Ever since the Resident Evil 5 demo hit the XBOX Live last week hordes of Gears Of War-elitists got to put their trigger fingers to the test in the latest iteration of the popular survival horror franchise. Their response? "Sucks".
Let's clarify that this was the general reaction we got from a selection of the forums we frequent. We're not here to judge or comment on the 360 contingent.
After getting our hands on the game we quickly figured that there are two types of people in this world: those that played Resident Evil 4 and those that didn't. The ones that didn't will find Resident Evil 5 clunky and irritating as they ache to sprint around the gloriously realised interpretation of Africa shooting zombies with an overpowered machine gun. The rest of us will find the game archaic but competent.
Within the first few minutes of the game we were amazed. Then we started to move Chris and we struggled. It took us one whole play through of the demo until we felt back to our old selves, back to Leon from Resident Evil 4. Then we were scoring head shot after head shot as the zombies swarmed us.
Resident Evil may not be survival horror anymore but it still retains tension. Adding in a partner in the form of series newcomer Sheva only makes things more tense. No longer do you just have to worry about yourself but now your partner too. Does she have enough ammo? Where is she? Should I help her?
The AI makes her competent enough to not be irritating but it was with two human controlled players we wanted to test out the the new dynamic. So we went online. Sadly the experience was far too laggy to make real comment on. Our partner (who was controlling Chris) was constantly jumping from one side of the room to the other and sometimes a head shot would not even register. We're not sure whether this was a problem with our partners connection, PSN or the demo being an old build but colour us a little concerned.
The demo packs two levels from the game. Both of which have been levels frequently shown off by Capcom in gameplay trailers. The "Public Assembly" section has your hideout swarmed by the infected while the Shanty Town opts to split Chris and Sheva up a couple of times. It's a good indication of where the co-op style gameplay will take the game further in.
Graphically the game is amazing with gorgeous textures and animations. The enemies seem a bit clunky but we'll let them off seeing as they are meant to represent the undead.
Resident Evil 5 may lack something fresh but we're quietly anticipating Resident Evil 5. We're also expecting the backlash newcomers to the series are on the verge of delivering. To those people we say: have patience. Resident Evil 4 was one of the best games we've ever played and we just can't see how a HD remix of that same game can't be good.
Sure times have changed but we'll end where we started: controls seem to be the staple mark of the Resident Evil experience. You either love them, hate them or tolerate them.