- Title: Resident Evil 5
- Also On: PS3
- Publisher: Capcom
- Developer: Capcom
- ESRB Rating:“M” for Mature
- Genre: Action/Horror
- Pros: Polished presentation; co-op; solid gameplay
- Cons: Not scary; A.I. partner sucks
The story in RE5 takes place ten years after the destruction of Raccoon City from the first three RE games. Chris Redfield, now a member of an anti-bioweapon organization known as the B.S.A.A. travels the world seeking the remnants of the evil Umbrella Corporation and destroying any of their creations that have fallen into the wrong hands. His current mission takes him to Africa where a known weapons dealer is rumored to be making an appearance. A local BSAA agent named Sheva Alomar joins him, and together they set out into the village of Kijuju to find him.
For the first time in a core RE game, co-op is a main component. You can play in splitscreen, system link, or over Xbox Live and having another human player along for the ride completely changes the way the game plays. You can also play by yourself and have the A.I. control Sheva, but it wastes a ton of ammunition and isn’t always as quick to save you as a human player would be. You can certainly still beat the game this way, but to get the full experience you need to play co-op.
One nice feature is that you can replay previous missions to build up money or ammo and then move back to your current story mission. This lets you upgrade your weapons or collect ammo to get through tough sections. There are also lots of hidden goodies and unlockables, which greatly enhances the replay value.
The core gameplay in Resident Evil 5 is very similar to RE4. The camera is in a fixed over the shoulder view and you move with the left stick and turn your character (which also moves the camera) with the right stick. To shoot you hold the left trigger to bring up your weapon and press the right trigger to shoot. By holding the left bumper and using the right trigger you swing your knife. The B button is used to call your partner over or perform co-op actions. The X button is context sensitive and is used for picking up items, opening doors, or punching enemies when you stagger them. And the A button lets you run or do a quick 180 turn. The Y button accesses your inventory in real time (so enemies can still attack you) and from here you can combine items, trade items with your partner, and all of that good stuff.
The controls are pretty easy to learn, but there are some quirks. First, the game is pretty slowly paced and you can’t shoot and move at the same time, so if you are looking for fast paced action this isn’t the place. This causes some issues, however, as many of the enemies are far more nimble and faster than you are, which leads to some frustrating moments where you just plain can’t move as fast as you need to in order to fight effectively. This is where having a partner helps, though, because between the two of you someone is usually able to get a shot off.
The co-op aspect of RE5 greatly changes the way the game works compared to previous titles in the series. You can now effectively use your partner as a health/grenade pack mule while you carry other guns and items. Also, like I mentioned above, having a partner makes up for some deficiencies in the controls/pacing because between the two of you someone is almost always in a good position to take a shot.
At the same time, however, having a partner also spoils a lot of things that used to make Resident Evil special. For one thing, it isn’t really challenging anymore as two human players can tear through the game pretty easily. Secondly, it isn’t even slightly scary. These new enemies just aren’t that scary compared to the zombies/spiders/everything else in the older RE games. Also, some things that were scary before (like the village scene at the opening of RE4) just aren’t scary when used in RE5 because we have seen it all before. Plus, having another person along for the ride with you eliminates any sense of fear you might have. Resident Evil 5 isn’t a survival horror game. At all. And we’re kind of sad about that. It is action-horror, if anything, and leans more towards Gears of War (particularly in later levels) than anything the horror genre usually does.
Does this mean it isn’t a good game? Certainly not. Resident Evil 5 is incredibly polished in pretty much every aspect and is darn fun because of the co-op aspect. It just isn’t really Resident Evil anymore, and for longtime fans of the series that can be a tough hurdle to get over.
Graphically, Resident Evil 5 is a gorgeous looking game. The character models are amazing looking. And the variety of environments and great use of lighting really make the game stand out.
The sound is another strong point. Sound effects for all of the weapons and enemies are very well done and the music is exactly what we have come to expect from a RE game. The voice acting is generally pretty good, but the dialogue is rather over the top. Again, exactly what we have come to expect.
All in all, Resident Evil 5 is a very polished game all around that we highly recommend. It doesn’t quite hit the same high notes as RE4 or other older entries in the series, but we do appreciate that it went in a slightly different direction to give us something new. The addition of co-op play is a drastic change to the RE formula, mostly for the better, and if you have other people to play with it is a great, great way to spend a weekend. The replay value is also very high thanks to a large number of unlockable items and upgradable weapons, so the overall value in RE5 is pretty high. You definitely feel like you are getting your money’s worth. For co-op and action fans on the Xbox 360, Resident Evil 5 is a solid purchase.