I must admit, I had no intention of picking up Resident Evil 6 until Keri told me Dan Birlew was part of the review team on the Resident Evil 6 strategy guide. I like how Dan writes his guides, and so my excitement level to review his work once again shot up ten-fold. Sadly, the guide is more fun than the game, but that is a matter for a different day.
Like all good strategy guides, this one starts out with the basics, like a breakdown on the differences between the Xbox 360 and PS3 control schemes. From there, all the in-game combat essentials get covered in good detail with screenshots to show what players can expect when executing throws or ducking. As dang near every iteration of the Resident Evil series changes how players interact with the world, this is worth skimming over by anyone jumping into the zombie horde filled city.
Now it is time to dive headlong into the campaign, starting with the Prelude. The game itself is playable in whatever character order one feels like, so the table of contents and color-coded corners is a great help in getting to the specific portion of the guide containing the necessary info a player requires at any point in time. The walkthrough contains easy-to-read maps showing where to find ammo, health, and hidden serpent emblems. I enjoyed these maps and how they cut down my time running all over the stage in order to check every nook and cranny for herbs and ammo. There are also charts at the end of each character section showing the ranking system and what is required to earn top honors.
What I enjoyed the most is how this portion reads. Sure, the authors take you from point-to-point in the mission, but it felt more as if I was reading a book than a strategy guide. Even the boss battles are full of details on beating them, covered in gooey commentary that makes for faster, and more enjoyable, reading. It maybe fluff, but it adds a nice touch to the standard go here, kill this, go there, collect that formula of so many other strategy guides.
The back of the guide is comprised of all the extra tidbits that are crammed into the game. Completionists will want to spend some time scanning over part three as it has all the info on how to obtain every dog tag, title, and Achievements. I found the Agent Hunt very handy in that it lists commands and tactics for each playable monster along with stage and goal details. As for the Mercenaries area, the maps and strategies are a nice touch. This also includes info on all the unlock conditions for characters and costumes, as well as the general guidelines for playing each mercenary.
The last pages go to the appendices. These contain lots of charts on campaign skills, agent hunt skills, and mercenary skills, various in-game items, weapons, and monsters. The weapons and monster portions are of the most notable because they specify who can carry what item and how to bring down various creatures quickly and efficiently. You know, so players can conserve precious ammo! What is particularly cool about the achievement/trophy area is that it not only lists everything to raise that gamer score a few points, but it also explains how to obtain some of the more difficult Achievements/Trophies.
Between the easy guide navigation, story-like walkthrough, and bounty of info, this is a beautiful guide. I loved that the screenshots throughout the pages were actually brighter than the game itself, thus making it easier to follow along when just glancing down to quickly read something. Dan has once again outdone himself with the Resident Evil 6 strategy guide!