Comments Off RE5 > RE4
How to revitalize a genre? When Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest was released in 1987, Konami thought they were answering that question, although the industry and the audience weren’t mature enough to consider it. Some anger was to be expected, but no one imagined that its design would only be accepted ten years later with Symphony of the Night. In the space between both titles, Castlevania became a game aimed at a market; after Koji Igarashi took on the mantle of series producer, little or nothing changed. Eventually someone – maybe Igarashi himself – decided to look at the audience with newfound respect. Order of Ecclesia gave back friction to the combat, showed that “challenge” could once again be more than cublicles infested with repeating sprites, and that it had more to offer than bishōnen and spasmodic role-play. It only took eleven years since Symphony, and the result is closer to Rondo of Blood – the last “traditional” Castlevania with brains and brawn.
Part insurrection, part teenage whimsy, Resident Evil 5 was another victim of the same kind of public opinion although the erratic reception it got from critics and players had other reasons. Critics fired off the “racism” shots in the hopes of bringing maturity to videogame discussion; players pointed their fingers at Jun Takeuchi, the game’s producer, in the vain hope of electing him as sole responsible for a “terrible” change; Capcom, haunted by the same specter that ensnared Konami, stated that Resident Evil 6 would be a reboot of the series – even before RE5 was published. As if apologizing for the game.
Like other studios, Capcom has shown that even understanding the base design of their own games, they can apply the formula both spectacularly well and terribly wrong. But this wasn’t the case, and only critics desperately looking to remain relevant and a change fearing audience could have scared Capcom like that. In spite of the similarities that it shares with Resident Evil 4, the differences are where it goes beyond the sequel. It took a pretty slick format, only reconfiguring the necessary elements to create something recognizable (and still entirely worth of the Resident Evil name) but superior to what came before.
Yes, I am saying that Resident Evil 5 is better than Resident Evil 4.