Review by bbears
A huge departure from the franchise and that's a good thing.
Resident Evil 5 is a drastic departure for the long running franchise. It feels like a evolutionary step after the successful Resident Evil 4. Resident Evil is long known as a survival horror game that emphasized cheap boo scares and tense combat. In the days of PSX and PS2 this formula was very successful and the franchise had many spin offs and even a commercially successful movie franchise. Personally I was never a fan of the series because of the tank controls. The camera was fixed for the whole game and movement is very imprecise making it feel like your protagonist feel less agile than a tank. That combined with the over the top cheesy live action cut scenes makes the first Resident Evil one of the worst game I have ever played. Obviously a lot of people disagree with me on this because the franchise has lasted over a decade. That said I haven't played one of these games in many years. I did briefly play RE4 and thought it seemed like a good game but never played it in depth. I am definitely a big fan of co-op shooters and became interested in RE5. And although the game is still over the top and cheesy, the action is solid and all the co-op features work perfectly.
Resident Evil 5 is a gorgeous looking game. All of the characters are well modeled and have a lot of detail. Facial animations in cut scenes do look a little wooden thats a minor complaint, and even suits the corny tone. Everything else animates very fluidly and all the monsters and enemies move in very unnatural ways that will weird you out a little. Creature design has always been great in the Resident Evil series. The main characters are well detailed but are more muscle bound than Gears of War characters. The voice acting is over the top but but not too cheesy and the rest of the sound direction is well done.
Resident Evil 5 has a movement system that feels evolutionary from RE4. When aiming you can only crawl along but reticle movement itself is precise. The rest of the game performs much like any other 3rd person shooter.
Ridiculous. That is the best and accurate way to describe the plot of RE5. Resident Evil now has nothing to do with traditional zombies. For some reason there is a mutant zombie outbreak in Africa where you meet up with your new teammate Sheeva, and unravel a conspiracy about the Umbrella company helmed by a matrix infused Wesker. Little is explained and everything else that is is just absurd.
Resident Evil 5 is your fairly typical 3rd person shooter. There is a sprint button but while aiming down the sights you are reduced to tank speed. Also typically there is a cover mechanic. While it is there it is not a heavily used feature. The general movement speed is fairly good. Most of the combat revolves around using the proper weapons and aiming at weak spots as opposed using the cover mechanic. The shooting feels good and weapons are really the highlight of the game. As you play you gain money/xp and can upgrade your weapons. However getting new weapons is done by finding them in the environment. While it's not really an exportation game this does encourage you to look into every nook and cranny. Upgrading you weapons does carry over into a New Game + mode. Managing your inventory is done in real time. This is one of the few features along with the moderate supply of ammo that creates a mediocre sense of suspension. The whole game is built with co-op in mind and if you play by yourself you will stuck with a CPU companion through the whole game. I did not play by myself at all as I had a co-op partner the whole time so I can't really comment on the AI. But there are several co-op contextual and scripted actions you have to perform. The lite puzzles mainly revolve around this component but I do put the emphasis on lite. You can trade inventory items with your partner as well as revive them. Also you share the same amount of money so playing with a stranger could end up being a problem with considering individual priorities.
Resident Evil 5 has a decent length to it at about at about 10 to 12 hours to it. There is also a New Game + that carries over your inventory and plenty of collectibles so there is decent reason to play again. There is also a time trial horde mode with online leader boards. If horde modes are your thing then action is good enough to get as many hours out of this mode, but it doesn't do anything new or creative.
As a co-op shooter Resident Evil is a very enjoyable game. Nothing special but the shooting is good with lots of cool creature design and set pieces. It's a huge departure for the franchise but not being a fan of the franchise originally, this a good thing.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Resident Evil 5 (US, 03/13/09)
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