MANILA, Philippines - The zombies are back. Despite getting fatigued of zombie games, I decided to try a game that takes its roots back to where it all began. Capcom's Resident Evil franchise has been with us since 1996 and continues to marvel us with its zombie-induced adrenaline. This time, the game sweeps the canon story aside and takes on the Raccoon City incident in a different angle, albeit in a more cooperative and social manner.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (ORC) starts with the beginning of the outbreak of the G-virus. For starters, the virus is what started the zombie infestation of the city. The campaign fits the players into the boots of one of the elite members of Umbrella Security Service (USS), the hit squad of the infamous pharmaceutical company, Umbrella. The USS has orders to exterminate every piece of evidence in Raccoon City, living or non-living, so as to sever any links between Umbrella and the outbreak.
ORC is a tad different from other Resident Evil games. It is more of an action-shooter rather than a survival-horror game. It's a third-person shooter that combines and utilizes cover, maneuverability, and shooting.
It takes on a much faster pace compared to the other Resident Evil games as item usage and traversing across obstacles are done in a push of a button. Of course, as a Resident Evil game, ORC features zombies, and lots of them, but aside from the slow-moving reanimates and blood-thirsty mutants, the US Marines are also in the game to stop the USS from doing their dirty job.
Before the start of a game, the player has the option to choose which character he/she wishes to play. Each character in ORC has its own unique skill sets and roles. As the player completes a mission, he/she is awarded with experience points.
These points can then be used to power-up the skills or to buy new weapons. The game is meant to be played by multiple players, as each playthrough is participated by four different characters.
When it comes to level design, ORC is a game in the middle. On the good part, the apocalyptic atmosphere of a devastated Raccoon City is captured in ORC, as government buildings and highways are littered with exploding cars and heaps of dead bodies. Sadly, the game does not maintain a level of consistency when it comes to details. Some places, such as the underground laboratories, feel lacking and bland compared to the others.
Despite having the Resident Evil branded into its name, the game is a faulty and buggy creation. Zombies and monsters in ORC are built like tanks. It almost takes a full magazine to take one down, and despite this predicament, the game offers little to no ammo drops during encounters. The worst offender is probably the game's AI. They get burned in easy to avoid obstacles, they get stuck despite having a clear path, and they usually do Banzai charges at enemy soldiers.
In terms of gameplay, ORC is a good game. It makes good use of the lore in the Resident Evil series. Taking control of one of Umbrella's super soldiers is a fun thing to do.