Resident Evil 5 – Demo
Horrific, for all the wrong reasons
Well well. Resident evil eh? One of the longest running series in gaming, alongside Metal Gear & Tomb Raider, on every format under the sun from the Sega Saturn to the Dreamcast and all points in between. The Resi template had become as stale and clunky as one of its undead inhabitants by the time Resident evil Code veronica (officially the 4th game in the series) was released in ’99 on the Dreamcast, and took until 2004 for a major franchise reboot in the for of Resident Evil 4 for the series to really become vital again.
RE5 looks set to follow in the footsteps of its older sibling by swopping haunted mansions, zombies and conspracy theories for faster, smarter enemies (the ‘infected’, not zombies), all out action, and a distinct lack of zombies. Yes i know i already mentioned this but it bears repeating as a Resident Evil game with no zombies is a bit like a porno with no money shot.
For long time RE afficionados, this may come as something akin to sacrelige. RE4 got away with it by being one of the finest action games of all time, even if it did cast off the standard Resi storyline and enemies, much to the chagrin of die hard Resi fans. RE5 has gone a step further towards alienating existing fans not only by following RE4’s lead and dispensing with established storylines, enemies, and gameplay but with the, franky baffling, inclusion of a mandatory AI partner called Sheva, or as you will come to know her, ‘that fucking dumb bitch who keeps dying on me’.
Sheva’s AI in this demo version leaves major room for improvement before final release, with your AI partner at times being the sole cause of a mission failure by casting off all feelings of self preservation and offering herself as chainsaw fodder for the chainsaw wielding maniac chasing you around the level. Games like Gears of war 2 & Battlefield: Bad company have proved that you can have AI partners that, while not necessarily the most helpful (which is being polite int he case of the loveable yet useless as a eunuch in a brothel AI of Bad company) but can at least manage to keept hemselves alive, and not force you to have to restart an entire section of the game down to poor AI. In 2009, forcing you to restart a level simply because your computer controlled partner is’nt up to the task is unforgiveable.
Well thats the bad news, so whats good about the demo? Well first and foremost, the graphics will make sweet, evil love to your eyeholes. The charachters are fantastically detailed, from main protragonists Chris & Sheva’s insanely detailed uniforms & weapons, to the facial expressions of an infected villager as he snarls and attacks you with the business end of a sickle, to the rusty derelict shanty town itself. Everything looks as youd expect from the latest game in a series that has always excelled in its visuals.
The action is non stop, and will instantly feel familiar (i.e. ripped off wholesale) from RE4. The section of game shown puts Chris & Sheva right in the middle of an infected village, where some mouthy git with a megaphone is ordering the infected to do all sorts of nefarious doings. Villagers swarm the house where the 2 heroes are holed up, which will instantly bring to mind the infamous barn siege of RE4, its not so much a ‘glowing tribute’ to RE4’s greatest moment as it is ‘on its knees vigorously fellating the undead cock of RE4’. But if you have to ‘borrow’, or ‘steal the living fuck’ from other games, it may as well be from the best 3rd person action game of the last generation.
So, lots to love, sadly even more to hate. And with the release date looming large on the horizon, it doesnt look like much will change between now and release date.
With all things considered, the RE5 demo, at least, recieves a hefty facepalm: