Review by nastynate3118

"While the extra features are nice, something still seems missing here..."

Introduction

Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition is a rerelease of the 2009 survival horror game on the PlayStation 3. The Gold Edition features a few extra features and content but is largely the same game as the original. I personally view Resident Evil 5 in a cynical light and I believe it is hard for anyone who has played its predecessor to not do that. It marks a significant downturn in the quality of the Resident Evil games in order to cater to a wider audience while simultaneously riding the success of Resident Evil 4.


Gameplay – 6/10

Resident Evil 5 is primarily a third-person shooter with a heavy emphasis on cooperative gameplay. You control Chris and Sheva as they explore Africa shooting Majini and exploring various areas. In single player, the human players controls Chris and can issue basic commands to Sheva (“go” or stay with Chris). This is very basic AI and this whole aspect of the gameplay was not executed well. Sheva tends to be very selfish and run ahead grabbing items that you want to grab. This becomes a problem when she grabs ammo that you need and then proceeds to waste it all. This issue of ammunition management is complicated due to the fact that each partner has a very limited amount of item space. There are constant stoppages in gameplay to give Sheva more ammo and switching ammo in the middle of battle means certain death because the gameplay does not stop.

Many of these problems are not present in the co-op gameplay with another person and it actually turns out to be quite fun. Not every problem is automatically solved, though, as one must still deal with the wacky control mapping. This is especially concerning if you have played Resident Evil 4 or you are attempting to use your knife. The gameplay throws a few other wrinkles at you with rail shooter sequences and reaction scenes but none of these are executed well and end in frustration.

Ultimately, the biggest problem with Resident Evil 5 is that it is essentially a shadow of Resident Evil 4. That will be a recurring theme throughout this review, although I do give them credit for trying a new angle on the series. The fatal flaw with this gameplay is an all-around lack of execution and frustrating shortcuts the developers took.


Interface- 6/10

Resident Evil 5 has problematic interface. As I alluded to before, the item management system is completely bunk and it is a mess constantly having to switch items between Sheva and Chris. This is especially compounded by the fact that you cannot pause the game and switch items during combat, usually leading to death. I also mentioned that the gameplay really suffers with its odd control mapping. The game allows you to change the controls to a set of different mappings, but you are unable to customize it to how you see fit. Another annoying problem comes with the fact that if you want to start a new file in Resident Evil 5 you have to create a completely new User in your PS3.

Not everything is bad. The map system is done very well and is essential to completing the game. The main menus and extra content menus are easy enough to navigate and are organized well. Saving is done easily thanks to an auto-save feature that keeps up the pace of the game. The item management is ultimately the killer to the interface and leads to a very frustrating experience.


Story- 7/10

Resident Evil 5 follows Chris and Sheva as they travel to investigate bio-weapons that are being used on villagers in Africa, transforming them into villainous Majini. These are essentially the same as Ganados from Resident Evil 4 and force players to defeat hordes and hordes of these monsters. The African setting is very interesting and the developers did a great job presenting it and adding a lot of variety to it. Aside from this, a ho-hum script kills the rest of the plot.

The dialogue is incredibly boring and predictable. It is all in very “black and white” terms and there is no sense of ambiguity or mystery. Chris is very uninspired and seems to be nothing more than a generic “tough guy” traveling through Africa. He and Sheva have very little backstory and motivation and seem to be nothing but running around killing Majini because they are simply bad. There is some backstory provided by various files that can be read throughout the game, but this is not a compensation for the lack of presentation missing in the game itself.

Without spoiling anything, all I can say about the primary antagonist is that he is laughable. His voice actor sounds like the bad guy from Captain Planet and he has incredibly vague motivation for doing his evil deeds, other than he wants to “become a god” and “save humanity from itself.” How many times have we heard these generic motivations in other stories before? Worse yet, the ending is extremely short and really lacks a punch.

The story does have some great cutscenes and excellent atmosphere but the lack of interesting characters really drags down what could have been a great plot.


Graphics – 8/10

The environments in Resident Evil 5 are nothing short of excellent. You will visit jungles, villages and military bases. Lighting is used extensively to create a tense and spooky atmosphere. I was impressed with the variety of places there are to explore and how interactive the environment is.

The only issue I have with the graphics comes with the character models. They certainly are not horrible but they have some really weird animation and facial models. Everyone's face looks slightly disfigured and has very odd mouth movements that are awkward. The enemies are at least designed and animated well even though they too carry some of the same problems as the normal character models.


Sound/Music –7.75/10

The biggest problem I have with the audio is that a very large amount of it was ripped right from Resident Evil 4. I can understand if they recycled some audio, but blatant copying and pasting for most of your soundtrack is unacceptable. If they did not copy and paste it a significant amount was composed in a very similar vein as RE4, especially the identical sound effects. The action music is very intense and allows this game to shine for what it is, but too many times you are led to believe that you are actually playing RE4.

There are also a few issues with the voice acting. For the most part, it was done well and the actors seem engaged in the script but there is a weird compression quality to the voices that make them sound a bit muffled. There are mixing problems where either the voices or the music becomes extremely loud for no reason and as I mentioned above, the antagonist's voice is a complete joke.


Play Time/Replay Value – 10/10

I completed my play through of Resident Evil 5 in 8 hours, 14 minutes and 52 seconds. This time may be significantly lower than its predecessor but there is a lot of extra content to make up for that. The Gold Edition comes with the Lost in Nightmares mode as well as other modes to unlock and play around in to keep you busy. There are also different difficulties, online and cooperative multiplayer.


PROS
+New angle on series
+Fun with a second player
+Helpful auto-save
+Useful map
+Strong cinematic quality
+Detailed, varied environments
+Exciting action music
+Tons of replay value


CONS
-Lack of execution
-Frustrating item management
-Selfish partner AI
-Wacky controls
-Weak characters
-Predictable dialogue
-Odd, awkward character models
-Too much audio ripped from RE4
-Issues with voice acting


Final Recommendation

I personally found Resident Evil 5 to be underwhelming. It is definitely a letdown compared to the masterpiece of Resident Evil 4, although the multiplayer and extra features in the Gold Edition are nice. Hardcore fans of the series will like this game but it is otherwise mediocre and can be passed on.


Final Score: 7.45833333/10 rounded to 7/10


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 02/26/14

Game Release: Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition (US, 03/09/10)


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