To start just a brief word on the steel book edition. This comes with another disk only containing non English language voice dubs and no other added extras that I can find at all. Also given the weight of it quite how much steel is in it I wouldn't like to say. Certainly not as much as the Resident Evil 5 Steel book which also has a making of extras DVD. So (unless you wish to hear it dubbed in languages other than English of course), buy only if you are a rabid collector, or (as in my case) you can find it cheaper than the normal version.
Now, onto the game.
I've only played Resi 4 and 5 (which I rate highly for different reasons) and now 6, so I don't qualify for fanboyism, and neither do I care to. It's obvious that a lot of thought and effort was put into this game, it's a shame that you're sometimes left wondering where it all went?
For a start the length of it is absolutely bang for buck. With 4 campaigns of roughly the same length as Resi 5, including Ada's (which gets unlocked after completion of the first three) and Chris, Leon and Jake's. Chris and Leon's both contain elements reminiscent of their last adventures. Chris's is the more combat shooter orientated and Leon's is supposedly the closest to a survival horror adventure. Although In my opinion It isn't particularly frightening at all, certainly nothing along the lines of Resi 4, and there are a few reasons for that.
Although the graphics are very good, sound wise I found the atmospherics really lacking. The intense and truly frightening music and Foly of the type found in 4 is sadly nowhere in evidence here, and what little is there is way too down in the mix to be effective. Traditional zombies make a return, but they are often overused. I found part of what gave 4 it's heart pounding thrills were the hit points where one was suddenly facing an ominous horde or foe of some description (complete with intense music) that helped contribute to make the experience pretty uneasy.
In this game they are often more frequent throughout, but I'm afraid a few shambling around here and there groaning unconvincingly does not make for survival horror. There are some reasonable horde attack moments of various descriptions. But again just nothing that quite reaches the intensity of previous games. The sound is something they used to get spot on in Resident Evil. Quite what went wrong this time is one of a fair few puzzling questions. Even the Ghostbusters game often had a more suspenseful atmosphere than this which I think just about says it all.
I've always enjoyed the humour in the series so far. Such as the classic vendor in 4 or Irwin's "extreme makeover" in 5 which was ridiculous and funny, but still a reasonable boss fight. In this installment however it often just comes over as plain silly. I found this particularly true in many of the new enemy designs. From the ludicrous big fat Zombies to the strange insect bodied human hybrids, many of the supposed monsters were just laughable this time around. There was a type of grasshopper human sniper hybrid, which I suspect were greatly inspired by Resistance 3. But unlike in that game, instead of springing nimbly around the rooftops and being a general menace, I found they would often just stay still or walk slowly towards you resembling rather sedated Ostriches. There were many other examples of what were initially good ideas not used to their best effect.
The character dialogue has often been cheesy in past games, but Chris's character in particular suffers from such cripplingly generic Hollywood hero treatment this time it's a wonder he doesn't implode into a swirling vortex of rampant cliché. I found myself really noticing the general lack of interesting characters in this installment, which made me miss Sheva Alomar even more. This was also odd given that Leon's mission partner Helena Harper, is played by voice actress Laura Bailey. Miss Bailey's considerable talents have added a whole new dimension to some fairly average games in the past (such as Blood Rayne). But I'm afraid even she couldn't seem to bring much depth to the rather one dimensional Helena.
The one positive exception is Sherry Birkin, who although not a new character has been developed in a way that seems promising. It's all subjective of course but personally I found her presence definitely made new character Jake's campaign a lot more enjoyable. Jake himself may well be a major protagonist in the next game (if there is one).
I tried not to turn this into a list of complaints, but frankly it's hard to avoid. The new inventory system has been streamlined in a way that I didn't much care for, even after having got used to it. This one involves collecting skill points in order to upgrade weapons and combat. They are as always ludicrously expensive in order to encourage multiple plays through. But you can only ever equip three at once (although you can swap between multiple sets of three in game). The ability to upgrade and equip individual weapons of your choice has been removed. So have the treasures, which again were part of what used to make Resident Evil feel slightly magical and unworldly. So personally I would vote for a return to the previous system.
The combat controls have been slightly altered again, and although really not bad once you get used to them, they don't seem terribly intuitively laid out at first. I don't play on line so can only comment on the single player experience. I've played through twice so far as the main story characters, you can also play as the partners. I do want to underline that in my opinion there definitely are many good and enjoyable aspects to this game. But I do largely agree with many of the general criticisms. There are way too many Quick Time Events. The repetition of certain bosses caused by the intersecting parts of the story can get a little old. Some of the boss fights are ludicrously protracted, and occasionally so tightly scripted I wondered if the game had glitched a couple of times. The story itself doesn't always seem to make too much sense either. I did enjoy the number and diversity of the vehicular levels personally, but I know a lot of folks didn't.
All in all it would be truly disastrous if a game of this length didn't have anything good going for it at all. That is certainly not the case here, but ultimately I was left feeling it could and should have been so much better. Given how long this franchise has been running, it doesn't seem too unreasonable or "entitled" to expect a fairly all round high standard. They have certainly delivered in the past, and at times they do again with Resi 6. But still I hope they will strive to improve the many weaker areas in future installments. Complaints aside for a moment, I would still hate to see the Resident Evil game franchise bite the dust completely. And I'm saddened (although unsurprised) that, particularly after this offering, many people seem to feel that it already has.