March 27, 2009 by Paul Curtin
Four years ago I played Resident Evil 4 and was blown away. Not only did the game breathe new life into the Resident Evil series, but Capcom took a risk with a new camera style that moved the character farther to the left and created more space in the center of the screen, an idea that previous developers had never thought to use. The risk turned out to be well worth it with Resident Evil 4 going on to win multiple Game of the Year awards and having its unique over-the-shoulder camera style become the new standard in third-person shooters.
Game developer CliffyB (Cliff Bleszinski) has even cited Resident Evil 4‘s over-the-shoulder camera style as one of the key inspirations in the making of Gears of War. With Resident Evil making its debut on next-gen consoles with Resident Evil 5, will Capcom be able to introduce new features that will once again revolutionize the gaming industry?
At first Resident Evil 5 sounds like a very worthy sequel with the addition of co-op, improved graphics and the continuation of Chris Redfield’s story in a new African environment. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything in Resident Evil 5 that other developers will want to use as inspiration this time around, if anything, they’ll be using this game as an example of what not to do. The controls are sluggish and make playing the game very frustrating; four years ago they were acceptable, but now they’re obsolete. In addition to sluggish controls, there’s no ability to move and shoot at the same time, forcing the player to completely stop when taking aim to shoot. This feature is supposed to make the game more intense but succeeds only in making it more frustrating.
One of the new features in Resident Evil 5 is the cover and dodge systems which seem tacked on. Epic Games took Resident Evil 4’s camera style and improved upon the gameplay mechanics to make Gears of War. It’s now Capcom’s turn to take a page out of Epic’s book on cover systems, yet, instead of improving upon or at least copying the Gears of War cover system, Capcom has created their own unique system which somewhat imitates Gears and feels like a broken knockoff. Both the new cover and dodge features are not available to use at anytime and can only be used in certain situations where Capcom’s developers have chosen for the player to be able to dodge objects and use cover to their advantage, which is sadly only about 10% or less of the game.
To add to the list of game-breaking problems, the computer partner’s A.I. is beyond awful. I would strongly suggest not playing this game in singleplayer mode and taking advantage of the ability to play online with a friend. I spent more time fighting with the controls and my partner than with the zombies. My computer partner would constantly unload rounds of bullets into my back without ever trying to readjust her line of sight. When she wasn’t shooting me in the back, she was either running in front of my line of sight or standing next to me and watching as I did all the work. My favorite part of my playthrough was during one part in the game when we had to sneak by a hallway full of Lickers (blind mutated zombies) and Sheva decided to randomly start shooting them, resulting in them killing her and forcing me to restart from the last checkpoint. Sigh… good times.
As if Sheva couldn’t get any more useless as a “partner,” she also constantly uses items at the wrong times. The only solution to getting her to not waste items is never giving her any good items to start with so if she does waste anything it’s not something you need. But then there’s another problem to counter that trick (shocker), the player inventory is tiny, which forces you to use your partner’s inventory as a second bag. Sometimes you’ll have to let Sheva hold on to items like healing potions, which of course she’ll waste on minor injuries, leaving you with nothing to heal yourself when you really need it.
To call Resident Evil 5 a disappointment would be an understatement. I’m glad I have GameFly and didn’t have to buy it, I’d suggest you do the same. RE5 is worth playing if you’re a fan of the series, but definitely not more than once. Right now the game only consists of singleplayer and co-op, but there is multiplayer DLC coming out within the next couple weeks for only $4.99. While $4.99 isn’t much, paying for a feature that comes standard with most games today is just one more thing that is bad about this game. I haven’t played the multiplayer and I doubt I ever will since it’s only 2 vs. 2 and that can’t be much fun with the awful stop and shoot controls transferred over from the campaign. Bottom line, if you want to play an amazing new third-person shooter with a great story, zombies, and all sorts of crazy monsters, play Dead Space. Resident Evil 5 gets 2.5 out of 5 stars (Okay).
- Graphics are impressive and a huge update from the previous game.
- Online co-op mode allows entire campaign to be played with a friend.
- Many unique zombies and bosses to kill in unique ways.
- Sluggish controls make playing the game very frustrating.
- Can’t move and shoot at the same time.
- Worthless computer “partner” when not playing co-op with a friend.