The premise of Operation Raccoon City is a great one – you’re a team of operatives that work for Umbrella, the evil corporation at the heart of all the trouble caused in the Resident Evil universe. So for one thing you’re seeing the universe from the other side for a change, add in the fact this is all taking place alongside the events of Resident Evils 2 & 3 and you have something full of promise.
The setting is pretty cool, obviously this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Raccoon City but the developers do a good job of bringing it (back) to life and it was interesting to see the more open, chaotic side of the virus outbreak as opposed to the tight corridors etc the genre usually introduces. Of course there are also enclosed environments but these were your standard internal locales.
Graphically the game wasn’t great – it certainly wasn’t terrible but no boundaries were being pushed here. That’s not a bad thing necessarily, it just meant having played games recently like Max Payne 3 and Mass Effect 3 that excelled graphically, Operation Raccoon City looked pretty flat in comparison.
One of the biggest pluses for me alongside the story was the soundtrack, which helped drag you in during intense moments. Sound effects in general and the voicework for the characters weren’t great though, which was a shame.
The game can be played as 4 player co-op although I’m not really sure how much this would really add to the experience. I already felt like I was doing the lions share of the work when playing on my own and not enjoying it massively, so would doing less be better or make it more boring? I guess it would depend on who you were playing with – regardless it’s nice to have the option.
The combat wasn’t great, with shooting in particular feeling slightly off. I couldn’t really put my finger on exactly what the issue was but it made for some frustrating gun battles. The melee combat was ok but if you get overrun it’ll likely be game over.
I like the idea of becoming infected if you get bitten but the mechanic here is simply ‘find and use a blue potion to cure yourself’ within the next 20 seconds or die. I would’ve much preferred them to explore a path whereby if you get bitten it can last for a few levels before you fully succumb to it – maybe give your character a slight shake as they aim that gets worse over time until you’re cured. Or have enemies appear that aren’t there as you unravel. I think it sums up the entire game that with all that potential the developers went with the easiest out.
As well as Zombies you’ll be facing off against special forces operatives (for story reasons that I won’t divulge) and these guys can be a real pain in the ass. Their AI seems to be much better than your team mates and at times I felt the game just threw loads of the special forces guys at you to lengthen some of the gun fights.
Overall then Operation Raccoon City is a great idea executed poorly. There were a few excellent moments but they don’t do enough to make this a must-play. Fans of the series will no doubt enjoy the crossover and nods to Resident Evil lore but the whole time I was playing the game I just couldn’t get over how stale it felt. Not bad, not good just… average.