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Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City - Is co-op the silver lining?

Playing as Umbrella clouds the fun...

First the good news; play Heroes mode and you take control of Leon Kennedy and his well-known companions - the actual Resident Evil characters.

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Now the not-so-good news. Operation Raccoon City feels almost nothing like the actual Resident Evil games. It's mainly because you're forced into the strafe-less shoes of Umbrella's Security Service (or USS if you prefer) during the events of Resident Evil 2 and 3, as they attempt to destroy all evidence of the greedy pharmaceutical company's link to the deadly T-Virus.

Consequently, in Operation Raccoon City you're not so much sticking it to The Man as hand-washing his soiled Y-fronts and pressing them for him.

However, crank those Resi 4-fuelled expectations down a notch (or more) and you might actually end up having fun. From our extended hands-on with the game, we can also say that Operation Raccoon City is shaping up as a solid third-person shooter, and one with some interesting co-op options. If that sounds a bit like faint praise, well, it is.

FOUR IS COMPANY

Indeed, co-op is absolutely the way this is meant to be played. Take the campaign online and strangers can casually drop in and out of your game. Alternatively, if you want things more predictable you can set up a four-man squad with just your mates.

You've got six members of the USS to choose from, and each has their own perks and abilities to unlock and upgrade. Our favourite perk so far is Incendiary Ammo, which lights up zombies like petrol-soaked flesh fireworks.

There are boss battles too, and these need careful coordination - one frantic scrap saw us face off against a sniper; one man kept him down with covering fire, two held the incessant undead hordes at bay, and the last was sniping back. It's tough stuff.

The guns pack a fun punch, and - although the shambling hordes don't react quite like they do in Resident Evil 5 when you blast them - seeing a zombie flap about as you fill his face with SMG rounds just feels good. That'svideogame law.

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This is never going to be a series milestone, by any stretch of the imagination. What it might be, however, is a gory blast of zombie-pasting fun, a fistful of Resi cameos and a good time that's best with mates. If that is indeed the case, then we really can't complain. Well, not too much, anyway.

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