As I’m sure any gamer will tell you, Resident Evil 5 is one of the most, if not THE most anticipated game of 2009. Set to release on Friday the 13th in March, Capcom has tremendous hype to face after its predecessor was voted game of year by Spike TV, Nintendo Power, Game Informer and even Japan’s ultra-critical Famitsu, and has even landed at number one of IGN’s Top 99 Games of All Time list. However, with the RE5 demo release just one mere week away, many gamers are turning off the lights, cranking the sound, and screaming like six-year-old girls in frightened preparation. And let me tell you, this little six-year-old girl needs direct injections of RE5 into his veins.
The demo offers two short scenarios, both fully co-op, allowing you to experience how the game will be played out as a team. You may choose to go solo, however, the coop addition, which is both online and open to split-screen, is one of RE5’s best new features. Capcom tried something similar with Resident Evil 0, but was not coop and proved to be more of a hassle when juggling Billy and Rebecca, the two playable characters.
RE5 retains its over the shoulder view, one I’ve had wet dreams about. Since the release of the fourth installment, many games across many genres have adopted this point of view and utilized it well, allowing for a first person feel, but retaining the view of character mechanics. This may not seem all important, but something subconsciously bothers me when I can only see the characters weapon.
Changes have been made to the menu, which may have mixed reactions. In past RE games, when accessing the menu action would cease, giving the player a breather and much needed to time to heal. Not anymore says Capcom. Welcome to the new and degraded menu; it’s a pop-up! Need a break from the T-Virus infected indigenous inhabitants and get your herb on? Can’t do it, says Capcom. RE5 features an in game menu that will not pause the action surrounding the player. While this may not sit well with everyone, it will add to the overall suspenseful flow that Resident Evil is known for, similar to Ubisoft’s recent Prince of Persia, where the absence of a game over allowed the Prince to stay in fluid motion. Imagine you’re being swarmed by countless infected, necks vomiting tentacles and all, and you can’t stop to heal, for you’ll be severely murder punched. To add even more to the suspense, enemy AI has been updated to feel more “human” like, which is noticed almost instantly. Hordes of infected will still swarm you, however, they will not simply walk straight toward you. They’ll look for cover and obstructed paths, as well as possessing melee weapons and some quicker feet (faster than even the older crimson heads), requiring faster reactions.
The demo was very impressive, and RE5 offers more promise in its 20 minute demo than some games offer in a month long beta test. With many other releases coming this year (Bioshock 2, Halo 3: ODST, and Wii Sports Resort), Resident Evil 5 has its work cut out for it if it wishes to repeat the success of RE4, though, I don’t suspect that Capcom will have a problem. Even after just 20 minutes I feel the withdrawals kicking in.
We wants it, we needs it. Must have the precious.