Resident Evil 5 Demo Impressions « LimitlessUnits.com

Resident Evil 5 Demo Impressions

Resident Evil 5 Box Art


The Resident Evil 5 Demo got released today for Gold members on Xbox Live Marketplace. I raced home from work and just finished it. I have written down some of my impressions for those of you interested.

Once you load up the game, you are given the option of choosing between two separate levels, one is called Public Assembly and the other is called Shanty Town. Here are my impressions in easy to follow list format.

Good
1. It’s Resident Evil 4 + 1
I loved Resident Evil 4. This is more of the same, so already it is good.

2. It’s very pretty
The game is beautiful. The character models are detailed and the game runs very smooth and everything looks great.

3. Difficulty
The game is hard, but stays on the challenging end without crossing the line into the frustrating. The difficulty was just right for a veteran of survival horror games.

4. Cooperative elements
The Shanty Town had two really cool parts where Chris and Sheva must separate and cover each other. In one, Sheva is thrown around the roof to the next building. There, Chris must defend her as she makes her way down to unlock the door for you to join her. In another sequence Chris boosts Sheva up onto the roof and she covers you while you work your way around on the lower level. This was easily the best part of the demo.

5. Mini-Bosses
The two mini-bosses can take a lot of hits and really get the adrenaline going. They both have instant kill attacks, so I had to be very careful and use guerrilla tactics against them. It was damn fun.

Neutral
1. Recycled zombies from Resident Evil 4.
The RE4 zombie animations still hold up decently well, but I would have liked to see some additional behaviors and animations from the rank and file zombies. It is still fun fighting RE4 zombies though, so this is not a negative. One thing carried over from Resident Evil 4 that I am sick and tired of is the Zombie behavior of running up to you and then standing there waiting for you to shoot/knife him. That needs to go.

Bad
1. It is not scary
This is not surprising considering direction taken by Resident Evil 4, but Resident Evil 5 has gone a step further.

The main problem is the setting. A bright nondescript African village at daytime would not by my first choice for a location of a survival horror. It completely lacks the atmosphere of RE4’s Spanish villages at night. Also the zombies are not muttering “morrir es vivir” over and over, which was really creepy in RE4.

Like Resident Evil 4, the controls and camera are too functional to cause the player to be scared. This is a great article summing up this important trait of survival horrors .

2. Controls
The default controls, Configuration D, has very similar controls to Call of Duty 4 surprisingly enough. The player can now strafe, but not while aiming. The player must stop in place for aiming, firing, calling Sheva to follow and knifing. If you are going to go down the path of having halfway decent controls and camera you might as do it right and just rip off Dead Space’s control scheme and be done with it. Unfortunately this is not the case with RE5. I know about the whole survival horror needs bad controls thing, but RE5 has good enough controls and camera that it essentially defeats this intentional aspect of survival horrors. So if you are going to go down the survival horror route then go with awful controls, if you are going to go action game go with great controls, don’t sit in the middle and frustrate both sides.

I am also not happy with the addition of the fast selection of inventory items from the directional-pad as it destroys all the suspense of having to shuffle around in your inventory while a zombie is bearing down on you. Now all you have to do is click the directional pad and your weapon or item immediately appears in your hand ready to use.

3. Friendly AI
Sheva constantly blocks my path and runs in front of my gun. In a survival horror every bullet counts and while I am methodically going through zombies with my knife she unloads on every non-threatening zombie with a rifle round so that she is constantly out of ammo. Also if you do not constantly call her to move, she will very likely become injured or even die to the one hit kill mini-bosses. This causes you to lose and since there are no checkpoints in the demo, you must start from the beginning. Just save yourself a bit of frustration and get a friend to play co-op with you.

Don’t get me wrong; based off the demo Resident Evil 5 is going to be a very good game and I will be a day one purchaser. I do sort of miss the old survival horror aspect of the earlier Resident Evil games as opposed to both RE4 and 5 that are definitely pushing into the action genre. Nonetheless Resident Evil 5 is one of the games I am most looking forward to this year.

Resident Evil 5 comes out of Xbox 360 and PS3 March 13, 2008.

See my other related articles:
Become a Video Game Designer: Everything You Need to Know Part 1
Roger Ebert is Right: Games are Not High Art…Yet
What’s Bad About Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Multiplayer Mode?
Top 5 Greatest Moments in Competitive Gaming (eSports)
What Video Games Taught Me About Life
Low Skill Cap and Luck (RNG) in World of Warcraft PVP
Best Games of All Time by Genre Part 1
10 Greatest Video Game Designers Part 1
8 of the Most Underrated or Overlooked Video Games of All Time
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This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 27th, 2009 at 5:23 am and is filed under Video Games. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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