So Far Away…

October 20th, 2008

wesker resident evil 5

Last week I saw the Tokyo Game Show trailer of Resident Evil 5. If you haven’t seen it then I suggest that you take a look, only for the graphical onslaught though.

In terms of graphical prowess this game looks mind blowing, a huge leap up from previous video which already looked incredible. I didn’t expect to be saying this -for maybe for another 2-3 years – but if that was all running on in game specifications then RE5 will may even have a graphic leg up over..dare I say it..Metal Gear Solid 4 which had me confusing reality and video game far too often.

The complements end there though, and they end abruptly. No doubt you’ve already looked at the trailer after the above assertion so let’s talk about those uncomfortable issues….

(I should be noted that I HATE making judgments on a game prior to playing it myself, simply because of how fundamentally flawed this process is. I guess I’m referring to ‘guess reviews’, more commonly known as previews. Although I find that in the case of Resident Evil 5, the trailer goes out of its way to make itself problematic.)

Those uncomfortable issues are the awkward voice acting and anal attempt at story setting. Both of which I think are typical examples of the hereditary problems plaguing solid game narrative. This trailer perfectly reflects the point of stunted grow that we’ve hit and no amount of graphic cosmetics can cover that up.

resident evil 5

The biggest issue from my point of view is that it is difficult to take this game seriously in all its ludicrous-ness. The game attempts to be serious, mature and in depth like a Hollywood movie but it just collapses over itself due the concept and tying I it all into lore. There are two reasons for why these blockbuster game storyline’s always end up stinkers;

The first is that in the case of movies, the people working on the movie make movies. They don’t do much else. As for video games, the people working on the game make games, they don’t write movie scripts. It’s been this way, forever, a group of people that build games make a game and yet have no real experience at ‘making a movie’ which they are also trying to shoehorn in. Hence when these modern blockbuster video games try to be movies, they can’t as there has never really been the grounding to facilitate this. Obviously, this has and will continue to improve (it would be wrong of me to discredit some of the fantastic games writing out there), but what this trailer shows is that despite the graphical leaps between this title and PSone original, story, voice acting and in game acting seem to be as flat as ever. Yes, it’s an improvement, definitely, but does it hold stride with the cosmetic improvements? No, it falls terribly short.

The second reason for these conflicting issues is that games are not movies. So despite the best intentions, game narrative can never improve if it doesn’t adopt the strengths of the medium. For example, if Capcom just used gameplay video for the whole trailer, how much ‘story’ do you think would actually be present?

Just a few bullet points incase you find yourself disagreeing

-forced accents
-corny, often disjointed dialogue
-fake drama

Ugh, it’s all just pretty flat to be honest.

Despite my negative criticism, I don’t mean to hate on this game at all. It isn’t that Resident Evil 5 appears to be any worse than the other games on the marketing succumbing to the same trend. Despite the ridiculousness of the Resident Evil story, I’m very interested to see how it all progresses. Although I haven’t had a particularly long history with the series, the lore has my interest piqued – especially Wesker – and there is definitely an affiliation that I have to crazy, over the top video game narratives. So like everyone else, I’ll be consuming.

Oh, by the way, you’ll never have me confessing that Metal Gear Solid is one of those games.