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Tycho / on Mon, Feb 2 2009 at 12:00 am

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The Susurrous Sandwich

You may not be aware that both Fisher Price and Nintendo are colluding with Muslim terrorists to ensnare the young, which might make it difficult to understand today’s comic.  You may not think that unintelligible samples or scarves are an effective weapon for global jihad, but that just means you’re a part of the problem, Mohammed.

When skulduggery gave me access to the Resident Evil 5 demo almost two months ago, I was concerned mostly with how the arc of the co-operative experience would stretch over the full length of the title.  Now that I have the actual demo and can play at my leisure - forgoing the cloak of night - I don’t give a shit about arcs or stretching or any other Goddamned thing.  I just love it.  Once you get a sense of the information density on offer, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief:  here is a co-op game where, at a moment’s notice, you can know your partner’s exact location, their health, what items they have, their current ammo, all of it.  It’s a little weird at first, but the real-time inventory gives you a lot of power over your experience.

Because an explicitly co-operative game of Resident Evil 5’s scope is an incredibly risky market proposition, Capcom had no choice but to include an AI companion.  after playing through the demo six or seven times this weekend, watching organic scenarios unfold time and time again, it’s hard to imagine that you could be satisfied with this synthetic creature.  It’s fine for what it is, but I think it’s far, far outside the intention of the product.

I keep reading about “sluggish controls,” but let’s go with “obstinate” instead.  It’s more literary and more accurate - I would have settled for either, honestly, so this is a real treat.  I would say that sluggish controls represent a technological or design concern that manifests in the simulation’s inability to reflect your will.  That’s not the case with Resident Evil 5, or 4, or (I would say) any Resident Evil ever.  The controls work precisely as they were designed to: to make you mindful of your play.  If you don’t like it, and certainly that is your prerogative, at least have the self-awareness to recognize it as the twisted, petulant sense of adolescent entitlement that it is.

(CW)TB out.  

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