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Resident Evil 5

10:5312/03/2009Posted by David Scammell2 Comments

When a survival horror is more amusing than it is frightening, should it be deemed a failure? It’s something I found myself considering throughout Resident Evil 5’s campaign, plagued as it is with rubber-masked mystery characters, high-pitched business men “with standards”, stereotypical barbarism poorly disguised as ancestral intuition and a ridiculously clichéd plot.

But then it dawned on me that this has always been the method behind Resident Evil’s madness and, to be frank, we wouldn’t have it any other way. The only problem, however, is that Capcom doesn’t appear to want Resi to remain true to its principles as a straight-up, bona fide survival horror.

resi51Instead they’ve plastered Chris Redfield and inductee Sheva Alomar up to the nines with bullets, grenades, rocket launchers and proximity mines, and sent them on an action-packed assault of Africa, the latest continent to succumb to parasitic experimentations. This sudden abundance of firepower directly (and adversely) affects the series’ once prevalent fear-factor, calling both its ‘survival’ and ‘horror’ fundamentals into question. No longer are you afraid of what’s around every corner, or indeed, how you’re going to deal with it. Instead you’ll confidently charge in to each scenario, knowing that whatever attempts to stand in your way will be met with a multitude of shells from your fully-upgraded shotgun. Resident Evil’s fear-factor has unquestionably vanished and any sense of urgency lost, replaced with bullish machismo and wanton violence.

What follows is a tale of brawn over brains. The series-staple puzzles are nigh-on non-existent, with the few feeble attempts remaining more a test of your patience than cranial-dexterity. Even some of the bosses – for which Resi as a series is perhaps better known for – in the first half at least, are reduced to mere one-track turret sections, losing much of the tension that made for the series’ more standout moments. Remember Resi 4’s El Gigante and how you had to dodge its attacks with perfect timing, climb up its flailing body and perform a series of button presses to take it down? There’s a similar encounter in Resi 5, only Capcom have done away with everything that made the kill gratifying by simply seating you in a minigun emplacement and ordering you to shoot its weak spot. It not only makes the entire scenario thoroughly unsatisfying, but also loses any inkling of suspense built-up in the preliminary cutscene. Not every boss is like that, of course -some later set-pieces couldn’t be described as anything other than breathtaking – but it’s a telling moment.

re52It’s on that very occasion that you sit up and realise that Resident Evil, as a series, has changed. This is no action-packed spin-off, no G-Con-oriented blunder; this is the future of Resi, an almost unrecognisable carcass of a series born on the idea of trepidation and head-scratching brainteasers transformed into something that openly fondles the masses’ need for simplicity.

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  • Rachel Dodd said:

    Whilst I very much enjoyed Resident Evil 5, I have to agree with a lot of what is said here. I love the game, but not…as a Resident Evil, but just as a game. It doesn’t follow the original gameplay, and where-as it’s similar to Resi 4, it’s just completely different to what Resi fans are used to. I found myself jumping once throughout the entire game, and this was only when one of the enemies from Resi 2 returned! Otherwise I found it a very easy game, never getting below a ‘B’ grade, and the bosses were easy enough to kill and not a real challenge at all. Even the last boss of the game, once you’ve figured out the tactic, is extremely easy.

    On the plus, at least the female in this game was helpful and not another annoying ‘Ashley’ character; and did anyone else think that Irving was very like Salazar after they’d both mutated? They were very alike in annoyance, even their voices were similar!

    However, it wasn’t all bad and I will play it through again. It had it’s moments of absolute brilliance, like is said above, and it’s fun to play. Hopefully with Resi 6 said to be a ‘fresh new beginning’, they’ll get their flare back and make it like the Resi’s should be. Zombies, impossble puzzles and situations that have you on the edge of your seat included. I’d like to not want to play a Resident Evil at night again for fear of jumping out of my skin from fright, instead of playing one and not being scared at all.

  • joni said:

    can I download this game

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