Resident Evil 4 is one of the best games ever made, and so gave Capcom a problem that - until the recent reveal of Resident Evil 7, at least - it was in no rush to solve. How do you follow up a classic? Resident Evil 5 would spend four years in development, benefit from a new generation of hardware, and use it to offer a simple answer: you do the same, but better.
Sometimes it's the flawed ones that make you think the most. During a rare moment of downtime in the disappointing Dead Rising 2: Off The Record, I started considering how developers and publishers reuse content: what represents an acceptable recycling of assets, and what doesn't.
If you've been keeping a weather eye on PlayStation Move coverage, you've probably come to the conclusion that Sony's latest foray into motion control is an extremely competent peripheral in search of genuinely good games. Luckily, the PlayStation 3 already had some genuinely good games knocking about, and now some of them have had Move support patched in.
Months after the debut of Resident Evil 5 on console, Capcom has finally seen fit to unleash the PC rendition of its latest survival horror epic. Nearly anyway - it's out next month. Built upon the same Framework MT engine that powered its previous cross-platform efforts such as Devil May Cry 4 and Lost Planet, it effectively allows the enthusiast gamer to take hold of the standard-setting visual assets of the original console versions and transplant them into the PC realm where graphical quality is limited only by the amount of money in your wallet and the processing and rendering power it buys you. It's an intriguing opportunity to check out one of the most popular console games of the year running at the very limit of its graphical potential.
Released in 1996, the original Resident Evil not only shifted PlayStations, but cemented the survival horror genre in gaming history. The game's original intro FMV uses real-life actors and features a scene where STARS Alpha member Joseph Frost is graphically ripped apart by Cerberus. Capcom had the intro toned down for the game's western release, warranting a 15 classification by the BBFC, although the PC port by Westwood a year later retained the intro with an 18 certificate. Either sets the tone.
You know who the unsung hero of the Resident Evil series is? The guy who moans "Resident Eeeeeevil" at the start of each game. I like to think that it's the same person, and that for each sequel he puts years of practice into making each number sound as spooky as possible.
We've had indie and esoterica, sports and music, MMOs and RPGs, and fighting and strategy, which just leaves the glamour girls of action, adventure, shooters and racing to strut their stuff.
Japan may have gotten the jump on the rest of us with the Resident Evil 5 demo this month, but a fortunate alignment of circumstances found your humble correspondent in the right place at the right time with the right kit: Japan, last week, with an Xbox 360. The two-level demo gives us our best chance yet to see how Capcom's latest is shaping up ahead of its 13th March release on the Microsoft and Sony boxes.
Since we were last closely acquainted with a playable build of Resident Evil 5, Capcom has evidently gone back and had a little think about how to make the game more appealing to Western gamers.
First things first, apologies if you were disappointed, having read our Eurogamer Expo preview on Monday, to discover that the MotorStorm: Pacific Rift vehicle outside the Expo entrance was a monster truck instead of a Humvee. We are also sorry that so many of you missed the chance to touch Bertie's moustache, which endures even now atop the sweater-clad granite torso and arms of news-typing sultriness.
Africa may prove difficult territory for Resident Evil 5, and not just because of Umbrella Corp meddling. The E3 2007 teaser struck an unpleasantly colonial chord by suggesting that - crikey! - you'll certainly be shooting a lot of black people this time around, and the media has been quick to voice its unease. The developers may consider the new setting just another change of location following RE4's European holiday, but the trailer's problem was that its depiction of a white man fighting off a depraved black mob was "imagery with a history", in the words of Newsweek's N'Gai Croal, particularly as there was no wider context available for those not versed in the series' back-story.
Given that it's supposedly due out by April next year, it's surprising we haven't seen more of Resident Evil 5 by now. In the run-up to Capcom's Captivate 08 event in Las Vegas, that seemed to be changing, after reports circulated of a female character, drop-in online co-operative play and a cover system. But despite whetting our appetites with a brand new, mystery-filled trailer introducing, among other things, Chris Redfield's female counterpart, the game's producer, Jun Takeuchi, politely declines to comment on her, co-op or cover, promising a drip-feed of information between now and release and more substantial details at E3. We do get to see the "world's first playable build" of the game, but of course we're not allowed to play it ourselves.