I used to tell people to never mention Resident Evil 5 or 6 in my presence. There wasn’t any real reason, other than the fact that I’d previously felt these games were one big letdown for the whole Resident Evil series. This sentiment is shared by many, but over time – and as of today, 10 years since it was first released – I’ve come to appreciate Resident Evil 6. Even if I can’t get into it.
I was a child when I first picked up a copy of Resident Evil 6 from a market stall down an alley in Yorkshire. It definitely wasn’t legitimate, but a younger version of myself was fascinated by the cover art (little did I know what everyone else thought of it at the time) and all the Resident Evil gameplay I’d grown up watching, thanks to my parents. I was, by some margin, too young to play Resident Evil 6, but my dad let me get a copy anyway, and I instead was allowed to watch him play it. Seems like a win-win for him, if you ask me.
Later down the line, I tried it for myself on Xbox One after having played Resident Evil 7 and more recently on Nintendo Switch – only to drop the game within the first couple of hours. I did this on more than one non-consecutive occasion, bouncing off the game within a few hours each time. The control scheme felt more awkward than ever before, and if I wanted to complete constant QTEs I’d rather play something from The Dark Pictures Anthology. For the most part, playing Resident Evil 6 felt like a chore.
I don’t think Resident Evil 6 is a bad game, either, despite my constant eye-rolling and sighing whilst playing it. In fact, of all the games in the series, Resident Evil 6 has the most going on, and I quite admire how Capcom tried to do something different and appease every type of player by providing the four differing campaigns of Leon, Chris, Jake, and Ada. Yet, that didn’t work out in its favour at launch, attracting criticisms that it all felt both disjointed and over-the-top. I know Leon Kennedy is well-trained and all, but does he really need to show off his multiple different fighting styles all the time?
Over the course of time, however, I’ve quelled my fanboy rage and found myself appreciating Resident Evil 6, despite knowing it isn’t for me. Can we really dunk on Capcom for trying something different, rather than rehashing the same formula over and over? After all, we have a collective debt to Resident Evil 6… because without it, there’d be no Resident Evil 7. And that isn’t worth thinking about.
It’s now been 10 years since Resident Evil 6 released, and while I’ve tried to play it myself with a positive, open mind, I simply can’t stick with it, no matter how much I try. Not even Chris Redfield can encourage me to stick around this time. And I’m okay with that.
I can now only respect Capcom for simply trying to merge the Resident Evil recipe and the ever-popular action formula together in an all-new way; it’ll never be Resident Evil 4, and it’ll never be amazing. But now, I have a new-found gratitude for Capcom and how it has kept trying new things. Look at Exoprimal, for Christ’s sake – we wouldn’t have that without Dino Crisis or Lost Planet, would we?
The same works in the publisher’s tent pole series, too – without these less-than-impressive instalments in the Resident Evil canon, we wouldn’t have the Resident Evil we have now, and overall, Capcom’s strive to keep its games feeling fresh has kept Resident Evil alive. Throw the Remakes and the RE engine in there, and you’ve got a renaissance for Resi fans that we simply wouldn’t have without the missteps and giraffe fellatio of Resident Evil 6.
It’s just a shame that the same can’t exactly be said for other horror franchises at the height of popularity at the same time as Resident Evil. What happened with Silent Hill, Konami?