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    dkirschner's Resident Evil 5 (PC)

    [December 5, 2010 09:39:51 AM]
    Resident Evil was short. The game clocked me just over 11 hours. Batman didn't have a clock but I'm pretty sure I got another 5 or so out of it, like 15-20 total. So two short but excellent games this week. I will never understand why people buy these at full price for like $50-$60. That's like paying $5 an hour to play. Unless you're a person who plays the same game over and over, unlocks every single thing (I finished Batman with 84% completion and RE5 with 25%!), or just has to have it now, why pay so much? Wait and grab it for $10 or less a year later. Batman's replay value is fairly limited as shown by my 84% in one playthrough. RE5 must count multiple plays toward 100% or something. It has a New Game + feature to start over with all your current equipment. I've got to play something that lasts longer next time, which will be approximately 1.5 months from now. I doubt I'll start anything new before then, just play around with some online games and go through some demos I have. Cataclysm comes out this week and I'll play some of that before I leave. It was fun to burn through these two this week though. I'm glad I got two good ones. They made for a good week of gaming.

    So RE5 was an edge-of-your-seat action/shooter game. It really never lets up and I am not surprised I was able to sit and play it in two sessions because I was totally into it. The story after 5 RE games and countless little spinoffs was fairly straightforward in the standalone, but you can unlock backstory files and read some documents throughout the game, and man, there are just tons of characters and events and places spanning like 50 years of fiction. It's a lot. So luckily you don't need to know everything about RE to understand what's going on. They did a good job with story-telling. After 5+ games, you'd think they'd be good at it.

    The boss battles were sufficiently epic and creative. One involved calling down a satellite laser beam to strike this giant mutated girlfriend of the bad guy who turned into a sea monster on a giant ship. Another one involved manning machine guns and rocket launchers. Another involved using a flamethrower to torch a monster. Another involved a little bit of stealth to cut power to lights and keep the boss in the dark so he couldn't dodge your bullets (and rockets). I very much enjoyed the bosses, and only kind of got stuck on one. Turns out I wasn't doing it very efficiently and ran out of ammo, but you couldn't finish without ammo. Some fights are very memorable.

    RE5's regularly set up battles are great too. It generally starts with an enemy noticing you or you opening a door or gate or something that triggers it. The music picks up and enemies come swarming out of ceilings and doors with ever more deadly weapons. It's great because you can't just go crazy with your best gun. You've got to conserve your ammo by getting close to melee sometimes or using that weak gun over the strong one to save for a tough enemy. I usually loaded out with at least a shotgun and a sniper rifle, and I gave my sidekick a pistol and a machine gun. It worked pretty well as I good blast from up close and afar, and she handled the midrange. There's a nifty cover system that appears later in the game once the mutants get armed. Popping out to snipe is always fun.

    RE had a surprising amount of puzzles, especially in this ruins level. They weren't too hard, but adding waves of enemies made them fun. The one I remember most involved mirrors focusing sunlight. You have to make your way through the labyrinthine level to find 3 pieces of a key to open the door to the next one, but there are all these sun mirrors that will regularly fry a section of the level. You've got to plan your running so you don't get caught in the sun beams. It wasn't so much a puzzle, but it was probably the most complex level in the game, and my favorite that I went through. I'd often walk into a giant room with multiple stories, ladders, crates, obstructions, and go "Yes, yes, yes" because it's like a mini-level. You know bad guys will come, you know you're going to have to take them all out while moving from point A to point B, finding goodies along the way, finding switches, lifts, doors, exploding barrels, and so on. Each little area was just exciting to play through.

    I'm really glad, though I thought it would be lame at first, that it's co-op with the AI. The AI wasn't bad, no worse than the enemies. She kept up, sometimes led me ahead, followed orders without a problem, and was downright handy to have along! I usually hate sidekicks in games, but I was pleasantly surprised, and in fact, she made the game a lot better. I felt like I had a buddy playing with me. And you can do that online actually. You can play through an 'open' campaign where anyone can just jump in as the second character, or you can jump in someone else's. I'd play this with a friend, but don't care to with a stranger online. Shooting zombies together is a bonding activity.

    What else...Ah yes, the only thing I didn't like about the game were some of the controls. The camera view was slightly awkward third-person off to the left side, and coupled with the camera swinging you around was a little uncomfortable at first. I did get used to it. What continued to suck was the context commands. I can deal with pushing F or V to run, duck, jump, etc. in action sequences. What I had trouble with was pushing A+D at the same time to do something. What I had even more trouble with, and what I don't know how made it in the game, was holding F+V to do action maneuvers. F+V? Really? So try this. Push F really fast to run! Now push A+D to dodge some rockets! Ok now quickly push F+V to climb! It's super awkward, especially while trying to WASD move at the same time. WASD and having to mash F+V on command is nigh impossible before doing it a hundred times. And you have about 2 seconds to mash the buttons before you die, and it doesn't always register that you pushed them either. V is also the command to tell your sidekick to come here, so F+V a lot of times turned into "Come over here!" *dies* Besides some control issues, I don't have any other gripes.

    I'd totally recommend this game to anyone if you find it on sale for cheap. It's short and unless you have a tendency to replay games, there's not a lot to it. But it's incredibly polished, incredibly intense from start to finish, and just a ton of thrilling fun.
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    [December 4, 2010 09:45:35 AM]
    Resident Evil and Batman are a good combination to play together. I was so impressed with Batman that I was expecting relatively less from Resident Evil 5, but man, RE is pure adrenaline. I knew the series had strayed from the survival horror of its early days. RE4 was something like a zombie shooter, and this one seems to go further in that direction but somehow returns some anxiety of the earlier games. One level is all in a dark mine. The game itself is co-op with AI or with a friend/stranger on the internet. The mines are pitch black, so one character holds a lantern while the other takes the front. It's like in Doom 3 where you can either hold the flashlight or a gun. The sound in this game is excellent. The mines in particular, you hear the heavy breathing echoing through the shafts. The game is very immersive in part because of the sound effects, and also because of the level design. It's fairly linear and there are a ton of enemies. Action sequences have taken me over 20 minutes to do. Enemies will just stream and stream, and they drop enough ammo to keep you just barely going long enough. I think this game must have been tested and fine-tuned for a long time because the pacing is just perfectly intense.

    The enemy AI seems to be stupid at times, like they'll just kind of stand in front of you, but it seems to work because when they stand there, I get scared that they're going to attack me. Usually it'll be like 3 or 4 of them in front and I turn and run, but the level designs are such that there are always limited places to run. The fights are all in small spaces. Enemies are definitely getting stronger and more resistant to my guns, which I finally decided to start upgrading. I'm around 1/3 of the way through the game and just now started upgrading. I didn't know really what all I could spend money on, and I didn't want to upgrade guns that I would replace naturally, so I glanced at a weapon list online and it turns out that you can unlock new guns from upgrading old ones. Upgrade away! Your partner AI isn't any smarter than the enemies. S/he is fairly conservative with ammo, is a smart healer, and never uses grenades. But s/he will also stand there or fire slowly even if an enemy is right in front of him/her. I wanted to play as the girl, but it defaulted to the guy. I guess you can only play the girl in multiplayer. Apparently the guy is from other RE games, but I don't really know the story or characters. This one also draws on the previous game(s), though maybe not RE 4 because I don't recognize anything here. The male character wants to find his old partner, and there's a part where he goes through some RE back story.

    In contrast to Batman, the fights here make you think more, and the boss battles are much better and numerous. This game doesn't have all the personality that Batman has, but the story and the African setting are totally believable and suck me into what's going on because everything is just so polished and well presented. My favorite part so far is the jeep gunner sequence. Not unique or anything since a lot of games have gunner sequences, but this one was awesome and followed by a boss battle with what resembled a troll from the Lord of the Rings movies. The enemies aren't zombies by the way. It's about biological weapons and there's some mutant virus organism thingy that turns people into angry killing machines, kind of like 28 Days Later, but they're smarter and retain a bit more humanity.

    The only question now is do I go on and finish the rest of the game tomorrow, or do I stretch it out a few more days?
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    dkirschner's Resident Evil 5 (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Saturday 4 December, 2010

    GameLog closed on: Sunday 5 December, 2010

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Very exciting game, good story, lots of zombies to shoot, great claustrophobic level design amongst wide open areas, epic boss battles, decent puzzles, but short short short.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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