RE5: The AI Partner Experience (Artificial Irritation)

Sheva Alomar and Chris Redfield (RE5)

What this picture should show is AI Sheva standing directly in Chris’ sight-line while he tries to kill multiple pissed off enemies that wield spiky spears, and wonky spider-bugs try to jump on your back.  Don’t get me wrong.
She’s better than AI Ashley from RE 4 (who my hubs and I will probably refer to as ‘Trashley,’ in perpetuity.)  In RE4, you play as Leon, who is sent on a mission to rescue Ashley, the President’s daughter.  Throughout the game, Ashley really only seems to serve as baggage; she’s a parasite in a schoolgirl uniform, and you have to keep her from getting killed or carried off by the enemy.  She does nothing but follow Leon around as you progress through the game, except for the few parts where you have to use her to open doors or complete a level.  Admittedly I succumbed to the temptation once or twice to shoot her in the head just for catharsis, even if it meant seeing the “You are Dead” screen a couple of times.  She’s pretty annoying.  But then, a miracle…  An unlockable costume outfits Leon in a snazzy gangster-looking suit and Ashley in a suit of armor.  Problem solved.  She can’t get killed by enemies and she’s too heavy for them to carry off.  And you can’t kill her (accidentally or otherwise.)

To Ashley’s credit, she also follows simple directions.  “Stay here.”  “Follow me.”  This is more than I can say for Sheva Alomar, the latest incarnation of AI ‘partner’ you are saddled with while playing solo in RE5.  At first, I was pretty pleased with her.  You can set her on “Attack” mode or have her “Cover” you.  She’s pretty handy with a machine gun and between the two of you, you can take down a fair amount of enemies.  She even saved my ass a couple of times.  If she is close at hand, she can even heal you if you happen to be in the ‘dying’ status even if she or you have NO healing items.  You in turn, can and will have to resuscitate her if she takes too much damage.  Failure to reach her in time will result in the “Your Partner Died” screen, which is just another fancy way of saying “You Lose.”  Luckily she is usually not only close at hand, but practically up your ass.

Every once in while, though, you have to give her an ‘assist’ jump to another section of the board and she is not readily available to save you,  nor you to save her.  This has been a problem for me, especially in the veteran mode of the game.  But even that is tolerable.  What I have found though,as the game progresses through the levels (and especially in the harder modes), is that Sheva stops pulling her weight.  Not only does she stop automatically picking up ammo and supplies, she stops shooting enemies as well.  There have been several times when I am taking serious damage and she is standing right next to me, checking her nails or whatever (okay, maybe not checking her nails, but she sure as shit isn’t helping me!)

I can even tolerate her irritating little idiosyncrasies, like how she hands me back ammo (ammo that I have just given her in an attempt to free up my inventory so I can pick up an item I want,) or how she momentarily gets her head in my way when I shift positions sometimes.  Luckily, in this game you can’t  accidentally kill her (I should know; she’s gotten in my way so much it was bound to happen.)  I can even work around how I can’t let her hold any hard caliburs in her inventory because she essentially wastes the ammo using them on easy enemies.

And you should try beating a boss with her, when you’re supposed to use her as a diversion (she even says, “I’ll distract him!) and then she follows you around the board as you try to get behind the boss to shoot him in the back (which is the only time he can’t dodge bullets like frickin’ Neo in the Matrix.)  You don’t have the option to tell her “Hide.”  (If you told Ashley to stay, she’d pretty much heal like a Labrador.)

But now that I have beaten the game and am attempting to play through to earn more bonus material, it feels like Sheva is intentionally trying to sabotage me.  I am finding myself calling her ‘you stupid bitch‘ so much, I’m afraid it’s the next thing my toddler will learn to say.  She is apparently suffering from some sort of degenerative brain illness or something, because she is no longer cautious enough to evade the instant death that comes along with, say, running into a concentrated laser-like beam of sun.  I am sitting there, huffing and bitching to my husband, “How are you supposed to win this game when the AI partner you have keeps getting killed?”  Well, that was the PG version of what I said, anyhow.

What’s worse, now she has developed this inconvenient habit of purposely obstructing my view, like, every chance she gets.  Maybe I just happened to be in the right spot for the game to glitch or something but, there I was, having positioned Chris in a narrow spot up against a wall so my back was covered while I picked off the enemies bottle-necking themselves in the window as they tried to come through…and what is Sheva doing?  Why, she is running back and forth in front of me, over and over, apparently unable to find a position she likes enough to stand still and provide me with some support.  So I am sitting there on the couch, controller in hand, swaying back and forth like a Cobra, as if I can peer around her big stupid head that way.

~Sigh~  All in all, I like the game.  And although I prefer to play without an AI partner, Sheva isn’t too terrible.  I imagine the game was really intended for online partner play anyhow.  AI Sheva is probably an afterthought to keep all us loser offline players buying the games…  I just wish I could tell her to “Stay Here…”  Or better yet, “Get the fuck out of my way, bitch! You’re gonna get us killed!”

3 responses to “RE5: The AI Partner Experience (Artificial Irritation)

  1. I’ve laughed so many times during my reading of this post! I have had EXACTLY the same reactions to Sheva as you have! I would only hand her handgun ammo and grenades (along with herbs and first aid sprays, of course). She is REALLY annoying, and I would have also preferred to just play the thing alone, without any AI to get in the way.
    Having said that, I’ve beaten it 8 times and refuse to even LOOK at it now because I know the entire game word for word, and can blow through it in about 4 hours with all the unlockables I’ve gained. Resident Evil 6 is going to be an improvement because Capcom wants to make a SCARY Resident Evil game again, which I must say, Resident Evil 5 was not. RE 4 was good… not great, like so many people say, but good. I like zombies and zombie dogs and giant spiders… all these “infected” people just piss me off… thankfully, Capcom is bringing the zombies back, and it looks like we’re going to have a hellish experience to have to endure this winter 🙂

    • Thanks so much for commenting… and I am SO glad to hear you say the old zombies are coming back (my other post from this weekend deals with just this topic… I LOVED the old Doberman zombie dogs. They were scary, and I always dreaded fighting them. You’re right, RE5 is not scary. The only thing I thought was creepy in RE were those Iron Maiden monsters. Bring on the zombies!

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