Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ten Dollars Was Still Too Much

I have a coworker who's been gung-ho to get Resident Evil 6 ever since it got something like a 4 out of 10 on Gamespot. She was, however, wise enough to wait until its price fell to $10. That day came on Saturday, she bought it, and I was roped in to testing the co-op mode. In retrospect, the fact that co-op starts with a 5+ minute sequence where only one player gets to do anything - and the anything is Leon dragging Helena slowly through a wrecked building - should have been sufficient indication this was a bad idea.

The game, at least the section we played, was murky, extremely dark. We had the brightness set far above what the game wanted, but it didn't help. Darkness and shadows can be fun for creating atmosphere, but this didn't feel like that. Even when zombies would shuffle close, they could still be difficult to see. My coworker and I kept losing track of each other, and there didn't seem to be any on-screen symbol telling you where they were relative to you. You know, a little circle with their face in it, an arrow pointing in the appropriate direction. There's a PDA thing you can call up that shows which direction to go, but nothing for keeping track of a teammate. Or if there was, the game neglected to tell us about it. It really didn't tell us much at all, so we were fumbling about, trying to figure out how to turn Herbs into usable health items, how to reload, which thing was the health bar, what that other bar that I think declined if you used too many melee attacks in a short period was, and so on.

I understand some gamers hate those tutorial chapters, and I've certainly been annoyed by them in the past myself, mostly when playing through a game I'd already beaten previously. But if they're going to have an opening sequence where one player can't even do anything, maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing to teach us while they sit there uselessly. Instead, the opening bit was an exercise in Introduction to Button Press Actions.

Oh, the button press stuff. Want to remove an annoying piece of wood nailed across a doorway? Well, forget the Resident Evil 4 method of chopping it with a knife or shooting it. Nope, you need to pick up that pipe over there, then hit the A button at precise moments to gradually break the wood. Considering the door seemed to open away from the wood, I don't know why we couldn't just climb over or under it. Grappling with zombies? That'll require lots of joytstick spinning and more precisely timed button pressing to knife them in the throat. Steering a damaged helicopter is all timed button presses and joystick spinning. At one point we were trying to escape in a car. We were subjected to a "find the keys" mini-game, where I had to move the joystick around to certain places (like the glove box), then press A to search them for keys. Find the keys, wait for the game to tell you to press a button to turn the ignition, wait for them to tell you to hit a button to go in reverse, then wait for another command to hit a button so it goes forward.

Why not, I don't know, just include some regular driving controls? How hard would that be? Maybe one player drives, the other tries to dislodge zombies that grab on to the car. Both players get to do something. How novel. Instead, it's these stupid button presses, where the game is forcing me to slow down to a pace it wants to set. Left to my own devices, I would have had Leon start the car and be gone long before the zombies could smash through the driver's side window in an attempt to grab me. Oh, but I suppose that wouldn't be fun.

Fun. *bitter, raspy laugh* The only thing we had any fun with - besides the shininess of Leon' hair - was in the early stages, when there wasn't much ammo, I kept finding it and hoarding it. Which led to my coworker asking if I'd found ammo, and why did they hear reloading. I, of course, feigned innocence.


SallyP said...

I don't really have any sort of knack for playing video games...but I have to admit, this sounds like a lot

CalvinPitt said...

I think that's a pretty apt description. The game didn't really do anything to grab my attention and demand I play it, so any progress I made, I was forcing myself to do. So yeah, work. I've already told my coworker I won't play it again.