Resident Evil 5: Versus • Page 2

A mercenary move?

Some players might prefer to limit the scoring potential of their opponents more than focus on their own efforts, so each match tends to play out slightly differently. Sometimes you're aware of maniacs doing nothing but hunting you down, other times everyone kind of goes about their killing business in their own corner of the map, while Majini respawn all around them. Horses for courses.

Team Slayer, meanwhile, adds the all-important co-operative element, and while it feels much the same, the strategy is subtly different. Hunting together, for example, can be useful for helping each other out when caught in a melee struggle, or when you're in dire need of a health boost. It's also useful, in theory, to be able to work together and cover each other's backs. With enemies continually respawning, it's quite easy to be caught out - not only by the AI foes, but by the human ones, so if you can play this online with a friend who understands the benefit of sticking together, do.

Elsewhere, there's another subtle twist on the score-attack formula in the shape of Survivors and Team Survival. Once again using the same eight maps, these four-player affairs penalise you for shooting the AI monsters, meaning it's all about hunting down your human enemies. Just like the Slayer mode, you can see roughly where your enemy is by virtue of their 'P1' icon being visible through scenery, so the element of surprise is somewhat lessened. That said, in these modes it becomes much more about which weapons are most powerful.

For example, while a shotgun can be great for seeing off tons of AI enemies at close proximity, trying to use it against the git with the flaming arrows is only going to end one way. You'll quite often find rounds turning into a bit of a mismatch if you're playing against people who've unlocked the more advanced characters ahead of you. On the other hand, once you know the placement of collectables dotted around the map, you can make a beeline for the RPG and get around any unfair advantage that way.

The outstanding question most people will have is: how on earth can the 'stop-and-pop' combat work in competitive multiplayer? Surely the inability to move while firing reduces the combat to a ludicrous game of who shot first? To some extent, yes, it is patently laughable to have an online multiplayer shooting game where you can't move while firing, never mind strafe. There is an undoubted comic element to the proceedings as each player stands with feet nailed to the floor hoping that their weapon does the most damage quickest - but there is a positive side, in that it does make the game feel very distinct from the hundreds of samey shooters in the market. On the other hand, it can be hugely frustrating to not even be able to slide quickly out of the way when an RPG whistles towards you.

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And it all started as a simple discussion about who's going to win the Champions League...

Likewise, the slow aiming process can be initially irksome, and the glacial default turning speed might wind people up. But that's Resident Evil. Deal with it. If you make a few aiming speed tweaks, stick with the unusual control system and go with it, few of those initial irritations will persist.

What's harder to defend is Capcom's decision to charge for this in the first place. The file size of 1.86MB is an obvious giveaway, and once you actually play it, you'll soon realise that you've paid for some subtle rule changes to The Mercenaries mode, albeit with additional players. Admittedly not everyone who buys Versus will have even seen The Mercenaries yet, given that you have to actually finish the main game to unlock it, but that's not really defensible. Capcom is renowned for providing a ton of added value in all past Resident Evil games via unlockables, but this time it has decided to monetise that with extra content that was blatantly already on the disk.

And while all the modes within Versus are fun for a while, Capcom has missed a trick by not even including basic customisation options which are the very least you expect from an online game in 2009. For a few quid you'll get a fair bit of enjoyment, but the fact remains that there's a putrid whiff of exploitation about this one. Let your wallet be your guide.

6 / 10

Read the Eurogamer.net review policy Resident Evil 5: Versus Kristan Reed A mercenary move? 2009-04-09T11:30:00+01:00 6 10

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