Resident Evil 5 Preview for Xbox 360

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Co-op with a friend adds a new element to the Resident Evil experience
Co-op with a friend adds a new element to the Resident Evil experience

Co-op with a friend adds a new element to the Resident Evil experience

Saying the Resident Evil 5 demo is the most exciting demo to be released in 2009 isn't really saying a great deal considering we're still in January, but there's no doubt that Capcom's latest instalment in the classic survival horror series is a big deal. With the game due for release on March 13 gamers don't have long to wait, but Xbox LIVE (Gold for now) members can try two small sections of the game right now. We dusted off our headshotting, crate smashing and item collecting skills to see how the game is shaping up.

On entering the first area of the demo the most striking thing (for anyone who's played Resident Evil 4 at least) is the new control scheme. It might sound like we're making a mountain out of a mole hill here, but you can strafe in Resident Evil 5 - something that has been impossible in previous games. Up until now rounding a corner was a danger in of itself, with your character having to walk in a strange loop to ensure you don't unexpectedly come face to face with a zombie nasty. With strafing in place you can pop out in a way perhaps more in keeping with how Chris Redfield, a trained operative, would operate.

Our initial feelings on this are resoundingly positive. Anyone who's played a modern action game will feel right at home, while the choice to freeze you on the spot while aiming means the game retains the panicked feeling of the previous games. You can choose to play with classic Resident Evil 4 controls if you wish, giving the strafe controls a miss completely, but for the average player the default new control scheme is very good. We had been concerned that this new modern setup would turn our beloved series into another run of the mill shooter, but gladly it seems we were wrong.

Second up on the things you'll notice ahead of everything else is co-op partner Sheva. This AI or human controlled female character is along for the ride, helping you out and even fighting in areas you can't reach alone. The idea of co-op usually gets us excited no matter what the game, but we were surprisingly unsure about its inclusion here. Resident Evil has always felt like a solo, isolated experience, in which you were the badass hero charged with saving the day, and in many cases the girl. Here there's a completely new mechanic where you will often be the one in need of help.

'If your partner is in trouble it's entirely down to you to help him out, and you're going to get told loud and clear over your headset.'

When playing alone Sheva is handled admirably by AI, with you helping her to reach high platforms or make seemingly impossible jumps. She isn't simply another NPC that will just tag along, so while she gets stuck in to the combat, she also falls foul of the enemies in the same way you do. So yes, she can die, and death for either of you is game over. In what is probably the best example of co-op in the demo Sheva leaps across from one balcony to another, eventually coming face to face with a horde of infected on the other side. You're stranded some distance from her, so it's time to whip out that sniper rifle and get to work on exploding some heads - perhaps taking out some explosive barrels too.

From the demo the solo experience certainly feels odd. Sheva's artificial intelligence is competent and she'll often come to your aid, but something doesn't quite feel right. Thankfully, after playing with another human, the two-player co-op appears to be a very smart move on Capcom's part. Playing alongside a real person completely changes the way the game feels, with the almost depressing need for the computer's assistance being replaced by a sense of camaraderie and a desire to succeed. Without a virtual character arriving on cue to help you out the feeling of isolation returns, perhaps even to a greater extent than in previous games. If your partner is in trouble it's entirely down to you to help him out, and you're going to get told loud and clear over your headset.

It's a man with a chainsaw and bag over his head! RUN!

It's a man with a chainsaw and bag over his head! RUN!

While the demo is far too short for our liking (to be honest, we're so keen to play the full game anything else is going to disappoint at this point), it demonstrates the kind of graphical quality to expect come March 14. Resident Evil 5 has been labelled Resident Evil 4 HD by some, and the design influences are clear to see, but this looks leagues ahead of the game we first played on the GameCube back in 2005. The characters are superbly modelled and full of detail, the environments are stunning, and the lighting is what we've come to expect from our games this generation.

Having played a lot of Killzone 2 recently we expected Resi 5 to feel a little dated, but thankfully it doesn't suffer nearly as much as we'd feared. Little things, like hanging bed sheets that appear to be solid objects in the game world, stick out simply because the rest of the game world has been created so well. The awkward way enemies fall and bounce down stairs is at odds with the way the environment around them looks so real. The way your character refuses to jump down from a platform seemingly inches above the ground below without you first hitting X to trigger an animation jars, because up until then the controls had been so smooth. This is still Resident Evil it seems, flaws included, for better or for worse.

It's a slightly negative way to end a look at what is a brilliant demo. Following Resident Evil 4 was always going to be tough, bordering on impossible, but Capcom appears to have done a very good job indeed. It won't be until we've played through the entire campaign that we can say for sure where Resi 5 sits compared to the series' highly regarded games of the past, but we seriously doubt survival horror and Resident Evil fans will be disappointed.

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CrustyJockStrap's Avatar

CrustyJockStrap@ Ray

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray
cool, im sure it will be great. Just hope the PS3 version doesnt end up being a watered down port of the 360 version. All signs point to no, but you never now.


Resident Evil 5 was built on the MT Framework which is PC bassed so it is ported from that to both 360 and ps3.

But the 360 having simular achitecture (spelling) to PC the port to 360 is always going to be easyer.

SO when a PC version comes that will be best like DMC4 PC version was best.
Posted 19:59 on 06 February 2009
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Anonymous

What's so great about these controls? I'd say I'm an" average player", and all they do is frustrate me! Gears-like controls my ass, the only thing they have similar to Gears here is the walking speed. The walking speed during Gears' headset-conversations. Sure, I can hold A to sprint, but that switches around my stick layout.
Posted 17:55 on 06 February 2009
euroboy's Avatar

euroboy

Good job Ghostdog25,the graphics is good,but the controls are terrible (hey Chris & Capcom,RESIDENT EVIL 4 first appears on GAMECUBE (!!),a long time ago,in a galaxy far far away....). Damn,walk & don't shoot...oh my god! This is Next-Gen,boys...hurry up...
Posted 18:16 on 27 January 2009
ghostdog25's Avatar

ghostdog25

I didn't like the demo at all. I hate not being able to move while shooting... that's just dumb to me. Shooting is awkward and there's no way to get out of the way except to run away and plant your feet and stand and aim in one spot... truly dumb. I don't care if older RE games were the same.... this is a new gen of gaming... let us move and shoot or have a duck and roll or something!
Posted 17:46 on 27 January 2009
Yacaman's Avatar

Yacaman

Their should seriously be just one console. The three existing should unite and split the profit. And all the crap about Wii not being to all the others level. It beat all sales. So their. Sales + Blue Ray + Free Online + Home + XBOX 360 Amazing Game Collection + Trophies = The console I would Pay $800, for.
RE 5 will be the best to date. Finally a zombie game for by Zombie Crving PS3.
Posted 07:11 on 27 January 2009
Wido's Avatar

Wido

Good with multiformat stuff meh! My manual book had no staples to keep all the pages together! ;) lol

Yes Capcom performs very well on multiplatform so don't worry at all. Resi-Evil 5 sounds bloody great but as of no XBL, the PSN is FTW! For me so I'm waiting for the PS3 demo to arrive to download.
Posted 19:45 on 26 January 2009
Triggerhappytel's Avatar

Triggerhappytel@ Ray

I wouldn't worry too much Ray, Capcom tend to be pretty good with multiformat stuff - take DMC4 for example (I can't think of any other big Capcom games which have been on PS3...!?).
Posted 16:40 on 26 January 2009
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Ray

cool, im sure it will be great. Just hope the PS3 version doesnt end up being a watered down port of the 360 version. All signs point to no, but you never now.
Posted 16:16 on 26 January 2009
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius

Downloading it to have a go later!
Posted 13:06 on 26 January 2009

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Release Date: 13/03/2009
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Genre: Survival Horror
No. Players: 1-2
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 1,050 112
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