Wednesday, October 14, 2009

This isn't your parents' Resident Evil

I'm still plowing through Resident Evil 5. Note that I'm not using the term "plowing" to indicate playing through rapidly because I can't put it down, but more in the sense of "manual labor of a tedious nature". Resident Evil 4 was an all time classic. This game is well below average. How does that happen?

Rachel may be one of the world's premier RE4 fans, and she has some thoughts that really echo my own. Check those out here!

I'll just add a few of my own opinions. The biggest issue in my mind is that the makers of RE games completely misunderstood what was good about RE4, and thus played up the wrong aspects of the game for RE5. For example:

- RE4 had an amazing fight in which you had to hold off a horde of villagers with only limited supplies. RE5 has SEVERAL of these...the first time it's tense and scary but quickly it becomes boring and repetitive.
- RE4 had a smattering of quick time events. They were annoying but tolerable. RE5 has tons of quick time events, almost all of which result in instant death if you miss them. Thus the game effectively punishes me for watching the cutscenes instead of staring at the bottom of the screen waiting for a button prompt, while simultaneously rewarding me for memorizing Simon-says style button sequences. This is fun how exactly?
- RE4 had a feature where you could find loot and exchange it to do simple upgrades on your weapons. RE5 has the same thing only far more complicated, and now there are multiple versions of each weapon type (shotgun, rifle, handgun, etc.) to be found. So do I upgrade my current shotgun or wait to see if I find a new one? This kind of metathinking takes you out of the game's story because you're too busy fussing over resource management.
- RE4 had a spooky setting and a solid plot with overarching intrigue. There were legitimate scares to be had. RE5 opens with a cutscene explaining "There are terrorists...they have a virus that makes people mutate. Go get 'em." This game isn't trying to be scary or atmospheric, it's just putting a throng of zombies and monsters between you and the bad guys on a linear path.
- RE4 starred Leon Kennedy. He was a fairly normal guy, albeit with combat training. He wasn't superhuman or anything, but he was a decent person who made the best possible decisions available during the game. RE5 stars Chris Redfield, who looks a bit like a shaved gorilla after a severe steroid bender. He's practically invulnerable to damage, has a sniper's aim (with a pistol), and possesses similar decision-making skills to a teenager in a slasher flick.

I could say more but I'm not sure why I'd bother. The bottom line is that everything RE4 did right RE5 tosses out the window, and everything that was a minor annoyance in RE4 gets pushed to the absolute limit in RE5. It's not a good recipe.

As I get closer to finishing the Achievement set, I'll post something about that.

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