As I sit down to play Resident Evil 5 for the eighth or ninth time, I think in the back of my mind: What is it about this game? Why is it so alluring? Why, after playing it so many times, along with countless hours driven into the other, non-story modes do I continue to play it unphased, and ready for the next playthrough? Why do I not care that, just a few days ago, I purchased my fourth copy of the game without really needing to?
I suppose the first thing that pops in my head, and likely yours if you know me at all, is fanboysim. As flowers like sun, Kotick likes money, I like Resident Evil. In fact, I have for quite a long time now. Fun fact however, I only started with the series in 2002 with the Resident Evil remake on the Gamecube. Before then, my only experience with the series was a few minutes with the critical and commercial failure Resident Evil Survivor. Since playing and finishing the remake version, I couldn’t get enough Resident Evil, whether its the numerous figures I own, the several, several copies of the games I own and my adoration for the film series. I even owned the excellent book series at some point (they are long lost now). So, as I just established, I am an RE fanboy at its core, and have never been afraid to admit it. I just love me some Resident Evil.
Now, how does this relate to my addiction to RE5? Likely because it is the most robust of the series, and just simply has the most activities to do and is just plain fun with a friend (or girlfriend). Yes, RE4 had a lot to do as well (if you count a pretty bad, primitive edition of Mercenaries), but 5 just seems to do it all better. First things first, the shooting controls are far superior in 5, to the point where I almost never have to guess if I’m getting a headshot, it just happens. In previous entires including 4, the controls were much more restrictive and in the case of anything older than RE4, the headshots were almost entirely at random. Granted, the PC and Wii versions of 4 had better aiming controls by default.
Besides controls, the gameplay is more refined, better scripted and provides a lot more action than any other in the series. Just a month ago or so, I played through the remake again on the Gamecube and was startled when it hit me how much action there is in RE5 comparatively. Now, I’m not here to say this bogs down the remake at all, but rather is an interesting contrast, and outside of the story and characters, it’s almost as if they’re both from entirely franchises altogether.
The biggest problem I had with Resident Evil 4 was its story, and hence complete destruction of the Umbrella Corporation. Another notch to add to RE5’s wing is that it actually made me like RE4’s wing of the story. While I’m not still completely sold on the whole Salazar/Saddler storyline, the whole destruction of Umbrella storyline makes a lot more sense after RE5. SPOILER ALERT: What I’m referring to is that Wesker essentially took over where Umbrella left off, and is still being a badass and making ridiculous monsters just like they were, except under the Tricell name. What’s even more funny is how the whole Tricell-Chris relationship works just like the S.T.A.R.S.-Umbrella relationship from the first game.
Now, it is starting to make sense why I’ve nearly completed the game with 100% of tasks done and items collected twice. Not only do I enjoy playing the hell out of it, and shooting Majini to hell, but it also represents a rightful turn of the series for me. No girly-haired Kennedy, No weird pirate-midget, No destruction of the major corporation at the beginning of the game. Just pure, RE goodness where everything appeared to fit squarely in place. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to play RE4 for the first time since RE5 came out. I may be back for more after is finished.