Lost in Transition

15 Mar

bold-re5-cuts-re4

I’d like to take this time to point out that I’m not impressed with all of Resident Evil 5. There are several elements within the game that have been borrowed from RE4 but were executed quite sloppily. It’s almost as if Capcom didn’t even try at some points.

Treasure returns in RE5, but it lacks the interesting dynamic introduced in RE4. Originally, you would find jewels of certain shapes and base items to contain those jewels. Of course, you could sell all of it right away, but if you held out so you could combine the right pieces together, you would end up making a lot more money. This system created a dynamic which forced you to make a decision each time you found a new piece of treasure. Do you sell it now so you can upgrade a weapon, or do you hold off until later so you can buy multiple upgrades? RE5 does away with this system, but keeps the treasure around, either tricking the player into depriving themselves of cash early on or just wasting time by making you sell each individual piece.

There’s no option to combine treasure pieces, despite their being items that have ominous descriptions about possibly being more valuable later on or jewels with very specific shapes mentioned in their descriptions. Instead, you just sell them, but to do so, you must select a specific treasure, choose how many you want to sell, then confirm your decision. It’s just a superfluous step in the process of making money.

The biggest problem, though, is that anyone who played RE4 is going to want to hold out at first until they realize that the treasures can’t be combined.

The whole system was just carelessly implemented. Capcom either should have stuck with the original system or just made collecting treasure earn you instant cash.

Another misstep from 4 to 5 was the removal of 4‘s convenient ability to let you use herbs you find without actually adding them to your inventory. Item space has always been limited in the Resident Evil series, so having the option to use an herb you find without having to sacrifice a piece of your equipment was incredibly convenient and very much appreciated. RE5 doesn’t allow this, however.

Furthermore, it doesn’t allow you to combine herbs between Chris and Sheva when their inventories are both full. This makes no sense as you could do just that within a single character’s inventory. Instead, you’re often forced to drop an item, use up an herb you’d rather have held on to, or just leave the herb behind. It would be silly to expect convenience everywhere you turned in a Resident Evil game, but with something this common sense and which has been done before, it’s just plain careless to not include this feature.

I also find it odd that the vests you can buy take up space in your inventory. In RE4, you could purchase a vest which reduced the damage you receive. Leon would actually wear it, bypassing his inventory. In RE5, Chris and Sheva have access to two different vests, each of which take up an inventory slot to be used.

If anything, the vests should make more space, not take some up. It would be fine if the vests just offered their bonus and didn’t take up space. The way things are, I’m surprised Chris’ shirt, pants, and headset aren’t taking up their own item slots as well.

Finally, RE5 is far more linear than RE4. I’m currently in the final quarter of the game and there is nothing remotely resembling the crossroads areas like the castle or the village from RE4.

Furthermore, there are very few instances in RE5 of zombies standing around doing or work or just going about their lives like we saw in several sections like the first village or the mines in RE4. Instead, enemies are almost always storming in from parts unknown as a result of Chris and Sheva triggering the event. This only adds to the sense that the developers got lazy since RE4.

Someone on the JoystiqRebiew  Roundtable for Resident Evil 5 made the comment that it seems like Capcom sacrificed design quality for visual quality. I really don’t think that’s the case, but I do think that there wasn’t as much effort going into the gameplay of RE5 as there was in RE4. Capcom seems to have lazily copied and pasted several elements from 4, leaving out key components that made them very enjoyable.

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One Response to “Lost in Transition”

  1. Ana K October 2, 2009 at 3:19 AM #

    Oh boy do I agree with you there.

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