Resident Evil 5 – Demo Impressions

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Despite being out for months in Japan, there had been no demo for Resident Evil 5 in Europe or America until today. Dutifuly, I logged onto Xbox Live and started the demo (about 450mb for those wondering) downloading. I hadn’t played Resident Evil 4, as it came out when I didn’t have a decent PC and therefore couldn’t run it. However, I did play Resident Evil 1, 2 and 3 on the original PlayStation and was hooked on them for a very long time (due mainly to the fact that I found them near-impossible in my youth, so it took me a while to get anywhere).

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In any case, none of this has much to do with the matter at hand – the new Resident Evil 5 demo. This new game is set in Africa, where instead of zombie hordes we get mind-controlled hordes, which are basically the same except they can now wield axes and, as I found out too late, chainsaws. The demo consists of two ‘stages’ which I presume translate to sections of a level, as they were fairly small even for a taster demo. One ‘stage’ sees you trapped in a small area fighting off an unending stream of these mind-controlled Africans until you’re rescued, and the other sees you make your way through a town looking for a downed chopper.

In terms of the gameplay, the controls definitely remind me of the original Resident Evil games, and their penchant for ignoring what everyone else is doing with controls and making something unique and incredibly frustrating. For example, you shouldn’t have to hold down a button to move faster than an absolute crawl. Ok, you might want one to sprint, but you shouldn’t need to have a button pressed at all times if you want to be visibly moving forwards. Another annoyance is the lack of being able to move when reloading – I don’t want to be backing away firing to sudenly run out of bullets and have to suddently do stationary while I reload.

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Otherwise, it seems to work like a standard over-the-shoulder shooter, with the added annoyance of not being able to shoot unless you go into an aiming mode, even for the shotgun. I’m not too clear on the story of the mind-control things so I can’t really comment on them, although the Resident Evil series has always had crazy storylines.

However, I am seeing a lot of promise in the game. Sure, it might not be the most intelligent game around, but the inclusion of co-op (which I might get round to looking at separately, you never know) and the pretty graphics are looking like it could be a fun, if not particularly long-lived game.

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