If you need proof of how far certain genres have come in the last few years, just look at how gameplay that was considered a revolution in 2005 is now being treated as a relic in its next-gen sequel – I am, of course, talking about Resident Evil 5. Blame Dead Space for spoiling us if you like, but the fact is that few genres have come all that far in the last five years in any respect other than visuals.
I’m nearing the end of Resident Evil 5, and yes, it does feel clunky after we’ve enjoyed the improvements to the formula in games like Gears of War and Dead Space. Yes, managing the inventory in real-time is an unnecessary attempt at creating tension. Yes, the partner AI is prone to lapses of judgement – although at least this time it can shoot back. Yes, the setting lacks that unsettling, macabre tone of Resi 4. Yes, we’d all like to run and gun. These are flaws that make it worthy of being marked down against its predecessor, but everything else that that game did right is in here as well. It looks great, it has that same satisfyingly precise gunplay, the boss battles are impressive, the battles are intense…
Maybe it’s played things too safe, which is what people seem to be piling on about, but the fact remains that when you play Resident Evil 5 as Resident Evil 5 and not what you think Resident Evil 5 should be, you’ll have a great time.
People are rightfully disappointed in Capcom’s conservatism, but it’s still based on what few will dispute is a classic game and a frontrunner for the best game of the last generation. Dead Space moved the survival horror/action sub-genre forward, but it hasn’t made Resident Evil 4 a worse game and thus to say that Resi 5 is a bad game is hyperbole.
Don’t let me stop you throwing some vitriol over the DLC situation, though. Capcom deserves a kicking over that, if not the game’s overall quality.