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Resident Evil 5 (Xbox 360) artwork

Resident Evil 5 (Xbox 360) review

"These tone-downs in difficulty actually serves as more of a reason to keep playing than not, surprisingly, and youíll come to find that even though the main quest in 5 isnít long at all, there are still plenty of reasons to continue playing long after youíve fired an RPG right into Weskerís face . . . as heís melting in a pool of lava . . . inside of a gigantic volcano . . . shouting at the top of his lungs, ďCHRIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!Ē"

What I like about Resident Evil 5: the build-up. Scarcely does a game start off so quaintly that by the end of its duration it seems as if youíre playing an entirely different game all together. It begins calmly, set in the day-lighted streets of buttfucking Africa. By the time Chris Redfield and his newfound partner, Sheva Alomar, have abandoned the ramshackle alleys of the opening chapter for a sequence of set pieces more unnerving, youíll have experienced the full seriesí evolution from survival horror to all-out action title. These battles will be set against shaky beginnings to hopeless proceedings to full-blown firefights on a heavily militarized cargo ship to the smoldering caldera of a volcano. And as the set pieces ramp up their testosterone, the plot will, too. It begins as a mission to find a terrorist but turns into a full-out quest at bringing down series mainstay Albert Wesker, saving the world, and Ė most importantly Ė reuniting two old STARS buddies back together. If thatís not build-up, I donít know what is.

What I donít like about Resident Evil 5: itís not Resident Evil 4. Tries to be, but isnít. In some ways thatís for the better, but in other ways it just validates 4ís superiority. Letís face it Ė the two best Resident Evil games got their starts on the Gamecube. But while 4 was a breath of fresh air for a stagnating series, 5 serves as more of a walloping reminder that this isnít your daddyís Resident Evil, and the seriesí end-goal seems to be pointing toward all out action in the upcoming Resident Evil 6 instead of strict inventory management and delicate puzzle design.

Thatís fine. Old-style Resident Evil had its day in the sun, and 5 employs enough content to make it stand out from its predecessors. What we have here is an incredibly polished, beautifully realized, and ultimately pretty memorable game.

The big draw for 5 is that now two people can play through the main game simultaneously. If playing the game alone is fun but a little underwhelming, then playing with a friend helps pick up some of that slack. I mean it, though, when I say playing it with a friend. Donít just enlist the services of any old online crony. Team up with someone you know and youíll be all the more content.

This is allowed to happen because Chris has a more than capable ally in Sheva Alomar. Sheís not Ashley from Resident Evil 4. She can fire weapons, defend herself, and isnít likely to cower in the face of fear. Partly because of that, 5 is probably the easiest Resident Evil game of all time. The other reason why itís a breeze to go through is it takes the weapons upgrading system from 4 and expands it even further. Now itís possible to upgrade weapons essentially at any time (when you die, you can manage your inventory before restarting), and if you meet enough of the gameís criteria, you can utilize unlimited ammo without penalty on any in-game difficulty. Playing professional difficulty now isnít so tough as long as you stay out of the way of any body-hugging Majini. A couple blasts from a fully powered, unlimited ammo handcannon is enough to stop most anything.

These tone-downs in difficulty actually serves as more of a reason to keep playing than not, surprisingly, and youíll come to find that even though the main quest in 5 isnít long at all, there are still plenty of reasons to continue playing long after youíve fired an RPG right into Weskerís face . . . as heís melting in a pool of lava . . . inside of a gigantic volcano . . . shouting at the top of his lungs, ďCHRIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!Ē


Anyway, thereís multi-player modes to tackle, downloadable content to enjoy (more on that here), and overall the prospect of replaying the game to improve your weaponry, build up your inventory, and get your name on the leaderboards, if thatís your sort of thing.

Resident Evil 5 plays like a dream, and thatís part of the reason why itís so easy to return to once youíve completed it. Itís easy to control your character, and the same style of laser-guided aiming is used here as the one in 4. You still canít run and fire, but there really isnít a reason for doing that. After all, most of the enemies youíll encounter throughout the game arenít too agile. It kind of balances out the competition by making Chris and Sheva stand still to let off a round.

The foes youíll encounter are some of the most creatively designed in the entire series. As the game is set in Africa, youíll fight a lot of black dudes infested by parasites. These Majini are deadlier than their simpleton Ganado counterparts in that they are more athletic, many of them can fire guns, and the parasites that emerge from their decapitated bodies are a little more intimidating to behold. The game gets creative in how it utilizes enemies such as when Chris and Sheva are forced to go through a danger-laden aboriginal swamp replete with yodeling tribesman armed with tiki spears. It sounds primordial, but they are some of the most harrowing encounters the game has to offer. Fighting mad, quasi-zombified tribal warriors inside of a thatched-roof hut is even more intense than firing at a creeping zombie in a mansion.

Resident Evil 5 scarcely relents once it begins stepping on the gas. Youíll experience rail-shooting segments as Majinis on motorbikes pursue Chris and Sheva across the savannah, battle illusionary bugs while trying to stay clear of their decapitating mandibles, tackle chain-saw toting psychos in the midst of a searing oil refinery, navigate a network of ancient caves that feel like theyíre straight out of the Uncharted series, and conflagrate writhing bundles of black warms in desperate battles of survival. Oh, and lickers make their triumphant return with the irony of my elation to see something so loathsome.

With all that Resident Evil 5 has to offer, youíre not bound to forget about the game anytime soon. It may not be quite as great Resident Evil 4, but itís still a strong game on its own. Itís got me looking forward to Resident Evil 6 and wondering if Iíll be looking back and wishing 6 were more like 5. Regardless, that can be an entirely different review.


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Featured community review by Fiddlesticks (July 15, 2012)

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