Resident Evil: Operations Raccoon City sounded like a great idea. Relive the events of Resident Evil 2 and 3, only this time you get to be on Umbrella’s team sent to eliminate all traces of the evil corporation’s involvement. You get to choose your own class, each one specializing in their own area of expertise — medical, long-range weaponry, stealth, etc. — complete with their own special abilities. I was stoked. Sadly, Operation Raccoon City takes all these great qualities and implements them in some of the poorest ways possible.
Operation Raccoon City takes a departure from the original series by focusing more on fast-paced, cover-based gunplay, even more so than Resident Evil 4 and 5. As stated, you play as the Umbrella Cooperation’s special unit during the events of the second and third Resident Evil titles, tasked with making sure no one knows about the viral outbreak. However, that’s as far as the game gets when it comes to recreating anything from RE2 and RE3. The atmosphere is not what one would expect from a Resident Evil title, even a faster-paced one. You walk the same streets from those older RE games, but the horror and unpredictability that kept you on edge has disappeared. The infected occasionally jump out at you but are easily dispatched, no matter how many in number they are. The score does little to add to the dull hallways and city streets and the lack of far off moans or crashes strip away any sense of dread you might have had.
What truly kills this game, though, are the glitchy mechanics. If they had worked, this game could have been decent. Sadly, they cause more frustration than anything. The cover mechanic is faulty, which causes a lot of problems in shootouts. Objects that you should be able to find cover behind sometimes won’t register what you are trying to do, and you can only crouch behind objects of certain sizes. You can find cover behind the long side of a desk or shelf, but don’t expect any protection on the sides. What hurts the most is you have no anchor to your cover. One slip of the control stick and you throw yourself out into the wall of bullets coming at you.
I suppose you could always take cover behind your allies, though, because their favorite thing to do is stand directly in front of you when you are firing your weapon. They also pride themselves on standing in the midst of gunfire as well as leaving you to your own devices when you’re in a pickle. They constantly get stuck in doorways or hallways and make it a pain to get through areas. Funny enough, enemy AI is just as brilliant. I can’t tell you how many times an enemy soldier decided against their perfectly acceptable cover position and ran straight down my sights to find a “better” one.
I can’t say the shooting mechanics of Operation Raccoon City don’t work. They are indeed….shooting mechanics, and they do just that. You can aim and fire without fail, not that it will be very invigorating. Don’t expect a very rewarding feeling for getting a headshot or even shooting your opponent; the animations are dull at best. But don’t think switching to melee will make this trip through Raccoon City any more enjoyable, as the melee combat only works when it feels like it. Sometimes you will slice an enemy to bits by mashing the melee button, other times your enemy won’t even react to your attack and take this opportunity to make a meal of you, and the instant kill animations get repetitive.
The XP element and the option to buy specialized abilities help to mix up the gameplay, until you start using them. Then you discover that, like all else, they are sloppily implemented and useless most of the time. Whenever I tried to mask myself as an enemy, it would either not work, but still make me wait the full cool-down time to use it again, or the enemy would just fire on me anyway.
Online play is a welcomed, if not minimal reprieve from the horrific AI littering the single-player campaign. However, shooting up infected civilians and enemy soldiers with friends will only go so far since the shoddy mechanics don’t change.
A messy and clumsy chase sequence in the first area, requiring you to run (or trot, rather) backwards while dodging fire, sets the scene for the rest of the game pretty early on and it never really picks up from there. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City fumbles at almost everything it tries to do, including giving fans a fast-paced shootout through Raccoon City’s most memorable places. The shooting works and the online play can provide some entertainment, but the core gameplay with just make it painful for all comers.
FINAL GRADE: D+