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Resident Evil 5

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release Date: March 13, 2009 (Gold Edition March 9, 2010)

About Brian Dumlao

After spending several years doing QA for games, I took the next logical step: critiquing them. Even though the Xbox 360 is my preferred weapon of choice, I'll play and review just about any game from any genre on any system.

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PC Preview - 'Resident Evil 5'

by Brian Dumlao on July 24, 2009 @ 9:00 a.m. PDT

Resident Evil 5 revolutionizes the series by delivering an unbelievable level of detail, realism and control.

Genre: Action/Horror
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release Date: September 15, 2009

Pundits have claimed year after year that PC gaming is on its last legs, with very few games and technologies making people excited about it in the same manner that they get excited about console game releases. They support their argument by saying that anything aside from MMO and real-time strategy games can thrive outside of the PC environment, making the PC a less viable source of hardcore gaming. These criticisms still haven't prevented publishers from making PC versions of some of their big console games, and Capcom is the latest company to go after this still-lucrative market. They've recently dipped their toes into the water with games like Lost Planet: Colonies Edition, Flock, and Street Fighter 4. The trend will continue this year with Resident Evil 5 hitting PCs several months after the PS3 and Xbox 360 had their time with it. At a recent showing at the San Diego Comic-Con, Capcom showed why Resident Evil 5 for the PC is more than a mere port.

The basic premise of the game remains the same from the console versions, as Chris Redfield and his new partner go hunting for the source of a new virus in a fictional African town. Speaking with representatives at the event, nothing new will be implemented in the game, story-wise. The enemies and their placement will still be the same, the scenarios will be the same, and the co-op play will remain the same. The change here is that the co-op will not feature split-screen play, as it will be limited to Games for Windows LIVE play only, ensuring that all co-op sessions will give players a full field of vision instead of a truncated one.

The graphics were the main stars of this demo session in two distinct ways. The resolution, as expected, was bumped up to ridiculously high levels, giving the game the ability to produce even more details than the console versions. Clothing threads become more discernible, and even labels become legible. Particle effects were also improved thanks to the resolution bump, and the bright colors made everything feel more realistic. Provided you have powerful enough hardware, you can easily dangle this in front of your console-owning friends and show them why the PC still has it in this department.

The official graphics card partner for Capcom's recent games is Nvidia, and the partnership has resulted in making Resident Evil 5 a game that supports Nvidia's GeForce 3D Vision system. The effect is no less than stunning, as everything from the menu text to the environments suddenly becomes more defined. The added depth that the glasses provide not only makes it easier to determine how far objects are but also gives certain scenes a more dramatic effect. It also heightens the cheap scare factor, as items like the tentacles from a mutated dog will be more focused toward the center of the camera and melee weapon throws will do the same thing. Even the cheap scare moments were exciting to watch. The equipment to get this effect will cost at least $200, but it's good to know that Capcom has put some serious thought into making the technology enhance the game instead of just using it as a gimmick.

The controls support either keyboard/mouse play or a standard PC controller. The controller makes the game feel like the console versions and will most likely become the preferred method for recent PC converts, but the keyboard/mouse combination is no slouch in the control department either. Admittedly, it felt a bit awkward to play with this scheme since the controls still rely on a bit on some Resident Evil staples, such as holding a button for aiming before firing and holding a button for running. We were assured that all of this can be customizable, but the default scheme will no doubt frustrate those who aren't used to the changes that this brings.

With September fast approaching, the version of Resident Evil 5 that was demoed at Comic-Con looked pretty close to complete. The addition of the 3-D effects will no doubt put a hole in many PC gamers' wallets, but the PC-exclusive option makes the monetary loss hurt a bit less. This, in combination with some outrageous bonus costumes, makes the wait bearable and provides some strong reasons to rate this version of Resident Evil 5 the best one out there.


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