, and ORC falls into that category. It had huge potential, and all of that potential was pissed up the wall by Slant Six. I dare say that had the stock not have been multi-format, and I’d have had to endure playing the PS3 version, I’d have been even more annoyed, given the heritage of Resi games on the Sony consoles. So, yes, call me a ‘fag’ if you like, but ultimately I have played the game – something you most likely haven’t, but feel free to get in touch when you have – despite your conspiracy theories, sorry you didn’t agree with my viewpoint. Well, no I’m not really, because in your email you misspelled the word ‘Resident’. You probably work for Capcom, lol!
So, onto email #2. This one came with a name at the bottom, ‘Matty T’ so I at least can direct the response to a name rather than an angry disembodied voice of dissent. So Matty T asked this:
“Did you play on-line with friends, or just offline? It is designed as an on-line game, you haven’t given it the best chance.”
Now… I have to agree with your statement, in principle, as I didn’t go on-line – mostly as I got it before it even launched in the US, and as such there would have been very few people on-line, let alone people I’d actually want to squad up with, but most of my concerns based around the game wouldn’t have been fixed with the addition of real people, in my opinion. Sure it would remove the AI issue on my team, but it wouldn’t fix poorly balanced weaponry/damage ratios, nor would it fix the poor design of the game as a whole. Naturally I haven’t played it as ‘intended’ by Slant Six, but let’s be honest a game that requires real world people to be any fun, set in the Resident Evil world isn’t great either way. There is no emphasis on co-operation, other than the fact that medicine spray cans heal all in a certain proximity. Given that alone it took me a few minutes to wipe out about ten foes, thanks to my underpowered shotgun, I dare say it would make for a VERY frustrating multi-player experience. What I can say that is positive, is that Capcom have yet again avoided implementing a one-use on-line code. That was perhaps the best decision as the game is clearly weighted in favour of on-line interations, but ultimately I feel that the game is poor regardless. Now the worst games in the world can be fun with the right friends, but they are still poor games and as such I feel that my review was as fair as I could have been.
Another point I would raise was prompted by one of my customers today who cancelled his order after reading about the heavy on-line emphasis, he plays solely offline, and as such lost all interest in the game, but he is a huge Resi fan, and wanted to enjoy the game. The fact that the on-line was a killing point, I think, represents a dropping of the ball on Slant Six’s part. Resident Evil 5 – and reportedly 6 – feature optional co-op, but the experience can be just as good with no Internet connection. The fact that this game goes the other way, making a game that’s only good with one, is not really fair on all gamers. Especially those whom have grown up playing Resident Evil games as a single player experience.
So thanks Matty T, I hope that this goes some way to explaining my stance on the on-line side of things, and as to why they weren’t reflected in the review. By all means if you are buying it – and your email suggests so – do drop a comment on this, or the original article to inform fellow readers on your views. There are no wrong opinions when it comes to something you enjoy or not.
So, onto the final email, number three, and one that was little more than the following words:
“YOUR CRAP AT GAMES! THATS WHY YOU DIDN’T LIKE IT, GO PLAY WITH A WII AND LEAVE RESI TO REAL GAMERS!! IF YOU CAN’T USE YOUR SQUAD COMMANDS, OF COURSE THEY’LL WALK AROUND!”
Right… Now, you may well be right in terms of squad based shooters, I’m not the best, but the fact that you ask about my usage of squad commands means I either didn’t put enough information into the piece, or you have been misinformed. At no point in my time with Resident Evil: ORC (and a thorough read through of the manual suggests that none come later either) was I given the chance to control my team mates strategies. I couldn’t send them to cover, issue marks on specific foes or ask them to flank a position. I had no control whatsoever. Now given that Slant Six have a heritage in the SOCOM series, you’d think that Resident Evil: ORC would be full of squad mate controls, but no. Instead the emphasis on on-line gaming has led to those controls being omitted, at a real cost to the single player experience which is unforgivable.
On the other hand, I did mention how I kept dying, but I didn’t mention what difficulty I was playing on. Now I could have bitten off more than I could have chewed, but I was on Casual.
See, I wouldn’t have minded perma-death if I was on a hard mode, but on Casual it actually serves to highlight the intrinsic flaws in the game design if a gamer of some twenty-three years struggles in the first chapter alone. I dare say, as I did in my feature, that more focus on explaining what to do, especially as the game uses way points with a logo often enough up until the big fight, even just a comment from a team-mate ‘Hold it off of us, while we open this door’ and I’d have known what strategy to have taken, instead I tried three and none progressed the story and resulted in my turning off of the game.
Maybe I was just crap, but more likely I was missing something key, and the poor game design ensured that I’d have needed to stumble upon it, as all of the clues suggest back-tracking down the corridor.
In answer to the skill level thing, using the ammo container provided I unloaded nine full loads into the ‘eye’ with no effect on his health. I’d held him at bay for at least five solid minutes, so I’m confident that that wasn’t the point, and once the creature gets to you, you can’t fun past either. Even now I’m at a loss as to what to do.
Right, I just watched a walkthrough video on YouTube, and it appears that the ‘locked door’ had glitched on my game, as you could interact and get it open. Dammit! I was beaten by a glitchy bit of game code. Well, game code and a big lump of masonry. I’ve decided to stick the video in here, as it actually highlights my points clearly:
See that point where the roof caves in, the player was VERY lucky for that to have triggered, breaking the never-ending melee attack loop that had started. That section contains everything you need to realise how badly put together it is and while I’m frustrated that the ‘open’ option never appeared, it probably saved me a lot of boredom long term.
So there you go, all major points covered, and in summary I feel that I’ve argued my case well. If you disagree, feel free to drop a comment on this article and we’ll discuss things in more detail.
Oh, and while I remember, there is one other VERY annoying ‘quirk’ in Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City that I didn’t mention in my original review, but one that I’d like to put out there as a little addendum, namely the fact that death brings with it a painful side-effect. When you die you lose any weapons that you’ve picked up along the way, as well as losing any intel evidence items that you have picked up. In some cases you can have a gun for the whole of a section, but death will reset you back to your basic set-up. This again reeks of poor design, and while some may say ‘Be more careful’ I would retort with the simple fact that I don’t want to. I don’t want to have to survive EVERY encounter just to keep a gun. Some of the best moments in Resident Evil games involve a gruesome end, but Resident Evil: ORC instead suggests that death should be avoided, on penalty of that cool gun and those cool grenades you’d been saving. Instead you are left with the only rational option of spunking up all your ammo and grenades as and when you find them. Resi games were all about the preservation of items and ammunition, and now it’s all about spraying bullets around like a teenager fapping furiously over the latest copy of the Empire catalogue’s lingerie section.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is released tomorrow, and I look forward to hearing your views – if you chose to ignore my advice – but tellingly one Google search that pointed someone towards us today featured this rather telling series of words:
“resident evil orc worse game in history”
I wouldn’t go that far, but someone clearly has had a similar experience to me.