I’ve read some comics so apparently that makes me an expert. The two corrections I’ve had to issue in the
comics comments *might* be considered to undermine that:
Oh, and let’s just stick the Infinity Spider-Man Playset one here too, rather than expend another post on this stuff:
Second of my Family Gamer TV videos. You can now find a playlist of these in the links bar to the right.
Should have embedded this days ago: the first of my Let’s Play videos for Family Gamer TV. Apologies for all the umming and ahhing, these should get better with practice:
Sometimes, things don’t work out.
Game People, the site I used to write reviews about storytelling in games for, has over the last year or so moved more and more away from text and got into video reviews on the Family Gamer TV Youtube channel.
As part of that, I’ve been attempting to do videos for the channel, with the plan to stack a few up and perfect the format before launching them as a little sub-strand within the channel. The schtick was that I was reviewing grown-up games ‘after dark’, which simultaneously suggests something more urbane and sleazier than me rambling at a camera about Arkham Origins but there you go.
Unfortunately the plan didn’t work, out after months of tryouts and attempts. Light conditions in my house are incredibly poor in terms of recording the to-camera links, and setting up tripods etc meant I could only really film when I had the house to myself. Recording off-screen games footage was a mess, the camera never quite lining up with the TV. The whole thing created a massive editing job for Andy at Family Gamer and, in one final crisis, I found that two reviews worth of my to-camera footage had bad audio recording because of some mess up with either my phone or the mic or both.
At that point we cut our losses.
While we’re still working on me doing something for the Family Gamer TV Youtube channel, probably closer to a Let’s Play format with me talking over directly captured game footage, the reviews I’d been working on are effectively useless. Still, I got the review copies, so it would be nice to belatedly actually talk about the games somewhere, right?
For the last couple of reviews I worked off pretty detailed notes, complete with annotations as to where in-game footage should go, and Andy Robertson of Family Gamer has kindly allowed me to run them here.
So, very belatedly and scrappily, here are my thoughts on Resident Evil 6:
- Intro – Hello I’m Mark Clapham, I’m a writer and parent to a daughter, and I like to play games after she has gone to bed. Games that provide an alternative to an endless cycle of wholesome cartoons and stories in the day.
- These are my late night reviews of games that are definitely not for the whole family.
- With one exception that we won’t go into, you can’t get a more adult genre than horror, and probably the single biggest name in horror gaming is the Resident Evil series.
[CLIP: Resi menu]
- Resident Evil 6 is the most recent instalment, and has been out for a while for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. Unfortunately I can’t really recommend it as a horror game, especially one for busy parents to fit into their evenings.
- If nothing else it’s a big game, trying to live up to the size and history of this long series with a globe-spanning plot that splits into three main storylines featuring characters from many past games in plots that echo those older games.
- There’s Leon Kennedy from 2 and 4, dealing with zombies in a spooky old buildings There’s Chris Redfield from 1 and 5, having the more trigger happy battles with funny-headed mutants we saw in 4 and 5.
[CLIPS: Leon, Chris.]
- More interesting are Jake and Sherry, children of different villains from the series, who provide something a bit newer to the series, including a more convincing romance than Leon’s bizarre infatuation with Ada Wong.
[CLIP: Jake and Sherry]
- Oh yeah, Ada Wong’s in it too. She mainly does that thing with the zipline she does.
- Unfortunately, these old school characters don’t bring old school Resident Evil horror with them.
- For the most part Resident Evil 6 tries to match current military action favourites like Call of Duty or Battlefield in terms of shooting, explosions, car chases, missile launches and sequences where helicopters crash into things
[CLIP: Opening action sequence.]
- If that doesn’t sound much like an atmospheric horror game, you would sadly be right. Resident Evil 6 is way too big, too open, to really build tension, and mainly consists of boxy areas where you spin around strafing baddies with funny heads. There’s very little tension, just a wearying pile-up of set pieces.
[CLIP: generic shooty bit.]
- It’s disappointing to sit down for some late night scares and instead encounter such generic action. In it’s attempt to be a blockbuster, Resident Evil 6 loses almost all the horror. If you have young teens who are accustomed to gore, you probably wouldn’t be too worried about letting them play this, as there are very few mature scares.
- The sheer bloat of the game, combined with a terrible save system that makes it hard to keep track of when you can safely put the controller down without losing progress, makes this a hard game for parents, or anyone else who doesn’t have spare five hour gaming sessions to hand, to play.
[CLIP: plodding about.]
- A lot of these design flaws are because the game is angled heavily towards online co-op, which is a bit tricky for those of us who don’t have the time to have long co-op sessions. Also, multiplayer doesn’t lend itself to slow burn tension, and prioritises fast action, if not fast game session.
- One casualty of the online friendly action is any of the background detail that used to make the worlds of previous Resident Evil games come to life. There are no documents to read in-game – though you can read some from a juke box in the extras menu – no audiologs, nothing to stop and look at. It makes the whole game disappointingly shallow, and fails to build any real atmosphere. There are also very few puzzles, as that would presumably slow the game down by requiring thinking.
- It’s a shame, as Resident Evil 6 is a really beautiful game, with gorgeous visuals and sound. then, but shallow, expecting nothing of the player but to run and shoot. There’s the odd genuinely good quiet bit, like a drive through a city shrouded in poisonous fog, but these are few and far between.
[CLIPS: blue fog?]
- Ultimately Resident Evil 6 is a long, repetitive game that feels even longer and more repetitive due to the way the plots intersect, meaning that if you play all three campaigns – and with a lot of unique settings and scenes in each you’ll want to – you’ll fight certain boss battles, which were dull first time around, again from a different angle, which is kind of structurally clever but also boring and annoying.
- In the end, while it has a lot of gloss and explosions, Resident Evil 6 is too unwieldy and bloated to recommend, to the extent it took me over a year to find time to complete the thing.
- Please follow the FamilyGamer TV Channel on Youtube for more of my reviews, as well as reviews of games for those difficult times when the children are awake.
- You can also follow me on twitter at @markclapham. Good night.