At a glance...

Previewer Platform Publisher Developer Players Release Date
Matt Bailey PlayStation 3 Capcom Capcom 1-2 (Online Co-Op) 2nd October 2012

Resident Evil 6 preview

Resident Evil 6 feels different and yet familiar. Guiding series favourite Leon S. Kennedy, protagonist of the even-numbered games, through dimly-lit corridors where danger lurks around every corner is Resident Evil horror in classic form. And yet Leon can leap over desks, shoot while moving, and roll around. It seems the series is moving into the modern era, with a fresh team ready to meet the demands of an increasingly dominant Western audience.

The adventures of Leon are just one of three separate storylines that intertwine in RE6, each of which offers a different type of gameplay. Despite his new abilities, Leon's third is more traditional slower horror, while Chris Redfield - the original Resident Evil hero - engages in more action-orientated scenarios, more akin to a third-person shooter. In fact, you'll be moving cover-to-cover like Gears of War, assault rifle in hand, as your unit moves through hordes of the undead. Our third lead, Jake Muller, takes the middle ground, engaging in battles in open streets, but also veering down alleyways to avoid continuous conflict.

Chris' adventure partly involves cover-based shooting

Chris' adventure partly involves cover-based shooting

Each of these three are accompanied by partners, Helena Harper, Piers Nivans, and Sherry Birkin respectively, and like Resident Evil 5 these partners are ever-present, making co-operative action compulsory, even if your other half is computer-controlled. Capcom are putting a bigger emphasis on finding a human partner, even if it is a random stranger, by getting you to set up a public game anyone can join midway through the action when you start any of the campaigns.

Despite the changes, some things are familiar. In my playthrough of the different sections at Gamescom I continually found myself running out of ammo, something that has always happened to me in the series due to a combination of my inability to use it wisely and its relative scarcity. Melee combat has been improved, so I certainly felt less helpless when I couldn't fire my gun, but there's also a greater call for it, as the series feels like it's shifting towards thrills rather than pure horror.

While Leon has a slightly more traditional approach

While Leon has a slightly more traditional approach

Having said that, it's hard to tell exactly what direction the series is taking. While each character's campaign is intriguing, and in my relatively short playthrough enjoyable, they feel like three separate parts rather than a whole. Maybe that's just the nature of these game show demos which never give you the bigger picture, but it almost feels like Capcom are trying three different approaches to cover all their bases. With a fresh feel, and a graphics engine that delivers dark, smokey corridors and ice-covered urban environments well, there's certainly a lot of potential here. Hopefully the different parts can come together to bring Resident Evil to a new audience.

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