Review by Bkstunt_31
"Resident Evil 5 is an updated Resident Evil 4 with co-op, and a blast to play!"
Resident Evil 5 is the latest game in Capcom's legendary horror series. It plays very similarly to Resident Evil 4, but with a much greater emphasis on teamwork and trying to protect your partner. It also features the ability to team up online in a story-based co-op mode. Here's a rundown on what you can expect from Resident Evil 5.
The story picks up where Resident Evil 4 left off. As you know if you played Resident Evil 4 (which I highly recommend), a new type of enemy was introduced, a parasite that could control it's host's nervous system, essentially turning a populace into servants for whomever could afford it. In Resident Evil 5, these parasites, the Las Plagas, have returned, but are now evidently being evolved as the time it takes to control a host has now drastically been reduced. Chris Redfield, who is a member of the BSAA (Bio-terrorism Security Assessment Alliance), is sent to a remote location in Africa to investigate a bio-terrorism threat there, where he discovers this evolved form of parasite. He is partnered with a native, Sheva Alomar, and the two of them set out to apprehend the dealers of the Las Plagas.
The story in Resident Evil 5 is decent, but nothing spectacular or really groundbreaking. It is, more or less, a recycling of Resident Evil 4's story, featuring the relatively small evolution of the Las Plagas (as the only real change seems to be the infection time), and a new host of boss characters. To try to be brief, some of the highlights of the game (story-wise) were the documents scattered throughout the game, which helped to firmly establish a back story to the events and tie in some of the series more important characters. I also like the fact that there is a "library" option that you can view outside of the game, which goes through the trouble of trying to chronicle and explain several aspects such as the series history as well as certain characters and places (many things are missing, but it is good nonetheless).
I didn't like how the game force-feeds you the concept of partners and partnership throughout the story at every available chance. I mean, seriously Capcom, we get it, we're supposed to be partners, now let us be! I also did not like the game's ending, the apparent death of a certain character, and the lack of a cliffhanger. Overall, though, I'm glad that we have Resident Evil 5, and even if it isn't as groundbreaking as Resident Evil 4 was, it does a fairly good job of being a solid numbered entry.
Game play: 8/10
Again, any fan of Resident Evil 4 will feel at home with Resident Evil 5 as the game play is very similar, and why fix what wins awards? In the game you will have control of Chris or Sheva, and will, of course, have to defend yourself from the crazed villagers. To do so, you are given (and can find) a wide variety of weapons such as various handguns, shotguns, rifles, machine guns, and magnums. You also have your trusty knife at your side. To shoot, you must first aim with L1 and than fire with R1. As you aim, your character will not be able to move, which is a major bummer (especially when you're being chased or are surrounded). As you progress throughout the game, you will also find a wide variety of ammo, as Resident Evil 5 is really more on an action game than a horror game. You will also find a variety of other items, such as the series trademark herbs and first aid cans to restore health, as well ass grenades and other useful items. You will never have to hold puzzle pieces or key cards, which is good as your inventory is now represented by a nine-slot grid (accessed by the triangle button). This grid, while limiting your choices, is useful as you can place items in the main four cardinal directions and than use your directional pad to pull them out of your inventory in a hurry. For example, you can slot a first aid device to your right button, and than have it ready whenever you need it. Or a shotgun to ensure anyone rushing you is punished severely.
There are also several actions you can do with the other buttons (primarily square and circle), such as jump over things, climb things, punch enemies, and many other actions. There are even actions you will need to do during cut scenes. These help make the game flow more smoothly and actively involve the player during the sometimes lengthy cut scenes. You can also find countless treasures throughout the levels, and at the beginning of every new chapter (or when you die), you can reorganize your items, sell your treasures, and than use your cash to upgrade your weapons (as well as buy new items).
During the single player mode, one player can control both of his character's inventories, and tell them whether or not to pick certain things up and whether or not they should focus on attacking or covering you. However, when you play multiplayer, you'll have to try to balance supplies with your partner as you play. You'll also come across other issues such as who gets the shiny new gun and if you two are going to really stick together or not. Many fights also require both players working together to win as well. As far as multiplayer goes, you can select whether to join a game, and than pick which chapter and difficulty you would like, or to just host a game and let anyone or only certain people join.
I do, however, have several major complaints about the game. It has several glitches in it, often times near the end of the level, which will force you to start over. Also, if you try to join a game online and enter into it a little ways past the opening area, you will NOT get credit for beating that particular level, which as you can see can be very frustrating. I also didn't like the fact that you couldn't combine herbs when your inventory was full (like you could in Resident Evil 4). Also, the local co-op mode seems to only let player one upgrade weapons, which is yet another nuisance. But overall, Resident Evil 5 is a great game that is especially fun in multiplayer, but could have used a bit more bug-proofing.
Resident Evil 5 does look pretty darn good; there is no denying that fact. The resolution has been kicked up a notch in the series and things have a lot more detail. The character designs look fantastic, especially the faces; I often found myself complimenting the great job that Capcom did on them throughout the game. Even the common place enemies usually have four different designs and look fantastic (the tribal people look crazed, it's great!). Heck, even the dog's come in a couple varieties and sizes! The background environments were extremely detailed as well, littered with detail, and require you to travel to many different locales such as villages, caves, ruins, and a military base. I also loved the look of the guns and the various animations throughout the game; they were done extremely well and only have a minimal amount of lag during a good online connection. I did notice the character's mouth animations could use a little more polish, as the lip syncing was often out of whack. There were also a few graphic-related glitches that could have used some more troubleshooting and testing, but overall any gamer would be pleased with Resident Evil 5's graphics.
Music and Sound Effects: 7/10
The music in the game is a mix of deep string suspense themes, which will take up most of your listening time as they play whenever there are enemies around (which, of course, helps you to know if you are in any danger). When there aren't any more foes around, the music stops and goes to either background noise or remains silent (depending on where you are). Menu music is a calm and soothing sound, reminiscent of the save rooms of past games. The music is nothing too spectacular, but it does it's job well enough while you're blasting away.
Voice acting is fairly good for the main English-speaking protagonists, although Sheva has an undeniably British accent for unexplained reasons. Speaking only English myself, I'm unable to understand a single thing that the enemies are saying, but you can judge their intentions fairly well by their tone of voice and angry screaming. The sound effects are fairly average throughout the game as you'll come to recognize enemies by what sounds they make (especially the non-human enemies).
Since Resident Evil 5 gives you the option to play in multiplayer, it already starts out with quite a bit or re-playability. Add on to that the four different difficulty modes and that you are graded on how ell you do in each chapter, and you've turned a 10-12 hour game into a 40-50 hour game. Plus you can still try to max out all of your weapons stats, collect every BSAA emblem, unlock figurines, unlock infinite ammo modes on every weapon, and play through the series-staple mercenaries game. I also adored the amount of background info that you can look at about the series that was included, as well as the "records" section which details various stats such as how long you've played, your records for each stage, how often you use which weapon, your accuracy with that weapon, and how many times you've dies (and by who!). As you can see, there is a lot to do in Resident Evil 5, some of which I didn't even cover (such as costumes, filters, and upcoming downloadable content), so it will take awhile to get bored with this game.
Overall, Resident Evil 5 is a worthy addition to the series, and continues it's focus on action gaming over suspense. The story is fairly short and average, but comes packed with a lot of fan-service and it is a blast to play in multiplayer. It is still pretty expensive (as of this writing), of course, which can make it a hard choice of whether or not to pick it up, but if you've got a lot of people to play through it with, I'd say go for it. Have fun and keep playing!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/23/09
Game Release: Resident Evil 5 (US, 03/13/09)
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