Sunday 5 December, 2010
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.
Yeah, I agree. For me, since I usually play some form of RPG, these short and good ones are great breaks. There's nothing wrong with making a shorter game if it's all great. It seems like there's a perception these days that you have to make games longer and longer and have more and more extras, like your CoD entry mentioning finding the secret intel. Extras work better if they match the pace of the game. I just played Batman, which had all these extra things to find, but looking for secrets made more sense than in CoD because it is a stealthy game and are placed by the Riddler, who taunts you about finding them, and then RE has these emblems to find, which you probably have to look real hard for because I found I think 5, out of like 30. The RE ones are like the CoD ones. They don't make a lot of sense in context and you'd only go looking for them if you want extra costumes and things.
Sunday 12 December, 2010 by dkirschner