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Where Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City Failed [Game On]

If you’ve been watching The Walking Dead lately (and let’s be honest, who hasn’t?) you’ve no doubt seen the trailer for Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. I had really high hopes for this game because it was the first time we’d revisited Raccoon City in over a decade. However, if you’ve been looking at the review scores you already know that ORC is pretty bad across the board. I’m not here to do a full review of the game but what I would like to do is talk a little bit about what held the game back from being a worthy entry into the series.

First up the artificial intelligence leaves something to be desired in a big, big way. While you can adjust the difficulty which in turn affects the artificial intelligence, it’s not enough. Enemies frequently wander away from you or forget to attack you altogether. Some even stand completely motionless, stuck to the floor. Unfortunately this behavior isn’t limited exclusively to the bad guys; Your squad mates don’t do very well either. While it’s definitely funny to see your teammates walk into explosions and come out flaming, it’s not very helpful in combat. Frequently they will leave enemies completely unharmed in firefights, focusing on the wrong threats or occasionally shooting in the wrong direction entirely. While the addition of four player cooperative play is certainly welcome, the game almost demands it to be effective.

Of course it’s possible you’ll have the same frustration with your human counterparts. While you may be playing cooperatively, you will still find that the hit detection in this game is way off. Some zombies will go down after a couple of shots but others will take round after round, just refusing to die — Er, re-die. This is especially unfortunate, because for a game that focuses so heavily on shooting you would expect that action to be ,visceral, tight, and responsive.

Another issue in the same vein is the clipping that occurs frequently. Sometimes enemies will come running after you only to disappear into a wall for no reason.

For all the graphical inconsistencies there is one area where Resident Evil stays very consistent. Unfortunately it’s the last place you want to find consistency- the character models. Despite the fact that there are tons of zombies on screen at once there is very little variation in the zombies you subdue. In fact, in a roomful of zombies it’s not uncommon to find that five of them look exactly alike. Perhaps the most baffling aspect of this technical deficiency is that this game comes from Capcom who has previously done games like Dead Rising in which there are far more zombies depicted but with much greater variety.

From everything we’d seen leading up to the release of Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, it seemed like we were destined for another refreshing take on the series.  After all, Resident Evil 4 scrapped the original gameplay almost entirely and gave us an experience that critics raved about.  While you could make the argument that Resident Evil had become an action franchise, forgetting its survival horror roots, we thought for sure we’d get a taste of that original terror that kept us glued to our original Playstations in 1996 with this latest outing but alas, it was not meant to be.

ORC is of a divided mind, trying desperately to slip into the body armor of a sound tactical shooting experience while still scaring the sh*t out of us.  But, in the end it failed at both and left anyone gripping a controller horrified for all the wrong reasons.