CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If there's one thing I can say about "Resident Evil 6," it's that it tries.
The ninth game in the core series, "RE6" tries to make itself stand out. It features four separate campaigns featuring different pairs of characters, each with 5-7 hours of game play (double those if you plan on replaying a campaign as the other character in your pair), as well as online and local co-op and the always fun arcade-style "Mercenaries" mode.
It's a good game, but it's nowhere as good as it thinks it is.
Picking up where "RE5" left off, the game follows the exploits of series staples Leon Kennedy, Chris Redfield and Sherry Birkin (in her first appearance in the series since 1998's "RE 2") as they attempt once again to take down a bio-terrorist organization. They're paired with newcomers Helena Harper, Piers Nivans and Jake Muller (son of the late Albert Wesker), respectively. Once these three campaigns are completed, a new one starring "RE" vixen Ada Wong unlocks.
Each campaign plays differently, going so far as to completely redesign the HUD depending on who you're playing as. Also, Leon and Helena's campaign is more in the vein of "Resident Evil 4," with a focus on claustrophobic corridors and crowd control; Chris and Piers' campaign is even more action-oriented than "RE5," resembling a "Gears of War"-style shooter; Jake and Sherry's campaign feels more like "RE5" with a dash of "Uncharted" added to the mix and Ada's campaign is a throwback to the puzzle-solving days of the series' yesteryears.
All of the characters cross paths at some point, usually multiple times, and aside from Ada, you're free to choose which campaign to start first. However, for easier understanding of the confusing plot, I encourage you to play Jake and Sherry, then Leon and Helena, Chris and Piers and Ada.
The main problem with "RE6," besides its identity crisis, is that it doesn't feel fresh. Even though it's fun, it feels very generic. Combine this with an extreme overdose of quick-time events, and it all seems very lackluster. This is unfortunate because the game presents itself as the exact opposite, a blockbuster.
The shooting never feels satisfying, there are a lot of bugs involving collision detection when performing melee attacks and the boss fights are more frustrating than ever. Still, if you're a fan of the series, the story and fan service is good enough to warrant a purchase -- just wait until the price goes down."Resident Evil 6," rated M for mature, is available now for $59.99 on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, with a PC version coming next year.