When the hotly anticipated Resident Evil 5 demo hit the Xbox Live Marketplace early last week, I added it to my queue first thing in the morning so I could play as soon as my work day was done. Being a long time fan of the series, and having played through Resident Evil 4 at least 3 or 4 times, I’ve been itching to get in on some new anti-Umbrella action. The fact that this is the first Resident Evil game on the current generation hardware, the first RE game to support online and offline co-op, and with many new control schemes being added to the mix, there is plenty to get excited about. Unfortunately, my excitement turned to disappointment as I played through the 2 levels of the demo split-screen with my wife.

Resident Evil 5

Oblivious

The big problem I have with Capcom, is that they seem to be off in a corner doing their own thing, completely oblivious to the rest of the world. Which would be fine, if they were churning out revolutionary games at every turn. But they’re not. All of the big Capcom titles I’ve played over the past few years have fallen just short of being great. Let’s recap, shall we?

  • Dead Rising had an awful save system where you had to go back to safe zones to save your progress. There was no auto-save or retry option. So when you died during a quest, you had to reload your last save. This resulted in constant trips to the bathroom which felt unnecessary 80% of the time.
  • The character movements in Lost Planet felt more like you were driving a tank than directing a human.
  • Resident Evil has always had bad control schemes. Every game before RE4 had fixed cameras in every room which constantly changed the perspective on you. RE4 was a huge step in the right direction, with the camera being mounted over the character’s shoulder, but it was still nowhere near as good as other third person action games.

Missed Opportunities

Resident Evil represents a huge opportunity for Capcom to bring the RE franchise to a potentially new audience. The RE games have always been exclusive to Japanese consoles (first PlayStation, then GameCube), so many Xbox 360 gamers will be experiencing the RE series for the first time with RE5. Unfortunately, these people haven’t seen the progression the series has made when it comes to cameras and controls, and RE5’s fancy new “action” control scheme, while an improvement for the series, still falls short in the world of modern third person action games, by a long shot.

This is where Capcom needs to take a step back and pick up other similar games to see what other developers are doing. A great place to start would be the Splinter Cell series, Prince of Persia series, Assassin’s Creed, and best of all Dead Space.

Misleading Marketing Douchebag

I had thought of writing about this topic last week after playing the demo for the first time, but decided to reserve my impressions for the final game. That was until I read this blog post, which sets the record straight on RE5’s “action” control scheme.

Back in early December, a member of Capcom’s crack team (who actually knows better, oops!) misspoke when asked about the new controls, saying the “action” controls (as they were known at TGS, but not in the final game) would allow players to move and shoot at the same time.

To correct this whoopsie: THE NEW CONTROL OPTIONS IN RESIDENT EVIL 5 DO NOT ALLOW YOU TO MOVE AND SHOOT SIMULTANEOUSLY.

Said “whoopsie” was made by Capcom’s head of marketing, and you can see his little mix-up in the video that’s currently featured on Inside Xbox. I’m assuming that is what has lead to this sudden influx of people getting all fired up about the “action” controls.

Maybe Next Time, But I’m Not Holding My Breath

It’s truly unfortunate that RE5 isn’t going to get the attention it deserves over what seems like such a simple issue. Judging by some comments I read on Twitter after people had gotten their hands on the demo, many minds have already been made up on this game, and it will be a pass for those that couldn’t grasp the awkward and alien control schemes.

Personally, I’m still extremely excited for Resident Evil 5, but am still a bit disappointed. I was hoping for drastically improved controls, and really fired up for split-screen co-op, as my wife and I enjoy playing these games together. Sadly, the split-screen presentation is just awful. Instead of a 50/50 split as most games do, the aspect ratio is maintained, which results in 2 very small screens that take up approximately 50% of overall screen real estate. Even on my 40″ TV, it was just too small to deal with. Unless we end up picking up a second Xbox 360, we won’t be playing co-op at all.

Where do you sit on this topic? I’d love to hear what new-comers to the series thought of the demo, and if there’s any chance of playing the full game, or if the control schemes have turned them off.

36 Comments

As you know I wasn’t a fan of the demo at all. Being new to the RE franchise, I wasn’t prepared for the drastically new control scheme and it really soured me on the game, even though I only played the demo for about a half hour.

I had been really looking forward to this one after seeing trailers for it a number of months ago. But, after playing the demo (the lack of moving+shooting was the big kicker) I think I’ll be passing on this one and investing more time in Skate 2 instead. Also really looking forward to "Lost and Damned" (GTA IV DLC).

I totally agree that Capcom really missed tapping into a huge new potential audience here. There are a lot of gamers that didn’t really get into things until the Xbox 360 came along, so they would have never had any exposure to the RE franchise. Such a departure in the control scheme/in-game movement will really make this one a tough sell.

It really is unfortunate, as RE5 will likely be an incredible game. RE4 is one of my all-time favourites, even despite the controls. But a lot has happened since that game, and controls for third person actions games have pretty much developed a standard. One that RE5 is not adhering to.

I downloaded the demo but I haven’t bothered to play it yet. There seems to be this bizarre fog of anti-hype surrounding this title that is keeping me away.

I mean, if all I’m hearing is negative things and my time is so limited, why would I even want to bother??

Oh, and I couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve said about Capcom Japan. They’ve been so close to amazing the last few years and yet every one of their games has one significant, fatal flaw.

That said, I do have high hopes for Dark Void.

It seems the folks at Capcom don’t spend much time reading reviews either, eh? Seriously, they need to stop focusing on sales figures and start actually listening to feedback from the people playing the games.

When I played the demo at the Eurogamer late last year, I wasn’t impressed. I was getting so hyped for the next chapter but it fell short and felt more like Resi 4 with a new lick of paint.

I will still pick it up regardless but Capcom seriously need to improve this franchise and bring it up to par with the rest of the games this generation!

It’s definitely built on RE4. You can see it and feel it with the character movements. It looks like they borrowed some of the fire and explosion effects from Lost Planet, though. Which is not a bad thing.

While I’m not new to the Resident Evil games, I’m definitely not as familiar with them as you are. I’ve only played the original on the PlayStation and then again on the GameCube, as well as briefly getting my hands on Resident Evil 4. For some reason I really struggled with grasping the controls in RE4, and don’t think I played it long enough to finally get comfortable with it. However, there shouldn’t be that big an adjustment or learning curve – especially for someone like myself who isn’t exactly unfamiliar with video games. That experience made me a bit hesitant about how I’d feel playing RE5.

A lot of things don’t make sense here; the split screen has to be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen, and not being able to move and shoot simultaneously is… unfathomable. Why?! Still, I’m going to wait until it’s out and see what the final product is like before I decide whether it’s definitely a miss for me.

On another note, I absolutely loved the Dead Rising save system! I keep on meaning to go back to that game.

I kinda have the same Resident Evil experience as you, RD. Played the first RE games on the PS1 at friends and also played some RE4 on the PS2.

And I myself also got the feeling that with the years of gaming history I’ve got, I should get hold on new controls easily. But with these ‘new’ controls of RE5 I got my fingers playing Twister and couldn’t get used to it. The turning speed also was very slow. I couldn’t react quickly enough to what was happening and it wasn’t my reaction speed, it was the game which was holding me back. And that sucked!

And on another note: I also hated the DR saving system! I always forgot to save and after slaying dozens of zombies, having fun, got killed and there I was… back at my last-save location, with my last-save stats and with the last-save zombie-kill-count! Aaaargh frustrating!

Indeed, it’s frustrating as hell when you’ve invested 10 or 12 hours into a game and are still issuing wrong commands to your character. I found this with GTA IV as well. After 20 hours, I still had trouble with the cover system and would often stick to the wrong surface, or jump right out of cover when I was just trying to see where the bullets were coming from.

The worst culprit has to be the Tom Clancy games, though. Specifically, Rainbow Six Vegas and GRAW. I didn’t find GRAW to be as bad, but RSV took way too long to get used to. And if you went and played another game, then back to it, you’re totally lost.

No sale for me. Demo really dissapointed me, and maybe i’m just rubbish but I found it to hard. Gutted the "Action" control scheme isn’t what people first thought it was.

It was hard! My wife and I played the shit out of RE4 and we both died pretty early on in both levels on our first play. It’s very overwhelming, and I have a feeling the spots used in the demo aren’t going to be that hectic in the final game.

Yup, the split-screen sucks.. at least they should’ve used the black space for the HUD.

I wanted this game but with 3 of my favs coming out in 1 month time-frame I didn’t know which to get first. SF4 was on top of my priorities (specially for the Collector’s Edition), so I was left to decide for RE5 and KZ2… Gladly the demo helped me, and I’m buying Killzone 2 when it comes out and RE5 when I find a cheap used copy.

The moment the demo was available on Xbox Live Marketplace, I placed it in my queue – just like you did.

And I tried it, not very long though… but long enough to come to the conclusion the controls suck.

Especially compared to other 3rd person shooters/adventures. They are sluckish and very non-intuitive.

I had to check the control-scheme a couple of times, tried different control sets (A, B, C, D) but non of those ‘felt’ right.

I enjoyed RE4 on my PS2, but that was one of my first shooters on the consoles. Now RE5 is released, I’ve been playing (3rd person) shooters for a couple of years… and this just feels wrong and kinda outdated.

So I’m sad to say this, but I think this demo made me NOT purchase this game. I was looking forward to it, but now I will just let it pass by.

BTW… I didn’t try the co-op, but the keeping-aspect-ratio-screens are also done in the co-op of Call of Duty 5 and there it does look a little right. But agreed, it’s very very small.

I played a round of Nazi Zombies with my wife a couple weeks ago and couldn’t believe what they did with split-screen. Just awful! I’d much rather have the aspect ratio blown out of proportion than have to deal with a tiny little screen like that. I’m definitely favoring the horizontal split these days.

As I mentioned, the entire series was re-released or remade for the GameCube. I own them all on that platform. Still no reason for the Dreamcast to have ever existed. 😉

I’ve seen this complaint voiced often, from many different people. However, I don’t think the control scheme is exactly the issue. Sure it’s frustrating when compared to something Gears of War, Assassin’s Creed, or even Dead Space, but those are action games.

I think the problem lies in the fact that Capcom has kept the adventure game controls, but turned RE into an action game. My biggest problem with the demo wasn’t the controls, but that it wasn’t Resident Evil.

In the original, more adventure oriented games, the controls worked. You had to make a decision, either stay and fight, or run. In this new action version of the game you’re forced to fight at every turn. It’s still better for you to run and gain some distance before turning to shoot, but the never-ending horde of enemies advancing on your location new to RE4 & RE5 begs for a Halo-esque control scheme.

It’s kind of like asking you to play Super Mario Bros. with Zork’s text commands. Worked great for Zork and other text adventures, but not so much for platformers.

That’s a good way of putting it. The gameplay has changed directions, but the game mechanics have remained the same.

RE4 was definitely my favourite in the series thus far. While I loved the original remake for GameCube, RE4 just had so many unforgettable moments that are still fresh in mind.

Dead Space is a perfect example of how great RE5 could be. It’s a similar game in style, but they perfected the controls and did a far better job with inventory and map management.

This game will suck! The idea about Resident Evil was to alienate the player, like drop them in a horror world, and fight to survive, the originals were great at this, as they showed normal everyday settings turned in bloodbaths, it was really creepy when you walked around and saw only destruction and dead people.

RE4 and RE5 seem to have lost all of this, they feel more like Action stuff, typical american action hero saves the day. I mean the whole thing with saving the presidents daughter and having a commander on the radio in RE4 felt too much like Metal Gear Solid.

I dunno, I miss the old, Resident Evil Outbreak was the last of the greats, this new direction just sucks.

No it won’t. Like RE4, RE5 will be a superb game on nearly every level. It’s just a matter of getting around, or used to this sucky control scheme.

I liked the old RE games, but I much prefer the new direction RE4 took the series. Sure, it’s more action oriented, but it’s also full of more suspense and really gives you a sense of urgency.

I believe the chick on the radio was just there to fill in the gaps. In older games, you found more notes and documents that you had to read to find out what was going on. In RE4 and RE5, she chimes in from time-to-time to bring you up to speed. Less reading, more playing.

I honestly think that this would never have been an issue if the Capcom rep hadn’t made comments about the game’s control style.

Now the RE5 control scheme is being questioned & dismissed in a lot of gaming forums because those comments brought attention to it.

Personally, having played the demo for the first time yesterday, I switched the game on and expected to be dissapointed (who wouldnt after all the talk of the cotrol scheme) . Well… I was really pleasantly surprised. RE4 dwas probably my fave gaming experience back in 2005 when it came to Ps2 and once put in context of a full game, Im sure RE5 will do the much the same.

I don’t think it would be such a big deal, had he not provided false information. But I definitely believe the controls would still be in question. They’re archaic and such a huge step in the wrong direction from what other games in the genre are doing.

Personally I have not been looking forward to RE5 with bated breath and had not heard a word regarding the control scheme gaff mentioned above until after I played the demo. I wanted to like the game from the moment I started playing but personally the inventory management and control scheme killed it for me and I will not be buying the game. Its a damn shame too as it looks like everything else in the game was done exceptionally well from what i’ve seen and the visuals looked great. I can sort of understand the decisions they have made regarding the control scheme to facilitate the terror aspect in thoery but in practice it all falls flat to me. I seriously wonder how the playtesting went on this game and if control scheme complaints were just ignored or if the playtesters were just simply more open minded to the schemes than the general public has been.

The controls of a game are the link between a player and the game and represent the tactile feeling a player will have with the game as they play it and RE5 made me want to put the controller down where better games tend to make me want to do anything but.

I agree completely.

I downloaded the demo and was quickly angered when I noticed I couldn’t move and shot, but the zombies had more freedom of movement. You can’t reload and shoot either. Maybe I would have been happy with that if there was a standard button to just do melee attacks.

I don’t understand what happened. I mean, I played and loved RE4, I didn’t even realize I couldn’t walk/run and shoot in that game. It didn’t seem to hold me back, but in this one, it does.

The only reason I’m getting the game is because I had a lot of fun with co-op (online). If I hadn’t played with one of my friends, I would have just canceled my reservation.

I think it is silly for Capcom to stick with these controls. I mean, yes, they were bad when the series first started, but they worked with the game. The areas were limited, the enemies weren’t as fast or plentiful. In my opinion, survivor horror games are known for their bad controls (I.e Silent Hill).

But, if you want to evolve your game from survivor horror to action survivor horror, you can’t change every aspect of the game except the controls. Doing that puts the gamer at a complete disadvantage. In most action games, you have way more movement than your enemy (Think Tomb Raider, Uncharted, Devil May Cry), so I’m just trying to understand how Capcom thought it would be a good idea to allow the zombies to move with their weapons aimed, but not allow the player to do the same. If they were hoping to somehow keep some sense of panic and fear that way, they have failed, because all it does is annoy me.

Sorry to rant, but I was so excited, I had so many hopes, and I feel so disappointed now.

I can not agree enough. I was so excited about resident evil 5 and the fact that you can not move and shoot makes it a complete failure. Nothing like removing a basic function in life like movement to send the whole thing down the tubes. They definitely should pick up Dead Space to get a feel for a good control set up.

It’s irritating enough when a developer removes a characters ability to jump in a game just because they don’t want to deal with the possibilities that opens up in the mechanics of the game. This decision to make a person lock in place when drawing their weapon makes no sense at all and acts more like a programing mistake then a plan. I actually thought there was something I was doing wrong with the controller when I first tried the demo? In a game of zombie like hordes charging to kill you, movement is everything. Skip RE5 and play Resident Evil 4 a much better game.

WOW, that was all I could think of when I saw the trailers! I was pretty hyped about this game and thought it looked great. Imagine my frustration when I actually played this crap-sandwich of a game. Now I will accept responsibility and fully acknowledge that I’m an avid shooter fan. Just love Rainbow Six, Gears, GRAW, Dead Space, etc. How in the hell am I supposed to "get used" to a control scheme that is fully broken? Imagine being sold on the newest Ferrari only to get in it and find out it has the same engine as your grandfathers Rascal scooter? I mean, seriously, WTF? How hard would it be to add one more selectable control scheme? They have shunned a HUGE audience simply for their idea of what a Survival/Horror should be. Their marketing guru needs to be publicly flogged. With today’s hardware, it is absolutely inexcusable to put out this crap with the premise that you NEED A SHITASTIC CONTROL SCHEME TO CREATE SUSPENSE! What a load of horse squeeze. That’s the #1 excuse all the RE Fans say, "you don’t get it, the controls help create the suspense". That just highlights poor game design if I only crap my pants because I’m required to stand my ground and trade blows with an army of zombies that can literally RUN up to me only to STOP and WALK the last 5 feet so I can drop them with my gun or knife. Chris must be the lamest excuse for a former special ops guy in the history of comedy. I’m staying away and would frankly rather eat my sisters underwear than play this Snoozefest. Now that’s HORROR!

so, is that about the action controls deffinately a mistake? I really love resident evil games, and i think this is as good a RE4, I really do not think that the stationary shooting is that much of a problem, because it is that which made all RE games more scary, because you had to shoot as quick as you can before you get your neck munched, and it still has the same urgency and excitement with being stuck. If not as much, more, because these things are a lot faster.

my lil bro is new to RE franchise, and cos his 360 mates think its bad, so does he, they don’t understand what RE has always been about. i just want someone to do co-op with at home, or online for that matter. cos there are so many 360 fanboys who dislike it cos of the no moving thing.

Dead Space is one of the best games i have ever played, and i didnt even notice that you could move while shooting.

RE will never die tho, all of their games,(well the series ones) have been amazing, this is still good, graphics are outstanding, setting is cool, and chris redfield is back!! If CAPCOM just delay the release for a lil while and release the controls, then everybody would be as happy with it as i am!

do you think they will do the controls thing?

sum1 relpy and comfort me please, i feel lonley being one of the only 360 gamers who loves it!! ANYBODY!!

Hey James,

I think my problem with Capcom’s argument that the freezing the character in place is done to add urgency and excitement doesn’t really fly. If nothing else Dead Space proved them completely wrong on that notion.

I think mainly I feel this way because it goes against the reality of how a person would react, so it feels like a mistake instead of being true to the environment. As seen by a majority of these posts the first reaction of most people playing the game is to run and shoot , I’m guessing much like they would in real life, (they also would most likely crap themselves too, but no need for that much reality), so when game developer restricts that it makes the game feel flawed and ruins the experience. I mean at least you would walk with your weapon drawn? Heck anyone who has watched COPs on TV knows that that is the first reaction a person has in a dangerous situation.

I illustrate for a living and much like illustration you can do the craziest stuff that you want with your idea, but if something you do goes against the reality you created it will ruin your idea completely. In RE5’s reality you are Redfield a member of star’s alpha team an elite human killing machine. He has taking out all sorts of evil and survived. Only one thing, his main weakness is the inability to use a weapon and move, that just makes absolutely no sense.

Imagine any other medium trying to pull something like this off and telling us it builds suspense? If this was a movie we’d all be yelling at the screen, "MOVE IDIOT!", but because it’s a video game we’re supposed to believe it adds quality? I have to disagree.

Hopefully they come to their senses and fix this with a patch. If not there is always Killzone 2 and FEAR 2, but it would be a shame to have to pass this one up.

Yes- the control scheme is different and hard to get used to.

Yes, the pacing of the game is much slower than run-and-gun shooters.

No, this doesn’t mean that RE5 will be inferior to any other shooter.

No, this doesn’t mean that RE5 needs any "action control" run-and-gun control schemes.

The guys at Capcom haven’t just "taken a step in the right direction." They got it exactly right with Resident Evil 4. The over-the-shoulder stop-and-shoot scheme (really, there are too many hyphenated phrases in this comment) works like a charm– it feels like what a zombie invasion should: intense.

If RE were a run-and-gun game, being surrounded in zombies wouldn’t be nearly as tense as is. You don’t just run through, blindly shooting at foreheads. You have to pace yourself, strategize, and plan ahead.

That’s where the criticism stems. The mass population of shooter fans weren’t prepared for this new kind of gameplay. They’re impatient. When they complain that the character is too slow, or how they hate that they can’t move and shoot, it’s because they don’t know how to combine strategy with their shooters.

If Capcom were to make an "action control" scheme, they’d be downsizing their own achievement. Instead of having a unique and interesting way to fight through a zombie invasion, they’d have the same run-of-the-mill shooting galleries that the rest of the market is saturated with.

For me, it’s not a matter of the lack of run-and-gun. As I mentioned and as you pointed out, RE4 was a great game and I didn’t struggle with the controls at all then. That was many years ago, though. Third person shooters and action games have evolved, but Capcom hasn’t clued into that.

The big problem I’m having with the game is the lack of any sort of dodge. You can’t dive out of the way, or jump, or duck, or anything. You have to do a quick 180* turn and run away, then do another quick turn and fire, then another quick turn and run some more, etc. etc. It’s clumsy, archaic, and down right doesn’t make sense. If a dude came straight at me with a chainsaw in real life, I would not just turn around and run in the direction he’s already moving.

Anyway, RE5 has many other issues that are preventing it from the greatness it has the potential to be, that the control issue is merely just another item on the list.

I had a chance to download the demo the other night… and oh my those are some bad controls! I was actually kind of stoked to get this game, I’ve always enjoyed the Resident Evil series, but wow…

The graphics are well done, but I don’t think I can deal with how clunky the controls are… You are right about Capcom, they really have some oddities in their games lately. That Dead Rising save system was by far the worst I’ve seen in a game. I felt like I was back to playing NES games, you die and you start all over, lovely 🙁

Hey Matt,

I notice your twitter status isn’t exactly positive regarding the split-screen. My question is this: Is it THAT bad that it makes the game unbearable? I ask this because the girlfriend has only just started to get into gaming, and this game would mark the first non-Lego game we’ve played. She’ll only play 2 player games, so I was hoping that this one would be great.

Your thoughts?

She loved LittleBig Planet, and the Lego’s, so this is really the first step into serious gaming and I don’t want to ruin it right off the hop.

I definitely wouldn’t recommend RE5 for a new comer to gaming. And I wouldn’t recommend playing split-screen, period. Yes, it’s that bad. I have a 40" TV, and have played many split-screen games on it without any complaints. But RE5’s individual screens are far too small. If I were going to play like that, I would probably have to pull up a chair a couple feet in front of the TV so I could make out what was actually happening on screen.

If you want to get your girl into another co-op game, the Gears of War games are great split-screen, as is Halo 3. Left 4 Dead can also be played locally, but that might be a bit much. 😉

Hi

I have just received RE5 through the post, I didn’t play the demo as I have played the previous games in the series. I don’t have any sort of problem with the lack of ‘run n gun’ gameplay.

The issue that I have with the controls is the fact that if you use the dual stick control, left stick for straff and right for truning, as soon as you hold the trigger to lift your weapon the turn and look stick changes from the right to the left. This is not even archaic, it is just plain wrong. It might just be my brain, but having a control scheme where one minute the left stick is forward, back, straff left and right, then the next minute you have to think about that stick beig look up and down and turn left and right it totally distances you from the in game experience.

As far as I’m concerned the controls should be as transparent as possible.

Sorry for the rant, just stopped playing RE5 and really annoyed.

Cheers for listening.

Completely disappointed in the control scheme for RE5. Unfortunately i only played the game for 1 hour, and tomorrow i’ll be returning it. Can’t get used to the fact that i can’t run and shoot at the same time.

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