Capcom have been on an exceptional run of form with their work remaking Resident Evil 2, 3 and now 4, to the point where someone like me who couldn’t ever finish the original RE4 is now tearing through the remake, blasting Las Plagas infected left and right. Whoever made the decision to add the Plagas Type C enemies can get in the bin though. The less spiders in my Resident Evil, the better, thank you.
Considering Capcom are already on a hot streak, why should they stop with 4? Let’s remake Resident Evil 5 too. There’s clearly a winning formula on hand here with the Japanese developer’s particular brand of AAA action-horror, so they should throw more of the same down into the trough for us good little pigs to consume. Resident Evil 5 in particular feels like a relic of the PS3/Xbox 360 era anyway, with its almost endless assault of the of-era “grey, bronze and brown” colour scheme looking like someone dropped mutant into your average Call of Duty: Modern Warfare level. Remaking Resident Evil 5 would be worth it for the visual overhaul alone.
This isn’t to say that a Resident Evil 5 Remake should necessarily be the next RE project that Capcom releases, as they’ve certainly got a couple of irons in the fire in that regard. Resident Evil Village and its DLC episode, Shadow Of Rose, leaves the franchise quite open-ended in terms of where it could go, so it would be nice to explore the future of the franchise sooner rather than later. Playing around with the past is great, but there’s only so much road in that regard.
Meanwhile, there’s probably a healthy contingent of Resident Evil fans who are having a conniption at the idea that any Resident Evil game other than Code: Veronica will be receiving the remake treatment, which is understandable. A beloved side-story in the RE franchise, Resident Evil Code: Veronica and its updated version, Code: Veronica X, fleshed out the relationship between Claire and Chris Redfield, while also reintroducing noted big bad Albert Wesker into the fold.
Given how Resident Evil 5’s whole story concerns the blood feud between Chris and Wesker, remaking Code Veronica, or at least finding a way of incorporating the Code Veronica stuff into Resident Evil 5’s eventual remake, sounds like a brilliant idea. If nothing else, it would serve to add more colour and context to the game’s story than the original Resident Evil 5 provides, giving fans who are only getting into Resident Evil through these recent remakes something to latch onto.
If anything though, Resident Evil 5 deserves the remake just because it’ll add something that the past few haven’t had, which is co-op. Being able to work together with a friend while taking down B.O.W.s is one of the reasons why Resident Evil 5 is loved by certain members of the community, and with the superior upgrades to the gameplay and graphics seen in Capcom’s RE Engine remakes, Resident Evil 5 feels like it would be a massive improvement.
Truth be told, it feels like Capcom are already gearing up for a Resident Evil 5 remake anyway, and that’s without getting into how the original RE4’s story teases that next instalment. There’s a chapter in RE4 (2023) where Leon teams up with Luis to take down hordes of Ganados in a mineshaft, and the way the AI reacts and teams up with you feels like a pre-alpha test to how Sheva will act when playing as Chris in Resident Evil 5. He was following up on melee combos and everything like Sheva would, it was sick.
While a remake of Resident Evil 5 sounds absolutely fine by us, it’s going to be a bit more difficult in nature to execute than previous projects Capcom have remade. For starters, the game’s map design felt way more linear than in other Resident Evil games. You’re never in one place for too long, you’re always just pushed on to the next puzzle, encounter or boss fight, whereas other Resident Evil games championed exploration above all else. Trying to retrofit a game like that into one where backtracking and exploration are encouraged could be tricky, but not impossible.
What could be more difficult to overcome is the optics of whiter-than-white Captain America stand-in Chris Redfield gunning down villagers in Africa. The original release of Resident Evil 5 drew criticism for how it depicted the infected villagers as savages, even before their infection, with many seeing the game as kind of racist, though the developers themselves were reportedly shocked by that connotation.
In truth, a lot of the story in Resident Evil 5 could be seen as anti-colonial, with the main villain being a Western, aryan-looking douchebag looking to create a superior race, subjugating the locals in order to do so. All Wesker needs on his trenchcoat is a red armband and he’s got the look down. Unfortunately though, Resident Evil 5 wouldn’t be a good shooter if Chris and Sheva just spent the whole game travelling around Africa, giving out Las Plagas and Uroboros vaccinations.
Because of that, it’s possible that Resident Evil 5 is just always going to have bad optics, but that doesn’t mean there’s no value in remaking an excellent co-op shooter for modern day audiences. There’s obviously going to be a stopping point for these Capcom remakes, but there’s no reason why that stopping point should be now. Give Resident Evil 5 a go, then call it a day.
We can all cast Resident Evil 6 into the fire where it belongs.
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