I was playing the single-player campaign of SOCOM 4 last night and I tried to picture that squad-based third-person action with zombies. Evidently, this is what we can expect from the upcoming spinoff, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City , which will task the player with directing teams of four through a chaotic environment. If you’re a long-time fan of the series, you’ll actually think you’re playing as the bad guys, because you’re assuming the role of an Umbrella operative. Furthermore, you’re supposed to hunt down and kill Leon Kennedy…a former franchise hero. Developed by Slant Six – developer of many SOCOM entries; hence, the above allusion – we’re looking at a traditional shooter complete with a cover mechanic.
And while we’re on the subject, yes, you can fire while running. You can’t exactly have the old-fashioned tank controls in a fast-paced action game, now can you? The game will indeed be a lot faster than any prior installment and in fact, it seems as if Capcom doesn’t want the fans to think of this as RE6. It really isn’t. They’ve said we might see a return to the traditional survival/horror format when and if they announce the sixth Resident Evil , so if this preview turns you off, take heart in that vague promise. For more good news, we have to remember that the atmosphere and style of Operation Raccoon City will remain very much RE in nature; the pervading darkness and overall sense of creepiness will be a big part of your adventure. This is enough to pique our interest.
You’ll be able to choose your character at the start of your co-op mission: there’s Vector, Spectre, Bertha and Beltway. Vector kills from the shadows in true stealth fashion, Spectre is the gadgets and surveillance member, Bertha is a medic, and Beltway handles the heavy weaponry and explosives. …yeah, well, I’m not playing as anyone named “Bertha,” anyway. All four will have to work together if they intend to survive, as the streets of Raccoon City now hold many times more zombies than ever before. One interesting element is that this time around, the walking dead are like sharks- the more damage you take, the more ravenous they’ll become. This means things can go downhill awfully quickly, so it’ll be crucial to remain cautious and attentive. Plus, the Hunter is back and they’ll be tossing in even freakier enemies, just for the sake of…freakiness.
That’s the story campaign but there will also be a competitive mode, where the four class-based Umbrella operatives take on US military spec ops soldiers. For some reason, the US military and Umbrella don’t feel like working together to cleanse the city, so in competitive mode, it erupts into a turf war. To shake things up, those zombies will still be roaming the streets, so you’ll have multiple targets and your head will have to remain on a swivel. You’ll net 10 points for killing a human enemy and 1 point for a zombie kill so obviously, just running around mowing down the flesh-eaters won’t get you very far. You’ll also score bonus points for taking down special enemies and helping your team in other ways. It should be a big lure for multiplayer aficionados.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is scheduled to arrive later this year for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Notice we couldn’t bring ourselves to put “Survival/Horror” as the Genre.