Let's get this out of the way right off the bat, if you come to Operation Raccoon City expecting another Resident Evil 4, then inevitably you're going to be disappointed. However take it on its own merits, as a standalone game branching off from the main Resi universe and you'll find it offers an entirely different play style, and plenty to enjoy.
As well as an extensive campaign mode where you get to step into the leather clad shoes of the Umbrella Security service during the Raccoon City Outbreak, plus some interesting co-op variations, Operation Raccoon City features extensive Multiplayer and Versus modes that allow you to explore some interesting team game mechanics.
We recently took an extensive hands-on tour of duty through these very modes, which support four versus four team battles playing as both the thoroughly evil USS and the clean cut, square jawed Special Forces sent to thwart them. Here's what we discovered...
LOCK 'N LOAD
Just like in the main campaign game, you start by picking your character, each of which boasts a special ability. We were particularly fond of recon specialist Vector, who's ability to cloak in and out is great for ambushes and sneaky backstabs, but in the end we stuck with team leader Lupo who can activate a concentrated 20 second rain of fire on anyone unfortunate enough to get in her way
You can also customise your weapons and load out too, with a good selection of assault rifles, SMGs, pistols and grenades. Once you're kitted up it's straight into the fray with ORC's versus playlist, where different game types are cycled through to keep things interesting.
First up was Biohazard mode on town hall, a kind of treasure hunt conducted in the gloomy corridors and sweeping hallways of the old town hall. It plays a bit like capture the flag, or in this case capture the virus, as you hunt out individual samples of the G-virus and then return them to your home location for safe retrieval.
USS and Spec Forces each has a different spawn point and a floating icon leads you track down individual samples, while keeping a wary eye out for the opposition. This quickly becomes a real tussle with multiple choke points, as try to snatch the sample, evade the opposition and dodge any stray low level Infected who happen to be stumbling about. A real pro tip for this mode is to shoot to wound rather than kill your opponents, then run away sniggering as the Infected zero in on them like blood-crazed crack addicts - leaving you free to smuggle the virus sample back for a score.
Next up was Survivor Mode on Blood Drive, probably our favourite versus mode of all as it affords the maximum opportunity for sly tactics and sundry giggles. Blood Drive is set in Raccoon City's hospital level and has you race through the burning wards in a desperate sprint for the last helicopter out of Saigon, while simultaneously evading infected, lickers, hunters and the opposing team.
Highly competitive and enormous fun, it's particularly satisfying when you elbow one of your opponents out of the way just as they think they're climbing aboard, claiming that vital last slot and get choppered out into the sunset. Hands down probably the most fun of all the various versus modes, as it affords the most opportunity to make the special forces look like fools.
Team Attack on Train Wreck was pretty much your standard straight up balls out team deathmatch, but actually none the worse for that, with the idea being to just frag the special forces as many times as possible. The train yard, which was an evacuation point for survivors during the Raccoon City disaster, is a maze of box cars and wrecked locos with a few higher vantage points which you can reach by ladder and snipe down at the opposition.