I’ve been a fan of the Resident Evil series since 1999. I owe my love of survival horror and serious video games in general (i.e not Mario) to the RE series. So naturally I was uber-excited to learn about Capcom’s new side installment to the series, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, which would non-canonically detail more events of the original outbreak in Raccoon City. Piquing my interest especially was the thought of playing as the bad guys (an idea that as a child I emailed to Capcom – I still have the original letter and response.) My thoughts flew immediately to dreams of local and online co-op, a Heroes Mode wherein I could play interesting side missions as returning RE 2/3 fan favorites, Easter eggs galore throughout the city, familiar locations and events, the option to take down the heroes myself… The possibilities were endless. I entered fangirl nirvana as I watched the trailers, excitement building with subsequent TV spots.
I rushed to my mom’s house to retrieve the game as soon as it was delivered. The box arrived dented; foreshadowing that now seems so clear to me. As I played through the game, I cringed at the controls (shooter controls are not something I get used to easily; it seems so foreign in a Resident Evil game.) I hoped that would be the extent of my disappointment, but alas… I am unable to count the flaws in this game while using both hands – the quickfire ability is terrible, the cover function is horrendous (if you get slightly near the wall your character immediately drops down to take cover), you have to physically look at every item on the ground and be in the perfect spot before you can pick it up, the boss fights are unforgiving and boring, the AI is useless, the weapon choices are hardly varied and item carry is extremely limited, there are always either never enough zombies or way too many, the game lacks local co-op… Most egregiously, this Resident Evil game is simply just an extremely short, boring sub-par shooter; 90% of the game consists of returning fire to the Spec Ops team (Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service soldiers, a choice that should boggle the mind of any true fan – why would two factions of the same team fight each other?) The abrupt nonsensical ending to this game left me with a sadness that I haven’t felt since S.D. Perry’s contract for the RE novels was not renewed. I have not been more disappointed in a Resident Evil game since I played Darkside Chronicles (as a rail-shooter for the Wii, it was at least expected to be horrible.)
It is my sincere wish that this game suffered a horrific production murder at the hands of Capcom for a reason: Resident Evil 6 is due out at the end of the year and perhaps they were using all of their best resources and talent instead for that game. I will never be willing to forgive this squandering of my childhood dream for anything less.