Rather than fuss over which protagonist to include in Resident Evil 6, Capcom has decided to go for broke and include two biggest members of their catalogue of fan favorite characters Leon and Chris into the game’s single player campaign, albeit in storylines somewhat independent of each other. But beyond just that, they’ve also added a new character, Jake, (who just so happens to be the son of Albert Welker) to add a little intrigue to the mix.

Needless to say, Resident Evil 6, with its independent single player campaigns has the potential of providing not just three distinct story experiences, but three different forms of gameplay. We went hands-on with RE 6 during Comic-Con to find out just how different these campaigns are.

While each of the sequences on display has been slightly outlined in previous trailers for the game, the combat provided by the demo was not. Leon’s section, while purported to be a return to the series’ survival horror roots, was actually just as much focused on dispatching a large horde of zombies as in past Resident Evil games.

There were a few tense moments interspersed throughout the level, which saw Leon trying to advance through an abandoned college campus, but there was no question that this was a Resident Evil experience in the style of entries 4 and 5, not the earlier games. Combat was just as fast and furious as in those past two games, and the addition of a few handy dodge maneuvers made for some flashy zombie kills.

Resident Evil 6 Hands On Preview - Leon Gameplay

Aiming also has been slightly tweaked, with Capcom opting not to include the laser sight on weapons, and instead using a standard reticule that sways with every shot. This slight change made the gunplay more dynamic, and also added some tension to the experience as the player tries to line up the perfect headshot in time. Leon’s campaign didn’t provide much in the way of new gameplay mechanics or mind-blowing gameplay evolutions, but the demo did conclude with a quick time driving sequence that was extremely hands-off (read: underwhelming).

Apart from Leon’s campaign, both Chris and new protagonist Jake’s campaigns felt very similar to each other, or at least the sections on display did. Both featured a new type of enemy, one that brandishes both machetes and machine guns, who also, when defeated, bursts into flames. Jake’s section, along with these new enemies, also contained an iguana-like creature that would dash around the level trying to sweep Jake off his feet.

Essentially both sequences were always at 11, and didn’t take much time to let the player breathe. Combat was less focused on tactics and more about eliminating all targets in a quick and efficient manner since they are, of course, shooting back. The implementation of a cover system feels like a necessity with these new enemies, but oftentimes the players will find themselves absorbing a ton of bullets without any appreciable damage being taken. It’s a little clunky, and completely different for a Resident Evil game, but who is to say that isn’t what Capcom is going for?

Chris’ demo also featured a boss fight with a lumbering giant, that was your standard “shoot his conveniently placed weak point” encounter. It helped break up the pacing, providing a little more time to line up a shot, but wasn’t nearly as inventive as some of the boss fights we’ve seen in previous games. Eliminating the sensory overload of tanks, explosions, and giants that permeated Chris’ section, it was hard to differentiate the types of gunplay being offered by his campaign when compared with Jake’s. The decision to choose enemies with tactics and weaponry does feel fresh and new, but it also feels very different from anything Resident Evil has offered before.

Resident Evil 6 Hands On Preview - Chris Gameplay

While classic Resident Evil this game is not, the different types of gameplay opportunities it provides should help players of all walks find something to enjoy. Leon’s section was essentially an extension of his RE 4 gameplay, only with zombies as enemies rather than those infected by the Plaga, while Chris and Jake’s were a big step forward for the franchise. Our time spent at the Resident Evil panel at Comic Con has already shown that the gameplay in Chris’ portion of the title isn’t all action-based, but this hands-on demo was pure spectacle. Granted, all of it felt like the Resident Evil combat that works so well, it just didn’t have the same sense of mood and pacing, perhaps a byproduct of pursuing the Call of Duty fan base.

Which of Resident Evil 6‘s three campaigns are you most excited to play? Do you think that Capcom should have tried to unify the gameplay experiences across all three storylines or made them all distinct?

Resident Evil 6 releases October 2, 2012 for the PS3 and Xbox 360.

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