I grabbed the demo of Resident Evil 5 last night and had a very quick go. I really enjoyed RE4 on the Gamecube in early 2005, and although I wasn’t desperately eager for RE5 I was still interested in how it turned out. I was surprised to find myself not finding it very much fun at all. There’s no doubt that it looks gorgeous, and from memory I’m pretty sure the ‘feel’ of it is pretty much identical to RE4, but somehow I just found it rather frustrating to play.
The debate about whether Resident Evil 5 is racist or not continues to simmer. It’s easy to coldly and calmly rationalise the scenes that RE5 depicts on the basis that since it’s set in Africa, the chances are that the majority of the zombies are going to be black - it would be pretty stupid for it to be otherwise. Makes perfect sense. But, the fact is that the depiction of a white guy striding through an African village, gunning down the local populace, even if they are zombies, cannot be taken in isolation when there is far too much painful and rather recent history involved here - RE5 may be just adhering to common sense, but it invokes imagery which has strong parallels with real-life racism and oppression.