Resident Evil 6 uses the same over-the-shoulder view as Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5, however with a new gameplay mechanic that allows players to slowly move while shoot. Capcom has also added many other new features and mechanics.
Aside from the new cover system, a dodge mechanic has been added. Players will be able to dive backwards or slide forwards, as well as diving from one side to another. While laying on their back, the player is also able to crawl forward or backward as well as roll to any side. The new slide move can be used to move quickly past enemies, pass under certain small gaps and also stun enemies (or break time or combo crystals in Mercenaries mode and other objects in the additional modes). Another new mechanic is the Quick Shot ability. This enables players to perform a rapid shot from their equipped weapon with the cost of one stamina bar. This automatically targets the closest enemy and is vital in trying to stun weaker enemies briefly so players can distance themselves or perform a follow-up melee.The third new mechanic is the Counter-Attack, in which the player is allowed to counter an enemy's attack when the opportunity arrives (a few seconds before the enemy's attack lands on the player). Some counter-attacks will leave the enemy open for follow-up attacks, while the majority of counter-attack actions will finish them off in one hit.
There are four total campaigns in Resident Evil 6 - three campaigns with the same co-op gameplay as seen in Resident Evil 5, and a fourth (once hidden) campaign that can be played solo. The first campaign sees players leading Leon Scott Kennedy and Helena Harper through the U.S. city of Tall Oaks and later the Chinese city of Lanshiang. In the second campaign, players primarily see Chris Redfield and his new partner Piers Nivans through Lanshiang as well, and a brief flashback to a moment in the war-torn European nation of Edonia. In the third and final main campaign, players will control Jake Muller, the son of Albert Wesker, and Sherry Birkin through Edonia and leading up to their arrival in Lanshaing. The fourth campaign is reminiscent of Resident Evil 4 as this campaign focuses on being single-player only. In this campaign, players will guide Ada Wong through sections of Tall Oaks and Lanshiang.
The different campaigns have different focuses and inspirations from previous Resident Evil titles as well as other inspirations.
- Leon/Helena Campaign
- This campaign is acknowledged as being more reminiscent of Resident Evil 4. Elements of old survival horror and dark and gloomy atmosphere are most prominent here. The idea of a zombie outbreak in a small city also brings up memories of Resident Evil 2/3/Outbreak. Aside from Ada's campaign, this is the only one to feature zombies prominently.
- Chris/Piers Campaign
- Chris and Piers' campaign is more heavily focused on action, much like Resident Evil 5. One particular inspiration for this campaign is the Alien film series with the aspect of a group of soldiers seeing themselves picked off one by one. This campaign revolves around mostly J'avo and Chrysalid mutations.
- Jake/Sherry Campaign
- The biggest factor of this campaign is the existence of the Ustanak. It is a successor, of sorts, to the Nemesis seen in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. This creature pursues Jake and Sherry endlessly and often results in having to run away (scripted events). The campaign also features J'avo and Chrysalids heavily.
- Ada Campaign
- This campaign returns to the single-player style while also adopting a very atmospheric feel, like Leon and Helena's. Puzzles also feature hugely in Ada's campaign as well as a slight element of stealth. As of the December 17 update, this campaign is unlocked from the start, and co-op is possible in this mode, with the second player as the "Agent". It is also the only campaign to feature both Zombies and J'avo as enemies.
Each character has a unique starting loadout that promises a unique experience when playing through with each one.
- Leon Scott Kennedy
- Wing Shooter - Leon's new handgun, seemingly the same type of handgun from his short-lived RPD days. It is particularly unique as Leon is able to switch between one handgun to dual-wielding his Wing Shooter weapons. With his dual-wielding, Leon's guns alternate shots and his maximum clip capacity is doubled. With the new quick shot mechanic, Leon can perform a five-attack combo in which he alternates shots twice between each gun and then finishes with a shot from both guns at once.
- Survival Knife - A knife much like those found in early Resident Evil games, it gives Leon a handy alternate for when he runs out of ammo. Unlike Resident Evil 4 or Resident Evil 5, the knife is once again a weapon that must be equipped.
- Helena Harper
- Picador - Helena's primary sidearm. Unlike Leon's, this weapon does not have any special uses though still gives her a unique weapon model to use.
- Hydra - The three-barreled shotgun from Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil: Revelations returns, this time as a unique weapon for Helena. It uses unique 10 Gauge shotgun shells and enables her to perform a unique quick that sees her performing an acrobatic slide while shooting. This unique quick shot can be performed in succession with each other, like Leon's dual-wielding pistols.
- Chris Redfield
- Assault Rifle for Special Tactics - Chris' unique automatic assault rifle. It gives Chris a unique edge over most other players, as to be expected with his campaign, as he has a fully automatic weapon with a common ammo type.
- Nine-Oh-Nine (909) - Chris' sidearm pistol, which can also be found in the hands of Jake. Like Helena's Picador, this weapon has no special abilities to itself.
- Combat Knife - Like Leon, Chris has his own specialized knife. Unlike Leon's Survival Knife though, Chris' Combat Knife is a larger weapon like his knife from Resident Evil 5. As with Leon, it gives Chris a useful alternative when low on ammo for his other weapons. This also gives Chris the most starting weapons of any character (three to the other characters' two).
- Piers Nivans
- MP-AF - Piers' unique sub-machine gun. It uses 9mm ammo like other characters' handguns (as Piers has no handgun). What makes this weapon unique is Piers has two alternative firing modes - fully-automatic or single shot.
- Anti-matériel rifle - A massive snipe rifle unique to Piers and an extremely powerful weapon that is capable of killing many low-level enemies with a single well-placed shot to the head or torso. It comes equipped with a scope with two zoom options as well as an optional thermal scope.
- Jake Muller
- Nine-Oh-Nine (909) - Jake's primary weapon is identical to Chris' handgun. As with Chris, it has no special abilities.
- Hand to Hand - Jake's own special ability, with this equipped he is able to perform a small variety of very powerful melee combos and attacks. This ability is extremely useful which makes Jake easily the best to handle situations when out of ammunition.
- Sherry Birkin
- Triple Shot - Sherry's default weapon. This weapon is unique as it has two firing modes that Sherry is able to easily switch between, allowing her to fire the weapon in either a single-shot mode or a three-round burst.
- Stun Rod - A unique melee weapon to Sherry. It operates much like the weapon from Resident Evil 5. Sherry can perform simple swipes with it and a spinning attack when using the quick shot ability. She can also charge up the stun rod, enabling her to perform an extremely powerful attack that is sometimes capable of killing weaker enemies with a single hit.
- Ada Wong
- Crossbow - Ada's unique weapon. The crossbow acts not only as a weapon but it can be used to solve certain puzzles that Ada comes across. The crossbow uses two different types of ammunition: regular crossbow arrows and pipe bomb arrows that can also be found.
- Ammo Box 50 - Another weapon unique to Ada, an automatic machine pistol using 9mm Parabellum rounds. As it's name implies, it can hold 50 rounds at once.
The co-op feature from Resident Evil 5 also returns but has many features its predecessor didn't. The co-op now has a "Drop In/Drop Out" style of gameplay, where the player can just simply join in and drop out at any time during the game. The split-screen co-op also returns with the same screen-split ratio seen in Resident Evil 5, you can give items to your partner only if playing on splt-screen. There are situations where the main characters meet up and the game opens up a 4-player co-op scenario, referred to as Story Intersections. In this scenario, the player can choose to use AI for the third and fourth characters, or to wait for two other online players to reach that point in the game.
There are situations where co-op partners split up where each character has a different goal (one example being as Chris crosses a pipe, his partner Piers will have to stay behind and provide cover fire). Each pair of characters also has their own unique HUD (they call it the COMS Device) and they will be able to access weapons and healing items through a quick menu or a full menu. The menus in game are also customizable. The player is also able bring up the character's comm system menu featuring various options such as changing their setting and changing Skill sets. Unlike the pause menu from previous games, the comm system menu is in real-time, leaving the player vulnerable to attacks, however it is possible to pause the game if the network settings are set to offline.
Resident Evil 6 is also the first Resident Evil game to implement a system of Skill Points. Enemies drop skill points which can be used to purchase skills to customize your character to make them more unique. Skill examples include increasing your firearm power, or increasing your stamina gauge. Puzzles make a return, including "a few tricky ones", and are more like the first three Resident Evil games where you have to explore a bit before you are able to solve them. Some enemies have been described as being "bullet-sponges", providing the game with the familiar feeling of running out of ammo and provoking players to try and run from or evade more enemies. The Mercenaries mode returns, as well as other online multiplayer modes, such as Agent Hunt. DLC modes such as Survivors are also in the game.
While by default, the player uses the reticle-based targeting system commonly used in shooters, the settings can be changed to replace it with a laser-sight as first seen in Resident Evil 4, or even have both. A navigation point system is also present in the game, giving the player insight as to where they should proceed and where new weapons can be found. This, too, can be turned off.
Healing herbs make a return though now instead of being used directly, they are made into herb tablets. Players can mix the herbs and then keep them in their inventory, or put them into their "storage case" which will make them accessible as tablets by hitting the assigned button. When used, the animation will play out showing the character ejecting a tablet into their hand before swallowing it. By tapping the button multiple times, it is possible to take more than one tablet to heal a greater amount of life in one shot. Mixing herbs is also possible and allows the player to have a greater quantity of health tablets, for instance, the player can store one single herb as a health tablet, or he can mix it with another green herb which results in three health tablets, the player can also mix a green herb with a red herb and it results in six health tablets, the same amount can be gotten if one mixes a green herb with two other grenn herbs. First Aid Sprays can also be found in the game and it heals the player completely, if used near a partner it'll heal both players.
Another new change is item drops/finds no longer being shared between players, limiting the possibility of "stealing" or "hogging" items. Whenever a container is broken, each player will get their own item from it. The item can vary between players - whereas player one may find ammo in the container, player two may see it as skill points or a healing herb. Each player is able to acquire the item they see without having to worry about the other player not getting their item or ammunition. Found weapons operate the same way, demonstrated in Jake's campaign when the Elephant Killer gun is found. Even when player one as Jake picks up the weapon, player two as Sherry is able to find the same weapon in the same exact spot for their own use. The only downside of this is that when player one finds a Serpent Emblem, it won't count for player two, they must both shoot the emblem. This is not appliable on split-screen though: what's found in containers is the same for both players, and only one of them can pick up the contents. However, weapons can be found for both players and serpent embems broken by the second player count for the first.
- Other Notes