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Resident Evil 5: What's the bloody problem?

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While my colleagues have been jetting around the world, playing preview versions of Resident Evil 5 and generally having a great time, I had to wait until today before getting my first hands-on experience with Capcom's latest not-zombie adventure. Technically, I could have done it sooner but I'm a lazy, lazy man and making a Japanese account is too much like hard work.

Nevertheless, after hearing people complain about the "new controls" and how disappointing the game is, I started to fear that one of this year's most highly regarded upcoming titles was going to suffer the fate of other franchises that have made the console jump recently. 

Having spent all morning popping heads and stabbing Ganados in the heart, I find myself asking the question, what's the bloody problem?

First of all, I don't quite understand where the "new controls" part comes into play. The game has no new controls. It has controls that were introduced to the world in 2005. Resident Evil 4 was hailed as one of the greatest action games ever made, and quite rightly so. It's true that we've not had a game that handles quite like RE4 in those three years, but the fact remains that there is no new and terrible control scheme in Resident Evil 5, unless my Xbox downloaded a completely different demo from everyone else's.

I still maintain it's an excellent control scheme as well. The accuracy of the laser sight and the deliberately slow turning movements help to keep up the tension while ensuring that you have a fighting chance. Sure, Chris and Sheva handle "like tanks," but if you know how to run and do 180-degree turns properly, there's no reason why you should struggle getting around the map. 

When playing the demo, it felt like playing Resident Evil 4 again, just with better graphics and even creepier enemies. That was definitely a good feeling, since RE4 is one of my favorite games. I don't get how a follow-up to one of the best action games made, that handles the exact same way, can suddenly be deemed "new" and "bad." Am I really missing something crucial here? I don't think I am. 

It has been compared unfavorably to Resident Evil 4 Wii, and I can at least partially understand that bit. Yes, RE4 Wii's controls worked incredibly well, perhaps one of the best uses of the Wii remote yet. However, are we seriously marking down videogames because different games on different systems have control schemes we prefer? I happen to think that Resident Evil 4 Wii had a fundamentally better control scheme than a lot of games -- Metal Gear Solid 4, Gears of War 2, Drake's frigging Fortune. That doesn't mean those games are bad or unplayable. 

I guarantee you as well that if Resident Evil 5 ever comes to the Wii, it'll be the worse for it as well. Online play would be a joke, and if you want a preview of the graphics, there are plenty of Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop screenshots on the 'net. Gameplay controls are incredibly important, but these ones work very well. Just because they're not motion-spurred doesn't mean they suck. It strikes me as a rather snobbish attitude to take, considering nobody said RE4 sucked when it was still on the GameCube and PS2.

Another point I am seeing is that Resident Evil 5 is not "scary." Now, I grant you that the game is not psychologically scary, like old-school survival horror. This game isn't survival horror; it's pure action all the way. However, again I must ask if we were playing the same game. Being trapped in a house and surrounded by a bunch of crazy villagers with axes and wine bottles and massive axes and chainsaws and bags on their heads ... that's pretty fucking terrifying, if you ask me. Okay, it's not disturbed terror -- it's popcorn terror. It's fun terror. But it's still incredibly tense in a Left 4 Dead "Holy shit they're everywhere" vibe. 

As one of the harshest reviewers on Destructoid, I have no problem seeing a game get critically mauled if it deserves it. However, when I can't even begin to understand where the criticism is coming from, I can't help but feel the need to ask what the bloody Hell is up. There's nothing new and terrible in Resident Evil 5, as far as I can see. It's just an improved and upscaled Resident Evil 4. The controls are almost entirely the same, with the only big changes I noticed being D-pad equipment changes which, in my opinion, make the controls even more convenient. 

The full game might take a sudden dramatic turn and stink to high Heaven. I don't know for certain if this game will be great or not. The demo's given me a pretty fair idea, however. What it hasn't given me is any sort of clue as to why people have decided to hate it.

So seriously, when does this demo punch me in the balls and steal my wallet?

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Jim Sterling
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Filed under... #Destructoid Originals #PS3 #Resident Evil #Xbox 360

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