When I play a video game, there are key factors that I look for that will determine whether or not the game stays in my library along with the….27 games I currently own, or if they will go back for store credit so I can get something worth keeping.
Resident Evil: ORC is one of those games that teetered on the edge of both those options, but ultimately fell into the store credit pile because of the fact that when I picked up this game, I was expecting it to be a Resident Evil game, and it just wasn’t.
Now before all the fan boys and girls head to the comments section to tell me how much I suck at reviews, let me explain. It’s not that this game wasn’t fun, or that the gameplay wasn’t good, because it really was. While lacking in a gripping story line, I must say this game had the qualities of a possible GOTY shooter. Great cover system, with realistic abilities to shoot people in cover that are at a lower vantage point than you, and vice versa. The AI was very smart, many times catching me in a cross fire, where I had to move back into cover in order to survive, and your squad mates (even if you are stuck with some AI’s) functioned very well together.
I’m sure you’re wondering, “Ryan, if this game is so great, why did you return it? It sounds like a real keeper!” Well you would be right, but the fact is when I bought this game I was expecting a Resident Evil game, not a Gears of War, (or a Mass Effect 3) clone, because that is exactly what this was; the cover system, the third person shooter style, and the squad mates. The only way this game could’ve been more like Gears of War is if it had the Umbrella squad toting a bunch of guns with chainsaw bayonets on them. My expectations were set to something else, and that’s why I didn’t enjoy this game. That in no way means this game was BAD, but let me touch on the story a bit before I give my final verdict.
You play as Delta squad, a group of five hired by Umbrella to clean up the mess that is Raccoon City, and to do that they need to wipe any and all evidence of what really happened there. That includes records of their plans for the city, and any and all survivors. Easy enough, until the G-virus is released and the whole town becomes infected, then it becomes a fight for their very survival, pushing their teams’ trust to its breaking point. While a very basic storyline, it holds strong throughout, though at times it feels like the missions are elongated, making a simple mission seem drawn out.
The gameplay was very well done, taking advantage of the cover system, with the “take cover or die” aspect playing a big role. This wasn’t a game you could just run through guns blazing. That’s a quick and easy way to the death screen. Cover is essential, but it also never feels like it’s being pressed on you to use. Controls are simple enough, it took me little time to figure out the basic scheme of things, although I must admit that while I was figuring them out 1 or 2 frag grenades may or may not have been thrown at my squad mates. The inclusion of “perks” for each squad mate gave the game a nice RPGish feel to it, letting you spend XP points on unlocking new features or new weapons. I myself enjoyed the incendiary rounds, they made a zombie flambé like you wouldn’t believe!
One thing I did miss from Resident Evil 5 was the upgrade system. Not being able to upgrade my weapons felt so wrong, I often felt like I was missing something on the menu screen, but ultimately it seems like we’ve settled on just buying bigger and better things instead of trying to take the time to fix up perfectly good, old ones. Needless to say however, the gunplay was excellent. The kickback from shooting was there in all its glory. The only problem I found with the weapons was I never felt a need to switch from any other weapon than an assault rifle. It was strong enough to take down almost any enemy you came across. With this being the case, it really took away from the store where you could buy new weapons.
All in all, this game was enjoyable if you’re looking for something fun to play with your friends after the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer hype dies down. As a Resident Evil game? Well let’s just say that the game had it right when it gave you the objective, “Destroy all evidence”. This game doesn’t do the series justice, and will forever be known to me as the mutated, zombified, deranged, black sheep of the Resident Evil family.