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RePlay: on the terrifying world of Survival Hor… Action?
by Joey Núñez
In RePlay, Joey Nunez gives GGTL readers a taste of gaming from his own perspective. This edition, Joey takes a look at Resident Evil 5 and the rise of what he calles 'survival hor-action'.

Before we get into this I think it’s important to lay down some facts.

Fact 1: I am a hardcore Resident Evil Fan. I’ve been on the zombie bandwagon since day one, when Jill Valentine was known as the Master of Unlocking, and super cheesy intros were the way to go.

Fact 2: Even though we’ve already established my RE fanboy status, and even though Resident Evil 5 has been out for months and months, I must confess to you, dear readers, that I just played RE 5 for the first time last night. Yes, yes, I know, I should be deeply ashamed and forever shunned from the RE fanboy message boards, no longer permitted to muse and speculate for hours on end on the warped and convoluted mess that is Resident Evil’s plot. Not that I would actually do that.

Not anymore anyway.

Capcom recently announced the Gold Edition of the game (featuring some DLC, shiny new characters and extra missions) and I am guessing that a few of you out there, hyped up by the promise of awesomeness that is brought along with this "Gold" version of the game, might probably get their first taste of this game soon too, and it is precisely you Resident Evil 5 virgins out there that might, perhaps, benefit from my little rant.

Having stated the above facts I can now let you in on why I feel the need to write about a game I’ve been playing for less than 24 hours. It’s quite simple actually - I would like to ask you all if you know what Capcom did to the real Resident Evil; because if you ask me, this ain’t it folks.

Now don’t get me wrong, from what I can tell Resident Evil 5 seems to be a pretty awesome game. The shooting is tight, the visuals are amazing, and the addition of co-op mixes the gameplay up quite a bit, opening up a pretty wide door for what I think can be a real strategic way of playing the game (I’m already wondering which one of my friends I can convince to act as Sheva-Bait so I can set up my rooftop headshots). This game is quick, the gun fights are intense, and the life or death situations I’ve been put through early on in the game let me know that RE 5 won’t really qualify as a disappointment. I mean it's Chris Redfield for pete's sake! How can it disappoint?

However, and this is a pretty big however, as awesome as this game seems to be, something just doesn’t feel right.

I think back to Resident Evil 1 and 2, and the only strategy to speak of back then was, well, surviving. You spent half of the game scared out of your pants and the other half violently reacting to your fear - I know I’m not the only one who wasted a full magazine of ammo on a smartass zombie who thought it was cool to pop out around corners. Right? Speaking of which... where are the zombies? I mean I was all for a break from the zombies, and I certainly dug the Ganados of Resident Evil 4 - seeing a huge parasite break its way out of a person’s head and lunge itself toward you does have its undeniable charms, after all - but still, zombies are zombies, and you can’t really beat that. Sure, having these rabid townies run after me in glorious HD does sound scarier on paper than having a couple of zombies drunkenly stumble towards you, but there’s a certain special kind of frustration and terror that sets in when, regardless of how slow and weak your enemy seemed to be in those early RE games, you found yourself backed up into a corner with nowhere left to turn. Simply put, you were overpowered, and not because the enemy was faster, or even necessarily stronger, it was just the way the game was built.

Now, you could argue that the way those games “were built” was based on archaic controls and unmanageable camera angles, and it’s undeniable that both of these elements seemed to partner up with those wacky zombies come chow time, more often than not ending up in you dead and your controller half way across the room. I’m pretty sure that no gamer wants to see those traits of the franchise make a comeback, but still, innovation doesn’t have to equal losing a games charm, does it?

Already I can’t help but worry about the future of the franchise. I mean take Uncharted for example, its an astounding game, and I love the way Nathan Drake moves in his environment. The freedom I feel when playing through the Uncharted games is the stuff of legend, but that doesn’t mean that I want Chris Redfield moving that way. Resident Evil isn’t about feeling free and jumping this way and that. Quite the opposite, actually, it’s about feeling trapped; trapped in a big ol' mansion full of zombies, to be more precise.

I know this all qualifies as a little more than a rant, particularly when you take into consideration the fact that I haven’t actually seen all this game has to offer. But I can’t shake the feeling that even though I’m in for a great action game, it just won’t come close to the Resident Evil Experience I know and love.

What do you think, readers? Are there any old-school RE gamers out there who have ploughed through RE 5, and who are just dying to tell me how wrong I am? Feel free to do so in the comments section.


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- Joey Núñez

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