As the fans are already aware, Resident Evil 6 doesn’t have one campaign; it has three. After spending around an hour with each one, what’s impressive is that they all play in exactly the same way, yet feel surprisingly different. What’s more, this is clearly the most lavish Resident Evil game that Capcom has ever produced, and some moments boast an almost Uncharted-like degree of

visual pizzaz and polish. Naughty Dog’s masterful series has clearly had an influence on other areas too; all playable characters freely interact with the environment in the same effortless way that Nathan Drake does, and the camera frequently swoops (seamlessly) away from its over-the-shoulder vantage point, captures action, and then returns. It genuinely looks like a state-of-the-art blockbuster.

Leon Kennedy’s story gets top billing, and it’s easily the most traditional of the three. With a Secret Service op named Helena in tow, your first task is to escape from a fictional university campus, which turned into a blood-soaked hellhole in the wake of a speech by the US President. The campus is big, but don’t be fooled; this is a haunted house, and it’s quintessentially Resi. Alongside the big scares are some surprisingly subtle shocks, including one in particular that might be some kind of classic. About half-an-hour in there’s a terrific set-piece which sees you chaperoning a presidential aide and his young daughter; you know that at least one of them is probably infected, and you’re forced to shuffle along behind them down a series of dark, narrow corridors, as they periodically flinch or just stop dead. It’s a smart sequence, and effectively suspenseful.

Chris Redfield’s campaign is next up, and it commences with a brilliantly ludicrous introductory cutscene in which the man progresses, in the space of a few in-game hours, from being a drunk amnesiac to commanding a team of grunts in China. That squad is tasked with finding a band of missing UN aid workers, and this portion of the game seems to have the most in common with the divisive Resident Evil 5. That said, it’s confident and blisteringly pacy, and the occasionally monotonous nature of Resi 5 – in which you were repeatedly dumped in large areas, and forced to clear them out before you could move on – looks to have been abandoned. The fifth instalment was also lambasted for giving you way too much ammunition – thus tinkering a bit too much with the very core of the series – and that particular problem has definitely been remedied across all three campaigns.

The third plot-line follows Jake Muller – son of Albert Wesker – who bears a striking resemblance to Prison Break actor Wentworth Miller (who played Chris Redfield in Resident Evil: Retribution, weirdly enough) and who, like his father, is a rather spectacular tool of a man. His immunity to the C-virus means that he’s essentially the messiah, but he’s not interested in filling that role unless there’s an extremely hefty cash reward presented along with it. During its opening hour, Jake’s plot remains easily the most enigmatic of the three, and simply involves a plot to escape a civil war-torn Eastern European village, with DSO agent (and series veteran) Sherry Birkin along for the ride. Judging by the opening, Jake’s campaign seems largely to be about solving environmental puzzles; assisting your AI compadre, or working together with your co-op partner.

So it’s all looking very encouraging at this point, although (obviously) it isn’t yet clear whether or not all three campaigns are going to stay on those singular rails. Will Leon Kennedy’s adventure abandon all trace of tension and turn into Gears of War? Will Jake Muller’s suspiciously impressive strength – suggested during the opening – see him transform into some kind of superhero? The beauty of every great Resident Evil is that it does whatever the hell it wants, and it won’t be the same if there aren’t a few WTF moments in Resi 6 to rival the baffling Antarctica u-turn in Code Veronica, or the climactic Resident Evil 5 battle that took place in a volcano for absolutely no reason. Resident Evil 6 feels good and looks better, so here’s hoping that its creators have been able to maintain the balancing act.

Resident Evil 6 is currently due for release on PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 on Tuesday, October 2nd 2012. 

Watch Resident Evil 6 – Leon Gameplay 1 below: 

Watch Resident Evil 6 – Leon Gameplay 2 below: 

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