Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City: review

  • Format: PS3 (version reviewed), 360, PC
  • Unleashed: 23rd March
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Slant Six Games
  • Players: 1 (offline), 2-4 (co-operative), 2-8 (competitive)
  • Site:

In order to help fill the void until the release of Resident Evil 6, Capcom has taken the interesting choice of allowing a different developer to make use of the brand to create a game that is very different to both the most recent iterations and the well loved older games.

Operation Raccoon City plays and feels like something more akin to Gears of War than Resident Evil, which can be a bit of a double-edged sword. In it you take up the mantle of one of six customisable Umbrella Security Service (USS) agents sent into the city to carry out a series of missions beginning with obtaining the G-Virus from William Birkin. The story spans both before, during, and after events seen in Resident Evil 2 but contorts the canon plot in order to fit these agents in.

Across seven missions gameplay is spread between dealing with zombies, B.O.W creatures and surviving military while you attempt to cover up Umbrella’s hand in the outbreak. Unlike Resident Evil 4 or 5 you have full freedom of movement and as such there is a much quicker pace, though for sections filled with armed humans rather than zombies a basic cover system also exists.

For everything you do in the game online or off you will earn XP (this includes finding and handing in collectables, shooting cameras to cover up your presence and so on) which you can spend on weapons or abilities. Throughout the course of the game you will frequently stumble on more weapons – which is handy given that sometimes ammo can be a bit hard to come by – but after the mission the only weapons you can choose from are the ones you have bought.

At times weapons feel underpowered and inaccurate. Be it a machine gun or pistol there is a distinct impression that everything you are shooting has high grade body armour of some kind. It probably doesn’t help that larger enemies and bosses are personified bullet sponges which rarely display any reaction to the mountain of ammo you just unloaded into their face.

Each USS agent has two passive abilities and three active abilities which can be bought and levelled up to improve effectiveness. These are unique to each character and range from having the ability to take control of B.O.Ws to cloaking to being able to throw motion detectors. While both passive abilities will be active once purchased you can only have one active ability, meaning you need to pick the one for your character of choice which suits your style.

There is a heavy focus on co-operative play, which is no surprise given how inept the AI is and no example better sums it up than their shocking disregard for their own personal safety when presented with a room full of tripwire explosives. Also, while dying or succumbing to infection when playing solo means game over, in co-operative you can be resurrected.

On the standard difficulty Operation Raccoon City will take barely four hours to reach the credits. Even by today’s standards this might sound quite disappointing. We couldn’t shake the feeling that we were only seeing half the story and already revealed free DLC available in April strengthened this.

Much like Left 4 Dead, the focus here is on replay and modes outside of the main campaign meant for multiple people. Try a different character, ability and weapon set or a different difficulty and go through again. With that said, what the game really lacked in order to further encourage people to replay the main campaign was the randomized enemy spawns and weapon locations in L4D.

The Nemesis multiplayer mode is an Xbox exclusive.

Offering a host of different multiplayer modes, the game has tried harder here than the campaign. Whether you are playing a mode like Team Deathmatch or something unique to the game like Survival – where eight people fight and eventually a chopper with only four spaces arrives for rescue, things are mixed up by the addition of an aggressive third team. In each map it will begin with zombies from the get-go which will go after either team and as the match progresses more dangerous enemies will spawn like Hunters and Tyrants.

It may annoy some people that circumstances other than their own skill or awareness may lead to wins or losses but we felt this was a fun twist on basic modes like these. For example: we were about to be gunned down by another player on high ground when out of no where a Hunter suddenly lunged at them sending them sprawling and giving us time to escape. That said though, whoever thought it was a good idea to give Hunters a Kantos style stunning scream needs to be given a stern talking to.

We encountered bugs during our time with the game including an established character suddenly turning blond at a distance, isolated slow down, online lag, and a crash which resulted in a console restart. It can also be annoying if you get in a ‘get knocked over, get up, get knocked over’ cycle.

This is a fun game when played with other people and that point must really be emphasized. Playing alone there will be a little bit of enjoyment getting through the campaign but everything about it screams that focus is on playing with or against people. Long term appeal will depend on how players take to the twists on multiplayer we mentioned and what, if anything, will be added in the future. The absence of a Horde style co-op mode was noticeable.

People after a traditional Resident Evil experience will need to look elsewhere, but those who like action zombie games, co-op and verses modes that play similar to a less cover-focused Gears of War should give this a look.

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Written by Ian D

Misanthropic git. Dislikes: Most things. Likes: Obscure references.


  1. AN 8 U guys have totaly lost it

    did capi pay u for some points?

    as a review u have to keep ur points in the base of a public opinion not wheter u like it or not just tell whats wrong or whats good dont give it a standard treatment or someunrealistic score this game is terible full of glitches and framerate iseuzzz

    so what would re5 score in ur opinion that must be..
    oh i get it it gets a 8 on a scale of 100 ohh now i get it
    sorry bout the words man peace

    • Ian D /

      I have justified my score while also pointing out who may or may not agree with aspects of this game.

      I would be curious to know whether you have actually played this game, since you seem so sure about things which are simply not accurate.

    • Blighty /

      “as a review u have to keep ur points in the base of a public opinion not wheter u like it or not”

      That right there, is the most ridiculous thing I have read in 2012 so far. I won’t even go into detail, but you have basically said “don’t actually review games, just tell us what score we already think the game should get please”.

  2. *Chu* /

    “At times weapons feel underpowered and inaccurate. Be it a machine gun or pistol there is a distinct impression that everything you are shooting has high grade body armour of some kind. It probably doesn’t help that larger enemies and bosses are personified bullet sponges which rarely display any reaction to the mountain of ammo you just unloaded into their face.”

    I agree with the accuracy being a tad off, with some of the weapons. Although if you read the descriptions of a few, you will find some tend to be more accurate – if only slightly- than others. If you were able to mow through the enemies, with only a few shots, there’d be little challenge in it. Some of the enemies are actually wearing body armor. Even some RPD zombies have vests on. Hunters have their scales, and Lickers scurry like some sort of big, pink, long-tongued cockroach, trying to make for a hard to hit moving target. The Boss type baddies are.. well.. Bosses. Hard to kill, like they should be. If it took a Rocket Launcher to down the first Tyrant, I don’t want something that sounds like an angry mosquito, to down it in this one. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a Boss. πŸ˜€

    • Ian D /

      High grade body armour doesn’t cover faces though (or arms and legs in the cases of the RPD zombies), so it is a little off that human enemies take so many bullets to fall.

      Granted that things can’t be too easy and that does also apply to bosses, however the lack of reaction and the feeling you’re not making a scratch leads to the impression of weakness and as such it comes across as ‘off’ rather than just a mechanic to keep it challenging.

      On the subject of the Hunters – as I understand it the armour of their scales is only effective on their back since a tool tip explains it that way in the game.

      • *Chu* /

        Hunters do only have scales to cover their backs, their agility and leaping ability, helps make up for lack of coverage on their front sides. Plus, most enemies have weak points for the purpose of the player to take advantage of. The vest wearing RPD zombies don’t have protection on limbs or heads, it’s true. Which is why you aim for those points, as most zombie moves, including zombie games will say – “aim for the head”. You still take their arms out, but then you have a stumped zombie who’s mouth still works fine, chomping at you. πŸ™‚ With the live U.B.S.C targets, seems hitting their legs works well, as some do have minor forms of helmet armor,and them bleeding is a bonus. As for the bosses, given their impressive stature and strength, it fits they behave like you’re nothing more than a small annoyance, like a fly, rather than a big hassle. I mean, those things were designed to take people out, not the other way around. It’s made to make you wonder ”Am I even hurting this thing?! Is it ever gonna die?! “

  3. *Chu* /

    Oh, and I nearly forgot. The Tyrant does put his hands up, near his face, when he’s fired at. So he does somewhat give evidence that you are annoying him a bit. I’ve seen the Nemesis stumble a tad, when barrels explode nearby it as well. Might not be as big a reaction as one may want, but it’s still a reaction of sorts.

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