Racist Resident Evil 5 PS3 Review

By BlueZeroBlueZero
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Background: I am a master of Resident Evil 4 as I alluded to in my preview of Resident Evil 5. My expectations for this game were extremely high and the game has disappointed on certain levels while improving on other levels. I beat the game on Veteran solo and have basically experienced all the game has to offer. I beat the game at least twice, playing various sections of the game at multiple sections in combinations of single player, split-screen coop, and online. Clearly there are COMPLETE SPOILERS going forward for a comprehensive review. I decided to wait a while before I wrote about Resident Evil 5 to thoroughly experience all the modes. I did NOT buy the Versus “downloadable content” because there is no reason for me to pay extra for game modes they added via patch.



Story: Here come the SPOILERS: The gameplay builds heavily on Resident Evil 4. Cut and paste the basic Granados enemies into “Africa”. Remove the scarier Plagas human infestations and replace them with flowers. Yes, I feel that the Majini are less intimidating this time because there aren’t huge parasites coming out of their body and the African culture is muted. The Los Illuminados cult was very unexpected and well executed with the robes and the castle. I expected more reliance on African culture of shaman, voodoo and other racial/cultural heritage to be utilized for the fifth Resident Evil. Yet Capcom has given into the fear of Resident Evil 5 appearing racist by including white Majinni (How many times do I have to see the Mexican looking guy with a mustache and the bald looking white guy?). The tribal village middle of the game attempted to rise to the occasion, but there wasn’t any good sacrifice of people, possession from spirits, or dense jungle fever. Please let me officially raise the bar for future games set in Africa that won’t be afraid of appearing racist:




REAL STORY

Weskar may be able to dodge bullets Matrix style because of increased reaction time due to multiple viruses, but he sure fails at killing a steroidal mini-tank named Chris and a knife wielding “African” British sounding woman named Sheva who specializes in kicking and flipping moves. Weskar’s repeated failure to remove these two people, and its plot device, forces Capcom to come up with a story where Weskar with his epic skills, can’t kill mere mortals. Instead only his passive actions are successful like any good villain would have it (Weskar killing Excella with the Uroboros injection). Is this divine intervention from god ala the action commands? No, it comes down to the elite training of the two agents.

Chris has taken a course in epic action commands learning the famed punching moves from Captain Falcon. Chris PAUNCH with a “Straight” and Chris KIIICK with a “Stomp.” or “Kick” to the enemies face or back. The Straight and Stomp moves have the ability to completely explode a Majini’s face. Chris has made a fundamental flaw in his training that makes his move-set incomplete. He seems to be lacking the crucial “Suplex” that Leon spontaneously learned by entering a castle. Since Chris doesn’t enter a castle, he doesn’t learn how to suplex enemies which is a shame. In exchange, Chris has the combo action command of “Haymaker” and “Neck Breaker” which almost make up for the loss, but not quite. I can’t forget the first time Leon did a suplex with a “Huh” and the enemy’s face exploded. All I was expecting was for Leon to kick the Granado in the face, not pull out epic skills.


Man this video is so sweet!

Sheva has been training in the Tiki Lounge, learning how to be a “powerful” woman while remaining helpless for annoying plot devices (final boss fight where she is forced to slip and hang on). She does have a sort of suplex move where she gets on the enemies head and does a backflip 3:14 in the YouTube video above. It’s always great to see Sheva get all personal with Jill while Chris pulls at her chest. Anyway, in reality Sheva’s family was killed by the initial people who discovered the flowers which created the first Resident Evil virus for Umbrella. Her backstory is severely underdeveloped as she is just there for a reason to have a second person. Her voice is British sounding to make her entitled for vengeance and her skin color isn’t black enough. Thus her parents must have been a mixed couple. You know that color black, the presence of all colors? Sheva is closer to the white spectrum of being devoid of all color (especially on PS3). Why does Sheva need Chris to flip across gaps if she is empowered? Sheva exists so that Kirk can be awesome (aka human).

Kirk is member of Sheva’s military team who joins forces with the BSAA. He has a great voice, excellent skintone, and reminds me of Louis. All of these are pros in my book. It’s just a shame that he isn’t a playable character for Co-op or for multiplayer. WHY?? I would much rather have Kirk on my team than Sheva. Kirk is a minor character that only serves a purpose of tying Sheva to the black community.

Umbrella is able to live on as Tricell, another “pharmaceutical” company intent on creating biological creatures of mass destruction. So for some reason, there are more Granados with Las Plagas than Uroboros, the black worm like creatures that swarm the hosts. There is some really annoying Brooklyn guy that serves no purpose other than he sells the biological agents to terrorists and has worse development than Sheva in the story department. I don’t even know his name offhand, that’s how poor his development is. His real role is very small and he does nothing because Capcom cares more about co-op this time than story and meaningful action sequences.

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Then comes along the first real interesting part of the story where Weskar goes and kills the person who originally breed children with the Weskar name who would be biologically better than other people. The old man’s children all died except for Weskar. Then Weskar somehow realizes that the old man manipulated him and goes to prove that the “right to be a god is now mine”. So Weskar easily kills an old man and decides to take over creating a perfect world of really really strong people while not realizing that this is the old man’s goal still. That’s where the pre-mutant person named Chris shows up with Jill. Both fire wildly at Weskar who decides he can easily move at the speed of light to teleport around the room. Jill gets choked, Chris gets splintered on some wood (haha), and Jill sacrifices herself by throwing herself at Weskar, which takes them together out a window. That last sentence was pretty self explanatory but I liked how I described it. Chris is left with no one in the room and never finds any bodies. Thus since he has played a role in Resident Evil before, he should know that both are still good. No body = alive (Weskar, Jill, Mike the Helicopter Pilot, ect). Dead body = alive (Weskar). Zombie like body = death but can become human again (Leon). Body becomes Uroboros = no cure, basically your soul is dead, your body is alive with the sound of black wormlike music.

Weskar once again manipulates every single person he meets so he can develop biological weapons in missiles. Why not just launch them if Uroboros can’t be stopped? So instead of firing the missles, he decides to load up his one plane, carrying maybe two missiles so he can drop them himself. Chris and Sheva completely forget about all the stockpiled missiles in the bases and decide that two missiles and Weskar are a greater threat than the Majini accidentally stumbling around and activating one with their flowers.

I just want to say that Uroboros is more racist in this game than Africans. I am deeply offended by worms being show in a black color. Pink worms or I boycott the game.



Gameplay: The gameplay remains faithful to Resident Evil 4 but the gameplay is expanded to incorporate co-op. The best new aspect of gameplay is the ability to “help” your partner when grabbed and to be able to do combos with action commands. I assume gentle reader that you are familiar with the basic mechanics of the hit game Resident Evil 4, so there is no need for me to go into generalized stuff about how you have to hold X to run and backward X to turn 180.

The ability to strafe is not a gameplay enhancement as each character’s strafing is too slow to avoid thrown objects or attacks. The C and D play styles are only there to entice FPS players on the 360 to give Resident Evil 5 a try. Those players are going to be frustrated at the stop, aim, shoot mechanic and will HATE not being able to run and gun. This focus on shooting and action is probably why a lot of people think the Resident Evil franchise has departed too much from the Horror genre.

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Resident Evil 5 was never created to be a FPS and games like Metal Gear Solid 4 failed in this use of the first person perspective. I shouldn’t have to hold a billion buttons to be in first person in MGS 4 and I shouldn’t have to hold buttons to keep the gun/knife out in RE5 (this was later half fixed in the PC version with the quick knife button). I like the controls on the PS3, but I still feel better using the Gamecube controller (obviously since I played RE4 on Gamecube and didn’t own a PS2). Having to push “B” to help your partner results too often in my character saying “Come on”. Yes, I need to “come on” and help my partner. At least I died less often because my partner was there to save me. This changed my mindset from survival to using Sheva as portable first-aid spray. The mean the computer Sheva will automatically try to heal any small amount of damage with whatever she has.

The controls are responsive to what I want to do. There are only a few problems and they revolve around the inventory menu and me not being able to switch weapons or items fast enough. The designers actually let you reload weapons by moving the ammo onto the weapon in the inventory screen. This is a very handy feature that inadvertently makes the game even easier for me and is essential for keeping the Mercenaries combo going with slower reloading weapons (magnum and shotgun).

MINIBOSSES

I characterize any enemy that has a one hit kill attack or does massive damage as a miniboss. They take a little longer to dispatch because a grenade won’t instantly kill them. An example is the axe wielding dude at the start of the game. This classification extends to the different variations of this enemy.

Here are what I consider to be other minibosses: the bag chainsaw guy, the tribal masked giant, the initially very annoying bug creature, the big mini-gun RE4 guy (this time he is packing heat with a cigar), the humanoid mouth creature with the closed hard shell/fleshy leg (because it is annoying), and the Lickers (Beta). The minibosses are for the most part well executed. I still find the Lickers to be really powerful and a challenge to take down since their tongue attack is very powerful and there is no chance of escape without partner assistance. The chainsaw people are extremely easy for the veteran RE4 players since they are old hat and feel a lot weaker this time. The only difference is that on higher difficulty levels, the chainsaw enemy will get back up after defeated and go into a wild chainsaw swinging motion. This is instantly fatal and you can put the enemy back down permanently with more firepower.

The best part about the minibosses is that most of them have action moves you can do against them to attack, dodge or something in between. It’s a lot of fun to let off an action command, your partner goes in for their action command, and then you can follow up with the powerful move like the haymaker. It is very dynamic and feels intuitive.

Bosses

Let me rank the bosses. The most creative boss award goes to the Weskar and Jill fight. It was refreshing and my first time fighting them was exciting. My mindset was “Oh, I see Weskar dodging all my attacks. Ok, well Jill is able to be hit.” So I unload many rounds into Jill only to see Jill die and Chris yell “JIIILL!” That apparently wasn’t the right way to beat the boss. It was a while before I found out that Weskar can kick open the door and open up the upper level. I will say that surviving the 7 minutes the first time was nerve racking but not in the same level of survival.

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Most disappointing boss: This award goes to the El Gigante, the on rails boss fight where the car is not moving. Way to go Capcom! You turned one of the most dynamic boss fights into a stationary shooting gallery. The new boss is no fun. All you do is fire and fire. The action button to dodge his attack is strange because Sheva and Chris duck and El Gigante doesn’t FEEL like he wants to crush the people and the truck. Why do I have to target random Majini at the same time while I am fighting this boss? Oh, it’s because the Majini need to be added to add some “action” into the battle. There are some high expectations when you use the most well known boss from Resident Evil 4 again in this game. A small consolation prize is that the El Gigante is named something else and looks quasi African with a goatee.

The coolest looking boss: the spider boss inside the bio lab. I didn’t know you could feed it grenades the first time I beat it. The in-game description says that Chris and Sheva only fought one type of the spider boss. I would have rather fought this twice than the flying bat boss.

Gameplay FLAWS

When on Veteran, I usually only too damage because I was reloading or missed shooting projectiles out of the air. Professional presents a plight: I like the added difficulty that a single hit puts your character in the critical state. What was done poorly here was when the other player tries to “revive” the “downed” player. On Professional, it is near impossible to health the other character in time with a can of First Aid Spray because by the time your character gets out the car, the other character has already died. So literally, the player falls to the ground while the green spray is still coming out of the can. Yet, if you didn’t have the can of First Aid Spray, then the “revive” button would instantly work and the player would be saved. You better hope you are standing a cm. away from the other player if they get hit and you have a can of First Aid or else you lose on Professional. Optimally, I wish Capcom would fix this stupid gameplay mechanic that inadvertently punishes players for carrying healing items who want the Professional level of difficulty.

Like I mentioned earlier, the new action commands are great forms of gameplay. (I am referring to the punches and kicks and not the reduced number of Quick Time Events in the game) but the Quick Time Events are poorly implemented in this version. The reduced number of these Quick Time Events (QTE) has actually hurt the franchise. Leon showed us how he could do the impossible as long as you got the button presses correct. Need to jump across a bridge, no problem, just press ( A + B ). Want to dodge danger (a pit, a thrown knife, a defeated boss?), just press ( L + R ). Resident Evil 5 thought that randomizing the buttons made it too difficult so the actions are always the same if you die and have to replay the cutscene. This is a gameplay design failure. There are also few QTE during boss battles.

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There is a lot less “action” in this game from quick time events or otherwise. There are very few uses of the button quick time events in the game since there is less action all around. In RE4, you had to dodge boulders, suits of armor, traps, falls, crushing ceiling, and much much more. In RE5, you dodge a lot of blunt weapons from mini bosses, bicycle Majinni, a trap room in the Aztec looking temple, and a lot of Weskar and Jill attacks. The action is focused a lot more on characters rather than locational dangers. This game needed it’s own version of RE4’s laser corridor just to show off Chris or Sheva doing some Matrix level moves in slowmo.

Your partner is really never in any trouble, especially if they are grabbed from behind where the enemy does NO damage. Being grabbed from behind could actually be a great strategy in the Mercenaries mode as the enemies LOVE to grab people from behind. The CPU controlled Sheva is not up to my level of expertise since Capcom didn’t want to make a partner that plays the game for you. Potential deadly enemies are only the ones that are instant death ala the “regenerator cricket bug” as one could call it. I don’t know how many times Zott was owned by the bug creature before we developed a correct strategy to dispatch it. I guess Weskar’s whip arms could be considered instant death but Chris enjoys swimming in magma just like Weskar.

There is no reason why Sheva needs to be flipped across a gap to become helpless with an onslaught of summoned enemies. I mean, there is no one there, and then just for game design, about thirty Majini are spawned. Then you have to assist the other player if they aren’t good enough to handle it on their own. I am good enough to handle it on my own. My partner is just there for support so I can do all the epic gunplay and action commands; they will provide healing support and action combo potential.

There is more use of the “cover” mechanic in this game. It makes more sense in this game since later on there are a lot more projectile enemies. I like and dislike the ability to fire behind cover. I like how it makes sniping really easy with the protection but makes the player TOO powerful with cover. I dislike how the cover controls make it difficult to get off the cover. I would like to be able to get out of cover faster somewhat similar to gears of war where I can just push a button and back on the controller.

Chris and Sheva should have the option of using ammo that fires healing anti-plagas medication at the people. In my mind, this would be some sort of lightbulb or taser system that would activate a bright light inside the target, killing the plagas from the inside with a flash. Then ammo could be limited on a recharge meter before it could be used again. The Majini would then be able to break free of their plaga, sometimes helping Chris distract the enemy, sometimes running away, sometimes hiding, there are many options. There could even be an entire mod where players play the game with only this weapon on a cleansing mission.

There needs to be more infected women in the game. There was one female character enemy in the game and it was only in a small part of the village. Like I mentioned in what I would do with the game, I want more woman shaman, more women showing off their physical power, an actual woman boss, more controversy.

If the game threw in children who were infected, like an diary article alludes that they were, then the game would get so much criticism but it would be more realistic. If the game included infected babies, I don’t think there would be much backlash since Dead Space was able to do it (I got a laugh out of Issac drop kicking the baby aliens). If the designers included pregnant women who were infected, this game would be boycotted internationally and reach a level of infamy that ManHunt 2 and Hot Coffee reached.



Graphics: The first impression is that the graphics are both next gen but lacking the graphical punch that the Resident Evil series usually brings to the table. The best graphics are the Uroboros worms, the bosses, the character models and the final volcano areas. Chris’ character model is excellent with great bump mapping for his huge muscles and decent texture work. Sheva is also pretty good with a solid face texture and well rendered body. For best character model, I would say it is a tie between Weskar, Jill and the tribal miniboss. Weskar’s moonlight jacket is very well designed and looks photorealistic. His glasses and character design are top notch and deserve to be praised. This level of effort on Weskar paid off since he was the main focus of the game. Jill also benefited from a very sexy “Zero Suit Samus” character design. I can’t say no to a girl with a ponytail who isn’t afraid to show off her hot bod in skin tight clothing. The tribal miniboss is the tall huge Majini with the mask who has some really well rendered facemask and sweat streaking his body. He attacks by doing the jumping and sweeping of his melee weapon; he also has a amusing kick attack.

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A main disappointment in the graphics category is that the early Majini at the start of the game repeat too often where there are the same ones attacking at the same time. This breaks immersion and really could have been fixed with maybe 5 more face textures. The tribal Majini all look alike and this wasn’t bad since I assumed they all dyed their skin a pale color. The industrial Majini were also fine; I didn’t feel like I was fighting the same guys over and over. The enemies are rendered well and as I said above, the bosses look good.

The environments look great but feel much smaller than Resident Evil 4 in a few areas. I would have liked to have some fights in the savannah where my character can walk around. There are some large areas but they are mostly large just from the amount of open air that is above the characters. It’s good that the developers dropped their intense heat and shade gameplay since the shadows in this game are not dark enough to contrast with the HDR. My favorite set-piece in the game is the prison Mercenaries map because the volcano environment and Fire Axe Executer mini-boss look amazing.

I really don’t have many complaints with the graphics. The engine is effective at rendering enough zombies for the single player. At certain points like explosions, there is a little lag below 30 FPS. The cutscenes are all in-game which is always a good step in the right direction.



Sound: The music is a less adrenaline pumping than Resident Evil 4. The music is very environmental so it accomplished its goal of players not paying it any attention. The bat boss music sometimes irritates me because of the jarring sounds. The enemy voices are decent but it comes down to the voice acting of Chris, Sheva, and Weskar to make the game special. Chris always sounds confident and does sound like an emotionless machine even when he is talking about Jill. Sheva seems to have more emotion in her voice. Both have some corny lines. How about Chris: “Now Sheva shoot him! Sheva: I can’t without hitting you! Chris: Then shoot through me!” anyone? Luckily I like cheesy dialogue.

Weskar’s voice actor really enjoys pronouncing each of his lines with precision and excellent timing. I was more excited to hear Weskar’s dialogue than any other character. His over-the-top dialogue about genetics and superiority is well done with cheese.

A majority of the menu and gun sounds are reused from past Resident Evil games including 4. The sound in this game was overall good enough where I don’t have to focus on it.



PC Version: Since this review took a long time to complete due to distractions, the superior PC version came out. I have no reason to buy this version except I want a real challenge of more enemies with the PC version. Capcom seems to want to release this game like 3 more times with different controls, side missions and skins. I’ll probably end up reviewing the re-release version on PC if it comes out. Otherwise, they better have Leon with voice acting if they want me to buy an add-on.



The Bottom Line: I am satisfied with Resident Evil 5 even though it is not as revolutionary as Resident Evil 4. The game would have benefited from a little more story and character development so I can feel connected to a mini hulk and an “African” woman. The first part of the game was decent, the gas facility/terrorist man was not well developed and the final part was excellent sans ridiculous lava plot. The game could have really used more African elements as this game felt like it could have taken place anywhere in the world. Also, the coop was good for single player but split-screen coop should have had a menu option like the demo instead of having to start the game and then selecting “start” on the second controller. If you are going to buy the game, wait for the new versions coming out since it has more content. If you don't care, get the PC version or the 360/PS3 if your computer is too old.



PS3 Reviews Game: My framerate may be a little worse than the 360, but I can render black worms too. I just glad I can render a lot more zombies than the Dead Rising port on Wii but I'm not displaying the large amount of people from the early RE5 E3 videos. Having Capcom hide their Versus mode in a patch and then paying for it is not worth $5.


*Images from Capcom's Resident Evil 5 website. Note they were from development some look better than PS3 version. Also some elements have changed from images.

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