It\'s currently only available to Gold LIVE subscribers, but the bit of text said that it should be available for Silver LIVE members \"in a few days\", so by the end of the week I should imagine.
Anyway, the demo. As widely predicted, it is the two levels that have been shown a lot in video demonstrations- \'Public Assembly\', and \'Shanty Town\'. It plays near enough exactly like RE4, just with some enhanced gameplay mechanics between you and your partner Sheva. There\'s no intro or anything, you just get to choose from either of those two stages to play. There are a few cut-scenes within the levels.
Public Assembly is just a little timed skirmish level. Think of it as playing Mercenaries on RE4, and you\'re pretty much spot-on. You\'re basically in a brawl in an enclosed space with re-spawning zombies, and a seemingly invincible axe-wielding nutter (named \'Executioner\', apparently). I\'m sure this guy is probably like Dr. Salvador from RE4 (the bag-headed chainsaw freak from that game), in that he can in fact be killed, he\'s just got a lot of health, to the point where he would seem invincible to small arms fire. I\'m going to try and kill this hulking axe man in the demo at some point.
If you survive for the undisclosed time-limit, you\'re treated to a cut-scene of Kirk (your helicopter support guy) blowing the door with an RPG, letting you out of the \'pen\'. That\'s the end of the stage. Shanty Town is less of a skirmish, and allows you to explore a bit (and I do mean a bit!). There\'s a few different areas, giant moths attack, and the stage culminates in a boss fight with that thin gangly bag-head chainsaw bastard from the trailers. Explosive barrels and electricity boxes come into play in this stage, and you get to use a sniper rifle.
One of the set-pieces in this stage is that bit from one of the trailers where Chris and Sheva do a special co-op QTE move, which boosts Sheva over the otherwise un-jumpable gap towards the next building. She then gets lynched by marauding zombies, and you help her out by sniping across the way at them. I know I\'ve seen this bit in one of the trailers. Anyway, it\'s in Shanty Town on the demo. The stage (and demo) ends soon after killing the chainsaw guy, and using his key on the locked door. You go into a little alley, find a treasure chest with a bunch of useless jewels, and then go through a big door to end the demo.
All in all, I\'m really impressed. It plays exactly the same as RE4, near enough. What they\'ve really gone to town on, gameplay-wise, is the partner mechanic. They\'ve brought back some of the inventory-sharing stuff from RE0. but thankfully, they\'ve brought none of the suckage that was in RE0. Which brings me on to the inventory. For the first time in the series, you interact with your inventory in real-time. Rather than another screen coming up and the gameplay/world pausing for you to mix your herbs and whatnot, pressing Y brings up your inventory on a little transparent overlay, and nothing pauses.
This injects some real tension into using the inventory in certain moments, fumbling around with your ammo and herbs during the big skirmishes and boss fights, etc. So it\'s a good change. The controls are very good. Not that different from RE4, at all. It\'s pretty much RE4 controls mapped out on the 360 pad, with a couple slight changes. In the same vein as Oblivion/Fallout 3, you can hotkey four inventory items to the up, down, left, and right of the D-pad.
The graphics are absolutely incredible, and you can tell Capcom know it. All of the cut-scenes in the demo are done in the in-game engine. I did have to remind myself a few times that I wasn\'t playing Far Cry 2. The style of the visuals in both games is very, very similar. Other than the two stages, the demo also allows you to play them in split-screen or Xbox LIVE multiplayer co-op (where one player assumes the role of Sheva). This is an unusual amount of functionality for a demo. All other demos I\'ve gotten have had all multiplayer disabled, let alone XBL multiplayer.
Anyway, highly impressed with the demo, and will probably be getting this game when it comes out. To the few PS3 gamers here, you guys get this demo at some point after this week. MS have some \'exclusive demo deal\' bullshit with Capcom or something, but apparently it\'s only for this week. If you\'re lucky, you\'ll get this demo next Monday. If you\'re not, then it should be along soon enough. I\'ve mostly only played offline single-player so far. Anyone want to do some XBL co-op on the RE5 demo with me? My Gamertag is in my sig.( Edited 26.01.2009 21:13 by Martin_ )