Resident Evil 5 Review
- Posted March 24th, 2009 at 19:51 EDT by Michael Harradence
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Resident Evil 5 is an incredibly satisfying, non-stop action romp from start to finish. An essential purchase for fans and newcomers alike.
- The stunning visuals
- Teaming up with a mate in the superb online co-op mode
- The ample replay value and unlockables
- The occasionally poor AI
- The simplicity of some of the bosses
- The lack of challenging puzzles
Let’s get one thing abundantly clear from the start – Resident Evil 5 is not a survival horror game. Far removed from its predecessors, this latest entry in Capcom’s venerable franchise is ostensibly an action-packed shooter, filled to the rafters with intense battles, ostentatious bosses, and egomaniacal villains that could quite have easily been plucked from the pages of a Marvel Comic book. And we bloody love it.
Resident Evil 5 kicks off in early 2009, over a decade since the destruction of Raccoon City as depicted in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. The game reacquaints us with Chris Redfield, star of the original survival horror classic, who is now part of the Bio-Terrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA); an organization dedicated to the eradication of bio-weapons throughout the globe, of which Redfield is a founder.
Having been dispatched to the African region of Kijuju, the former zombie slayer (who now looks as though he has been scoffing protein shakes and taken up permanent residence under the bench press for the past decade) teams up with fellow BSAA agent Sheva Alomar as the pair attempt to track down an unscrupulous chap named Ricardo Irving. Upon arriving, however, the duo find that the entire community has been infected with a deadly biohazard mimicking the affects of the Las Plagas seen in the previous game. While we won’t spoil anything, suffice to say long time fans will be pleasantly surprised by the game’s narrative, which adheres to RE’s increasing complex plot far more than its predecessor’s tenuous tale achieved.
Resident Evil 5 offers up essentially what you’d expect from a sequel to the insanely popular RE4, and from the moment you take control of Redfield’s considerable bulk it’s obvious that Jun Takeuchi and his team dissected Mikami-san’s 2005 GOTY down to the bare bones in order to extract what fundamentally made it such a success. As such, the critically lauded over-the-shoulder perspective makes a return, as does a number of other popular inclusions, such as QTE’s, an RPG-esque weapons upgrade system, and a more action-orientated take on the classic RE formula.
However, Alomar’s presence in RE5 represents one of the most significant areas in which the game deviates from its predecessor – co-op. Whether you are playing offline or online with a friend, Alomar remains a permanent assistance throughout the game, adding an entirely new dimension to an otherwise familiar campaign. Cooperating through the game’s six chapters, Redfield and Alomar must carefully manage items and ammunition, overcome puzzles and various other obstacles, not to mention dispatch literally hundreds of Plagas-infected villagers and grotesque abominations along the way.
When playing solo, Alomar is handled entirely by the AI – and for the most part, she proves a competent partner. When you’re low on health, she’ll administer a healing herb or resuscitate you; if she acquires any ammo for a gun you possess, she’ll pass it your way; more importantly, she’ll handle stand her ground against the majority of foes without too much trouble. Problematically, however, it’s in combat situations that faults begin to rear their head. While Alomar has no trouble popping a few pistol rounds in the nearest foe or utilizing the machine gun in short, conserving bursts, she won’t always apply the most appropriate armament for the job. This is best illustrated in confrontations with some of the game’s latter foes, where small arms barely scathe your enemies. Rather than whipping out a Magnum or Grenade Launcher, your partner obstinately sticks with lower tier weapons, making solo operations a precarious business.
Naturally, online play really shines here, allowing you to formulate strategies with your partner in order to overcome tougher foes. This is particularly useful for boss encounters, where one of you may opt to distract an enemy while the other deals the damage from a safe location – satisfying stuff to say the least. On the other hand, if you’re lumbered with the AI, then prepare to tackle some of the trickier bosses without the extra input from your partner. Ultimately, however, the artificial intelligence does solid job and shouldn’t give you too many headaches. Just don’t expect anything too radical.
As always, you have to carefully manage ammunition and healing items throughout the ... (continued on next page) ----