Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City Review

Resident Evil – A series best known as the daddy of mainstream survival horror. Raccoon City – Every Resident Evil fan’s favourite doomed metropolis. Surely a game with both of the above in the title can do nothing but succeed. I mean, that’s just awesome fan service, right? Yeah… Well… unfortunately, for Operation Raccoon City, that’s not quite the case.

Lets be clear here. Operation Raccoon City is not THAT bad. As a matter of fact, it can actually be a hell of a lot of fun. For it’s many missed opportunites and failed potential, Operation Raccoon City is a competent shooter that excels when played online with a few friends. That should be good enough for most shooter fans out there, but the problem with this game is that Capcom and Slant Six have failed to bring us an entry which delivers any of the atmosphere or “feel” of previous games in the franchise, even though it’s littered with character cameos and familiar iconography throughout.

Well, to begin, the general controls of Operation Raccoon City are fine, fulfilling the basic necessities of the contemporary third person shooter. One of the only issues I have with the controls, comes in the form of the game’s cover system. The cover is not handled by a button press; instead when you get close to an object that you can use for cover, your character will lock to it automatically. Now early on in the game this didn’t bother me and I actually thought it was handled really well – but in the games more difficult chapters, the cracks begin to show and the game becomes insanely frustrating, as you don’t have direct control of the cover mechanic and you will more often than not find your head being pumped full of Spec Ops assault rifle rounds, as you attempt to fumble your way back behind an overturned shopping trolley, which will clearly protect yout from armour piercing rounds… Right…

Another of Operation Raccoon City’s shortcomings is in it’s absence of “wow” moments. Maybe we’re spoiled these days, by games like Gears of War or Uncharted but I just expect AAA titles released these days to have at least a few, truly “wow” moments or encounters. Operation Raccoon City should have had a whole slew of these sections, given the subject material of the game (zombie infested city falling apart) but unfortunately Slant Six didn’t capitalise on the lore or setting and what we end up with in the campaign chapters can be called decent, at best. Most of the set pieces or boss battles are overly simplified and rarely require the player do anything other than the usual run and gun in a circle for five to ten minutes technique.

So, thus far most of what I’ve been saying has been unashamedly negative but I’ll be honest, there is a lot to love about Slant Six’s take on the Resident Evil universe, particularly for multiplayer enthusiasts. As stated above, Raccoon City is kind of like a mecca to many of the hardcore Resi fans out there, and having the ability to drop into that moment in time, cutting a swathe through hordes of zombies and witnessing key moments from Resident Evil 2 and 3 through this new “what if?” lens does have a fantastic appeal to it. The game is fundamentally, third person Left 4 Dead in Raccoon City, down to even the mostly shoddy partner AI, which seems to be unfortunately present in most online focused multiplayer co-op titles when played in single-player (I’m looking at you Resident Evil 5, Gears of War and Left 4 Dead).

As for the online multiplayer, it proves to be the stand out area of the Operation Raccoon City package. Some of my favourite moments while playing this were found in the survivor mode which see’s you racing alongside other survivors to hop on a chopper out of town. Only issue is, there are fewer seats than people which makes for some interesting scenarios. The heroes mode is a lot of fun and will probably deliver the most enjoyment to Resident Evil purists who would want to play as series favourites such as Leon Kennedy, Jill Valentine or Hunk. Team Attack mode, which is essentially a modifed Team Deathmatch and Biohazard mode, a kind of capture the flag scenario round out the multiplayer match types available but these modes provide more than enough entertaining content for shooter fans to get plenty of bang for their buck.

The audio work in Operation Raccoon City is very good and the music, sound effects and voice-over work are all solid, if not entirely memorable. One thing I noticed, that I got some real fanboy glee from, was the fact that all the in-game dialogue from any of the events in Resi 2 and 3 was identical to the original game, which I felt was a nice touch for hardcore fans. The visuals are pretty nice throughout, although the palette of the game is very one dimensional and we never really see the environments change dramatically, whether in an abandoned police station or underground facility, which is a real shame with such beautiful source material to work from.

Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City is a fun shooter that delivers thrills and laughs in it’s online multiplayer modes. If you’re looking for a Left 4 Dead substitute you should find a decent amount of enjoyment in Raccoon City and more to come with the new patches on the way.

The problem is that for a lot of fans of this particular franchise it has always been heavily geared towards the single player experience and in that respect, Operation Raccoon City is a short, mostly frustrating, bland experience which skims through one of gaming’s most significant locales and loses sight of Raccoon Cities finest tourist attractions along the way. Operation Raccoon City is not one of the best Resident Evil titles of all time, but I can certainly think of worse in the franchise (Gaiden, Gun Survivor).

Your desire for multiplayer will definitely be a deciding factor on the level of enjoyment you’ll get from this game and for me, while I enjoyed my various romps through Raccoon City, there are better horror games and better shooters currently on the market.

Overall Score: 3/5 (Above Average)

About Paddy Badger

Former games developer at Open Emotion Studios/Time Machine Games. Film-Maker. Over a dozen shorts as writer/director including Cuppa, Retribution and An Beanshi. Director of indie cult success, The Three Don'ts - winner of over a dozen awards worldwide.

Posted on April 11, 2012, in AAA, Horror Games, Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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