Of all the horror games I have played for the Playstation 3, I was looking forward to Resident Evil 5 the most. I bought the original for the Playstation 1 shortly after it came out, on a whim. I’d never heard of it but the idea that a game could be scary, as promised by the box, was appealing.
Of course, Revisiting Resident Evil 1 these days is great for a laugh and a trip down camp lane, but it really got me. I loved it and I played it forever, despite the maddening controls, the lame acting–which was also hilarious–and the heavily pixelated screen. I liked the trudging back and forth to deposit items here and there. I loved the music. And of course there was a rebellious thrill in playing a game that was more violent than my parents knew.
I stuck with the series as a huge fan all the way up to Resident Evil 5. This was a game that I greatly anticipated, like everyone else in the gaming world.
I liked it, but didn’t love it. Many of the things I loved about every other entry in the series were gone. Set in Africa, mostly in daylight, and with the two player option, RE5 was a drastic departure. None of those things were immediate red flags, and they don’t ruin the game by any means. It’s a game with fun moments, a few scares, and some frantic pacing.
That’s the issue. This game felt more like a shooter than anything. I have nothing against shooters. I’m currently playing Bioshock for the first time and cannot believe how much I’m enjoying it. But the Resident Evil games were never meant to be pure shooters. Resident Evil 4 is my current favorite in the series, but it still retained enough of the elements of its predecessors that the increased amount of action felt like a bonus, not the focus.
Resident Evil 5 doesn’t feel that much different to me than a game like Gears of War. Is that a bad thing? No. But not all change is necessarily good. I personally hope that the next installment gets back to the series’ roots.