By Darren Franich
Updated June 06, 2012 at 08:15 PM EDT

The Game: The ever-more-outlandish Resident Evil series goes full apocalypse, with a continent-hopping storyline that unites a massive ensemble of action heroes with fantastic hair in the ongoing fight against body-horror bio-terrorism. (Available on Sept. 4 for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC)

What We Played: Three different levels featuring the game’s main protagonists, along with their co-op campaign partners. First, we played as Leon Kennedy and went searching for a lost girl in a shadowy reception hall. Then we played as Chris Redfield in a shootout on the rooftops of Fake Hong Kong. Finally, we played as mercenary Jake Muller in a boss showdown with a massive mutation.

The Good: The sheer lunatic scale of Resident Evil 6 is thrilling in theory. Combining protagonists from 16 years of franchise history and sending them across a sprawling worldwide canvas, the game also attempts to combine the various evolutionary phases of its own franchise into one cohesive whole. The Leon sequence felt very eerie, very subtle, very Resident Evil 1. The shoot-em-up Chris level was more reminiscent of the action-heavy Resident Evil 5. And the semi-invincible boss of the Jake scene is a descendant of Nemesis from Resident Evil 3. All we’re missing is some sort of reference to Resident Evil — Code:Veronica, and we’d have a Yahtzee!

The Not-So-Good: If you have not spent a significant portion of the last decade and a half playing Resident Evil games, you will not understand even one tiny iota of what the hell is going on in this game. Which wouldn’t matter if RE6 was fun. But what we played felt like an awkward mash-up of every videogame trope of the last half-decade, shorn of any truly defining characteristics. You can pick out the influences everywhere: A little bit Uncharted, a little bit Modern Warfare, a little bit Gears of War. But Resident Evil 6 doesn’t really feel like Resident Evil, except for the trademark translated-backwards-from-Finnish bad dialogue.

Excitement Level: Mission drift afflicts all long-running franchises eventually. But after the great Resident Evil 4 and the fun(-albeit-accidentally-racist) Resident Evil 5, you would’ve expected more from the new Resident Evil 6. But this rates a meager 3 on the anticipation scale. I took an extra point away for the awkward moment when I realized that the hot blonde government lady is actually little Sherry Birkin from Resident Evil 2. But then I added that point back in for a line of dialogue spoken by Leon so ridiculous that you should read it, even though it’s technically a SPOILER: “I… I just shot the President.”

Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich

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