CES 2009: Resident Evil 5 Updated Hands-On - River Raiding

We take to the enemy-infested waterways in a new area of Capcom's upcoming Resident Evil 5.

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With Resident Evil 5 approaching its March 13 release, Capcom teased a little more of the game in its CES suite with a brief playable demo set in a previously unseen locale. The new section focused on main characters Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar making their way upriver by boat. Although the notion of a boat trip with a lady friend might sound like a fairly mellow experience, this is Resident Evil we're talking about. So, Chris' "quality time" with Sheva featured explosions, dozens of murderous infected, and flying enemies eager to rip off Chris' head. The short demo pleased the masochist in us with its relentless enemies and left us hungry to tear into more of the game.

Zombies and water: a scary combination.
Zombies and water: a scary combination.

The demo starts with the pair still traveling with Josh, who we were introduced to in our last hands-on. The trio appears to still be on the hunt for the mysterious Irving, which leads them to take to a boat. The level kicks off with a forced scrolling segment that has Josh taking the wheel of the boat and starting the ride up the river. The trip gets eventful as mobs of enemies start taking shots at the boat. Fortunately there's an inordinate amount of explosive barrels and tanks lying around, so it's just a matter of careful aiming. Though this sequence was fun, we're a little anxious to see how it plays out in the final game, given that the demo afforded us unlimited ammo. We reckon that things will be a lot tenser if you have to be frugal with your bullets. The boat ride also features a number of context-sensitive moments during which you'll need to hit a button and duck to avoid slamming into low-hanging structures. Although you have some measure of free movement on the boat, there's no avoiding the obstacles without hitting the button.

The boat ride comes to an abrupt halt when you reach a gate blocking your path. Josh docks the boat and you'll have to disembark. You and Sheva will make your way to separate switches, which, surprise, have to be triggered in tandem. The short run to the switches is complicated by a mob of enemies, including those flying creatures that we've seen in other demos. To make matters even more fun, there's a majini manning a turret whose arc of fire can rain bullets on you or Sheva. Thankfully, with some good coordination--and by that we mean letting the bad guy focus on Sheva while you line Chris up for a shot--he can be taken out. The demo faded out once we triggered the switches and reboarded the boat.

From all we've seen, Resident Evil 5 appears to be covering all of the expected bases and throwing in a few cool, but admittedly fatal, surprises to the RE formula. Fans of the series will be pleased by what's coming. Resident Evil 5 is currently slated to launch on March 13, so look for more on the game shortly.

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