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'Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City'

April 13, 2012
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'Operation Raccoon City' allows you to form squads from the main menu. This means you can pull all your friends together in a group before you start a game. It's pretty standard practice. Even if you don't play games like these, you only have to think about them for about four seconds before you come up with the idea yourself.

So, anecdote: My friend Jim and I squadded up to get some sweet sweet headshots (yeah bro) together, only to find that once Jim started up a game, I got kicked out because the game was already full. Despite that fact that Jim and I were clearly squadmates (the game's nomenclature), he was still put into a game that only had one open slot. We tried it again - I started the 'squad' this time - and it happened again; Jim was left alone, screaming for me to come back (he's a screamer).

That's fine. It's not like things like this don't get patched! I hear 'Mass Effect 3's' whole ending glitches out, or something; it's hard to be mad at a few matchmaking bugs in 'RE: ORC' when other 'gamers' like me have problems like that to deal with. Our third try - 'the charm' - got us in a game together, anyway.

Most of these versus modes have two teams pitted against each other while zombies stumble-sprint around trying to catch whoever they can. If you get zombie-vomited enough you start to get infected, and then it's only like four seconds of scrambling your camera around for a nearby antiviral spray and screaming for Jim to spray you until your crazed corpse is chasing down your buddies. The last time this happened to me I guess Jim must have been watching, because he nonchalantly sauntered on-screen and chunked his shotgun into my face literally the millisecond that I turned evil. Luckily, whether you get shot by the enemy a few times or get zombie-vomited into infection and then shotgun-murdered by your best friend, you're only 1.5 seconds of 'press A to revive squadmate' away from animationlessly materializing above your corpse. Is this clumsy, clever or just temporary until the next patch? I don't know. (Yes I do.) If it doesn't bother you that Marcus Fenix yells 'revive me' instead of 'help me out, man' when he's crawling on the ground in 'Gears of War,' then I guess this won't bother you, either.

'RE:ROC' also offers a campaign mode which involves battles against characters from throughout the storied history of the Resident Evil franchise. I think at the end of the game my squadbros and I had to choose between saving and murdering 'Resident Evil 3's' Leon Kennedy (don't worry, it's not canon - Wikipedia says so). We got split into two teams depending on how we voted. That was pretty cool - in 'Streets of Rage.' Maybe it was kind of cool in 'VEL:CRO,' too. So, cool ideas: one, maybe.

You know what, never mind any of this. I can see what happened here. I can see one of those guys at Slant Six Games right after they got their hands on The Franchise; he's thoughtfully replaying 'Resident Evil 4' for inspiration. He turns his Gamecube off; he switches to HDMI 2 (that's where his cable box is plugged in); he sees a commercial for 'Gears of War 3;' he snaps his fingers. Here we are today; here is 'Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City.' Maybe if they had tried actually playing 'Gears' for a couple hours, this game wouldn't be so poorly designed or so psychotically boring.

one star out of four 

BONUS REVIEW:

'Mass Effect 3': zero stars out of four

Ben Hornsby wouldn't be in the canon if they asked him.

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