Resident Evil 6 Makes Horrifying Situations Better With Friends
Resident Evil 6 had players fighting all kinds of wild creations ten years ago. You had the new J’Avo to contend with – creatures that adapted to wounds. You’d shoot one in the head, only to find something worse grow in its place. They could also turn into more advanced forms upon death. The J’Avo were also smart enough to use firearms. These wild creatures made combat chaotic and unpredictable. The best way to deal with the mayhem was by bringing a pal to fight with you. Those enemies made the game’s co-op truly shine, creating one my favorite Resident Evil experiences. At least when I play it with a buddy.
The game is a wild ride that takes players through the perspectives of several characters. Leon joins with a new character, Helena, to deal with missing presidential children and other problems. Their segment feels like something from previous games where there’s a focus on slow-moving zombie hordes. Chris Redfield gets pulled from drunken shenanigans to work with Piers and the BSAA. Sherry Birkin joins up with Jake (another new face) to get some rare antibodies from him that can help with the devastating C-Virus. These latter two campaigns feel more action-focused. And of course Ada shows up with her own plotline. All these tales lead in a variety of unique directions, but converge into a single over-the-top story.
Resident Evil 6 gives you tons of interesting enemies to battle across each of these plot lines. You have classic zombies and zombie dogs, but there’s also the bulbous Lepotitsa. This thing leaks gas that turns humans into zombies, and can cause all kinds of trouble if it wanders near a group of previously-friendly NPCs. If you stumble across a red-eyed zombie, killing it might just cause more trouble. These zombies randomly turn into a Bloodshot, which moves faster and is far more durable than regular undead. And if you think things are quiet, a Shrieker might show up and call all sorts of trouble down on you.
Besides the zombies, there’s the J’Avo. These creatures look fairly human, but react to wounds. If you shoot them in the head, they’ll grow a new one. This one might spew sticky goo at you. Leak noxious gases. Rip you apart with insect mandibles. If you blow off an arm, they may grow a longer one that can grab you from behind cover. You might get one that forms an armored shield arm. Blast a leg and the wounded J’Avo might grow wings to fly. These creatures adapt in wild, unexpected ways that keep the fight shifting. New dangers keep forcing you to adjust how you play.
As if that wasn’t enough, the J’Avo can change shape when they die in Resident Evil 6. Sometimes, the J’Avo will form a Chrysalid around themselves after you finally take them down, and these can birth a handful of different critters. A lizard-like creature that fires projectiles. An armored monster that wants to punch you to death. You’re going to want to hurry and blast these Chrysalids before something far nastier pops out.
It can get very overwhelming to deal with so many different enemy types in the game. It’s especially challenging because it’s hard to know what to expect. Zombies can change in Bloodshots. J’Avo can adapt new tools with every injury. Thankfully, the game gives you an AI partner to help you deal with danger. That AI character is good, but they’re not great. They can make some poor decisions. Burn through precious ammo and healing items. It’s nice to have some possible backup when you’re in trouble, but the AI-controlled help just doesn’t cut it when things get really hard.
This is where co-op play really shines in Resident Evil 6. When wild things keep changing as you fight these varied monstrosities, it’s good to have someone really watching your back. Having two sets of eyes means you’re more likely to catch a dangerous J’Avo mutation. You can use the other player to lead enemies around while you shoot the creature in the back. Pull your friend out of danger when things get bad.
You can also give each other a congratulatory thumbs ups whenever you like. Which is actually my favorite thing to do in the game. There’s something delightfully absurd about giving a thumbs up four or five times after doing the most mundane of tasks. This also highlights another great part of the game’s co-op: sharing in the spectacle and chaos of it all. It’s fun to play this game alone, but having someone else with you to take in the gross monsters and varied, sickening foes makes it all more enjoyable. It’s good to talk about it together. Scream about danger together. Make stupid jokes while dying together.
You could argue that the series already explored co-op territory in Resident Evil 5. I enjoyed that game in co-op, but there’s something about the mayhem of Resident Evil 6 that made the co-op more compelling. Having so many different monster types made it feel like you really needed another player to watch for danger. The monsters also felt specifically designed to give multiple players a hard time. The emphasis on cover and gunplay made it feel better suited to co-op play. It felt built for extensive play by multiple people. And again, sending a stupid congratulations at the right time never got old.
When I played the game by myself, it was all right. The varied monsters and mutations were neat. The shifting campaigns had a lot of variety. I just didn’t feel as involved when playing it alone, though. With a good friend on board, all of a sudden I felt I appreciated its elements more. The J’Avo mutations gave us reasons to talk, either through shouting about dangers or because they did something gross or neat. The cover-based segments involved less waiting because we could use intelligent tactics. And the endless, ridiculous thumbs-ups made everything more ridiculous and memorable.
Resident Evil 6 is honestly some of the most fun I’ve had with a co-op game. Its horror elements and mutating monsters made for fights that never felt the same. Those same shifting creatures also offered an endless spectacle, as well as a constant need to announce new dangers, pull friends to safety, or fight intelligently. Adding in some silly congratulatory abilities made for a game that I have many fond memories of, and one that’s a real blast if you bring a friend to play with you.