Survival-horror is what brought me into gaming as an adult. It was my freshman year of college and I was visiting an old friend back home and he wanted to show me a new game for Sony's PlayStation system. In all honesty, I hadn't really done any serious gaming for about three years and that was on Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. The game was Resident Evil 2 and it made me a videogame addict for life.
Now, 11 years, 2 awesome sequels, and a handful of mediocre-to-crappy spinoffs and lame movies later, I get to try my hand at Resident Evil 5, and I loved every second of it.
We've moved far beyond Raccon City, beyond Spain and the village of the Los Illuminados, into the heart of Africa, theoretically searching for the pathogen that Umbrella used to engineer the T-Virus and set off this whole affair to begin with. As I'm sure you've already read, you're back in the shoes of Chris Redfield for this installment and, let's face it, when going gets tough and the infected are on the march, nobody is better than Chris Redfield. No, not even Leon Kennedy.
The game controls almost identically to Resident Evil 4. This carries with it both pros and cons. The 180 turn, the easy knife use, and the over-the-shoulder view are all back. At the same time, so is the slightly clumsy movement and running, as well as not being able to move while you shoot.
One big improvement in the controls is the new inventory screen. Weapons and items can now be mapped to buttons on D-Pad for quick and easy equipping and healing. Popping a couple of zombies in the kneecaps then finishing them both off with a single shotgun blast in under 10 seconds without pausing in thrill unto itself.
Talking about the bloody demise of two infected has just reminded me, if the demo I played is any sign, this will be the bloodiest Resident Evil yet. It will also be the most realistic. I'm not talking about "realistic" in terms of the science behind the infections and human conflict and that nonsense. I'm talking about "realistic" in terms of explosions and blood and gore and awesome ultra-violence. This is no game for the kiddies. Parents, no matter what your child says, this game is not for them. I'm warning you now so you don't get fooled and end up crying "boo-hoo" to any sensationalistic reporter or poilitician or Jack Thompson out there who will listen and try to convince the nation that you've been suckered by Capcom into corrupting your own child and turning him into a mindless mass-murdering machine.
I should also talk to you about the AI Co-Op in the game because, well, unlike most other games where you have to rely on computer intelligence for your survival, this AI doesn't suck. Your partner's AI in this game is actually incredibly intelligent and good at getting out of bad situations instead of relying on you to save its ass. As a matter of fact, the computer saved me from "I'm certainly Zombie-food now" situations multiple times. She was always there to toss me extra ammo when I needed it and the only time I had to save her was at a particularly scripted portion of the game where the primary objective was to (surprise, surprise!) save her.
I only played the game for about 15 minutes, but in that time Resident Evil 5 jumped from a game in the back of my thoughts to one of my three most anticipated games coming out in the next year. From what I've seen, Capcom got it right once again and a Resident Evil game with a whole number in its title has yet to disappoint. Cheers, Capcom! i'll be eagerly awaiting Friday the 13th of March 2009.
Also, in case you missed it, here's our Exclusive Hands On Demo from E3 '08 Live:
RESIDENT EVIL 5 - CAPCOM - XBOX 360, PLAYSTATION 3 - SURVIVAL HORROR