The Resident Evil series has always been about heroic lantern jawed heroes like Chris
Redfield and Leon S Kennedy battling the infected, outrageous T-Virus ravaged monstrosities and the machinations of the sinister Umbrella Corporation.
But what if the boot was on the other foot and instead of saving the world via superior survival horror, you were instead charged with spoiling it as one of the instruments of said twisted corporation? Well that's the premise behind Operation Raccoon City, Capcom's new squad-based shooter set in one of the most iconic locations from the series.
You are cast as a member of the wolf pack, a covert and deadly arm of the Umbrella security
services and your mission is to erase all trace of Umbrella's involvement in the Raccoon City disaster (during Res Evil 2) as well as liquidating any unfortunate survivors.
Now you have to say there's an undeniable thrill at playing the bad guy for a change and from the off, Raccoon City has a different emphasis from most Resi Evil games. This is very much about fast paced co-op shooting rather than slower-paced survival horror and it's a decent change of pace, something you'll find begins with the wolf pack themselves.
Your first choice is which squad members you select for each mission. Now the Wolf Pack may all look like they've just dropped by after a big night out at the Torture Garden, wearing various concoctions of rubber, leather and neon, but bad guys should be properly and evilly attired right? Anyway, each character has different specialism like stealth, healing or heavy weaponry and you can also customise their load-out and weapons mix to make a highly specialised squad.
After much deliberation, we picked Dr Karena 'Lupo' Lesproux a former French Special Forces assault specialist known as Wolf Mother, supporting her with Spectre (sniper), Vector (recon) and Bertha (team medic) for a balanced squad. Your own character you can customise even deeper with additional abilities and perks and since we were counting on Lupo to stand up front and lead the charge, we equipped her with Guns a' Blazing, a 30 second burst of withering fire and Quick Reloads to make sure we'd never run short of ammo.
And so to business and our briefing sent us to City Hall where several people and various things needed 'disappearing'. After a short cut scene, we nipped in through the basement and into the meat of the mission itself. Raccoon City's game engine is impressive, with suitably gloomy, atmospheric levels and it's quick and nimble, really lending itself to the fast paced gameplay. It wasn't too long before we encountered our first major fire fight.