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TGS 08: Resident Evil 5 co-op impressions

While Capcom wasn't showing off any new Resident Evil 5 levels at TGS, it was enabling one of the game's biggest back-of-the-box bullet points – co-op gameplay – as well as showing off the game's new (and improved!) control type: "Shooter" mode. Ludwig and I took the game for a two-player spin, then condensed our thoughts for you in this totally unedited back-and-forth format.

Chris: Maybe since it was such a poorly kept secret, we almost forgot to play Resident Evil 5 co-op at TGS this year. Almost!
Ludwig: Well, as one of the most popular games at the show, the lines for it were quite intimidating. Good thing we used the Microsoft Booth exploit.
A brief wait the morning of the first public day (seriously, someone should have told the hundreds of people lined up at Capcom's booth!) we were in Microsoft's RE5 tent, an English-language sheet in front of us detailing the "Classic" and "Shooter" control types.
You get to choose the control type before the play session starts, but can also change it mid-game. I initially went with the "Classic" setup, which is identical to that found in Resident Evil 4.

Since I'm the grumpy one, thoroughly unhappy with those tank-like controls, I opted for "Shooter." Turns out it's not as shooter-like as we first suspected: you still can't walk and shoot at the same time. A nice compromise for an action game with survival horror lineage.
Exactly! I switched over to the shooter controls and was pleasantly surprised that they retained a level of anxiety. It's a classic risk vs. reward scenario -- do I attack and give the slow-moving enemies a chance to reach me, or do I run like away like a little girl?
Speaking of running away like a girl ... you were player two, dropped into the shoes of one Ms. Sheva Alomar, Chris Redfield's co-op companion (and the more realistically proportioned of the two characters). I played Chris since, well, my name is Chris and the circumference of my arms is larger than that of my waist, just like Mr. Redfield.
Well, those preposterously huge arms of yours did have their uses. Aside from propelling a fist or two into a weakened enemy's snarling face, they also gave me a helpful boost to higher ground. We had to split up for a bit -- which is almost always a bad idea in that sort of situation.
Here's where the game's co-op really shines though. These were the same levels I'd already played at E3 – with Sheva being controlled by a cold and unloving AI – but newly reimagined by the presence of a human player! As you ran around like mad on the building opposite me, I tried to provide some backup with a sniper rifle. Tried ... you kept pulling them out of view and I think it was too noisy at TGS to really communicate in there. I did hit an explosive barrel at one point, messing up a half-dozen angry (though not quite undead) villagers.
Well, that was unfortunate. While I do appreciate the sheer force unleashed by Resident Evil 5's catastrophic explosions, I didn't quite want to witness it so up close. Watch where you're shooting next time! I had to dope up on some first aid spray -- easily accessible through the game's real-time menu system. Finally.
Well, a real-time menu system is pretty important when you've got two players sharing the same game experience. I doubt you want to hang tight while I dick around mixing herbs and shuffling up my inventory. On the other hand, as soon as you escaped that angry mob and kicked open that lock (and I mean kicked ... bullets didn't work on that thing!) we met up with our old friend, Mr. Chainsaw Safety Man. Suddenly, my inability to quickly share some of that machine gun ammo with you before getting tapped on the shoulder by Johnny Two-Stroke became a serious problem.
I hate that guy! While running around with a box of ammo in your hands and yelling, "Here, take this!" may not have been the greatest defensive tactic, I did appreciate the gesture, though. Your generous contribution allowed me to carry on the fight -- and let's face it, you needed me to kick those not-zombies in the face and give you some breathing room. These guys can really overwhelm you if you're not careful though.
By this point, I had decided to switch back to the "classic" control scheme, see what I was missing. The "shooter" scheme felt really natural; so much so, that I actually forgot what was different. So I switched. And suddenly, I was spinning in place, walking forward. Spinning. Hitting *TKTKTK* to find your location – there you are! – and spinning my way over to you. After dumping the remainder of my sniper ammo into that freak, and knifing away the rest of the entry-level creeps, you lost your ammo-less battle with the chainsaw guy before I could (probably not) save the day.
Yeah, great backup there, Chris (and Chris). Generally, when your partner is running around like a headless chicken, fleeing from a chainsaw-wielding creep, it's your cue to leap in and save the day. Didn't the mini-map show you where I was?
It was less a problem of knowing where you were and more a problem of getting there with a new (read: old) control scheme and without ammo for my guns. I had the machine gun ammo, you had the machine gun, and never the twain shall meet. I say "never" because as soon as your head was mechanically detached from your body a couple of very polite Xbox 360 booth babes politely told us to "get the eff out" and make room for the other people in line (which, at this point, had grown somewhat).
Oh sure, blame the controls. I think we both know it was a simple case of you hoarding ammo, thinking you could get by without your alluring sidekick. Unfortunately, it's game over when either of us dies! You wouldn't stand a chance in the REAL Africa, pal.

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