Review: Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

March 29, 2012

In the latest instalment in the 16-year-old Resident Evil franchise, you’re part of a team employed by the evil Umbrella Corporation, tasked with destroying evidence of its zombification of the world.

It’s a nice hook, but one that soon gets lost amid Raccoon City’s ceaseless blasting of the undead. You won’t find any of the suspense horror that made earlier installments so terrifyingly playable – this is a by-the-numbers line-em-up-and-blast-em-up that’s high on body-count but low on scares.

While clearing room after room of lumbering zombies has a certain charm, the action sequences are often poorly designed; if you try running in a direction the game doesn’t like, for example, you’ll just jog against an invisible wall, which can be very frustrating when a big thing with a club is bearing down upon you.

The AI is, unhelpfully, set to “kamikaze” and in later missions you’ll spend as much time running around trying to resuscitate your teammates as you will fending off waves of weaponised zombies. It plays a bit like an old-fashioned arcade shooter (crouch, shoot, reload, repeat), with none of the finely tuned team-based combat of a Team Fortress 2, nor the sheer mindless joy of Dead Rising (a game that parodies exactly the kind of relentless slaughter presented here without a trace of irony).

There are plenty of diversions down memory lane for long-term Resident Evil fans. For everyone else, Operation Raccoon City is below-par shooter you could quite easily ignore.

First published in City A.M.