E3 2011: Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City - Thursday, 09 June 2011 00:00
The umbrella corporation often gets a bad rap. In real life how many companies have been found guilty of spilling dangerous chemicals yet still operate? British Petroleum? Exxon? Those companies only make a few products. In the Resident Evil Universe the Umbrella Corporation makes everything from cosmetics to military arms. No wonder they employe elite squadrons of soldiers, demolitions experts and tacticians to help them clean up their messes.

You can now enlist amongst the ranks of the elite Umbrella Security Forces in the latest Resident Evil title – Operation: Raccoon City. This game takes the established franchise cannon and tips it on its head. Taking place during the events of Resident Evil 2 and 3 it is your job to help clean up the catastrophe that Umbrella has created. You won’t be doing it alone either – you can join up to 3 other players in the games co-operative play either online or through a Local Area Network.

Before the mission begins each player chooses a class – assault, stealth or demolitions and customizes their loadout. In the E3 2011 presentation the weapons ranged from Assault Rifles, Submachine Guns, Stun Grenades, High Explosive Grenades and Pistols. Once you’ve strapped up for battle and armed yourself to the teeth it is time to head out on to the mean streets of Raccoon City.

The E3 demo took place during the opening cut scene of Resident Evil 2. We see the familiar introduction of Leon and Claire as they race inside the police station. The demo had a 10 minute time limit with one simple objective – survive and eliminate as many of umbrella’s grotesque creations as possible while racing towards the extraction point.

From a gameplay standpoint the formula should be familiar to anyone who has played Resident Evil 4, 5 or Mercenaries. Your umbrella trooper is controlled using the left and right analog sticks. New to the series is a "down the sight" aiming system - putting you in to a first person view aiming through the scope on your gun. You are also able to move while shooting, a feature introduced in last generations' Outbreak File 2. This leads to a quicker pace when it comes to action. Switching weapons and using abilities is really easy – utilizing the d-pad for most of these functions.

During the demo our squadron of umbrella operatives raced alongside burning buildings and battled civilian and police zombies. As you spray them with bullets an impressive and satisfying amount of blood and gore sprouts as they fall to the ground in hailstorm of bullets. The gunplay can best be equated to the mercenaries’ mode. Unlike mercs, communication is a key still to have when confronting the undead of Operation: Raccoon City. You’ll want to ask your stealth based companions to launch a sneak attack or have them toss you a healing spray if you are all out.

Seeing Raccoon City rendered in full next generation 3D was a real treat. Six Slant Games has done an impressive job basing their version of the infested cityscape from the pre-rendered backdrops we saw during the PSX era. The burning cars, debris and general chaotic feel of Raccoon City are intact. Hopefully the full game will feature a more robust set of objectives. Blasting Zombies as a squadron was a lot of fun but it felt like an extension of mercenaries’ mode with squad elements. Varying type of co-operative objectives would help freshen up the gameplay and help distinguish it from past iterations of Resident Evil.

We will have more on Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City when it shambles in to retail sometime this fall.

Sourc: TeamXBOX

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