Review by dracula1648
"It has its moments, but..."
I'll start off by saying the game is fun. Nothing's better than taking a shotgun and blasting your way through zombies as you progress through a level. However, the game's design has so many unnecessary flaws it becomes less fun and more of a chore to play.
The graphics are absolute eye candy and this is where the game truly excels. Although Chris's ridiculously large biceps and tiny head are hysterical to look at, the mechanics work out very well. This is one of the most realistic looking games I've played in awhile.
However...it's a game, and that's where this truly fails.
First off, resident evil is a survival horror, not an action shooter. When you try to combine the two (as in this case) you get nothing but the worst of both worlds. Sure, Resident Evil 4 added more action elements than a typical survival horror, but it was still horror. For instance, you spent one level in a boarded up house, where you had to live for a certain amount of time. You had limited ammo and had to use your surroundings to your advantage as Las Plagas came in from all different directions. It was innovative and truly terrifying. But RE5 managed to take all that away from the game. The only part I could even consider close to this is one of the final boss fights, where you essentially have to run away from the boss for seven minutes. Sure, there is a way to damage him, but it's very difficult, especially in your first play through. Most of the gameplay in RE5 is walk a few steps, shoot everything in sight, collect rewards, shoot more things, collects rewards, etc. It gets dull and repetitive, even if the environments change. RE4 managed to keep you on edge with a limited amount of ammo and different paths occasionally, as well as being able to run away from certain zombies. RE5, However essentially forces you to shoot everything to continue, and you'll want to, having an abundant amount of ammunition and powerful weapons. You'll even get the ability to have infinite ammo for your weapons, making the game completely run and gun.
The game is not even remotely scary, especially for my key complaint...an companion. Nothing says survival horror like teaming up with a buddy...wrong. I don't have anything against co-op, it's always fun to play with a buddy, but certain games are not meant for it, and should not be based around it. Like most people, I don't have the luxury of a friend/sibling to play this game with me whenever I want to, nor do I want play with a random stranger online, so I have to rely on the AI companion...and SHE IS GOD AWFUL. Now I will admit she has saved my ass a couple times when I was reloading a could not shoot the zombie in front of me, but for the most part, all she does is make ridiculously stupid decisions that ultimately get her hurt/killed. It would be nice if you could tell her to stay or use a certain weapon, but all you have to choose from are cover and attack mode. Cover, she stays by your side (loosely, she still wanders like a 3 year old would toward a shiny object), and attack, where she throws caution to the wind and runs in guns blazing to the nearest bunch of enemies (ultimately getting killed). She is utterly useless. Even as a pack mule, as most people would want to use her. For instance, I gave her my herbs because I needed more room for weapons (I'll get to the horrible inventory system in a minute), but she managed to screw that up. If she had two green herbs, she would automatically combine them, regardless that I was just about to pick up a red herb. Also, she would use the wrong herbs to heal me. When I was near dying at one point (she had a first aid spray, red/green herb, and green herb), she used green herb to only heal me a little bit...then a red herb showed up almost right after. Resident Evil, especially with its limited ammo and limited inventory, is about strategy, and having a moronic companion ruins that. If you wanted to add co-op, make it optional, but don't force it down our throats, especially for a genre for which it doesn't work. Survival horror is about being alone with something powerful that wants to kill you. It's not necessarily about defeating your enemy, but getting past it intact. Once you add in a gun-wielding partner...and machine-gun toting zombies, you get a disaster...or a sweet B-movie, but that's besides the point.
I feel like I've been ranting at this point so before I lay out more bad news, I'll give one positive thing. The game has a lot of replay value. After beating the game (or enduring it, your call), you get costume changes, filter effects, and other cool bonuses. You also get to keep all your weapons...so you get to fight all your beginner zombies with AK74s and grenade launchers...oh fun! You also get to upgrade your weapons to the point of infinite ammo, and the game really fun when you throw the key aspect of survival horror out the window and just blow the crap out of everything in front of you.
Now back to the bad stuff, primarily the inventor system. I don't understand why they got rid of RE4 attache case. It worked really well and guns and ammo were the equivalent size. Now, you only have 9 slots (18 if you include your partner's) to fill up with stuff. Ammo stacks, but herbs don't, which doesn't make sense, but what really baffles me is that armor takes up a space. That's right, apparently the armor YOU'RE WEARING has filled up one of your pockets...oh dear. I constantly had to fiddle with the inventory to be able to carry all the stuff I wanted to and many times was forced to leave things I would have liked to pick up. Also, you can't automatically heal with herbs found if your inventory's full so you'll have to throw something away before picking it up and using it.
Another thing I'd like to add is the ability to shoot BSAA emblems. These are RE5 collectible aspect of the game, but as you'll find out, without a strategy guide, it's outright impossible. Collectibles should be a fun additional aspect of a game to explore parts you wouldn't normally. You also should get a reward for your work. RE5's version of this includes none of that. These emblems are in such ridiculously hidden places, you'll probably stumble upon only a couple in your whole play through if you don't wanna spend days looking everywhere for them. For many of these emblems, you need a rifle with a high powered scope to even have a chance of hitting. There was one that was even out of sight, but you're supposed to blow up with a grenade. So now I'm supposed to fling grenades everywhere in hopes there's a BSAA emblem laying around the corner in an out of reach spot. There's also no reward for your troubles, except some useless bobbleheads and a trophy if you're into that.
On to the controls now. I actually enjoy them. Sure, they're a little outdated and running while shooting would be nice, but this is the one aspect of survival horror left in this game. Fighting should be clunky and difficult, that's why...in a survival horror game...you try to avoid enemies or find alternative methods to kill them. However, you're forced to kill all enemies in this game...and for a shooter...these controls do not work.
With this game, I feel the survival horror genre is dead. These gems have unfortunately been replaced with shoot-em-ups and RE5 is the worst of them. I felt somewhat betrayed playing this game...as I loved the original RE and this is a disaster compared to that.
For fans, you've probably pre-ordered the special edition and don't care about reviews. However, for everyone else, rent this or skip it, it's not worth the frustration...and for survival horror fans like me...pretend this never existed and go play silent hill 2 again for a real horror game.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 06/16/09
Game Release: Resident Evil 5 (US, 03/13/09)
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