Tuesday, November 03, 2009

S3D Gaming Review: RESIDENT EVIL 5 - 94/100

Jim here. Time for our S3D Gaming Review of RESIDENT EVIL 5! Take it from me, these guys know what they are doing. Simply spectacular 3D effects and immersion while all the time fulfilling the need for action and story. Capcom powered by NVIDIA really have outdone themselves with RE5. But don't just take my word for it! Metacritic gave it an 87 and Gamerankings an 88.

Lets talk about the stereoscopic 3D aspects of the experience first!

RESIDENT EVIL 5 is the first gaming title to be fully certified for the "3D Vision Ready" logo - and it looks it! Blood actually appears to fly off the screen at you. And yes, these gimmicks are tailor made for 3D gaming - kind of like the opposite of movies where you simply want to be immersed. Gaming with 3D Vision makes you feel like you are intimately involved! One of the first scenes that I really noticed how well this is done is the motorcycle scene. I found myself ducking :-) What is very cool about this scene too is that they combine elements of gameplay with cinematics - I won't go on too much about that though! Don't want to spoil it for you. And yes. All cinematics are in stereoscopic 3D (S3D) as well! I will mention a few highlights for me during the game and while I will not elaborate too much, there are small spoilers.

The gaming experience starts with the menus and I must say, they are the best I have ever seen. Seriously. A simple thing like menus can make a huge difference in the experience! ALL of it is S3D. Even the menus - floating spores are seemingly right in front of your eyes but still allowing you to clearly interact with your options and selections. It's all very creepy. I chose the easiest setting. You see I have a thing about zombies and I am just not quite prepared for the massive onslaught of the highest levels. YET. 

For suspense I don't think it gets any better than in the mines. One of the characters has to pack up their weapon and carry a lantern to illuminate their path and the shadows are AMAZING. The light from the few lightbulbs down there shine right in your eyes as you walk/run by. Obviously the lantern bearer cannot defend themselves and that adds to the excitement! And there is always a delay to see things when you change the direction you are looking as the lantern must be turned to match your view.

NVIDIA's 3D Vision:
Setting up NVIDIA's 3D Vision couldn't be easier really. The hardware is easy to use and understand - you just plug in the 3D IR device in a USB port, make sure your glasses are charged up (or use them while they are charging - again, a simple USB cord). The system auto-detects when you have started a 3D game, video or photo viewing session and kicks in the glasses. The glasses even come with two additional nose pieces to optimize the unit for your own needs! One thing to pay close attention to is the drivers - but NVIDIA is trying to make this as painless as possible. For me, 3D gaming was perfect from the get-go.

I used Steam for my gameplay and it works flawlessly. Love how the full game downloads in the background and lets you know when it is ready to be played.

Lets get to the gameplay!!
RE5 was released on September 15 with a rating of Mature. The story takes place years after the events of Raccoon City (previous RESIDENT EVIL location) and bands together two members of the Bio-terrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA) to figure out what is going on. Chris Redfield (survivor of the original game's Arklay Mansion) teams up with Sheva Alomar in a fictitious region of Africa to investigate suspicious activity. You play one of them.

The game has an awesome new co-op mode too - you have to work together for some aspects - or perish. The second character can be AI driven, or be played by another human through Windows Live. I have not utilized this yet, but I am told it is optimized for syncing up with another player after you have entered into a game chapter (there are other ways too, but a bit more cumbersome). Further, when your Windows Live companion leaves the session, the game's AI takes over seamlessly! You will unlock achievements very much along the lines of what Microsoft does with the XBOX 360 - some hilariously named.

You CAN use game controllers for the game which is nice, but I prefer the vast number of options that a keyboard/mouse provide. Hot swapping weapons based on inventory slot number is vital too :-)

During the game you must seek out gold, ammunition, the occasional weapon, and treasures. Everything can be sold to build up your savings to buy or upgrade your inventory. I think the in-game and setup equipment screens are very well done allowing you to see and adjust both you and your partner's stuff when needed.

When you or your partner dies, you are sent to the zombie zealousness screen as I refer to it :-) You are in first person and witness the hacking of your body as you perish most horribly. Yep. It's in 3D.

The chapter set up works. While loading, you are presented with a brief history item from the RESIDENT EVIL archive. Saves are made at logical locations and it is a breeze to relaunch where you have left off. One item of gameplay that bothered me was not being able to walk or run while aiming your weapon - I suppose your targeting would be all over the place but one might still be able to master it. I would like to see that corrected. But other than that I give the game a full 94 out of 100. I will be playing this one for quite some time - can't wait to explore the harder levels. It is rock solid and a blast to play! Recommended in S3D of course!

Here's the system I built and used for this review :
Resident Evil 5
Windows 7 64 Home Premium
Intel Core 2 Quad 2.66GHz
4GB Dual Channel Corsair 1066 DDR2 Memory
EVGA GTX285 1MB DDR3 PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card
NVIDIA GeForce 3D Vision Kit
Asus P5QL/EPU Motherboard
Western Digital 650GB Sata Hard Drive (this is actually a bottleneck - will try to get a SSD soon)
Antec TruePower 750W Blue Power Supply
Altec Lansing Speakers
Logitech Wave Keyboard and MX 620 Wireless Mouse
Coolermaster HAF 922 Case
Samsung 120Hz 2233RZ 22" 3D Monitor 

System recommendations are:
OS: Microsoft Windows Vista 32/64 bit or Windows 7 32/64 bit.
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon X2 CPU or higher.
RAM: 2GB system memory.
HDD: 100MB free disk space. 

Other Display recommendations:
DISPLAY: Either the Samsung monitor above or the ViewSonic FuHzion VX2265. Alternatively you could use a 100Hz or higher analog CRT.
HDTV: You can use a 1080p DLP TV - see NVIDIA's site for more details.
PROJECTOR: Various projectors can also be used such as the DepthQ HD 3D Projector.
GRAPHICS CARD: GTX 260 or better; GeForce 9800 GX2 or GTX+; or the GeForce 8800 Ultra or GTX.

Contact Me

Jim Dorey
jim (at) marketsaw (dot) com

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