The Resident Evil series has always served to baffle, befiddle and befaddle me; certainly not as much as the Metal Gear series, but enough to cause concern for the future. I don’t think I’ve ever successfully completed a Resident Evil game in the entire series. At the risk of being “gamer’d” to death, the excuse I’ll give for this is that I didn’t give the games enough of a chance and I gave up on them easily. It’s not that I particularly found them boring…more that I just lost interest in favor of other games that more suited my tastes at the time.
Regardless, my tastes have changed and survival horror has come back into my life with flying colors (or pitch black-darkness, whichever). Violent video games seem to be the lifeblood (pun intended) of the industry. The video game audience of yesteryear has grown up and grown weary of the Sonic and Super Mario Bros. franchises. That’s not to say that we aren’t thrilled by new and interesting additions to the series. Super Mario Galaxy was awesome. Super Paper Mario, anyone? Sonic hasn’t had as much luck. But there’s only so much time we can suspend our disbelief while Sonic the Hedgehog takes us all on another pointless adventure with his growing cacophony of slapdash, meaningless friends.
Back on topic, the reason I’ve been rather distant from the Resident Evil series as a whole is because there are so many and I felt that (in my brief separation from the series) I may be lost and not able to pick up on the story. Also, I’ve only played Resident Evil 1, 2, 3: Nemesis, 4, and 5. It seems like a logical progression, but I can’t help but feel that there was a lot that I missed out on. Need I mention that Resident Evil always scared the piss out of me?
Which brings me to my next topic…Many critics of Resident Evil 5 claim that it isn’t scary. Penny Arcade argues that even though 5 doesn’t go with traditional “pop-out-and-scream” Pavlovian horror, it remains constantly thrilling…especially with periodic battles with things that won’t fucking die and when your ammo is depleted and you’re facing such a beast.
Yet another (unfounded) concern is that the game may be considered racist, or could possibly be some kind of tool for White Supremacists to act out their blood-thirsty rampage on behalf of the master race (SPOILER ALERT: The game ends on Valhalla). The racist accusation comes from the concept that the story takes place in Africa where a parasitic plague has infected most of the population, turning them into anger-driven zombies with worms. The main character is a white man named Chris Redfield (who you may remember from the series) and his African partner, Sheva.
First of all, not all of the enemies are black. Second, the main villains are white as the morning snow. And third, the object of the game is not to murder all of the African population (although it seems like it at times). The point of the game is to rescue these people and to end the horrible plague that the evil-doers have infected them with. If anything, it’s about destroying the racists who consider Africa (and Latin America in Resident Evil 4) to be worthless and the perfect place to test their deadly plan. So, suck it, you politically correct alarmists.
The only Resident Evil games I’ve completed aside from this one were Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles and Resident Evil 4 on Wii…a delightful experience if you haven’t tried it. Resident Evil 5, the first in the series on a “next-gen” console, is stunning, fun, intense, and important. Not only does it show how far graphics have come, but how much the gaming experience has evolved. I could raise issue with some of the controls, but I won’t, because (honestly) I don’t care and it didn’t effect the experience for me at all.
The numerous unlockables make the game worth playing again and again. To close, I’ll mention the part of the game that blasted with arms flailing through my expectations. We all know that forced co-op games often have their flaws…take Army of Two for example…virtually unplayable without a live partner (aka: Friend).
Resident Evil 5 sticks Player One with a partner who is rarely a hindrance. Sheva is helpful, courteous, and knows how to take out the bosses when your dumb ass can’t figure it the fuck out. The only times I’ve had a problem with my partner was when she was using a Handgun in a firefight when she had full ammo on her Shotgun, Machine Gun, and Rifle, leaving me to do the hard work. Cunt…
But seriously, I loved Sheva; and as Chris Redfield, I actually wanted to take care of her. Not only because if she died, I’d have to start over, but also because she was a genuinely likable character who is never annoying or obstructive.