This article originally appeared in PSM3 magazine.
Resident Evil 6 is Capcom cashing in their chips on the triple-A lottery and just banking on a little bit of everything. There are six heroes, three campaigns, two different flavours of co-op and more variety in E3's three fifteen-minute demos than most games manage in their entire campaign. But it's so busy making new friends and being all things to all people it might have forgotten to just be Resident Evil.
When Jake and Sherry are pursued by the Resident Evil 6 version of Nemesis the chase plays out in scripted events and a punishing fight in an enclosed space. It's a boss fight you'll have seen done better in Dead Space, where Isaac Clarke feels vulnerable but capable, heavy but responsive. In Resident Evil 6's big E3 boss fight those new combat controls reveal their limitations. The heroes feel vulnerable in the worst way thanks to a fast enemy, unresponsive characters, puny guns and tricky menus.
Chris and Piers' campaign demo sees them fight their way across rooftops at high speed, again with those clunky controls getting in the way of a satisfying shootout. Chris' story is an all-action shooter, exactly the opposite of Leon and Helena's horror-themed campaign where Leon spends the first ten minutes of his story throttled to walking speed and unable to fire his gun. It's Resident Evil at its most scripted as the game takes you on a scare-free tour of a university building, robbing you of control and letting an AI companion do all the work.
In Capcom's three demos there were quick time events, on-rails chases, protracted shootouts, 'boo' moments, boss fights, a little bit of exploration, some cut scenes, four-player campaign co-op, three radically different environments and so many gear changes you'll never know what you're supposed to be feeling. It's as if Capcom are asking "do you like this? No? How about this? How about this? How about this?" over and over again and hoping you'll eventually find something to love.
You can only tell so much from forty-five minutes but you can tell enough to put the brakes on the hype train until we've seen more of those campaigns. The E3 hands-on shows nothing of Resident Evil 6's touted scale or ambition, but whether it's Capcom choosing a poor slice to demo or a it's a very real sample of the finished game the result is the same: it's time to wait and see.