Thursday, 5 March 2009
Resident Evil 5 - 360/PS3
Rather than moving the series forward, Capcom have instead decided to play it safe and have given fans essentially the same game they've been playing for years, albeit now in shiny high definition.
The story this time starts in the fictional shanty town of Kijuju in Africa, where a biological outbreak has turned the residents into tongue-lolling zombies. Series fans will be giddy with excitement to discover the central character is Chris Redfield, the square-jawed protagonist from the series' 1996 debut. Joining him on the journey to get to the bottom of the terror sweeping the streets of the African town is Sheva Alomar. And while she can be something of a hindrance while playing the game solo, everything works a little better when two players join forces - either in local co-op, or online co-op.
In single player, she often stands doing nothing while you are overwhelmed by the red-eyed undead. However, when a second player is introduced to the action, strategies materialise and the reassurance of a helping hand make the experience much less frustrating.
I've already mentioned the archaic control system and it really does detract from the game. The main problem is you can't move while aiming your weapon. This leads to all sorts of problems when you're faced with a mass of festering flesh running towards you. You simply have to stand your ground and try your best.
I understand this lack of movement adds to the feeling of panic, but EA's Dead Space lets you move when aiming while still managing to keep its panic-inducing gameplay intact.
On the plus side, the pacing throughout the cinematic adventure is top notch, and Capcom have maintained their usual high production values. From the well animated characters and the cracking cut scenes, to the lighting effects and variety of locales, Resident Evil 5 is a visual treat.
Ultimately, it's Resident Evil 5's co-op mode which saves it from becoming just another run of the mill survival shooter, but it's hard not to shake the feeling that Capcom could have done so much more with this latest entry in the popular series.