What would you do if your multi-million biochemical weapon got loose on an innocent city? That's right, send a 4-person squad to obliterate the evidence.
The story of Operation Raccoon City takes place on the same timeline as Resident Evil 2. You're an operative sent to eradicate all the evidence of Umbrella Corporation's involvement on the outbreak of the T-virus on Raccoon City. I can't say much about the story without spoiling some great games for players who still haven't played them (RE2 & RE3). Let's just say that the T-virus has a nasty habit of turning people into brain-graving zombies and other gross creatures.
When starting a new game you can choose between twelve different characters. There are two sides, the Umbrella Security Team and the United States Special Ops. Each team has six different classes to choose from. These classes range from close combat specialists to long range snipers. Each character class has different weapons and abilities that can be upgraded with experience gained by killing enemies and finding hidden data pads. The abilities make the game feel like an RPG; there's faster reload, better armour and abilities that make your character shoot faster for a limited time.
The gameplay of Raccoon City is your basic third-person shooter; you select the biggest gun available, aim, and shoot. But damn, those buggers really like their bullets since it takes a clip to kill an enemy soldier. I would understand this with zombies that go down easily with a good aimed headshot but when you have to reload between each killed enemy it really starts to get to you, especially when aming doesn't really help in this game. No matter how long and precisely you aim at an enemy, the bullets still spread like the piss of a drunken finn. You can also use cover to your advantage but this is the biggest downfall of the game; it's too easy to go into cover! My assault character got killed multiple times when I tried to escape from enemy fire and bumped into a wall resulting with my character taking cover next to a wall in the middle of the room! Very irritating.
The weapons are pretty basic. There's SMG's, LMG's, assault rifles, sniper rifles and pistols. Pistols proved to be the best weapons in the game, all other weapons have ridiculous recoil and can't really be used, especially in the higher difficulty settings. There's also grenades and other things to gather. There's no inventory in Operation Raccoon City but the game still limits the amount of things you can carry. And as a reminder that this is RE, there's Green Herb. Too bad it can only be used on-site and not stored on the (now absent) inventory.
As I said, the enemies take a beating before they go down. Most of the time you'll be fighting mercenaries and zombies but occasionlly you'll bump into larger enemies that usually require you to... run away. These encounters are a pain in the ass and really break up the game. If this was meant to be a 3rd person shooter, why can't we have some awesome boss fights?
The AI in Raccoon City is horrible. They're always getting in the way or running towards the biggest enemy just to get killed. You spend half of your time just reviving your team mates. It gets old very quick. Yeah this game is meant to be played with friends but why couldn't they make a good single player experience? And even when played with friends, the game still feels like a mediocre 3rd person shooter. Sure you'll meet the familiar characters from older RE's, like Leon and Claire, but this just doesn't feel like RE.
The graphics are pretty good but unfortunately the level designers must've been asleep. There's brown boxes everywhere and the levels are filled with 'closed doors'. A squad of 4 highly trained professionals can't open a locked wooden door? Gimme a break.
The sounds are very bugged. When I changed my assault rifle with an LMG dropped by an enemy, it didn't make a sound when I fired it. Talk about sound suppression. On the other hand, the musics are awesome. Almost felt like I was playing Fallout when I explored the (very few) levels of Raccoon City.
The game is over in about 6 hours (adventurers add 2 hours) and there's not much fun in multiplayer. The whole game can be played with 3 other players but that doesn't save it. There's also a Versus mode but that's even worst than the single player experience.
Overally Raccoon City is a decent 3rd person shooter but crappy Resident Evil. If you're a fan of RE, turn away! This game will ruin your good memories of RE2 and RE3. On the other hand, if you like squad-based 3rd person shooters that can be played cooperatively, this might just be the game for you. Decent graphics, awesome music but lousy Resident Evil make this game an average shooter.