*SPOILER ALERT!* Anyone who doesn’t want to know shit about Resident Evil 5 should turn back now!
*Sigh* This might take awhile, so buckle down….
As one who’s been a fan of the Resident Evil franchise since its inception back in 1996, I’d just like to take a moment to say this:
Resident Evil 4 was an amazing game, one that certainly deserves a place in the top 15 of best ever games, but at it’s core, it never really felt like a Resident Evil game to me.
Call me weird, but I actually missed the fixed camera angles.
I missed the stilted controls.
Moreover, I missed having to occasionally run past my enemies due to lack of ammo.
Resident Evil 2 was, and probably will always remain my favorite game in the series.
It was one of those games that just happened to “get” me at just the right time in my life.
I was young enough to actually care about the endlessly pantomiming and retarded sounding characters.
I was young enough to still be scared by the haunting atmosphere and crazy-ass monsters.
Not only that, I was dumb enough to think I was “cool” ’cause I beat the game so many fucking times.
Seriously, I beat that game more times than I’d care to admit. Yes, I have beaten Resident Evil 2 more than once in one sitting.
Anyway, the point I’m trying to make, is that, though I respect Capcom’s accomplishments with the 4th and 5th entries in the series, I would hate to see them fully discard the gameplay style of the older games in favor of the new.
Resident Evil 4 and 5 cast you as an action hero, an invincible, nigh infallible character that can’t leave a building without it exploding behind him.
Don’t get me started on Chris Redfield though. Honestly, whoever designed his character model for Resident Evil 5 should get a big, fat, Blackanese slap to the face, ’cause what they did to him was just obscene.
Remember when Leon got shot in Resident Evil 2?
He was injured so badly that he passed out.
Not only that, he wore bandages for the whole rest of the game as a reminder to the player that their homie done got shot.
How about that time when Rebecca had to make anti-venom serum for Chris in Resident Evil on account of him being to dumb to make his own?
Moments of vulnerability in the player characters such as this were what made the survival-horror experience so much fun.
You were in mortal danger throughout the game, and there was little you could do about it except hoard ammo for your strongest weapon and pray you didn’t run out.
Resident Evil 4 and 5 give you money to buy bigger guns.
Resident Evil 4 was great.
It was new, it was different, and everything it set out to do, it accomplished with flying colors.
On the whole, my heart holds no animosity towards Resident Evil 4….. Although I am still upset with what they did with Leon’s character.
He was loud, naive and dumb in 2, how the fuck did he turn into James-Fucking-Kung-Fu/Knife-Fighting-Master-Bond by the time 4 rolled along?
Anyway, my point is, 4 was good.
Resident Evil 5 however, bothered me.
I played the shit out of it, and enjoyed the experience quite a bit, but I was alarmed by how much content was recycled from the previous game.
Aside from the basic controls of the gameplay, little things like reused animations for the villager enemies were just a little bit strange to see given the platform transition to a whole new console generation.
In general, the game just felt exactly the same.
Even the level design was similar with the temple and military segments occurring at relatively the same point in the story.
Leeches. Motherfucking giant leeches.
Remember how fun it was to fight the goddamn Mimickry Marcus in 0?
Well, guess what? In 5, you get to fight a bigger version of him for virtually every boss fight!
Casting FACELESS giant leech monsters as a number of the bosses throughout the game robbed me of a lot of “wow” moments.
Part of the fun in previous Resident Evil games, was in always wondering what the fuck kinda’ crazy shit was gonna’ pop around the corner to tear off your face and use it as toilet paper.
The few times that Resident Evil 5 surprises you with it’s monster designs, you’re left not feeling blown away, but simply confused, as the unique creatures hardly fit into the game at all.
While the gameplay mechanics one was required to utilize in combating these bosses was actually kind of fun, the lack of unique creature designs in Resident Evil 5 lead to me feeling that the game was a little dull from a visual standpoint.
Don’t get me wrong, the graphics are definitely next-gen, but the art on the other hand feels somewhat limited.
Well produced, just lacking in heart.
Resident Evil 5 made a bold attempt at reaching out to its’ fans by inserting classic series villain Albert Wesker as the chief antagonist.
This worked out well for the games’ story by effectively tying together the “Las Plagas” storyline of 4, with the “Umbrella Corp” storyline of the older games, as well as the (crappy) “James Marcus” storyline of 0.
What it didn’t work out for me however, was the gameplay aspect of Wesker’s appearances in the game.
Third person shooters with clunky movement controls rarely benefit from having their final bosses be fast-moving, man-sized targets.
Just ask Syphon Filter.
The problem with casting Wesker as the final boss, was the fact that it took the one real impressive graphical feat that the previous bosses had, namely their incredible size, and shit all over it.
The bosses in Resident Evil 5 are essentially glorified puzzles.
Though shooting them is at times an option, generally the way you are supposed to dispose of them is by finding what the game wants you to do to them, and do it over and over again.
In the case of the Bat Monster, the game wants you to make it walk onto some mines.
In the case of the Leech Monsters, ALL OF THEM, the game wants you to burn them when possible, and then shoot THE GIANT FUCKING GLOWING SPOT.
And, in the case of Wesker, the game wants you to shoot him from out of sight, with a fucking rocket launcher, shoot the rocket (which he catches in his bare hands), and then punch him in the face until your partner can give him an injection.
While it was pretty to watch it all happen before me, the actual doing of fighting Wesker just plain felt dumb.
Requiring you to shoot Wesker from out of sight was Capcom’s lazy way of disallowing the player from simply standing in front of Wesker, taking aim, and shooting him in his noggin.
The way I see, if I can get a guy in my sights, and put a bullet in him, that should be a viable way of fighting, if not slowing him down.
But no, if you do this to Wesker, he simply enters an “evasive maneuver” animation cycle, thusly preventing you from landing any shots on him, even if they’re directed at his immobile legs.
Maybe it’s just me being slightly spoiled by the prospect of next-gen consoles and their supposedly limitless potential, but when I see a viable solution to something as simple as shooting a bad guy in a game, I’d like to see the game at least try and give me a little leeway.
Of course, that isn’t REALLY the final battle, but the final battle in Resident Evil 5 sucked so bad that I’d rather not go into it right now.
The final battles in the old Resident Evil games weren’t puzzles.
True, you had to use special weapons sometimes, or occasionally manipulate the environment a little to get the job done, but for the most part the whole experience came down to the player being forced to stand their ground and put rounds in some crazy, pissed-off mutant.
It was simple and satisfying on a visceral level.
In short, it was more dramatic and horrifying, than it was bombastic and exciting.
Resident Evil 4 and 5 represent what happens when you let someone like Michael Bay mess with your franchise.
Wait a minute, this post was supposed to be about music, wasn’t it?
Well, going back to the Wesker battle, despite my general dissatisfaction with the whole experience, especially given the high-profile nature of the characters involved, one thing I will say is that it had some of the most epic and awesomely-good background music I’ve ever heard in a game:
Resident Evil 5 was kind of enough to give us fully orchestrated tracks for most of it’s boss battles, with this one being easily the most impressive composition of the bunch.
Despite this, the majority of the soundtrack, outside of the orchestral work, is hardly memorable.
It was almost as if the music staff somehow exhausted themselves so much doing the awesome boss tracks, that they simply ran out of inspiration for the rest of the soundtrack.
Just listen here:
Personally, I thought this track was good and solid, just nothing to write home about.
In fact, “good and solid” seems to sum-up Resident Evil 5 in my eyes pretty well.
It’s by no means bad, in fact it’s pretty damn good, but the initial “wow” factor of Resident Evil 4 and it’s innumerable imitators, caused Resident Evil 5′s gameplay to become stale years before it’s release.
My gripes aside, hopefully you enjoyed the music, ’cause all this post was really supposed to be about before I went ahead and mucked things up.
Yeah, I do that sometimes.
With that, I leave you with Barry: