The funny thing about Resident Evil 6 is that now that the series is fully back on track people are a lot more willing to admit how good it really was. It’s fun characters, fantastic shooting and non-stop energy were great when it first released, but are now a lot easier to accept as a different time in the franchise’s history. Unfortunately, even though Resident Evil 6 holds up well today, it’s Nintendo Switch port sadly doesn’t do the game justice.
Resident Evil 6 has you playing as three campaigns with three characters whose stories all intertwine with one another and tell one bigger narrative. You have Leon and Helana with a bigger focus on horror, Chris and Pierce with their focus on gunplay, and Jake and Sherry who focus more on melee combat and bombastic action. To get the full story, you’ll need to play through each campaign, although I’d personally argue that the story being told here isn’t really worth playing through three different campaigns for.
Leon and Helena’s attempt at a more horror-focused campaign is okay but feels like it loses that edge the further you get into it, eventually losing the scares altogether. Chris’ campaign is action-packed and great with a coop partner, but ironically gets a bit boring thanks to its single focus. Surprisingly, Jake and Sherry have the strongest and most interesting campaign here. Not only is their melee focus a lot of fun and very reminiscent of a character-action title, they’ve also got the Ustanak chasing them at every turn and constantly popping up to get in their way.
None of these campaigns are perfect, but they’re all a lot of fun to play through, and can be even more fun with a friend. Whereas Resident Evil 5 felt like it absolutely required cooperative play to be fun, it feels like more of a suggestion here and is entirely playable on your own. It’s obviously a lot more fun with a partner but at least here it doesn’t feel mandatory.
One of the things that propels Resident Evil 6 is how good it feels to control each character and the range of abilities available to each. The ability to dodge roll and slide makes the game feel like Vanquish of all things, and there are some serious Devil May Cry inspirations in the combat. It’s a far cry from other games in the series and is really bizarre when you consider how slow and tank-like older Resident Evil games felt, but the change really works here and makes it feel very distinct. It especially makes the returning Mercenaries mode a lot of fun, which almost exclusively focuses on stylish combat in order to get the best score.
It’s this level of bombast and spectacle that makes Resident Evil 6 so much fun. Saying that, how much you like it is going to depend on how easily you accept what it tries to do differently. Back when it first released, it was definitely a lot harder to be happy with how different this title was. It’s no secret that Resident Evil 6 shys away from the horror elements that made the series so beloved in the first place, but I wouldn’t say that it’s not present at all. The zombie hordes here can be pretty overwhelming at times, and there are some genuinely spooky moments scattered throughout, although that does admittedly go away when you add a cooperative partner.
All of this is probably sounding pretty good right? Sadly, Resident Evil 6 on the Switch is hard to recommend thanks to the same frame-rate and graphical issues that plagued Resident Evil 5. Rather than capping itself at 30 frames-per-second, Resident Evil 6 is uncapped and tries really hard to aim for 60 but ends up completely failing and hardly ever hitting even half that. This makes gameplay feel sluggish and unpolished, which is a shame when it should really feel like a shot of adrenaline straight in the arm.
Although the technical issues are a shame, the game is still technically fully playable without too much issue, and is certainly a lot more interesting than Resident Evil 5. If the Switch is your only option to play Resident Evil 6 then this port will have to do, but it’s a shame that the system can’t quite handle how intense the experience is. Still, if you can accept the technical limitations and the lack of horror here then Resident Evil 6 can deliver a really great time, and can finally be looked at as just another fun anecdote in the history of the series.
A long-time Nintendo fan, George once cried after seeing the pure majesty of Sonic the Hedgehog in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He now dials down his reactions and tries to talk about them rationally on Nintendo Insider.
Resident Evil, TOKYOPOP, Manga
World news – US – Resident Evil 6 Review – Switch – Nintendo Insider