Review by thePalmetto

"A Convincing Continuation of the RE Franchise, but Hardly Epic..."

There are a very select few times in gaming history when a title so deliberate and straightforward in its intentions was able to transcend aspirations and excell in every facet. This title would be Resident Evil 4. Yes, that's right I'm not ready to comment on RE5 just yet. RE4 did not just raise the bar in terms of Survival/Horror/Action/Shooter games, it reinvented the structural makeup of that bar. It rewrote history and reshaped the way we formulate opinions about similar games in the genre. Only a few have succeeded in doing this in the past. Games such as Goldeneye 007, Perfect Dark, Half-Life...and RE4 are titles that immediately come to mind that were able to accomplish these things.

Despite the awkward and sometimes disconnected and superficial dialogue (did I mention voice acting?) of the entire RE series, it will forever remain a trademark of the franchise. To move on to RE5, it actually does little to improve its position within the appeal of the gaming community towards the Survival Horror genre. I'm not saying that it is not a welcomed addition and a great game in its own right, but it has a long ways to go if it intended on surpassing RE4 and similar games in the genre such as Dead Space.

In RE5 we often find ourselves playing out what feels like an extended-cut of RE4 with the difference being *another* new virus (gee, is that surprising?), and the addition of new characters that aren't emo-ish, maybe a bit metro? (hint: Leon!). Chris is a badass and naturally uncompromising. Sheva is his female counterpart in that regard. Jill is a pansy, and Wesker is annoying. For some reason he lost his shadowy, obscure, and clever personality. It was almost like he wasn't the Wesker we came to know and love (or hate, however you feel) over the previous installments. He lost his clear thinking and turned out to be a real moron. A class A dummy.

The gameplay mechanics are largely unchanged from RE4 with the exception of being able to Strafe left to right. It's cool and everything but most people like to be able to move AND shoot simultaneously. I got over it because I didn't have a choice, but I won't say I'm happy with it.

The biggest thing I loved was the co-op. It's sort of like RE Zero (GC), but much better. The AI (Sheva) is honestly very smart and capable of being reliable and dependable throughout the entire game. However, if I had to rate her overall intelligence it would be a 6/10. I honestly lost count of how many times she stands behind me and shoots ME instead of the enemies because I'm in the way (there's no friendly fire though THANKFULLY). Or how many times she is not quick enough on her feet and gets herself killed in battle. Or how many times she has run DIRECTLY in my line of sight right as I pop off a grenade or rocket launcher and gotten us both killed. Definately frustrating, especially because deaths count against your ranking.

The music soundtrack is nothing to write home about and most definately a downgrade from RE4's awesome music. The trophies were surprisingly easy to get, I'm only missing the Professional Gold Trophy and Multiplayer trophies. Did I mention that the puzzles will insult your intelligence? It's like giving a kid a square peg with a round and a square hole. So easy your dog could figure it out. Maybe even a guinea pig. It's not worth putting a puzzle in a game if it's just to cater to the 6 year old gamers. I miss the old RE puzzles. Maybe I'm just nostalgic? Or maybe not lazy? You decide.

I also did not like the fact that the developers made the game in 720p resolution on PS3 and up to 1080p for XBOX360. I have PS3. This was very maddening to me.

So the biggest question is, what did RE5 do for the Survival Horror genre? Pretty much nothing. There are no thrills and chills, no queasy stomach turning, no jumping out of my seat, nothing. It just was not scary. Blame it on inoculation to horror games if you will, but Dead Space scared the living hell right out of me plenty of times. This game did not! Maybe that's just not the direction that Capcom wanted to go, but most people are disappointed with this fact.

As for the "survival" aspect of it: sure, you have to survive...but that feeling of desperation is no longer there. Playing any of the original RE games on Hard difficulty, you'll often find yourself wounded and sporting your awesome Combat Knife due to the strategic placement of about 10 or less ammo clips in the entire game (or so it feels like). The save feature was what made those games difficult and scary. Don't have an ink ribbon? wounded? no ammo? You're gonna be pretty flippin scared for your life cause you're probably going to die unless a miracle happens. I know I would be really scared in real life if that happened to me. Resident Evil 5 may be a great Action game, but it's certainly not a great RE game nor is it a great Survival Horror game.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 03/30/09

Game Release: Resident Evil 5 (US, 03/13/09)

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