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Resident Evil 5

“You are dead”  these red bloody words seem to always drip down the screen when playing with Sheva Alomar’s AI on the most recent installment of the Resident Evil series. Playing as Chris Redfield from the first Resident Evil game you spend most of your time trying to save her, which thankfully gifts you with an achievement that you receive unsurprisingly quickly. If it isn’t for her AI not defending herself properly, it’s also her character wasting ammo when equipped with a handgun or just standing around watching while you get attacked or shoot enemies. And she seems to be on a suicide mission by inexplicably running into enemies and getting herself killed, so a lot of the time in the game you’ll be screaming, “Sheva!” Yet, luckily you’re playing as Chris Redfield whose fist is stronger than the use of a shotgun; he makes Robert Burns from Vanquish look like Pacman.

Capcom has used the Resident Evil series to really shape the world of action-adventure within gaming.  A game that would create an entirely new genre labelled, “survival horror”.  That was more than a decade ago, a few years after that every game that followed the series has tried to live up to the first instalment, until Resident Evil 4 was released in 2005 which really set it apart and knocked the socks off the previous titles as more of an action-based game.

Resident Evil 5 broadens the use of action and now supports cooperative gameplay, this feature allows players to leave or join the game at any point in the level. Yet this only proves annoying as your partner can’t join you until the next checkpoint, especially if there is loss of connection. As in Resident Evil 4, the number of type of weapons has increased compared to the previous titles; there are now several types of shotgun, handgun and submarine items. And instead of zombies, the game’s enemies consist of evil spirits called “Magini”, which in my opinion still resemble zombies. They resemble similar aspects to the “Ganados” of Resident Evil 4, as they run, dodge, speak and use weapons in the same style. A lot of speculation came about saying Resident Evil 5 was racist  as the enemies you’re shooting are black..hello we’re in Africa! And they’re evil possessed spirits, who wouldn’t shoot them? Resident Evil 4 had Spanish European zombies and previous Resident Evil games were set in America, therefore you were shooting white zombies, so what’s the big deal? People need to chill out and realise it’s a game. Nobody said anything when blasting up innocent black, spanish or white people in GTA out of boredom did they?  If anything, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 should burn more of a pothole for killing innocent civilians in the level of “No Russian”, but you have to admit as shocking as that was it was fun.

The game is set ten years after the destruction of Raccoon City, the former S.T.A.R.S. Alpha team member Chris Redfield is an agent of the B.S.A.A. When Chris gains knowledge of a weapons dealer making a huge deal in the African nation of Kjuju, he heads over there to put a stop to it and to investigate more into the mysterious project labelled as Uroboros. This is where Chris is joined by Sheva Alomar, another B.S.A.A. member, and together they fight countless infected villagers, lickers, meatheads, and even Albert Wesker.

The combat moves haven’t changed a lot from Resident Evil 4- the action still comes from an over-the-shoulder perspective, some fights or cutscenes are followed by short quick time events which always prove annoying in games as it always looks like an epic scene that you want to be able to manoeuvre yourself not by button bashing. Yet at least you have more mobility in the game thanks to the new ability to walk sideways. Although the game does seem to display slow movement when trying to run fast and it would be nice to be able to aim your weapon as you walk. You can move and aim in third person shooters like Dead Space and GTA nowadays, so why can’t Resident Evil?

Regardless of Sheva’s incompetence, you rely heavily on team work in the game to help open doors, solve puzzles, take down bosses and recieve help if your health is running low, so having Sheva  watch your back does sometimes help in vital situations. Additionally, there has been major changes to the inventory system, enemies no longer wait politely for you to go through your items as it doesn’t pause the game so you have to be swift. At any point in the game you can store up to nine items per character, four of the items being reachable by pressing the d-pad for ease of use, so these I usually armed with my main weapons and if spare, grenades. The new system proves difficult when trading ammo or finding your herbs or first aid spray to regain health for you and your partner as Sheva needs to be standing near you to inherit some health back and as said, going through your inventory does not pause the game. It’s often needed to trade items with Sheva, and keep in mind who has what items and choosing who picks it up as during boss levels sifting through items is near to impossible. Yet, sometimes you don’t have the upperhand with picking up items as Sheva generally seems to grab them all, so you need to request them off her through the inventory and combine items such as ammo in weapons and herbs for her as she seems too stupid to do anything for herself.  I ran through Resident Evil 4 not knowing you can enlarge your inventory space, but comparing the size of inventory between the fourth and fifth you can see nine slots is of little help and you spend a lot of the game discarding items or having to use Sheva as a mule. The fourth game covered space dependant on the largeness of the item, yet this was helpful compared to having only just nine slots when a fair part of the game you need more than one to be able to combine herbs and if you choose to buy a bulletproof vest this also takes up a slot! In my opinion, there should be an option to turn off Sheva as an AI and inherit the double amount of slots for your inventory as Chris.

Resident Evil 5 introduces Jill Valentine from as we formerly known her as brunette, to now being blonde from a result of experimentation on her body. Jill was brainwashed with an external device embedded into her chest by Wesker and Excella, which left a scar after being ripped from a chest with the help of Chris and your partner. I’ve always seen potential romance between the two characters as they always seem so close and protective over each other. Before Resident 5 Jill always seemed willing to sacrifice herself to save Chris when pursing Wesker and how both were loyal to each other in saving the other from prison shows they really care for each other, yet I guess when Sheva asks about Jill in Resident Evil 5, “Were you close?” and Chris replies with just “We were partners” it leaves a cryptic response. Is it that Capcom don’t want to pursue their relationship in the storyline and Chris literally meant partners, or he’d rather leave things unsaid as it always seems that Jill and Chris have something to say to each other, but it’s always kept quiet.

Resident Evil 5 is graphically stunning and the large environments that surround you are flawlessly detailed in every sense. The cutscenes make beautiful cinematics, and aren’t too long either, the dialogue within the cutscenes and the game itself bring great realism to the characters with their facial expressions, as does the soundtrack with the frantic, high-sped songs that follow large boss battles that add tension to gameplay. Playing through Resident Evil 5 for the first time, it lasts about twelve hours, which is a lot shorter than its previous titles which was disappointing, Yet, once you finish the game you unlock the return of Mercenaries as in Resident Evil 4, a mini-game  blasting waves of enemies within a time-limit with combo bonuses, but now with the option of co-op, which you can also play through to unlock more characters which includes “Warrior” Chris aka gay Chris, red riding hood Sheva and if you play Mercernaries Reunion; you can play as Excella and even meet old characters such as Rebecca and Barry from previous games.You can also replay chosen chapters of the main game to find hidden B.S.A.A. badges throughout, play on the other difficulty levels, save up on money to unlock and upgrade weapons, and collect in-game points to unlock trophies of several characters and additional costumes and graphic filters, and if you like you can always replay for achieving a better score with your partner minus the AI for the leaderboards. Resident 5 develops on the action side of Resident Evil’s gameplay and is built in every aspect to try and support co-operative gameplay with what you have to do in the game. Yet it cannot be labelled as a “survival horror” game any more, it keeps its tension within its missions and boss levels that creates fun if you’re playing with a friend, but creates a complete suicide mission when playing with the AI. Luckily, playing with another friend or playing through mercernaries, all the problems of the AI seem to go away. Aside from boss battles and using the mini gun with major enemies, this is my favourite aspect of Resident Evil 5. In my opinion, Resident Evil 5 is like its predecessors but with the lights turned on, there is no fear with the knowledge of having your partner covering your back, you have to go into the game not thinking of it as Resident Evil but a completely different entity.


Red Dead Redemption

*Spoiler alert*

Red Dead Redemption was the last Xbox game I completed. I’ve always been a fan of Rockstar games having played Grand Theft Auto; Vice City, and San Andreas during the PS2 era and IV on 360, and also Bully. All excellent games and all following in the suit of managing to free roam and choosing when to do specific missions, side missions and obviously the best is Rockstar’s sense of humour. Who hasn’t gone cruising around the back alleys in GTA at night or hit a strip bar and got a lap dance or extra from one of the hookers..then of course running them over after the brief cut-scene and getting your money back ^_~

Bully, obviously toned it down since it was being aimed towards younger teens instead of 18+ like GTA, but had some surprising but hilarious content such as Jimmy, the protagonist being able to (and also obtaining a achievement) for kissing boys, but kudos to Rockstar for being open-minded.

Red Dead Redemption again being on 360 and especially on HD was represented with beautiful scenery and amazing attention to detail. Whether night or day, riding around Mexico or passing the Great Plains to kill that final buffalo or delving deep in the forest and mountains to skin a grizzly. Apart from the beginning with Bonnie and irritatingly learning how to break a horse, I began to enjoy the missions- yay shooting! ‘Dead Eye’ was a helpful input, much like Bayonetta’s ‘Witch Time’ slowing down time to get a good shot. Obviously I know learning the basics at the beginning with breaking a horse would help with side stranger missions, but I always found it frustrating as 80% of the time I wanted to shoot the horse for throwing me off then galloping off, it takes some getting used to.

‘Dead Eye’ is also featured in challenge duels, which sometimes appear on the map or in a side mission or two. I enjoyed this feature to the game as it’s one of many known aspects of what we know of western cowboys. Robbing trains, gattling guns, stage coach races, tracking down wanted criminals, shooting in gang hideouts, playing poker in saloons, down to even the detail of masking your identity with a handkerchief were a few details of the game that stayed true to western culture, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

My only negative view of the game is mainly the use of betrayal in yet another game and the unfortunate ending. I’m all for tragedy at the end of a game, I mean at the end of the day it’s just a game right? Yet, at least GTA IV had alternate endings. I guess both alternate endings had different tragedies, but I wouldn’t of minded Jack being kidnapped by the Mexicans and the wife being killed in exchange for John Marston to survive and marry Bonnie, who I preferred so much more. And there was no denying Bonnie’s feelings for John during cutscenes of the game.

And call me perverted but I would of enjoyed having a go with the prostitutes in the game. Much to my dismay even as a legally aged Jack, free roaming at the end. He only subjected to saying, “my daddy warned me about dirty whores like you” BAH! Although, I can understand Rockstar’s attempt at morality and not having John cheat on his wife (somebody get a cheat to input Neko Bellic in the game! xP), it didn’t stop my fun hog-tying women and throwing them on the tracks (woo 5G!) or dragging them up the stairs and teabagging them in my room.

My last two negative points would be the lack of fighting against Indians in the game. You had a few later missions shooting them, but I expected Indians on horse back with bows and arrows attempting to scalp me, not updated versions with guns, but eh fighting was still good. Last point being the amount of glitches, which almost made me drop the game as it froze during levels and a few times left a character squatting midair.

Finishing on a good note, one of my favourite characters in the game aside from John was good old, Abraham Reyes. His dialogue and John’s sarky comments were always a joy. Who’s Luisa?! And hey, he displayed the only one sex scene in the game xD