I was lucky enough to be invited to Capcom offices in jolly old London to play through some of the review copy of Resident Evil 5. The day started how you would pretty much imagine a Dtoid meet to start, I tried to drag Mikey shopping in London but he was quickly rescued by BunnyRabbit. We found ourselves in Selfrdiges checking out the KidRobot stuff which we quickly figured we couldn't afford. McSnow joined us in the Trocadero (bloody massive Sega world arcade) where he raided a sweet shop just before we met up with Poetic Justice and headed out to Capcom. I have added many of the images from our little adventure to the gallery, so check them out.
The setup was pretty basic, 10 people were invited and we were given two and a half hours to playthrough as much as we could in co-op mode. Sadly, Poetic Justice got stuck with me as his co-op partner.
Before starting, Capcom's PR gave us a quick opportunity to ask questions and like a bullet from a gun I was first to ask one of the most burning questions, what was Capcom's feelings about what appears to be the big uproar surrounding the controls? After the demo hit XBL many people found they weren't happy with the Resident Evil 5 control scheme. Gamers displayed a certain amount of worry (myself included) that if the controls played out in the full version how they did in the demo, that Resident Evil 5 may have a serious problem on its hands. The PR personally didn't feel the control scheme had any problems, he felt they played out well and that at least one of the four different control schemes should hopefully keep people happy. He believed that since this is the first Resident Evil on a next-gen system that the game would be under strict scrutiny from fans, which is true. He also felt that the inability to run and shoot meant that Resident Evil stayed more authentic to its roots and that people are used to the 'run and gun' from the barrage of FPS games that have been released recently, that Resident Evil 5 controls were a "halfway house" between FPS and old school Resident Evil.
I also took this time to ask about Resident Evil 5 multiplayer, a rumor which had found itself circulating on the internet before finally being squashed by Capcom. Was multiplayer for Resident Evil 5 ever considered or did the internet create that rumor itself? Well apparently they knew nothing about it and said they would rather keep away from internet rumors. Can't say I blame them, we do cook up some rather interesting stuff.
While the playthrough gave me plenty to talk about, such as the graphics or environment which is better saved for a full review, the playthrough certainly gave me some interesting insight to the difference between what I played at Capcom and what was available for download on XBL.
I've been pretty vocal amongst friends that I didn't enjoy the demo controls, in fact I hated them so much that I honestly started to think of Resident Evil 5 as a totally lost cause. The demo throws you in head first, before you know it you're being eaten alive, before you have even figured out how to run and it all ends with you mashing the pad and cursing loudly. As mentioned before though, the playthrough allowed us to start from the beginning, this gave us time to work through the control scheme ourselves and understand it. To put it in perspective I played through the demo with a friend in co-op, we died in the first house/hut three times and then we just gave up absolutely frustrated. When me and Justice came back to it on the playthrough we actually succeeded first time without any major problems. Yes, I still couldn't shoot and run which I do think would have been great at certain points but when the mad panic of "I don't know how to use these goddamn controls" was eliminated I found the inability to run and shoot actually helped build tension and really got my adrenaline flowing. I certainly made a complete fool of myself as I constantly found myself shouting desperately at the TV screen while the nervous energy drew me to the edge of my seat.
I was hugely impressed by the co-op experience of Resident Evil 5, it felt like how I have always imagined true co-op to be, myself and Justice were continually talking, planning and basically helping each other in any way possible. In fact I cannot imagine the game without co-op. It feels vital, which is now the problem. The playthrough managed to eliminate my fears regarding difficulties with controllers but instead I now fear the A.I. If the A.I turns out to be little more than a hindrance that has no actual common sense to help you when it's standing right next to you as you get eaten alive then the game will feel flawed. However if you are super cool with lots of friends like me then you have nothing to fear as I'm sure you will have plenty of people just dying to co-op with you. If not there is only one way to find out how the A.I will fare, roll on March 13th!
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