Review by LightExavier
This is probably the best Resident Evil so far
Resident Evil 5 the newest addition to the Resident Evil list of games and overall I would say that it is a welcome addition at that. I'll start this review with a simple overview before going into greater detail about everything relating to the game. First of all I will start by saying that I do not believe Resident Evil 5 is for everyone. People who disliked Resident Evil 4 will likely not appreciate this game either. Anyone who has played the old games know that the series has changed having gone from survival based horror to more survival action. The gameplay while still fun and addicting isn't the same as what it used to be but I think for anyone who enjoys video games in general this is a good game. Fans of first person or third person shooters will most likely love this game and long time Resident Evil fans like myself who like the new and old will appreciate what this game does for the series.
Gameplay: As I always say this is easily the most important aspect of any good game. From old 8-bit games to the newest generation gameplay is what really makes or breaks a game. I must say that Resident Evil 5 is amazing in this category. The biggest change from Resident Evil 4 which anyone will notice is the introduction of a partner something I am sure which everyone has heard of. For the first time in Resident Evil instead of fighting the evil alone you go through the entire game with a new partner for Chris Redfield known as Sheva Alamor. The partner aspect really changes the game. You have the option of playing with a AI controlled Sheva or a second player can play with her either via split-screen or online. The AI is a bit more like having Ashley from Resident Evil 4 except you can give her a gun while having a human controlled ally is extremely fun and helpful.
Overall the gameplay is very simple it mainly consists of constant waves of enemy's who you pour a large amount of bullets into. The game greatly expands upon the use of context sensitive attacks. Where in Resident Evil 4 this was present but not often used against regularly enemy's you are actually encouraged to use such attacks quit often. Shooting an enemy in certain parts of their body enough times will stun them allowing you to run up and melee attacks dealing large damage and knocking away nearby enemies. These can also be chained with you partner for you to attack and your partner to do a follow up attack to deal even greater damage though this a bit tricker. Either way the addition of added physical attacks is very nice. The item system no longer has the grid like system from the previous game but instead a simple box/grid system.
You have about nine boxes each which can hold one item. At first this seems like a lot but tends to get used up pretty quickly for both characters especially later on in the game when you are collecting large amount of ammo, weapons and items. Item swapping and healing is very simple to do with a human partner but can be a slight pain with the AI as it clearly lacks item management skill. While something to carry more items would have been nice this system is good and keeps the game fair. Before the start of a new mission or when you load a game you always get a start up screen where you can buy, upgrade, swap items, etc. And also can store items here for later use which is nice. Healing your partner is easy just equip a healing item run over and hit the button to heal them or use it directly from the menu when you are next to them. When your partner takes a certain amount of damage of a very brutal hit they will go into a dying status where their health will begin to drain slowly.
In this situation you automatically get the choice to heal them without equipping the item which is very handy also. It also helps to add realism and tense situations to the game. There is no more in menu pausing to go through your items everything is done in real time so you need to be quick on your toes while going through items but thankfully this is easy. One of the nicest features of this game is the hot key system. You can hotkey four different items in your inventory to the directional pad and simple tap that button (up, down, left, right) to instantly equip that item. Very handy in a fight and it helps keep the pace of the game moving. Enemies are also far from moving targets. Even early on enemy's will charge up to you and attack barley bothering to walk or take their time and they will fight aggressively.
Clearly at the end of their movement they always slow to a walk at the last few feet to make the game doable as you need to stand still to shoot so at times you are given chances to fight. While not realistic this of course keeps the game fair. Like I said though enemy's aren't still targets. They will fight. Especially later on enemy's get stronger and more clever using guns, grenades, flash grenades and what ever other weapons which they have. Sadly there is not as much variety as I would have liked but the enemy's are still fun to fight with a slew of regular human like bad guys who have parasites pop out of there heads randomly. You also get flying creatures, rabid dogs and even Lickers from Resident Evil 2. Like I said the game is easy to pick up and play for anyone who enjoys any kind of shooter.
The levels are all fast paced taking less then a hour each to beat usually. Another thing to love about this game is the variety. Throughout the game you will do a wide range of fighting besides your standard run and gun your way through large groups of enemies. Throughout the game you will survive against a swarm of enemy's for up to eight minutes, hold off a swam of bad guys while retreating from them (with the help of an added AI ally), spend an entire level shooting from the back of a Hummer and have several scenes consisting of pressing buttons or mashing them quickly.
The scenes requiring you to push buttons at right times are very fun and entertaining though they will sometime surprise you with how you will be leisurely just playing along and it suddenly requires you to hit a button so it's best to stay on your toes. Speaking of which the boss fights are also very epic. A lot of boss fight do not deal with standard fair of just purely running and shooting instead having optional ways to deal with them. Such as luring a boss into a fire room, fighting one boss purely from the back of a Hummer, fighting another boss with chain guns and rocket launchers from the back of a boat and context sensitive fights against the likes of a super human enemy. Action commands are used pretty often in boss fight requiring quick timing to avoid attacks and taking damage. The game is also full of mini-bosses many of which are bullet sponges but still a lot of fun to blast away at. You just need to be careful as some of the stronger enemy's in this game are one hit kills.
A large variety of weapons helps to give variety with what you can do. Weapons range from the standard handgun all the way a shotgun, machine gun, RPG and grenade launcher along with hand grenades and other various weapons. Ammo is plentiful enough although you will often burn through it fairly quickly. Now back to the AI for Sheva while it is not the worst AI I have ever seen it could be better. The biggest problem honestly is her lack of ability to manage items well. While you can tell her what to do it gets to be a bit of a pain. That aside she has a habit of burning through ammo rather quickly. While this can be negated it would have been nice if you were given more ability to control the AI and its behavior. If it wasn't for the fact that you could play with a human this would have detracted from the gameplay.
Thankfully the fact that you can play with a human the entire time online or offline makes up for this and is a ton of fun to do. I have always felt that two player co-op should be standard on a lot more games in this day and age. This game not only includes it but more or less encourages two people to play together which is very nice. For instance there are certain spots that only Sheva can go to by getting a boost from Chris encouraging you to split up at times and work together on objectives. The game has a big focus on working as a team. Another big thing to keep in mind is that you have two people now so you need to split the weapons, ammo, upgrades, health and such. The game is lacking when it comes to puzzles but this is not a big deal to me truthfully since I prefer games like this for action and not the puzzles. Just be warned that if you want puzzles this game is lacking in them and the few that are required are extremely easy.
In the end this game is very similar in gameplay and style to Resident Evil 4 but better. While some might complain about this I see no problem almost no popular video game series changed the play style with each sequel. In the end it is fun all the way and there aren't many parts where I felt frustrated by the game but instead simply enjoyed it. This more or less has taken the fighting system and made it even better and more fun. There are very fun points where you will few like the game is a chore opposed to just a good game especially when playing with a friend. While the AI could have been more better it's largely nitpicking so in the end this gets a nine out of ten.
Difficulty: The difficulty isn't to bad in all honesty. Mostly I have played through the normal mode but also played on the expert mode a bit. Like I said some enemy's are kind of like bullet sponges at times taking a lot of hits. While large hordes are frequent (so much so that like in RE4 you wonder when it will end) you often don't feel at edge. Having a partner at all times helps this a lot. The game took my brother and I about ten hours on our first play through so anyone who is a average gamer will likely beat it fairly quickly. A bit easy in some ways for my taste but overall it's got a fair amount of difficulty. Playing this game I took a lot more hits in it then I did in Resident Evil 4 for instance. In the end the difficulty is good enough that it is fun. Not to easy all of the time but not out there hard either so ten out of ten.
Controls: Easy to pick up in all honesty and fun to play. Even my friends and brothers who are not RE4 experts picked up the controls easily enough. The left stick moves you, the right sticks moves the gun, L1 aims the gun and R1 fires, while L2 arms the knife. Square is usually for physical attacks. Square, X and L1 and R1 are often used for Action Command scenes. The hot keys in for the control pad was a stroke of genius. My one real complaint in all honesty is just that you need to hold X to run opposed to just tilting the control stick and running but overall this is a minor annoyance. In the end I have to say the controls are good so ten out of ten.
Story: The story is Resident Evil so it's never been anything to amazed by but I am a huge fan regardless. The story is simple and fairly easy to follow. Playing the earlier games is not a requirement as you are given a lot of background information during the game but this game is more for fans of the series then it is for new people to it. The cast of characters is small so it is easy to keep up with and our favorite villain Wesker returns looking as stylish as ever. My one real complaint is that the surprise plot twist is way to obvious to see coming and seems almost insultingly simple on Capcoms part. That aside though the story is enjoyable if not basic enough. I am a bit disappointed that the Las Plagas or this new virus made by Wesker are not expanded upon more. Although the Plagas is what powers most of the enemy's they give very little mention or focus to it. While simple the story works. It has its intense and rather epic moments. Not a legendary story but it will carry you through until the end giving it an eight out of ten.
Graphics: There isn't a lot to say about the graphics truthfully. They are crisp and clear characters look detailed and realistic as do the enemies. A bit more variety in the kind of bad guys you fight or at least the way they look would have been nice. But everything does look extremely good and well done. Character models move realistically and every little detail fits from the way people walk to the way their face move whenever they speak. The lighting and water effects look good as well. So far I have yet to notice any areas of lag or bad pixels though I have noticed one or two times where it seems like parts of my characters body passed through stuff when it shouldn't have. But really it's only very minor things one is likely to find here which is the way it should be. Ten out of ten.
Sound/Music: About the same as the graphics everything here fits. The sounds all are correct ranging from the sound of reloading bullets, firing a weapon, to shouting of enemies. The music changes pace when enemy's are nearby being faster and more pressing while boss fights are rather dramatic. There is nothing spectacular here like the next big musical score but really you don't need that. The sound and music are good. They set the mood right and they work. There's nothing to complain about here so in the end it gets a ten out of ten.
Overall: Resident Evil is nothing short of a great game and is an extremely good game when played with a friend. Truthfully the fact that the entire game is cooperative and so much fun makes it one of the single most sheer fun games I have ever played in my life and I consider myself a pretty active gamer as well as first person and third person shooter fan. The game is certainly far from perfect with some annoying parts in it, lack of intelligent AI and a simple story. But it gets the job done. For any fan of the series it wraps up and brings closure to many of the important things which were left open.
Chris and Sheva make an excellent team although none of the other main RE characters really get any screen time at all sadly. I can't say that I feel this game was the best way to wrap up a lot of things like the did but it was still very good game and I had a blast playing it. People who feel like survival horror purists may not like this transition from survival horror to survival action. And while I must admit that there were only one or two scenes I was actually a bit tense or freaked out the sheer fun of this game makes up for it. The series has changed and I think it has done so for the better. It might not be revolutionary in a lot of ways anymore but the third person standing still shooting is actually quit fun and the game does most things right. I won't bother to nitpick over the few minor details.
Although you will likely not get as much mileage out of this game as a first person shooter game with online the fact that this game was meant to be co-op the entire way is an achievement. And you also have mercenaries mode and even a versus mode which can be downloaded for five dollars gives this game a lot of miles. There were a few more things I would have liked to have seen added honestly. But like I said most things would just be minor things to nitpick. Despite RE4 being one of my all time favorite games of the series I think this game at the very least ties it. So in the end RE5 deserves a nine and a half out of ten.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Resident Evil 5 (Collector's Edition) (US, 03/13/09)
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