Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City Hands-On Versus Preview – Triple Trouble
Written Friday, February 10, 2012 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is not only a 4-player co-op campaign, y'know. Oh no. It also does competitive versus multiplayer too, and we'll be damned if it doesn't actually do it rather well. In the single-player story, you'll play as the Umbrella Security Service out to eradicate and cover up the zombie outbreak in the labs and shady underground facilities of the titular city, but in versus multiplayer, you have your pick of the USS and rival Spec Ops teams giving you a dozen different characters to choose from, each with their own set of skills and expertise.
At Capcom's London HQ, we got the chance to have an extensive hands-on with all four of Operation Raccoon City's competitive multiplayer modes, starting with Biohazard mode, which is the game's take on the traditional capture the flag mode, albeit with the flag replaced by G-Virus samples that have to be grabbed and escorted back to your base for safekeeping. The first team to stow five samples in their base's container wins, which is not quite as easy as it sounds. Playing a simple 2v2 battle, we quickly find out the importance of having a player to protect you as you're escorting your precious G-Virus sample, as we fail to keep hold of many for long, dropping them for the opposing team to snatch up and score with. It's classic capture the flag fare then.
Next up is perhaps Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City's strongest and most exciting versus mode: Survivor. This mode is something akin to the final stand in Left 4 Dead, where you're set upon from all sides by zombies while you wait for your ticket out of Dodge to arrive. There's a slight twist though, as there's only four spots on the extraction vehicle, which is all fine and dandy for a 2v2 game, but things get more complicated when you go 4v4. On the hospital-based Blood Drive map we play Survivor Mode on, it's a helicopter we're waiting for, so we can hear crackly radio chatter informing us of the chopper's progress towards the hospital helipad on the roof.
Things soon ramp up in intensity as the hospital's tight corridors become increasingly besieged by the undead, while the clock ticks down towards the helicopter's arrival. Getting killed puts you back to the beginning of the level, and killing anyone on the rival team obviously subjects them to the same fate, which is especially funny if you manage to shoot an opponent as they're trying to 'get to da choppa'. We adopted an underhand and pretty damn unsportsmanlike tactic of throwing all of our stun, frag and incendiary grenades up onto the helipad, before rushing in to put down any Spec Ops scum attempting an escape. Panicking, we then held down the A button to secure our spot as the game prompts, rendering us safe inside the helicopter's cosy shell. Except we forgot that our buddy was still out in the thick of it, struggling to get to the rooftop. Oops. My bad.
Flown to safety, we apologetically nod to our teammate and move onto the Team Attack Mode, which is Resident Evil: ORC's standard team deathmatch pitting USS against Spec Ops, but with added zombies, spindly head-spiders, lickers, hunters and marauding bio-organic weapons (B.O.W.s). In this mode, we sample another of the current preview build's generous selection of nine on-disc maps (there might be more in the final game), with the relatively expansive yet complex Train Wreck location. Chaos immediately ensues with the sheer number of undead and escaped lab mutants running around, and it's easy to get distracted by them, bagging a few easy points to add to your burgeoning score in the process, but the real prize lies in dispatching members of the enemy team. Zombies and B.O.W.s are chicken feed from a scoring standpoint, so it makes sense to hunt down and kill the human players.
Team Attack is uncomplicated fun, demanding the same kind of hair-trigger reactions and sneaky survival skills as any shooter's team deathmatch mode, but with the added unpredictability of Umbrella's outbreak throwing the big old fly in the ointment, the monkey in the wrench, the pain in the ass. Of course, you can always take a zombie as a meat shield, which can sometimes help. Get surrounded by a horde of the flesh eaters though, and you'll find yourself in more than a spot of bother. They'll gnaw your careless face off. Again, the same is true of the Heroes Mode that for many will be the crux of Resi: ORC's versus multiplayer. Why? Because it's the MP game type where you can assume control of your favourite Resident Evil characters, from Hunk to Ada Wong, Leon S. Kennedy, Jill Valentine, Claire Redfield, Carlos Oliveira et al.
Heroes Mode is flippin' tough stuff though, giving you only one life for your chosen character meaning that dead means dead. This time we're taken to the confines of the Lock Down map, which is an Umbrella warehouse packed to the rafters with secret research. Like a big IKEA full of freaks then. Or just like IKEA, if you prefer. Operation Raccoon City splits its heroes into two camps, so Ada, Hunk, Nikolai and co. fall under the villainous side of the heroes selection, while Claire, Jill and Leon are the heroic heroes. And the concept is simple: kill each other, last man/woman standing wins. It's during this session that we also discover weapon crates and if you shoot off the silver locks, you can nab yourself a nice bit of kit.
We manage to dig up a flamethrower, sending the rival heroes running for cover as we run around spewing jets of white hot death all over the place like a proper pyromaniac as Ada. It's behaviour that's not exactly in keeping with Ada's slinky, professional style, but we don't care. It's fun. And that about sums up Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City's versus multiplayer in a nutshell: it's fun. Nevertheless, we've only played it for a few hours, so the jury's still out on whether it'll stand up to extended play sessions or not. We'll stick our neck out and say that Survivor Mode is a potential winner, but we're unsure how Team Attack, Biohazard and Heroes will stand up after repeated play, seeing as they're game types you'd find in any shooter nowadays. That said, the execution is solid, offering a nice dose of gratifying shooter action, so it could go either way. We'll find out how it all fares when Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City launches this March.
Resident Evil: ORC is out on March 20th in North America and March 23rd in Europe.