Contributed Review by: Evan Zinser
Resident Evil 5 is hated by few and loved by many. Few people hate it because it isn’t the same third-person shooter they are used to. Many people love it for this exact reason, because it isn’t playing a re-skin of Gears of War 2 or Uncharted: Drakes Fortune. Resident Evil 5 is its own game. I commend Capcom for keeping their own style. In doing so, they have given me my favorite co-op game and third-person shooter. Most of you have played the demo, no doubt, however it is a terrible representation of what the game is and what it can be. This game deserves your attention. Let Las Plagas consume you.
In Resident Evil 5 you play as Chris Redfield or Sheva Alomar, if you are playing co-op, otherwise you just play as Chris Redfield. It takes place in Africa where the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA) has sent in several teams, including Chris and Sheva, to stop a bioweapons deal being hosted by a man named Ricardo Irving. The mission is simple but that changes quickly for Chris and Sheva. That’s all I will say to preserve other unknown plot elements. Resident Evil 5 is presented wonderfully. The menus are slick and easy to use and the loading is incredibly fast. I was also very pleased to see a 44 page “History of RESIDENT EVIL” where newcomers can read about key characters and events in the series. The only thing in this game that was presented poorly was the split-screen function. It doesn’t follow traditional split-screen displays and can be confusing to use.
Resident Evil 5 is a graphical achievement for a multi-platform game. I often found myself just wandering around and admiring the amount of detail that went into the graphics. The graphics remind me of MGS4 but not quite as good. The landscapes, lighting, and textures are among the best I have seen this generation. The realism of the expressions depicted by the characters is incredible. The music is probably what you would expect from a “horror” game. It has a suspense song that plays when enemies are present and it does a great job of increasing the tension. You will likely be so deep in the game that you wont even notice some of the other music tracks. The voice acting and sound effects are eqaully as good as the graphics.
Resident Evil 5 is a third-person shooter that can be played cooperatively with a partner via split-screen or XBL/PSN. It uses the same “stop n pop” game play that Resident Evil 4 used. It implements co-op actions where you and your partner are forced to split up to proceed or have to work together to defeat an enemy. You will encounter many instances that require a timed button press. There are 6 levels to play, each with two or three chapters. It is riddled with both minor and major bosses. The boss fights are incredibly fun. This is one of the few games that gets better and better as you progress through it.
The inventory system in Resident Evil 5 works incredibly well, allowing you the four d-pad buttons for quick drawing a weapon or item. The more levels you progress through, the more weapons and upgrades will be available for you to purchase. Upgrading a weapon fully gives you infinite ammo after you have beaten the game once. While playing you can hunt for treasures and BSAA emblems that will allow you to unlock extra content such as figurines and costumes. The controls aren’t up to current standards, however they add to the tension and suspense of the overall experience. There is a lot of reason to play this game through multiple times, which doesn’t include Trophies/Achievements. That is an accomplishment in itself.
If you are not going to like Resident Evil 5, it is going to be because of the controls. The fact of the matter is that the good outweighs the bad by a long shot. Resident Evil 5 tells a great story, looks the best of any multi-platform game, sounds great, and is incredibly fun to play co-op. On the other hand the split-screen function was poorly conceived, there is no multiplayer on the disc, and the controls can be cumbersome. That being said, Resident Evil 5 is the second game to make it onto my GOTY list for 2009, and it is very welcome to be on that list.
[All images courtesy Capcom]