An Insult To My Childhood - Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

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I’ve reviewed nearly everything under the sun: Comics, TV shows, movies; but now, I’m adding a video game review to that list. Only a very special game could make this happen. It would either have to be one that captured my heart like never before or one that I absolutely abhorred. Unfortunately, this game didn’t so much capture my heart as much as it did eat it, crap it out, and use it to fertilize it’s yard.

I’m talking about Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. To start off, this game SHOULD NOT qualify as a Resident Evil game.

The original Resident Evil game series involved a lot more exploration and puzzle solving. This abysmal spin off lacked a single puzzle and was almost entirely linear. While Resident Evil 4 (my pick for the single greatest video game to ever exist) and 5 were both more on the linear side, they still worked in the vein of survival horror; building suspense before your skull gets chainsawed off by mad Spaniard with a potato sack on his head. This game was not survival horror. It’s a shooter that holds your hand as it you go from one navpoint to the next.

In any other Resident Evil, dogs would howl in the distance before the zombified canines crashed through the window. In this, your teammate says, “Looks like there were dogs here.” Then there they are. Subtle, Capcom. The Dead Space series is a 100 times scarier and it’s mostly jump scares.

RE:ORC follows a six person Umbrella team called “Wolf Pack” into Raccoon City as they clean up by destroying any material that indicates Umbrella had to do with the outbreak. Each member of the team is specialized and has some sort of special abilities. I have no idea what each person’s was since they never came into play or were needed. There was a medic, an explosive experts, some sort of research person. I played as Vector (not to be confused with Spectre), the stealth expert. Being able to turn invisible came in handy once the entire game.

The characters you pick for each mission make no difference. You never need the explosives guy there to blow up something in the way; you never need the medic there to save someone life. They’re just walking meat with heavy weapons attached. Not like this matters, though. In the midst of a battle with some hunters, I turned to run and saw two of my team members intently laying fire into the open side of a bus. Man, I tell you, that thing must have come out of nowhere and scared them because they continued to shoot at it for three minutes while Hunters tore at their backs.

They couldn’t even revive each other. At least the A.I. in Gears of War can sometimes save each other instead of making Marcus hoof it all over the map. 60% percent of my game was running around and holding down the A button to save them. Finally, Capcom promised  each of these characters would have a distinct and memorable personality. Evidently this seemed too unique and got cut.

If that didn’t spell it out for you, the A.I.’s intelligence level is equivalent of a chicken.

Except this chicken. Chickendog is awesome Really, I just found this picture and had to use it.

As for the levels, I felt like I was either always just walking down one long street or through one giant warehouse. It was just constant sameness. Sure, there were a few nostalgia filled moments: I strolled through the RCPD and later found Kendo’s gunshop. But these small moments of “Oh, that’s neat” don’t make up for the endless progression of cover based chest high wall filled hallways.

But why would you need cover? You’re just fighting zombies, right? Not even close.

Most of the game is spent fighting other masked folks with semi-automatic weapons. Whether it be the UBCS or the US Military, you’re always getting shot at by somebody. The zombies are mostly just moving scenery, a travesty for a game the bears the Resident Evil name.

If you don’t watch out, you can actually run out of ammo quite quickly. This is definitely a survival horror aspect. If Jill ran out of ammo in Resident Evil 3, it was only a matter of time before Nemesis arrived to rip your limbs off. This is not the case in ORC. Because your people are HIGHLY TRAINED IN FREAKING KUNG FU. You run out of bullets? Just mash the b button to begin an endless combo of punches, kicks, schanking, and generalized ass kicking. You’re basically invincible against the normal zombies as long as you mash the hell out of that lovely, red button.

The game had a few cool moments: The return of the crimson heads made me excited for just a moment before they returned to being just a faster zombie. A boss fight with TWO Mr. Xs attacking the wolf pack at once. And, my favorite moment, when the Wolf Pack has to FIX NEMESIS by taking him down and rewiring him. As someone that had recurrent nightmares about Nemesis finding me again, the fact that I had to fix him, just so he could go after Jill, was just cruel. These elements were few and far between, providing little relief from the brain dead game mechanics.

Although one time, Nemesis glitched out and began doing the electric slide through a wall. No joke.

This game wanted so hard to be Left 4 Dead. The zombies were the basic horde, the Crimson Heads acted as Hunters, the lickers as smokers, the hunters as chargers, and the newly introduced bile spewing zombies as boomers. It’s just kind of sad that a game series that kick started the genre is having to take cues and rip off of a game it had a hand in creating.

The game was mercifully short with about 8 hours of total game time. Mine was shorter since I constantly got bored and began to just sprint from nav point to nav point just to get through the game.

Ada, Claire, Sherry, and Leon were all in the game but just for brief moments. The final part of the game gives you the choice to kill or defend Leon with the credits immediately rolling after. I chose not to kill him, because, you know, Leon is the freaking man.

Some people might try to argue that the single player wasn’t the main point of the game. So, I took a break from writing this article to try the online. It was glitchy and constantly dropped the game within 2 minutes of getting into it.

Finally, I have one more point to make. This one is more of a personal complaint. My favorite thing to do with video games is to sit on the end of my bed with my best friend and play split screen co-op. Sure, online co-op exists. But it’s so much more fun to be side by side as you laugh at your failures (maybe that’s just us). What I’m getting is that Capcom gave some false advertising with this game. The back of the box says “Online Multiplayer is 2-8” and “co-op 2-4”.  This indicates the co-op (offline) and the online are two different things, leading me to buy it. There was no split-screen co-op and I was quite disappointed. I left a strongly worded message to Capcom. I doubt I’m going get a response. Alas.

In closing, you don’t need to play this game. If you’re a fan of COD or Left 4 Dead, go play those games; they’re better done than this game in their respective ways. If you’re a fan of the Resident Evil Series, then this is more than an insult than anything to the games you remember and love.

I hope Resident Evil 6 doesn’t let me down like ORC did. But Capcom has said they’re hoping to attract COD fans with 6. It makes me sad that my favorite series soon might become just another COD clone with more thought put towards pointless online play than anything

What can I do? At least,  Leon and I will always have Spain.


Post-script: The guy at Gamestop gave me a full refund on the game because he agreed it was a piece of garbage. There is justice in the world, afterall.


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About ChrisX

Host of Dead & Gone, passing final judgement on cancelled TV shows. 1/3 of Pants: Optional podcast. Comic reviewer. World's greatest Whovian. Back To the Future obsessive. Nursing student. You should be awesome and follow me on twitter.