Review by cyb3r_w4ste
"Action you can't forget. Fear, not so much."
I've been anticipating this game's release since before it was even a game. The very first time I completed Resident Evil 4, I wondered "What will Capcom have in store for me next time?" Now that I've had the game and have played through it, I can say that my feelings toward it are a mixed bag. Now, I'm a long time fan of the Resident Evil franchise. I've played every single release of Resident Evil to date. From the very first release to the Director's Cut, to the numerous re-releases on other systems of 2, 3, and Code: Veronica, to the off shoots to the core games like Outbreak and Gun Survivor. You could call me a Resident Evil fanboy, and a person who has every reason to be biased toward this game. And I admit, I am. But that still doesn't mean I finished it without a small amount of disappointment.
This time around you find yourself in the shoes of the series' main protagonist Chris Redfield, who finds himself in Africa investigating a man named Ricardo Irving, a known B.O.W. dealer. When you arrive you're greeted by your partner in the investigation, Sheva Alimor, and your adventure begins. Not long after that you'll find yourself gunning down hordes of infected towns people (Majini, similar to the Genados in RE4) as you try to survive the hell breaking loose around you. In this respect, the game is smooth as ever. Anyone familiar with RE4 will know the drill here. Not much has changed since, you'll still be able to melee stunned opponents, dodge incoming attacks, and perform context sensitive actions depending on your situation. This is where the similarities end, however.
The inventory system has gone under a complete overhaul. No longer are you able to pause the game to access items, now you have a 3x3 grid; 9 slots to keep your stuff in. The beauty of this system is that the North, south, east and west slots in this grid correspond to the directions on the D-pad, so any item you put there can be quickly accessed. The downfall here is you can no longer pause the game to access your inventory, so you have to get used to getting to and using any item you have in the other 5 slots, which forces you to constantly know where every item is and at all times keep your inventory clean and managed.
Traditionally Resident Evil has always been horror first, action second. This time, its action first, horror... not really. I was disappointed with this. I'm a big survival horror fan counting Silent Hill and Resident Evil as my favorite in the survival/horror genre. SH5 was a disappointment for me, and now RE5 took away the horror as well. It seems I no longer have a go-to series for my horror enjoyment. This was ultimately the worst part about this game, for me, though other people may not mind this. Also changed is the flow of the game. You'll no longer find keys to access new areas, or solve an oddly placed puzzle to get an unconventional "wtf is up with the person who designed this security system!?" item that unlocks a new area. Instead it's paced much more like Gears of War or Halo. You go from point A to point B shooting any opposition in between, and are ranked on your performance at the end of the sub-chapter. Once again, this can be a good or bad thing, depending on the person. Personally, I was a little more toward the old way RE played out, even if it often made little to no sense.
Though even with all these negatives, the good far outweighs the bad. I love this game. Like any other RE I'm thoroughly sucked in by the story, and I'm a huge sucker for the third person gameplay RE4 introduced. And mercenaries, again, is very, very fun. Whether you're a long time fan or a new comer, this game is still well worth your 60 bucks. Just don't buy it expecting everything the old Resident Evils offered. You'll probably be sad.
This is where the game really shines. The environments are breathtaking and very detailed, and the facial animations are incredible. This isn't the first time I've seen mo-cap on faces, but I think this is the best I've seen. You really see the subtle emotion on each characters face, and they all have their own mannerisms that make them all seem more human and unique.
This time around, the dialogue isn't nearly as cheesy. The voice-acting is very well done, your gear rattles and creeks with your movement, and the score makes every battle seem epic. You'll hear every crow caw, every bat flutter, and every foot fall of Majini coming to tear your limbs off.
Anyone familiar with the Resident Evil series will be at home here. Anyone else, this will take some getting used to. A big gripe I've heard people have with the game is the old "move and shoot" complaint. Personally I think it would break the game if you could move and shoot, as the enemies aren't set up for that type of freedom, but this could be bad for the FPS crowd, who are many. There is the option of a GoW style control set up, but once you hold down the aim button you're stationary, so I personally didn't see the need for this. And if you're playing as Sheva, she's left handed, so you'll be on the opposite side of the screen. This takes getting used to. The game also offers online play, or split-screen co-op, so you don't have to go at it alone. If you are alone, be prepared for an oft-times frustrating AI partner.
It may not be what Resident Evil always was, but even still you'll have a blast with this game. It's intense fun beginning to end, and some fights even have you mounting gun turrets to take down your foes. It may only be from point A to point B, but the journey in between is not to be missed.
Replay Value- 10/10
This is arguably the most meaty Resident Evil to date in terms of unlockables. Tons of weapons to upgrade, emblems to find, figures and costumes to unlock, the awesome and unbelievably addictive Mercenaries mode, and future DLC mean you get a LOT of bang for your buck.
I personally have gripes with some things in the game, but it overall doesn't take away from the experience. The focus on co-op play to the point that solo play is almost a hassle is really the only reason this game isn't perfect in my books. With so much awesome here, it's very easy to justify the 59.99 you have to put down, even more so if you'll always have a friend to play with.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/17/09
Game Release: Resident Evil 5 (US, 03/13/09)
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