The Joystiq masters have us working full-steam this week because of GDC, but that won't stop The Guide. Despite the fact that GDC is in full swing, there haven't been any major Xbox announcements. I was really hoping I might be able to write about some earth-shattering megaton too. Alas, it looks like a column about Metal Gear Solid 5 being Xbox exclusive just wasn't meant to be*. Thankfully, there are a few more things to say about Resident Evil 5.
First of all, to all the haters that posted comments on last week's column, I have something to show you. Please direct your attention to this video. In particular, please listen to the section that begins at 1:35. In this section, producer Masachika Kawata discusses games that inspired Resident Evil 5. In order to keep things as civil as possible, I'd just like to say take that, internets.
Now, just a few final thoughts on Resident Evil 5. I enjoyed the game quite a bit. I like it enough that I went ahead and decided to keep it rather than send it back to GameFly. For anyone that enjoys unlocking and upgrading items, there is a lot to keep you busy. There are loads of different weapons, and all of them can be upgraded extensively, even unlocking new weapons in some cases. In addition to that, weapons can have infinite ammo enabled once the option is unlocked. Assuming you earn everything legitimately -- it's possible to dupe items and sell them, so I'm told -- it will take a very long time to unlock everything. As a nice bonus, everything you unlock stays with you on the next playthrough, even if you change the difficulty. Suffice it to say that obsessive completionists will find something to enjoy.
Last week I mentioned that Resident Evil 5 had become a pure action game, ditching whatever sense of survival horror it still had. I still think that's largely true, but I do have some advice for experienced players out there. If you want a more tense playing experience, I suggest you play on the harder difficulty setting from the outset. I've started my second game on the veteran difficulty and it's definitely harder. The grim spectre of death is much more present than in the normal difficulty, which makes the game much more frightening. However, if you choose to do this, I strongly advise you find a real person to play co-op with. I might be imagining things, but it seems like the co-op AI gets stupider when you raise the difficulty. Either that or Chris' giant man-shoulders have a harder time slipping through Majini than Sheva did on my first playthrough.
I've heard some complaints about the game's story and some regarding the gameplay, most of which boil down to the fact that the game isn't as good as Resident Evil 4. I concur that it's not, but it's still a good game in its own right. What gets to me the most is the things that some things done very well in Resident Evil 4 have simply disappeared. In particular, I miss the ability to combine treasures together to increase their value. I also miss the crazy, possibly leprotic merchant. I understand the changes made to the shop system, but they could have at least given him a cameo.
Overall though, I think the good parts of Resident Evil 5 outweigh the disappointing ones. Notice the word "disappointing" and not the word "bad." For the most part, the "bad" parts are just disappointing, again thanks to the long shadow of Resident Evil 4. Even under the weight of its older brother, Resident Evil 5 is still a solid game with good gameplay mechanics, an addicting upgrade system and potential for great cooperative fun. I'm not saying everyone should run out and buy it, but it's definitely worth playing.
*Incidentally, if I'm right, I totally called it.