Takeuchi says that drawing zombies into narrow corridors and alleys to reduce the effect of their numbers will remain important, but it's only so much use when the walls themselves offer little comfort. We don't get to see the battleaxe monster dispatched (Takeuchi explains that for the purposes of the demo they set his AI to "God" mode to wind up Kawata - those crazy Capcom guys!), but when we collar the producer outside later he says that you will have to wait for him to make a mistake - get his axe caught in the ground, maybe - and exploit that, rather than taking him out with gunfire.
Other enemies are shown in the trailer - the dogs are back, of course, and zombies with retractable facial tentacles that grab the player by the head - but the most interesting is the guy with the chainsaw, who appears to retain enough coordination and problem-solving ability to cut through the lock on a metal gate. Chris isn't messing about in the armoury stakes though. You can now switch weapons in real-time, and we get to see a pistol, shotgun and machinegun, while grenades will include explosive and incendiary - the former sends zombies flying in a geyser of dirt. We're also told there will only be one melee weapon - the knife.
Artistically it's all fairly familiar to Resident Evil 4 veterans, but graphically it's far more beautiful - the key being how complete the environment appears. There are no jarring edges, awkward texture transitions and only the occasional shonky animation or dip in frame-rate to suggest there's more to be done. The engine is Capcom's proprietary technology and Takeuchi is very proud of it. "We think we are making the best graphics of any Japanese developer right now," he says through his translator. It's been suggested that the game is visually reminiscent of the Black Hawk Down film, and it's not a bad comparison - Ridley Scott's Mogadishu was a baking muddle of tattered buildings and scrap, and Resident Evil 5 echoes its scorching bleakness.
But while Capcom is keen to go blow for blow with its rivals graphically, Takeuchi recoils from suggestions that the game's controls should be significantly modernised with elements like strafing and the ability to fire at the same time as moving. Watching Kawata's hands as he plays, it's clear he's not using the right analogue stick at all, and on-screen the old move-then-fire-then-move-again mechanic is in clear evidence. We're told again that there's more to see in this area (that rumoured cover system, perhaps), but that the player is deliberately not being given the kind of fluid control expected of modern third-person action games because Takeuchi likes the way the restriction adds to the suspense and panic of extricating Chris from potentially fatal situations. "It is taking one ability away from the player, but we feel it results in a better game," he says.
A key point for Resident Evil's long-term fans, given its PlayStation heritage, is how the PS3 build is doing, and Takeuchi says it's "proceeding smoothly". Asked why we're only being shown 360, he says that the main development platform is the PC and when Capcom asked him to provide a console-based demonstration for Captivate 08 it was simply quicker to port the current build to 360 because of its similarity to the PC, and that we shouldn't read too much into it. "We're really pleased with it," he says of the PS3, "and certainly as with other developers we did have problems getting to grips with it at first, but now understanding how it works it allows us to do a lot of things we couldn't do before." However, asked by a European journalist whether the team had considered using Sixaxis for Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition-style controls, he says they ruled it out because Sixaxis is "not quite sensitive enough for that". Have at it, Internet.
Overall, we know a bit more about Resident Evil 5 now (it's got a girl in it!), but we don't know much more. Takeuchi declines to explain who the chap with the megaphone is who appears to be mobilising the crowds of zombies against Chris in the trailer, although he does point out that we haven't been told if he's being manipulated by someone else or not. We're closer, then, and fans will pour over the trailer for further clues (that wriggling parasite at the end, eh?), but it sounds like E3 will be a bigger reveal. We'll follow the corpses around the world for you and let you know the results.
Resident Evil 5 is due out on PS3 and 360 by the end of March 2009.