Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

Published on March 30th, 2012

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

Protip: If you’re going to play Operation Raccoon City – and God help you if you do – make sure at least one member of your squad chooses to play as Bertha. The heavily accented (and brilliantly named) Eastern European provides a much-needed sense of comic relief to help divert attention away from ORC’s otherwise monotonous, cookie-cutter shooting, belting out rib-tickling one-liners like “ze sight of an operating table gets me excited”, “Bertha is not good viz compüters”, and “Bertha vill always fix you up”.

Except, she’s telling a bit of a porky with that last one. If she’s being controlled by the AI then Bertha, unfortunately, vill never fix you up. She’ll choose not to shoot at certain types of enemies, either – particularly bosses (you know, the ones where you could really do with all the firepower you could possibly get), and she’ll get stuck running into walls, set off trip mines, or – remarkably – attack the player after becoming infected with the virus and turning into a zombie.

For all intents and purposes, Slant Six’s AI squadmates are horrifically broken, their only real purpose to act as zombie fodder and help distract the hordes away from you and the rest of your online team mates. Which is a considerable problem for a four-player squad-based shooter. Imagine how frustrating it would be if Dom or Anya just left you to bleed out in Gears of War 3, or if Liara chose to run around in circles rather than help take down a Banshee in Mass Effect. It wouldn’t be fun, it would aggravate, and it would come across as unfinished – and frankly, that’s Operation Raccoon City in a nutshell.

Online is really the only way to play ORC, then. There are seven missions set across various locations of Raccoon City, tallying up to provide a disappointingly short four hours of gameplay. The game runs parallel to Resident Evil 2 and 3 and, to its credit, offers something vaguely interesting in its premise, dropping players into the roles of the bad guys – Umbrella’s Security Services – after the corporation leaks the G-Virus.

You’ll start out fighting inside the headquarters of Umbrella itself before heading out onto the streets, cemeteries and police stations of the zombie-infested city, and – ignoring the game’s painfully lazy storytelling – there are some nice touches on offer for series fans. Collecting typewriters unlocks bonuses, for example, while appearances from series stars towards the game’s climax provides hope that the developer could be about to pull it all together in the final moments. It doesn’t, of course, and the poorly executed scenarios that follow, appalling cameos from Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield, and complete lack of menace from Resi’s classic monstrosities make us question why Capcom ever gave Slant Six permission to use them in the first place.

Operation Raccoon City is a complete bastardisation of the Resident Evil license. It’s a depressingly unambitious, generic and clichéd shooter whose complete lack of scares and flippant use of the series’ monsters and co-stars do more damage to the brand than good. In one level, a Raccoon City mascot can be found lying next to a bin – which, ultimately, is exactly where ORC should be.

VERDICT: 50%

Xbox 360 version tested.

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