Resident Evil 5 Control Schemes = Failure in North America
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.
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.
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.