I’m well familiar with the Resident Evil series, having played the original game on the Playstation long before they went to the traditional jewel cases. With the exception of Part 3 and some of the side stories, I’ve followed the series for quite some time and quite a few remakes. Then came the advent of Resident Evil 5. To understand where I’m coming from, my favorites in the series are the Dreamcast’s Code Veronica, the remade original game for the Gamecube, Part 2, and Part 4 (in no particular order). I also used to play with Jill Valentine quite a bit in Marvel Vs. Capcom 2.

So yes, it would be a fair assumption that I would be interested in Part 5, and I was… until I played the demo. The game didn’t exactly leave me with a warm, fuzzy feeling, and as expected, here’s why:

* This is Resident Evil 4 with new graphics. Part 4 turned the series on its ear, and came up with a new, fresh idea. I’ve always equated Resident Evil with zombies, but the freak show villagers in the fourth game won me over with the different direction, and solid game mechanics. It was new there, but not here. The demo just feels like I’ve done it all before, and better elsewhere. People often “poo” on Wii’s graphics, but the Gamecube originated Part 4, it carried over just fine for the Wii, and after seeing Part 5, there’s no reason why this game couldn’t come to the Wii. With Part 4’s solid control set-up for the Wii, I’d almost prefer this one did.

* The knife is useless. Of course, ammo is always scarce, but a good knife melee attack will keep you from being completely out of one’s element. There’s two problems: The enemies stay just out of reach, so you have to stop swinging, step forward, try again. During this repositioning, free attack for the enemy. And then they stand back… just out of reach. And then there’s stabbing them, provided you find the magical area where they can be hit. You stab. And stab. And stab… And stab….

….

And stab….

Good lord, man, 20+ hits should take anyone down, remove an arm, cause hurt feelings, something. But there I was, Chris “Stabby” Redfield, and I guess his knife was replaced by a rubber movie prop, because it wasn’t doing a thing.

* Offline co-op play is ugly: Fair enough. 2-player horizonal split-screen. But each view only uses 75% of the screen. The other space? Black. No HUD, no info., no filler graphics. Nada. Just an ugly black space, and I’m kind of at a loss as to why this design choice would be made.

* Characters “Dying”. It’s nothing new to be critically wounded in a Resident Evil game. The character holds their side and limps, the sense of urgency rises, but the player can still pull out of it. So far, “Dying” means a blurry screen that renders the player helpless. I guess this is a co-op option where it requires the second player to come rescue you, but if they are off on a player assisted area and don’t reach you…. One dies, you both die.

* Can’t skip cut scenes. I like watching cut scenes once. If it’s a really good one, twice. Show a friend, three times. I may even come back for a forth viewing later. But after the first viewing, I want to be able to skip it. Guess what you can’t do here?

* The enemy choice. When Resident Evil 5 was set in Africa, groups were like “OMG Racism!!!!one”. I didn’t have an issue with it, as I did like the creepy villagers in Part 4, and the end result is that it’s only a video game. But after playing this, it’s a little hard to explain, but during my session, I just didn’t like having black villagers from an obviously poor village as my enemy choice, even if they did have little wiggly parasites in their head just like the last game. It’s just not a good or fun enemy choice, and there was no sense of satisfaction found as when I was blowing away zombies, monsters, or even creepy cultists. Even the winged boogery things failed to impress me. The enemy situation as a whole just felt uninspiring.

I can only hope that the game has progressed, or will progress farther along than what the demo showed, because I was pretty disappointed with what I saw. It just doesn’t feel like a Resident Evil game, and the crappy control conventions (the item management screen comes to mind), makes the game feel more like a chore than fun.

I’d be curious to hear what other people think if they’ve played the demo.

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