The pile-up

By MITCH KRPATA  |  December 31, 2008

We were all a little teary-eyed when the Japanese development house Clover Studios shut its doors a few years ago, but many of Clover's employees regrouped at what's now called Platinum Games. Among their first projects is the tantalizing MADWORLD (March 10; Wii). It's an ultra-violent, third-person brawler with a distinctive black-and-white aesthetic, reminiscent of Frank Miller's Sin City. I'd be skeptical if not for the pedigree of the designers, who count among their accomplishments such classic games as Viewtiful Joe, Okami, Devil May Cry, and Resident Evil 4.

Resident Evil 4 is still the best game I've ever played, so the wait has been almost unbearable for RESIDENT EVIL 5 (March 13; PS3, Xbox 360). In the fifth installment, longtime series protagonist Chris Redfield hunts for the origin of the deadly T-virus in the wilds of Africa. An early trailer, in which Redfield was seen mowing down mobs of impoverished black villagers, ignited a firestorm of controversy. Since then, Capcom has been a bit more careful about the information it has released. All we know for sure is that RE5 features an important co-operative component — Chris will be accompanied by a female partner, who can be controlled either by the computer or another human player. The question is, will that be enough to keep Resident Evil 5 from feeling like a retread? Video game franchises are like sharks: they have to keep moving forward, or they die.

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