Review by Sinister187
"The Evil Returns."
In January of 2005, Capcom unleashed 'Resident Evil 4' to gamers across the globe, another installment of the highly-popular, Survival-Horror series, 'Resident Evil'. It was released to much critical-acclaim and received numerous awards and so forth, fans of the series either loved it or hated it, considering the game-play was changed dramatically from the older titles. Gone were the fixed-camera angles and the 'tank-like' controls, new were fast-paced action, massive fire-fights, better controls which allowed for more sophisticated aiming and a plethora of other things. 'Resident Evil 4' changed the series from Horror to Action, so when the time came for 'Resident Evil 5' to be announced, many fans wondered if the series was to return to it's roots and bring back the scariness that we came to love in the first place. After over four years of waiting, we finally have been able to get, 'Resident Evil 5' in our hands, is it scary again? Or just a re-hash of 'Resident Evil 4' with prettier-graphics and some enhancements? Well, truth be told...it's even more action-packed then it's predecessor and not even remotely spooky this time around (For the most part). Read on for further information.
We'll start with story details first then work our way to the game-play, graphics and so on. This time around, Chris Redfield, one of the surviving heroes from the original, 'Resident Evil' game, returns in a muscular-physique that would make Schwarzenegger red with envy. After the events of the 'Umbrella Chronicles', which was an on-rails shooter for the Nintendo Wii, Redfield has joined a group called the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (Or BSAA for short). He is sent in to an African desert area known as Kijuju by the group to investigate a black market weapons deal around the village. He is also joined by series newcomer, Sheva Alomar, who also works for the BSAA (In their African branch), together they look to stop whoever is behind the deals going down, but along the way, they uncover horrors much more frightening than either could have anticipated. There are many plot-twists and surprises that are revealed during the duration of the campaign mode, some of which are unexpected while others are downright disappointing. I won't discuss anymore details for the sake of spoiling the plot. I will say however, the story was more interesting this time than the one in, 'Resident Evil 4', which for all intents and purposes didn't tie-in 'too-much' from the earlier games.
Now for the game-play, 'Resident Evil 5' plays very similar to 'Resident Evil 4', in which the game is done from the third-person perspective and the camera is placed to the back of the player, over-the-shoulder so to speak. When you aim your weapon, the camera focuses over-the-shoulder and a laser-sight guides where you wish to target your enemy. You will spend most of your time running from one point to the other (You can also bring-up a map to guide you in the corner of the screen), aiming and blasting away relentless hordes of enemies called Majini, who are basically the same as the Ganado from RE4. Returning is also the popular Quick-Time-Event' sequences, which RE4 was littered with, they play out the same in this installment. New to the series is the inclusion of Co-Op, both Online and Offline (Which is a good thing). Those who have played 'Gears Of War' should feel comfortable right off the bat with the two-player mode here, done in split-screen and in horizontal-fashion. One player controls Chris Redfield while the other controls Sheva Alomar, if you decide on playing single-player, Sheva will still be by your side and managed by some relatively-good AI. It was pretty refreshing to find out that Sheva can manage to hold her own in single-player and actually help you out, initially, I was nervous about this aspect at first, but thankfully Capcom made her work well.
Together, you will also do some light-puzzle solving, which includes things like maneuvering laser-beams in different directions in order to open-up new paths and lowering bridges, allowing one to cross and access new areas. Gone are item-boxes and typewriters to the surprise of veterans of this series, the inventory-system is done in real-time now (Similar to EA's creepy 'Dead Space') so managing your items well becomes a tactical-element, having your partner guard you as you combine herbs or selecting a new Handgun. Speaking of healing-items, when one is used in close-proximity with your partner, it will heal both of you, I really liked that this was included, it saved me the head-aches of wondering how many healing-items I was going to waste on healing both characters. Sharing items is also a common thing as well, if you are to ensure survival, be sure to lend some healing-items to your partner and pass-on needed ammunition. Or if you happen to collect rounds for a weapon that your partner currently has, you can simply give it to them and open-up a new inventory slot for yourself. Also, the money and treasure collecting addition from RE4 has made it's way back to, RE5. Whenever you pick up gold and such, you get a duplicate of it in your inventory, so both players will have the same exact amount of money in the end. This money can be used to purchase new weapons, weapon-upgrades, armor and other items at the beginning or end of levels.
Graphically, Resident Evil 5' is one beautiful-looking game, up there with the best of the high-budget titles currently available on the market. The character-models are very realistic, the attention to detail on them is astounding, with such tiny things as moving hair, bouncing equipment and facial-expressions. Lighting-effects are incredible, from the blistering heat of the sun in the opening levels to the spooky-darkness of the caves, becoming visible only through a mere lantern in later levels. Pretty-much everything in the game is a feast for the eyes, RE5 is remarkable in terms of graphics. The music however is a bit of a letdown, in earlier entries of the series, the music was extremely creepy and lent an even more horrific-edge to the games, it made the atmosphere feel more uneasy. Here the music is more Hollywood-Action in it's approach, with some even featuring an Orchestral underscore, I wasn't too fond of the music in this entry, it's not terrible, but it's just not memorable or creepy. Sound-effects are loud and good, things such as the roaring of monsters, gunfire, splashing of water and even the infamous revving of the chainsaw, only a select-few bits were recycled from older-titles, specifically, Resident Evil 4'. A major overhaul was done in the voice-acting, which is top-notch in this installment, the older-titles were hampered with cheesy dialogue and atrocious voice-acting.
The control-scheme in Resident Evil 5' is very basic and easy to get accustomed to, there are in total four commands including the default to choose from. I will describe the Type-A commands, which is based on the controls of, Resident Evil 4'. To walk you move the Left-Analog-Stick, to adjust your viewpoint, you move around the Right-Analog-Stick. To perform a quick-turn press down on the Left-Analog-Stick along with the X button, to quick-equip or buy/sell adjust, use the Directional-Pad. To run (When moving) or reload (When weapon is drawn) simply press X, to perform partner-actions or when holding down to change partner mode (Single-player games) press the O button. To open your inventory press Triangle, to do context-actions, swing your knife (When drawn) or fire/throw your weapon (When drawn) press Square. To toggle the map press R2, to draw your weapon press R1, press L2 to locate your partner and L1 to draw your knife. Pressing down L3 and R3 provokes, while pressing Select cancels cut-scenes and ends game (At chapter scores). Finally pressing Start pauses the game while pressing the PlayStation logo takes you to the console-interface.
Resident Evil 5' is filled to the brim with unlockables, you will be playing for quite some time in order to unlock all of them. They range from costumes to Trophies to hidden emblems throughout the game and once found they unlock bonus-points for you to purchase many special-features, which include figurines, infinite-ammo, hidden-weapons and more. Different camera-filters can also be unlocked, which changes the way the game looks in a dramatic-fashion, placing a particular color-filter to the video output. There are also two other difficulty modes to unlock, beating Normal unlocks Veteran (Hard) and beating Veteran unlocks Professional (Very Hard) where the difficulty is ramped up to the point where one-hit means your death. And finally the best unlockable is The Mercenaries' mode, returning from RE3 and RE4, where your goal is to survive under certain time-limits, killing waves and waves of enemies, which in turn gives you a high-score, especially when you achieve lots of combos. Beating this mode and receiving a certain high-score also unlocks multiple characters to play as, it can also be played in Co-Op. There is also a Versus-mode that you can purchase via DLC.
Aside from the regular release, there is also a Collector's Edition of the game (Even the strategy guide) which is quite the pricey one. In this edition, you get a Tricell messenger bag (Which is rather poorly made, don't expect to use it much), a BSAA patch, a Kijuju-inspired necklace, a bonus DVD (Basically the making-of the game) and a Chris Redfield action-figure. The figure is very small, I was expecting something much more along the lines of a standard-sized figurine, but this was minuscule, highly disappointing. The DVD is pretty cool and shows an in-depth making-of the game and some trailers for the RE movies, it also comes in a cool-looking steel case. I only suggest getting it if you are a big fan of the series, otherwise there's nothing here really worth spending that much cash on.
Overall, Resident Evil 5' is yet another excellent entry in the long-running Survival-Horror series. Although, this one is far more Action-oriented than titles prior, even Resident Evil 4'. It still manages to convey some scary scenes, but not enough to be considered a Horror experience. The game took quite the while to get here and disappointed me only in the scare department, but it more than lived-up in the game-play, graphics and fun aspects. I highly recommend Resident Evil 5' to anyone who wishes to play a fast-paced, intense and bloody game, definitely check this one out.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 04/13/09
Game Release: Resident Evil 5 (US, 03/13/09)
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