On the Bright Side | Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

Some­times a game comes along that does not meet the expec­ta­tions of the fans that were antic­i­pat­ing it.  With Res­i­dent Evil: Oper­a­tion Rac­coon City, fans were expect­ing an action-packed romp through the final days of the zom­bie-filled city, but what they got instead end­ed up dis­ap­point­ing them.  Every game deserves its day and every zom­bie deserves a feast, so I’m here to put a lit­tle pos­i­tiv­i­ty into the world with my bright side review of Res­i­dent Evil: Oper­a­tion Rac­coon City.

Over the years, there have been sev­er­al attempts from Cap­com to relive the glo­ry days of the Res­i­dent Evil fran­chise by return­ing to the same areas from those ear­li­er games.  While the Umbrel­la Chron­i­cles and Dark­side Chron­i­cles games went for a direct approach of retelling those sto­ries from an on-rails shoot­er per­spec­tive, Oper­a­tion Rac­coon City took a route that I usu­al­ly enjoy more often.  It cre­at­ed an all new sto­ry that could poten­tial­ly exist along­side those orig­i­nal games.  This is the same tech­nique employed by the first Res­i­dent Evil movie, which makes it one of my favorite films based on a video game.

This tac­ti­cal shoot­er places you in the shoes of the umbrel­la team that per­forms sev­er­al oper­a­tions that you didn’t know about in addi­tion to a few you may have seen in some of the pre­vi­ous games.  It leads off with one of the big ones and has you infil­trate the lab of William Birkin and cause the inci­dent that spreads the G‑Virus.  From there, your trav­els take you through­out Rac­coon City and along the way you get to vis­it many loca­tions you’ve seen before through the eyes of anoth­er char­ac­ter.  My favorite part about how this game does this, is that it doesn’t shove it in your face.  Almost every time I found myself in a famil­iar loca­tion, with the excep­tion of the police sta­tion, there was a sud­den moment of clar­i­ty.  I would, after a few min­utes in the area, think “Oh yeah, I’ve been here before.  Cool!” some­times exclaim­ing such aloud in an emp­ty room.

One of the things that’s always both­ered me in the Res­i­dent Evil game series is your playable character’s per­plex­ing immu­ni­ty to the virus­es.  With the excep­tion of one close call by Jill in Res­i­dent Evil 3, no one ever seems even close to con­tract­ing the virus despite sev­er­al close encoun­ters with the infect­ed.  This is some­thing that Oper­a­tion Rac­coon City decid­ed to tack­le and did a decent job.  If you get attacked enough, or in the right way, by a zom­bie in this game, you have a lim­it­ed amount of time until you turn into one of the liv­ing dead and have to be offed by one of your com­pa­tri­ots.  This turn of events can be reversed by find­ing and using some of the anti-virus spread about the city.  Cap­com did a fine job of final­ly address­ing this issue here and increas­ing the chal­lenge of tak­ing on the undead.  I always just assumed that the cure for the t‑virus was a fern.

The famous say­ing “If you don’t have any­thing good to say, don’t say any­thing at all.” proves that while many moaned about the qual­i­ty of this game and sham­bled towards anoth­er game, I do still have some pos­i­tive things to say about it.  Res­i­dent Evil: Oper­a­tion Rac­coon City made some bold deci­sions, imple­ment­ed some inter­est­ing mechan­ics and took us back to some clas­sic locales.  While it may not be a per­fect game, if you look on the bright side, you may find you had more fun than you thought.

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