Just how good is it to be bad?
2012 is shaping up to be big for Capcoms on-going zombie-killing saga, with the sixth major entry in the franchise due towards the end of the year. In the meantime, Operation Raccoon City offers a revisionist take on the original outbreak except this time, youre out to ensure no proof remains of the Umbrella Corporations genetic foul play.
The traditional blend of puzzles and schlock-horror action is dropped in favour of a squad-based shooter think Gears of War or Team Fortress in the Resi universe and youre on the right track. Six specialist operatives in the employ of Umbrella serve as the main cast, each with a speciality lending itself to the team mechanic. For example, the sadistic Bertha acts as a medic, albeit one whose bio describes her as loathe to use anaesthesia, while Beltway is a lumbering, powerful tank. Missions see you hunting down evidence and slaughtering both the infected and survivors alike, with some nice diversions from the canon events of RE2 expanding the villains side of the story. Success earns experience, used to buy enhanced skills and additional weapons, while missions can be replayed for maximum results.
However, while the potential exists for something great, too many annoyances let the game down. Controls are the prime offender, an often frustrating mix of third- and first-person mechanics. Worse, everything feels slow to respond if youre unlucky enough to get knocked down by a tough monster or boss, you may as well forget about getting up in time to retaliate and instead submit to crushing, maddening defeat.
Tolerate this though, and the game improves significantly if played online with mates. As well as playing through the story as a group, six multiplayer modes with a seventh available as day one DLC bring a considerable versatility and length to the game. Overall, Operation Raccoon City feels more like an adrenaline-fuelled stopgap before Resident Evil 6 arrives.