We’ve got an evil 2 in 1 post for all you zombie lovers out there. Rather then separate posts I’m merging the Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil: Degeneration review into one post! Twice the daily dose of zombie!
Now I’m not newbie the Resident Evil franchise. I’ve loved it’s frightening settings and desperate situations. Along with great characters and even though at times cheesy, enjoyable stories. So 5 was my most anticipated game of 2009. Did it live up to the hype as well as pass the amazing 4th game? Let’s find out!
Story – Mild Spoilers
Building on developments from the very first game up to 4, this story picks up with Chris in Africa. He’s got a new partner and is now a member of the BSAA, an organization made to keep outbreaks under control. It starts out as a simple mission of finding the scientist known as Irving and it all goes to hell fast.
Now a side note before I continue the review, I will call the enemies in this game zombies. I am well aware that technically they are not zombies. Just regular people with Last Plagas making them evil. But it’s easier to call them zombies so their zombies now.
Now this story isn’t anything spectacular. If you’re a fan of the prior RE games like me then you’ll probably love it as it does a solid job of tying up all the loose ends and is a very satisfying conclusion to the saga.
We see new characters such as Sheva and she’s a great addition to the RE cast. Not just a variation of Jill or anything like that. She’s fleshed out nicely and by the end of the game she fits nicely with the rest of the RE characters.
Chris isn’t too special in this game. He’s got some inner monologue for all of 10 seconds and he’s his usual nice self but as far as the character is concerned he’s just all right.
Of course the real shining star was Wesker. Always a glorious bastard who deserves to get killed. He was great in this game both as a badass and as a real credible threat. Better then any villain in the RE series for sure.
The story does a great job of tying up all the loose ends that have been hanging since Wesker returned in Code Veronica. From Wesker’s survival to his use of Las Plagas this game does a great job of taking what has been established and using it well to tie all the bits up and end off with a strong note of the saga.
All in all the story is enjoyable but more for longtime Resi fans like myself. It has a strong beginning middle and end and it does a great job of taking us from point A to point B and still being an interesting and enjoyable ride in between.
This game is mostly a pure action game as far as design is concerned and it plays to those strength. You get bombarded by loads of enemies and get plenty of ammo to take them down. It’s simple, it’s fun and it’s incredibly well designed.
Though the key aspect to the gameplay is the co-op play between Chris and Sheva. While at some points the story will make them split up so Sheva can do one thing while Chris does another usually Sheva is by your side at all time and it can be very helpful often.
Though the way I’ve played the game Sheva’s helpfulness is like this: 60% of the time she’s great and really helpful, 40% of the time you want to put a bullet between her eyes for her stupidity and she makes me miss carting Ashley around from Resident Evil 4.
Now first is that she can’t mix herbs. At first this doesn’t seem too annoying but when you realize that half her inventory box is full of herbs she could easily mix on her own you have to swap stuff with her to mix them which is tedious and annoying.
Also and I swear this is true, with a regular handgun she will shoot at near rapidfire speed as if it where a TMP. (the gun, not to be confused with the company that can’t get books out on time) but when you give her a TMP, a gun that’s very existence is to burn through ammo at rapid fire and eat up ammo, she shoots it one bullet at a time like a handgun. That’s more then a glitch, that’s switching up what the AI is supposed to do and that is just hair pullingly annoying.
Chances are Sheva will run out of ammo much more then you do. I have a theory that whenever you’re not looking at her she grabs the boxes of ammo and eats them. If not then she just wastes bullets like it’s nobody’s business. She’ll be shooting at enemies that are 10 miles away.
Then there’s helping your partner. When I was being eaten by Uroboros Sheva was standing right next to me. I waited a solid 10 seconds and she didn’t stab the creature or anything to help me. Seems half the time she doesn’t really give a shit.
Then there’s her lack of subtlety. Sheva can’t seem to understand that you don’t always want to engage an enemy. That sometimes you should be quiet and sneaky. There is a hallway full of Lickers that you can indeed get past if you walk slow and steady. About…1/4th the way in Sheva decided this was a bad idea, so she shoots a Licker and makes my life a living hell by having to spring while being attacked at by every angle.
Sheva will heal you over every little scratch. So I suggest not giving her healers. Especially first aid sprays. While this is helpful if I’m halfway down on health or something it’s incredibly frustrating that she’ll waste healers on me for getting a little scratch.
These all seem like things the designers should have caught easily enough in beta testing. Especially the gun mix up. So what the hell went wrong?
Well luckily that’s just 40% of the time as the rest of the time she’s usually really helpful in tight spots. A useful ally and can save your ass and also is really helpful in boss fights. So besides her problems she’s really useful in co-op and it’s a lot of fun when you’ve got friend playing as Sheva.
Now I both like and dislike the shooting here. On one hand the aiming is very nice with the lasers and it handles like a dream. I’ve had zero problems when handling the guns. On the other hand I want to walk and shoot! I don’t have to run and shoot, just walk, please. At first this didn’t bug me but now it’s really strange and I can’t see why the developers left this simple idea out.
Quick time events thankfully make some rare appearances in this game. They where great in 4 but nowadays they’ve become painfully overdone and I have come to despise them now. While the ones we got here weren’t bad I really wish we didn’t even have to use Quick time events anymore. It works in God of War, it worked in RE4, but now the idea has been overplayed and I’m ready for them to stop.
All in all the controls are solid and for it’s few faults the gameplay is very strong.
Resi 5’s biggest flaw isn’t in the gameplay or anything like that. It’s that it fails to deliver the scary Resident Evil experience we’ve all come to love. Even 4, sure it was more action oriented, had a constant flow of great tension and eerie creepy moments that kept you on edge.
5 ditches that after you escape the mining area. From the 1st chapter to that point there is some great atmosphere and tension. Especially for being out in broad daylight. But after that point all the tension and fear is pretty much lost. With the exclusion of building up to your first Licker encounter but besides that one point near the end the game loses it’s fear.
What really bugs me about this is the game’s slogan is Fear you can’t Forget. Well Capcom sadly it is Fear I can Forget and I can Forget it Fairly easy which makes this Fairely unFun Fear….F.
Puzzles are pretty much gone. To be fair I wasn’t too surprised as RE4 had laughably easy puzzles so at this point it seemed pointless to even have puzzles now.
You don’t have any other save slots, so then you get the ability to replay certain chapters. A really smart move by the developers so that I can enjoy certain chapters and it really enhances the replayability.
Despite this one major flaw the design of the game is still great. Buildings in the distance look incredibly real even and the shanty town to the top secret medical labs are all designed incredibly well. A huge amount of detail was put into this game and it looks great.
The enemies vary from good to frustrating. My favorite would have to be the simple villagers who have no specialty. They just come off as so much more creepier and haunting and they don’t look like killers. It’s creepy and at the same time unsettling.
Now bosses, there isn’t much I can really say. Some bosses like the Executioner or the Spider are both easy but fun. Others like the Ndesu (African El Gigante basically) are tedious and annoying. Ndesu sucks because you fight him in a car the whole time and don’t ever take him face on. It’s more like going through the motions and chances of dying are slim.
Though the final fight with Wesker was at least worth it but even that is more of going through the motions as well. Once you know what to do Wesker is incredibly easy since there is no skill in fighting him outside of do A B C D and E then he’s dead.
There are 3 enemies I have to complain about. Instant Kill Ants, Elephant Heads and Machine Gun Zombies.
Instant kill ants are a variation of the Ants from RE4 in that they are ants with hiding abilities. The different being that these things kill you if you get even mildly close. Bullshit. If they did a lot of damage maybe I’d be okay with it but if you fail to hit them right away you’re dead.
Elephant Heads are bullet eaters. Shotgun shells will practically move past them. Magnum is the only way to kill them fast and even then their still durable. More tedious and annoying then a good challenge.
Then there’s Machine gun zombie, similar to Elephanthead a Magnum is the best way to put him down. But the developers decided to throw us for a loop and right before the final fight you face 2, along with a horde of their buddies. There’s challenging, and then there’ just unfair.
Though all in all the enemy design and AI is pretty good.
Overall Resident Evil 5 is a great action game with some strong atmosphere at first. Fans of the franchise will be happy that the story wraps up all the loose ends. It’s got great action, but at the same time is definitely a new kind of animal unlike it’s predecessors. Still that doesn’t stop it from being a great game that’s worth the price and will give you hours of fun.
Score: 8 Racist Zombies out of 10
Resident Evil: Degeneration Review
Resident Evil is by far one of my favorite video game franchises. Great games, characters, and silly as they may be at times I do love the stories to these games. A lot of people hate the 3 live action films from Hollywood and while I don’t hate them, I must admit that they don’t satisfy the craving I have for more brain munching zombie goodness with beloved RE characters.
Seems Capcom realized this little problem and finally gave the hunger what it wanted. A CG film starring 2 characters from what some say is the best Resident Evil game #2. Leon and Claire reunite and hopes are high for an enjoyable experience. Let’s bare our teeth and dig into the flesh of Resident Evil: Degeneration (and yes, every horror oriented review will have these campy zombie jokes, get used to them now)
Taking place between 4 and 5, Degeneration starts with a zombie infestation in an airport. Now we don’t start with that right away. Rather we get some brief exposition with Claire arriving and we find out about the company that’s been taking heat from protestors.
Like most zombie movies the story starts out calm. Though by the time the plane crashes and the zombies being to infest the airport things are great. Such a confined place like an airport as opposed to a city is a great place to have zombies. The same works with a mall or any other big building.
Claire is her usual strong self. Not in the mood to be ripped to pieces she starts off and we figure she’s the main hero. Though Leon shows up and it turns into more of a rescue mission really as he’s accompanied by a couple of officers into the airport.
I’ve split this movie into 3 main parts, the 1st is great as it does a strong job of building atmosphere. We get a good claustrophobic feel to the airport and even with a guy like Leon in there it’s hard not to feel the tension these characters are feeling. I especially liked the moment when they are getting surrounded by zombies in an office room.
We get the typical sacrifice moment and while the writers try to give it some weight later on by the end of the movie the guy who sacrifices himself is completely unmemorable and you don’t really give a damn that he’s zombie chow.
We have a few villains here. Our first villain, the pharmacy head CEO is a real slimy guy. The typical bad guy you look forward to seeing the zombies rip apart. He’s especially unlikable when he p
ushes a little girl into a horde of zombies to save his own skin.
Our second villain is given the more sympathetic route as his family died in the Raccoon City incident. We also tie him to the main cop character who is his sister but it never really feels all that sad.
The only characters we end up caring about are Leon and Claire and that’s just because of their prior events in Resident Evil 2, Code: Veronica and 4. These characters have been fairly well developed to the point where you do care about them to an extent and the writers of the film had that in mind.
Now all in all the 1st part of the film was pretty good but it was the only part of the film that really qualified this as a zombie flick. Everything after this is more about the evil corporation, though we do get a monster, more on that later.
My least favorite of the 3 parts is the 2nd which is the middle. Now it’s common in horror films to really use the middle part of a movie to build the tension or suspense so we can have an epic climax. And that is sort of what we get here.
Though mostly it’s just giving us exposition that really doesn’t interest us or make us care anymore about the more throwaway characters that we’ll never see after this film.
We get a love interest introduced between Leon and Short Haired Cop (I can’t care enough to remember her name she’s so damn bland) but again it never goes anywhere. Not even the annoying cliché “kiss before we may die” type thing.
All this exposition does eventually lead us to our thrilling 3rd act but it just feels like such a slow burn in between. We find out some vital stuff but in the long run you’re just waiting around for something to happen and it’s not interesting to watch.
Now to the thrilling 3rd act. Curtis injects himself with the G-virus and goes batshit insane. Turning into a monster not unlike William Birkin’s transformations in Resident Evil 2. From there it’s an all out action fest and it’s awesome.
Really there is no progression of the plot after this point. It’s Leon and Short Haired Cop trying to escape the monster and doing all kinds of impossible stunts. But it gets the blood pumping and it’s so great.
In the tradition of the Resident Evil games the final enemy is defeated and the area they where in self destructs.
Our ending is fairly peaceful though the cliff-hanger ending just lets us know how Tricell fits into all this for Resident Evil 5’s storyline.
Overall the story was solid and enjoyable. If the middle where better and didn’t drag so much it could have been a lot better as it seemed like we got a lot of useless exposition. Also sadly this movie, for being a zombie type movie, doesn’t really scare much if at all.
Of course when comparing it to the games that had a lot of scares it’s hard. The game immersed you whereas your only immersion here is if you like the characters. Though all in all it’s not a scary movie, and that does hurt it a bit, it’s still a good movie.
The CG for this film is great. Capcom goes above and beyond to really make this look realistic all the while still having a bit of the non realistic feel that video games always carry.
My only complaints are some people do some odd gestures for humans. Also that Claire’s lips look so full that if you poked them it seems like globs of lipstick would burst out.
Though besides that the design is really impressive.
While not a great movie, Degeneration is still enjoyable. It uses it’s 2 main characters well. For fans of the Resident Evil franchise like myself this is a must see. Though if you’re a more casual fan or are not familiar with Resident Evil this probably won’t appeal that much to you.
Score: 7 Zombie News Anchors out of 10