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Eurogamer Expo: Resident Evil 5 playtest

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We're at the Eurogamer Expo, if you didn't know, and we've just had a good, long play on Capcom zombie-shooter, Resident Evil 5.

Find out what we thought of it after the break. The code here's the same build that was shown at TGS, apparently. These impressions are taken from the 360 version, and we were using the original control system.

The Expo itself is now sold out, but you can see photos of what's going on here.

By Mike Bowden

After a few minutes watching a fellow Expo-goer try and battle a seven-foot tall, nails-coming-out-of-his-arms, mace-wielding, black-hooded beastie - and losing - we finally got our hands on Resident Evil 5.

The graphics are instantly impressive. The framerate is smooth, everything very detailed, shimmering and "next-gen." The camera does shoe-horn your view to a limited area of the map, though, and it's something you notice as soon as you take control.

You're dropped right into the action in the African shanty town made familiar through the game's already-released media. Your co-op partner, Sheva, is with you, and you're tooled-up and ready for action. There was no co-op in the build here today.

As we traversed down a dusty path alongside an old building, a zombie smashed through the boarded-up windows, the first surprise of the session. We turned slowly and took aim as he just stood there wobbling - we took off his head with a single bullet. The familiar tentacles shot out of his neck, he collapsed, and crumpled into a heap on the sand stone floor and evaporated into a bubbling mass before finally disappearing completely.

This was a shame: we would have liked to have seen carcasses litter the map as we went on our rampage - there's nothing more satisfying than admiring your own handy work after you have just shot untold undead in the face with .45.

We have to be honest: the camera really labours movement. It constantly snaps back to your starting point and makes turning 90 degrees a real pain in the backside. Chris and Sheva were lucky the zombie in the window didn't attack, as we would have been powerless to do anything about it in a hurry. Instead, we had to hold down the right trigger (aim), turn slowly to the right, pick our spot, and fire.

After we'd dispensed with a few more nasties, an in-game cut-scene takes over and we see an out of control helicopter calling mayday, whilst surrounded by some winged evil-types. The game then seamlessly pans back to your perspective and you've got a couple of them to take down. We make light work of this - seeing as we're awesome - and hastily move on to one the game's many co-op set-pieces.

Up until this point, it was fairly safe to say that Resi 5 is just Resi 4 HD in Africa. However, the aforementioned set-pieces is where Resident Evil 5 really differs from the other games. You come to a gap in the floor, or a ladder that you can't reach, and by pressing 'B' you give Sheva a leg-up. A small cut-scene of her acrobatics follows, and then you have to traverse to another point in the level and help her kill the zombies that have her suddenly surrounded.

It's all very nicely done, and you really get a sense of teamwork and satisfaction as you blow-up a nearby oil barrel to release a rather impressive explosion that wipes out several zombies at a time. Sheva, however, remains unscathed. The only real gripe is that the game doesn't tell you where you need to go in order to help her, so a lot of the time we were running about, aimlessly back-tracking until a prompt finally told us where we needed to be. Annoying.

Our playtest came to an end when a cloth-headed, chiselled, chainsaw-clad madman killed us with one single-blow as we tried to access the menu to change to a heavier-weapon. No-one told us the game didn't pause like it used to.

By this time however, the queue behind us had grown considerably in size so we had to leave it there. Watch out for more playtests if we can get close to any of the damn machines throughout the day.

By Mike Bowden

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