Lickers make a few annoying appearances.
Friendly AI is the same AI we’ve all come to know and detest in squad shooters: Quick to heal minor injuries, slow to do everything else. You know what’s worse than Resident Evil 5’s Sheeva? Three Sheevas. I tried my best to use them as moving shields. To be fair, this game is meant to be played with three other people. I moved onto the co-op mode of the campaign.
After blasting through the first level I purchased some upgrades for Lupo and jumped into an online campaign Quick Match. I entered a match in progress and went to select my assault class only to find her locked, because someone else was playing as the character. Yeah, REORC is one of those. Only one of each character can be used in a mission. I don’t care if it wouldn’t make sense to have two Lupos, the fact that they use the same five zombie models throughout the whole damn game kind of makes it irrelevant. I know this is done for balancing issues (a team of four Field Scientists would be godly) but it kind of sucks if you’ve been focusing on one class and then get stuck with another character for which you haven’t unlocked any abilities.
The game becomes bearable when you’re playing with friends. Actually, it’s pretty enjoyable. I had a good time with several different people, even *gasp* randoms. REORC does allow drop-in and drop-out play, so it's easy to join your friends mid-game. All of the faults in the combat system become annoying, almost comical, quirks. Players can easily revive each other, and four well-coordinated players will shred this game on the "Normal" difficulty setting. When I increased the difficulty to the "Veteran," the game almost became unplayable because friendly fire is activated. My co-op teammates were far more dangerous than any denizen of Raccoon City.
Okay, Mr. X is still a formidable foe.
At the end of each level players are awarded a letter grade and experience points, which they can use to buy weapons and upgrades. Upgrades are class-specific, but weapons can be used by any character. All the XP and stage progress stays with your profile. One nice thing about REORC’s XP system is that you can spend your valuable points on any character you choose. So you may earn 10000 XP in a mission using Lupo, but you may use them to buy abilities for the other characters like Beltway or Vector.
You may have noticed that I haven’t really mentioned zombies, or Lickers, or Hunters, or other types of enemies. They’re in there, but they’re more of a distraction than a threat. Since there’s an ample supply of ammo, zombies are something to be toyed with, not feared. The occasional group of Lickers or pack of Hunters will get your attention, but four human players will simply cut through these minor, albeit irritating, foes. Your main opponents throughout the game are faceless Spec Ops soldiers. Each of these encounters plays out with all of the faults I’ve already described above. Most levels are rather easygoing and then finish with an incredibly frustrating boss battle which preys on the combat system’s shortcomings. Sniper fight with questionable headshot detection? Not fun.
Raccoon City itself is an empty shell of a wasteland. Levels come in two flavors: indoor corridors or outdoor corridors. Everything is a muted dark blue and the character models are uninspired. Stages blend together, leaving each level distinguishable only by its unbalanced boss fight. An occasional landmark from previous Resident Evil games will make an appearance from time to time, but these just made me yearn for the old games. You’ll spend about five minutes in the Raccoon City Police Department, wondering if the stuffed tiger looked that bad in Resident Evil 2.
If you can see someone's face, there's a good chance they're not in the campaign.
The overall game presentation itself feels unfinished. There’s little story or direction other than “Umbrella says” missions -- secure this item, destroy that evidence, or stop this intruder. You’re briefed as if in a Call of Duty game, where a meaningless digitized map of Raccoon City appears while a menacing voice tells you what to do. A floating checkpoint will guide your movement through the already linear stages. The cut scenes are woefully inadequate. Remember those cool videos showing the USS tracking down cops and battling the badass Spec Ops team? Yeah, that doesn’t happen in campaign mode. You won’t be battling any civilian survivors, or members of the RPD, or STARS, aside from one (hopefully obvious) exception. It’s just the same cookie cutter Spec Ops soldiers over and over again.
You will see the Spec Ops team from the videos in the versus modes. They’re the "good" doppelgangers of the USS. There are four versus game types in total, not counting the paid exclusive Xbox 360 "Nemesis Mode." I played each mode a handful of times. Players are beastly bullet sponges. Matches are four versus four in a battle to get the most kills (Team Attack), capture the most G-Virus (BioHazard), kill the enemy leaders (Heroes), or survive until helicopter arrives (Survival). None of these modes support bots or any other type of co-op friendly modes. Even in “Survival” mode, scoring is based on killing members of the opposing team. There are only four seats available on that helicopter.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is a huge disappointment. Most of the gameplay is flawed, and what does work is of little consequence. I’m a huge fan of Resident Evil, but only the most devoted fans will find more than few hours of enjoyment here. I suggest saving your hard-earned money for Resident Evil 6, or wait until REORC hits the bargain bin. I don’t think you’ll have to wait long.
The Co-Optimus review of Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City was based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.
The Co-Op Experience: Choose one of six specially trained members of the Umbrella Security Service. Form a four man team and destroy all evidence of Umbrella Corporation's involvement in the Raccoon City Outbreak.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.