Review by OppressedHippie
"Add a dash of minor tweaks and a heap of online co-op, and you've got a recipe for a great gaming experience."
Let me start this review off by stating that if you liked Resident Evil 4, you're going to love Resident Evil 5. Conversely, if you weren't too fond of RE4, then you're probably better off sticking to whatever genre floats your boat. RE5 sticks tried and true to the RE4 formula, which means you're guaranteed for some faced-paced zombie massacring action, button-mashing reaction-time sequences, and over-the-top action flick boss fights.
As I already stated, RE5 bares remarkable resemblance to RE4, save some minor tweaks, and one major improvement. The graphics are obviously a huge improvement upon RE4. With the current-generation consoles' powers, the graphics have been smoothed out and are more detailed, which paves way to some fairly disturbing images you won't soon forget. Veterans of the series will quickly notice the changes to the inventory system. Instead of the old "fit whatever you can in your weapon's cache, Tetris style", you've got an inventory of nine items. Some items are stackable, thankfully, meaning if you want to carry 10 grenades of a certain type, they'll only take up one inventory slot. Likewise, a scoped rifle will only take up one spot, instead of half your inventory like the older games. But the biggest improvement to the series is the addition of cooperative play. You play through the entire game with a partner of your choosing, whether it be an AI partner, or a flesh-and-blood RE fan like yourself. It was a big risk for the series, as often when developers add co-op to an otherwise co-op-less series, it can feel terribly contrived and ruin the experience (Read: Fable II). But in this instance, Capcom pulled it off, flawlessly. The system forces players to work together by sharing ammo and healing items, forces teammates to cover one another while completing certain objectives, and throws in a bit of strategy with certain foes that require a split approach.
All the changes aside, Resident Evil 5 maintains the important aspects of the series, such as the lovable cast, our favorite foes, weapon upgrading, and a deliciously embellished action movie feel. Chris Redfield returns, again, to the series as our main protagonist. Along with him are characters we remember from other games (which I won't reveal), with the inclusion of some RE5 specific additions. Naturally, you've still got the hordes of regular zombies, so if you find gratification in seeing/hearing zombie's heads blowing off, you'll have plenty of opportunities in this one. Of course, there are new enemies to gun down along with a few more reoccurring baddies from games in the past, but I'll let you to discover those on your own. The weapon upgrade system has returned (and trust me, you'll want to use it), though, it's through a menu system rather than a shady merchant hiding in dark corners. So, if you were hoping to hear "I'll buy that at a high price!" a few hundred more times, you'll be sorely disappointed. The benefit in the new system is that you can upgrade your weapons at the start of any checkpoint, rather than having to hunt down the nearest merchant. And, of course, a RE game wouldn't be complete without the cheesy action movie feel. The antagonists are over the top, as always, and your protagonists leak ego so profusely that you'll feel like a badass just for playing the game.
My only complaint about the game comes from its shortness. My first playthrough garnished a timestamp of just under 9 hours. But given that it was nine hours of pure, plus the enormous amount of replay value, it's hardly a warranted complaint. There are many more hours to invest in unlocking bonuses, such as new weapons, outfits, and unlimited ammo, plus the addition of Mercenaries mode that we come to love so much.
All in all, this is an outstanding game, and those looking for a game this spring shouldn't think twice about picking up Resident Evil 5.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 03/24/09
Game Release: Resident Evil 5 (US, 03/13/09)
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