Review by N-Newtype
"Residents of Evil"
I believe I had a different perspective on how the Resident Evil series should have evolved into. When I first played Resident Evil (the first one on PSOne/PSX) almost 13 years ago, I questioned the fact why couldn't more than 1 character traverse this survival ordeal instead of making it a solo cause. Admittedly I was never good at horror games yet the gameplay was intriguing especially back then when there weren't many games of its kind. I always felt it should have had more action added along with the 'survival' aspect instead of horror.
Not that its a bad thing if it did evolve into a pure horror game, but the series had always gave me the impression that it had more action base potential with all the weapons at your disposal. Added with that, I felt a 2 player (or more) experience would really make things spicier. I'm pretty sure many felt the same seeing that in following years Resident Evil Outbreak made its debut introducing co-op/multiplayer elements to a once solo experience. Though the Outbreak series didn't fair as well as its other counterparts, it still laid the possibility experience of multi-playing.
Then came along Resident Evil 4; an almost totally new experience to how Resident Evil has always been played. Action was a large focus of the game with its new over-shoulder aiming system and gone are the fixed camera angles that plagued most RE gamers and some fans alike. RE4 was and still is a huge success in transition. Extremely bold in taking a solid franchise and giving it new life.
Put the two elements together of co-op and action oriented style gaming and a dream more than a decade ago is realized. Resident Evil 5 comes with tons of mixed reviews but undeniably it is one of the most addictive of its series to date.
Admittedly I was a huge skeptic over RE5. There were tons of complaints about your partner AI in single mode and that it was only worth the co-op experience. Even then little changed from RE4 in terms of combat system and being someone never really good in RE I was afraid the experience would not offer me more than a second round of play. So once I had my wireless connection up and running I decided to download the demo to first hand experience it myself. Was the choice to do so ever so right.
A week or two after playing the demo, I convinced myself based on my friends' testimony (the two already started their co-op venture 2 weeks in advance), the demo, and what I 'feel' would be a really lasting game to invest in (PS3 games are NOT CHEAP over here) and got myself the full game. After beating the game once I must say this game is what I had always wanted RE to be.
Gameplay - 10/10 - I loved RE4 and played it the most out of all the REs. Even better this time around having a useful AI partner throughout the entire game and even more delicious is the co-op 2 player both on and offline feature. Action base over-shoulder view action may not be an evolutionary leap from RE4 but hey; if it ain't broken, why fix it? It could be improved upon (such as moving while shooting) but after playing the game, it is of little concern.
To dispell the greatest issue that plagues this game; the game's AI is actually very good. Responsive and a great aim, admittedly if it weren't for the AI having my back there have been various times I would have died. Ammo does tend to be an issue with the AI, but over time with good aim from your side and farming between chapters you'll soon realize you'll have more than you actually need. Just be sure to watch out for your AI as you would with a human player as your AI is very responsive towards aiding you as much as possible on the go. One of the best AIs to have as a partner even if it isn't perfect.
The game focuses more on the action aspect as compared to puzzles (which are virtually none) and item hunt. Most of the times you're not even required to run very far to search for integral items to proceed further into the game. With the new GPS mapping system you would have already have the new area's map at your disposal once you enter the place and this also not only pinpoint your destination but also story essential items. In return, you would now focus more on planning to take out your enemies and your routes more so than ever. Although it may not seem like it, but you're now given more chances to set up and prepare for ambushes and what not (especially with the newly introduced 'proximity mines').
Also don't be surprised to see yourself playing through this game more than once as the replay value for this game is VERY HIGH from unlocking bonus features, to co-op and the return of Mercenaries (and its ranking this time that even goes online). The greatest highlight this game has to offer is the co-op mode. Blasting through B.O.Ws never feel the same ever again with the aid of a partner, twice the fun and mayhem.
Story, Sound and Graphics - 9/10 - Simply beautiful and mood fitting. The various areas you traverse through from start to finish provides fitting soundtracks and a variety of backgrounds as you'll soon come to see throughout the game. All of this accompanied by very good and detailed graphics. The only reason it's not perfect is the little details that games such as Metal Gear Solid 4 and Uncharted offer. Even so you'll barely realize this.
Voice acting is really good accompanied by simple yet clear and intriguing dialogs based upon a clear yet partially deep storyline. It's nothing Metal Gear, but the details that accompany it make up more than flowering a simple storyline. Character design and motion are greatly animated as well. Again it may not be THE BEST the world has ever seen, but it is definitely very good and the ambiance and theme that surrounds the entire game not only fits but is astounding as well.
Story perspective, the game does a good job tying in most of the loose ends that many have wondered where the RE series was heading. The game doesn't feel hanging, not overly complex yet at the same time not exactly not without its in-depth.
Overall - 10/10 Theres just so much to love about the game than to hate it. Of course the game is no more in its 'horror' essence any more, but as I have said I never saw the series evolved into a horror game but more action oriented. Great presentation, solid controls and gameplay, combined with high replayability value. Simply a game that is not to be missed by action gaming fans and fans of the series alike. This is one of those games that make you want to play it again over and over from time to time.
On an additional note, this is the first ever Resident Evil that I have played and won without the aid of codes to spice up my gaming value. As I have mentioned I was never really good with RE despite loving the series and what it has to offer. For me to continuously want to achieve more and wanting to play it over and over again shows just how good this game is. A definite buy or at least a rent to see if it suits your taste. For me the saying is very true; I'll never have to face fear alone ever again.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/24/09
Game Release: BioHazard 5 (JP, 03/05/09)
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