Review by LtCardboard

"Resident Evil as we knew it is no more, but who cares?"

Let's get a few things clear. Resident Evil 5, despite its roots, is not a survival horror. It's an action game, complete devoid of anything remotely terrifying. In fact, when it does try and scare, it's so pathetically predictable that it's about as scary as a wet sock. Almost every action sequence is introduced with a little cutscene which is about as effective at scaring as a huge banner saying “lots of zombie-like enemies are going to attack you in a moment and its going to be really scary”. Horror is definitely not Resident Evil 5's strong point.

So we come to the infamous controls. Many complain about not being able to move and shoot. Why? “It isn't realistic!” cry some. “Game's have moved on – look at Dead Space. You could move and shoot in that!” moan others. These people are idiots. Not being able to move and shoot is a design choice, like whether or not you can jump or not. If anything, it makes Resident Evil tenser, as it's much easier to get surrounded. In a game lacking in genuine scares, it would be moronic to remove the adrenaline rush that comes with the double edged sword of run away or shoot. Give us the chance to do both and the tension goes “Right, I'm off.”

Here's some advice: get some friends. Seriously, or you'll face the wrath of Sheva's AI. You don't want that. She'll do everything she can to hinder your progress. She'll eat your ammo, block your path, waste your herbs and ALWAYS use the wrong gun. She's got the accuracy of a blind man with noodles for fingers. To say that she isn't the brightest crayon in the box would be the understatement of the millennium. When she's shooting at some dude who's just chilling out, having a smoke, 20 yards in the distance, rather than the manic chainsaw wielding lunatic who's currently slicing through your neck and sleeping with your mother, it's safe to say that her priorities are a bit messed up. I genuinely believe that an axe planted in the back of your skull would be a more useful companion. At least, then, you'd have an axe.

Things have been streamlined since the golden days of Resi 4, so it's not all bad. This time around, there's a chapter select mode, a shop before each mission, quick select options for items and weapons, an option to change the difficulty mid run-through. You know, stuff that's genuinely useful. Item organisation is less fiddly this time, and done in game, LIVE. So there's no pausing the action to grab a quick first aid spray. You've got to select it while being hunted down. All of this makes the game a lot tenser and faster paced. After all, it's an action game.

And it's a bloody good action game too. Yes, the horror is nowhere to be found, and there's so much ammo around that it might as well be infinite. But that's not the point. Take away the Resident Evil name, and you've still got a great game. Nothing can compare to the sheer sense of panic that grips you as hordes of enemies rip down the flimsy defences you've set around the house and climb through the windows all around you. You pump bullet after bullet into the oncoming horde, but they keep coming. You're ammo is running low, and while you're desperately searching for some this crazed psychopath with a potato sack on his head charges in and swings a chainsaw around the room. You run upstairs to the only safe haven left and awkwardly fumble to find your last first aid spray as your health meter throbs red, knowing that the horde is only moments behind you. But you don't spot the axe wielding maniac lurking in the corner until it's too late. He charges at you. You panic and try to find your pistol, but it's empty. He slices your head off. Then the words “YOU ARE DEAD”, scrawled out in blood appear, mocking your death. Now. Tell me that isn't awesome. Go on, I dare you.

The story mode is only about 12 hours long, but take there's loads of replayability. Mainly due to the unlockable “mercenaries” mode, which is, quite possibly, better than anything in the story mode, because it gets rid of Sheva and lobs you in an environment with every dangerous enemy at once, while you struggle to find ammo and health. All while trying to score points. It's brilliant. And so is the rest of the game. The set pieces are intense, the boss fights are great. There's even the odd puzzle here and there. Take Resident Evil 5 online, hope you don't get a partner as dumb as Sheva and you've fixed the main issue with the game. It's very much a game designed for co-op, so to ignore it would be denying yourself one of the best co-op experiences out there.

Get it, if you're willing to accept the fact that it's an action game. Remember, it's an 18s game. I expect the people who buy it to be somewhat mature. So, no whining at the changes now that I've warned you about them, ok? If you don't like them, stick to the oldies. They haven't gone anywhere!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 08/03/10

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

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