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Resident Evil 5 – hands-on

Resident Evil 5 played us like a flute at October’s Tokyo Game Show, packing into two new trailers enough nudging references to keep fans bickering for months. Could Jill Valentine really be dead, as ‘evidenced’ by a briefly glimpsed tombstone? Here’s a hint: in a series known for bringing the impaled, dismembered and infected back for ‘surprise’ roles in its sequels, the chances of a full-blown kick of the bucket are pretty much nil. Add to that the high heels of its mysterious new character, cloaked and covered by a bird mask, and you have a twist as telegraphed as any in MGS4. Or do you? Dammit, now we’re at it.

Capcom’s storytelling may pale next to the average episode of Hollyoaks, but the new trailer ups the ante from RE4, throwing the covers off a game that is visually beyond even Dead Rising and Lost Planet, full of the sexy survival horror that Capcom long ago made its own. It’s become fairly obvious that the Amazonian Sheva Alomar shares top billing with Chris Redfield – this is a co-op game, after all – so the limelight at TGS turned as much to the game’s supporting cast, led by a fan-favorite bad guy returning in typically over-the-top style.

Okay, so Wesker kicked asses from pillar to post in RE4’s Mercenaries mode. But the rogue agent and consummate ‘80s throwback is now firmly back in the driving seat, with a god-complex matched by some superhuman combat powers. Ostensibly another take on the last game’s crowd control, RE5 is an origin story at heart, tracing the T-virus back to its African roots, right back to the plantations and labs buried long ago by the Umbrella Corporation. A new entity, TriCell, seems set upon digging those secrets up, even if it means turning local villagers into parochial mobs. “Like those Ganados detailed in the Kennedy report,” notes Redfield, they chase down and execute traitors and outsiders. That means you, buddy boy.

Seeing the trailer before sitting down with a new build, it’s obvious why Capcom chose the parched, hostile setting. There’s always been that Black Hawk Down vibe to the thing – the escape from the hornet’s nest. And the awkward racial connotations involved are still there, though mitigated somewhat by an increased number of white faces in the angry crowd. The game’s prejudice, though, is reserved exclusively for the developed world: the companies like Umbrella and characters such as Wesker, whose thirst for power would happily make the entire planet their victims.

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12 comments

  • Tornado7000 - November 28, 2008 7:54 p.m.

    I REALLY hope they can produce a PS3 version of this that at least MATCHES the 360 version. I am sick of inferior PS3 versions and would hate to see Resident Evil suffer a similar fate.
  • benjismokin23 - November 24, 2008 3:51 p.m.

    This franchise has been around for so long that it should be about time that they "blow us away" with a new, kick-ass game. I hope that the game lives up to it's name, it really has to.
  • TheWebSwinger - November 24, 2008 1:52 a.m.

    @defguru: Trounce RE4? No. It just MAY be better than RE4, but to say it'll trounce it is folly, sir. And I don't care how pompous that sounds.
  • jar-head - November 22, 2008 3:52 p.m.

    Resident evil 5 with Co-op is going to be BAD A$$, without a doubt!
  • Defguru7777 - November 22, 2008 2:56 a.m.

    Wesker is the best villain ever! This game is gonna trounce RE4! No offense to Leon Kennedy.
  • NintendoNerd655 - November 21, 2008 11:06 p.m.

    ugh... can't wait for this game!
  • muffchild - November 24, 2008 8:38 p.m.

    they shoulda adopted the controls from dead space. at least the sidestepping. jesus, its about time every game had sidestepping. who wants to have to turn first.
  • jimsondanet - November 24, 2008 4:36 a.m.

    yea i could never get over the standing still to shoot crap it ruins immersion for me
  • TeragRunner - November 23, 2008 3:26 a.m.

    The locust things sound annoying but I'm definitly going to get this game. I'm still playing RE4 after almost a year and it's still just as fun as ever. The only thing that gets me about this one is the fact the controls stayed the same. My only conplaint about the 4th was the control's didn't seem to fit in with the "Agent Kennedy; i've killed 1000 people in the last 24 hours and like jumping out of second story windows." I've never shot a gun before but I'm sure it's at least possible to walk and aim even if it does mess up your aim a little.
  • muffchild - November 22, 2008 10:15 p.m.

    "throwing the covers off a game that is visually beyond even Dead Rising and Lost Planet" ??Um did I miss something? neither DR or LP were anything special as far as visuals are concerned. how 'bout crysis or far cry2 or something. game looks sweet though.
  • Savannah1994 - March 12, 2009 7:28 p.m.

    i already have it , im in chapter 3-1 , it's great!
  • Makk_Mizzy - January 4, 2009 6:38 a.m.

    I love the RE Trilogies, this game looks great and scary like always. Quite a few ppl have been complaining about the voice-acting and etc. I don't care about the small stuff I just wanna pop some zombies' brains and noodles all over the screen and Fight Night Round 4 some zombies in the dirt with the maggots! Im curious is it me or does the whole village in this game look like the Feed The Children off of BET in the mornings when they advertise to get viewers to send them money? Someone please help me answer that question!

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