Despite a rocky start, Resident Evil 6 has gradually built momentum since launch. In addition to two massive patches – a third on the way – Capcom have now issued three brand new multiplayer modes for use within the game. Introducing Onslaught, Predator and Survivors.

Now I’ve spent time playing all three, I find out if they can change the fledging fortunes of this down-on-its-luck zomb-a-thon.


Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release Date: 360 – Out Now / PS3 & PC - TBA
Format: 360, PS3, PC
Version Tested: 360
Price: 720 MSP

With Mercenaries, Agent Hunt and four campaigns already built into the game, it’s fair to say Resident Evil 6 is already bursting at the seams with content.

Yet, Onslaught, Predator and Survivors each add substance and variety in their own unique ways. The modes are playable through the extra content menu, and each lets players set skill points before entering the fray. Skill points are accumulated during matches, and the amount gained is dependent on performance.  The skills vary from Quick Reloads to lock-on precision, gun-recoil and even medical skills. Some skills can also be ranked up and continually improved to make your character even stronger. Encouragingly, Capcom have given players a fair amount of space for tinkering and tweaking to help achieve a happy balance.

The characters are equally unique. There’s a default roster to begin with, but as you complete campaigns or unlock certain MP requirements, more characters/costumes become available. I played as Leon for the majority of my game time. He has a sharp, quick-action sidearm, but also a powerful shotgun to his name. In addition, his dexterity and hand-to-hand combat are well-rounded, and his endurance is sufficient enough to handle some close quarter combat. He’s a good all-rounder and probably the best character to choose for a beginner.

I had a love/hate relationship with all three modes. It’s not the premise of them that boils my blood, nor is it the limited run of maps, it’s the Resi 6 control scheme. Compared to previous installments  Resi 6 feels like a regression; where I was nimble and precise on Resi 5, I feel choked and abased in 6. The camera creates too many blind-spots, you eat the dirt far too quickly after being shot and once you’re on the ground, you’re a sitting duck, destined to become vulture food.

Oh, and don’t forget those infernal QTEs’.

Survivors

Despite my misgivings about the controls,  Survivors can actually be fun, especially in teams.

Survivors has a five-minute time-limit and up to 6 players can join in the mode. The aim is to be the last person/team standing, or to have the most points at the end of the time limit. Teams can be structured in various different ways (you can even have 5 vs 1 if you’re feeling a bit homicidal) or you can just do straight 1 vs 1 head-to-head. In Deathmatch, the game is over if a player is killed on either side. In teams, once a player dies, they return as a zombie, but still have the opportunity to bring themselves back into the game in progress.

The zombie usually spawns with something in hand, whether it’s a hatchet or a flaming torch, and this can either be thrown or used as a weapon. The zombie can run at the same pace as other characters, they can also spew blinding, burning acid, dive on top of fallen characters or grab them from behind. If a zombie kills a character, they will rejuvenate and return to the game, whereas the opposing player will be eliminated. It’s a morbid concept, but it encourages team-work, strategy and I can’t deny that playing as a zombie is an absolute blast. Watching one stagger up a ladder, or doing a freakish running shuffle as they dart towards fresh meat is strangely satisfying.

The problem? Players will spam rocket-launchers or sliding tackles to down you, and as previously mentioned, once you’re down it’s almost impossible to get back up. If you’re a dab-hand at Resi 6 controls and like playing in teams, this is the best mode of the three. However, this is ideally played with a group of friends. The online community already seems to have died a death on 360 and I spent at least 5-10 minutes in the lobby waiting for a full-game.

Onslaught

Onslaught (otherwise known as the Legolas and Gimli ‘That still only counts as one!’ mode) is a one on one variant that places players on opposite ends of the map. Both players are waiting to be extracted, but there are to many B.O.Ws’ for the chopper to land safely. The aim is for each player to defeat as many enemies as possible, sending them scurrying over to their opponent’s side by pulling off the highest number of combinations they can. The higher the combo, the more enemies will pop up on the opponent’s screen. Suffice it to say, the numbers definitely get overwhelming and surviving will require full use of a player’s inventory. Fortunately, the mode is extremely generous with ammo and it kits out your backpack with several hand-grenades in case things get a bit crazy.

On each side, there’s a jade green pillar which, when destroyed, offers up a combo booster making it even easier to drown your opponent in test-tube abominations and rotting undead.

When the game gets crazy, it gets bat-shit insane. You’re unlikely to survive if you’ve got 30 or so enemies homing in on your position, and unfortunately, the Urban Chaos map is very constrictive. Perhaps Capcom will look at more open maps for the future of the mode. Right now, though, it gets pretty claustrophobic.

Still, where Survivors thrives as a team-based game, this is easily the best single-player offering. Despite the out-of-context, funky jazz background music, and the poorly implemented inventory system that makes it difficult to quick-access anything, Onslaught is a fun, zombie-slaying blood sport. My personal favorite of the three.

Predator

Ustanak is a big, hulk-smash, demonoid, thirsty for agent blood. In this up to 6 person mode, players take it turns to be the monstrous beast, and the remaining players must team up to bring him down. Ustanak is over treble the size of any other characters, but his agility remains on a par. He can also grab agents, throw them half way across the map into others, pummel them into the ground, and also collect weapons to ka-boom them to smithereens. He even has a sidekick called Ono that will keep a watchful eye out for agents and reveal their location to Ustanak. Basically, he’s extremely overpowered and vicious, but with the right strategy and weapons, can be defeated. It’s the goal of Ustanak to wipe out all enemies, but if any survive, the mass of inhumanity fails.

Agents can also make it harder for Ustanak by destroying his supply crates. By doing so, they’ll also be rewarded with a more powerful weapon to use against him.

As a result, being the creature is actually harder than playing as an agent, despite all of his power. It’s especially difficult if there are 5 opponents to defeat.

The game is split up into rounds, and each lasts two minutes. In that short space of time, Ustanak has to run roughshot over the whole map crushing puny humans, but because of his size, there are some areas he can’t access, or reach as quickly as those he’s chasing.

As you might expect, games tend to break down into a hide/seek, catch me if you can fest, but become especially tense when it’s just one person and the creature left.

On the whole, Predator is very easy-going. It’s a totally appropriate fit for the Resident Evil verse, and actually seems to be the most popular of all the aforementioned modes. Each time I searched, I found a game almost instantly.

Overall

At 720 MSP for the package (or 320 MSP individually), Capcom are offering good value for money, as well as a worthwhile investment. Due to the size of the RE6 package, these modes weren’t needed at launch, so it doesn’t feel as if we’re paying extra for something we should already have. These modes have been included to add more depth and substance to the game and are purposely implemented for fun.

Onslaught, Predator and Survivors aren’t going to encourage the competition of a Call of Duty or Halo; there’s no ranking system in place, the online community is already struggling to sustain itself, and the modes all play out on one map. That said, I’ve had more fun with these modes than I did playing the entire Resi 6 campaign, and there’s definitely plenty of room for them to improve and develop.

It’s just unfortunate that the game itself remains so punishing and brutal. I can’t deny that these creative, entertaining modes suffer for it.

I can see myself returning to all three modes (especially Onslaught) with more maps and updates. Right now, there’s not enough variety and there’s not much difference between taking part in a Player or Ranked match other than having your name contesting in the world rankings. However, these are good quality add-ons that definitely add longevity to Resident Evil 6 and we hope Capcom will continue to build on them in the months to come.

 

Rating – 3 out of 5

All modes are unique, fun and can provide hours of entertainment for the money. However, they’re plagued by the poor balance and control issues of Resident Evil 6; a title we’re not fully convinced transcends well into the online arena.