Set between Resident Evil 2 and 3, Raccoon City aims to bring a 'western' style to the Resident Evil franchise, question is, does it work?
Unlike previous chapters in the Resident Evil gaming series, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is not about saving the world via superior survival horror. Instead, Capcom's new squad-based shooter sees you charged with spoiling it as one of the instruments of the twisted Umbrella Corporation.
You are cast as a member of the wolf pack, a covert and deadly arm of the Umbrella security services and your mission is to erase all trace of Umbrella's involvement in the Raccoon City disaster (during Resident Evil 2) as well as liquidating any unfortunate survivors.
Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City: Characters
Your first choice is which squad members you select for each mission. Each character has different specialism like stealth, healing or heavy weaponry and you can also customise their load-out and weapons mix to make a highly specialised squad.
After much deliberation, we picked Dr Karena 'Lupo' Lesproux a former French Special Forces assault specialist known as Wolf Mother, supporting her with Spectre (sniper), Vector (recon) and Bertha (team medic) for a balanced squad.
Your own character you can customise even deeper with additional abilities and perks and since we were counting on Lupo to stand up front and lead the charge, we equipped her with Guns a' Blazing, a 30-second burst of withering fire and Quick Reloads to make sure we'd never run short of ammo.
Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City: Gameplay
Raccoon City's game engine is impressive, with suitably gloomy, atmospheric levels and it's quick and nimble, really lending itself to the fast paced gameplay. It wasn't too long before we encountered our first major fire fight.
Infected, in smaller groups are slow moving and easily dispatched with some well placed headshots, but if they swarm and do get close enough to grab you, only some frantic stick waggling will ensure your escape.
When you do find yourself pressed by the horde, you'll probably fall back on some meaty close range melee attacks but land a couple of decent blows and you can also activate some quite vicious special finishing moves, which are both brutal and highly entertaining.
But the infected aren't the only opposition you'll encounter in Raccoon City, there's also government special forces on the prowl and these are a much tougher proposition. You'll enjoy plenty of stand up fire fights, but you can shoot to wound and nick a special forces guy.
There's a good variety within each mission too and one minute you'll be blowing out computer server rooms to destroy all traces of evidence, another stalking through booby-trapped libraries chasing down hidden plans.
Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City: Verdict
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is no Duke Nukem Forever-style disappointment. Although we only had a chance to test out Raccoon City's single-player outing which was excellent fun, we rather suspect that it's really going to shine in full four-player co-op mode, where you can go online and team up with your friends to battle the forces of good. We can see this game being every bit as addictive as Elder Scrolls V Skyrim.
It's certainly an intriguing new take on Resident Evil's traditional survival-horror pacing and there's plenty o' pleasure to be had in life on the dark side. It's true what they say, evil definitely does have all the best lines.
For the in-depth hands-on review check out CVG