"Innovation doesnít have to be good, right? That was what I first thought when I played Resident Evil 4. I was one of those few people who didnít like the way that the game took the Resident Evil (Or Biohazard, if you prefer) series. Despite this attitude, I must admit that I enjoyed Resident Evil 4, perhaps not as a Resident Evil game, but as a shooter. When Resident Evil 5 was announced, I was one of those people who prayed, unrealistically, that it would return the series back to the old schoo..."
Innovation doesnít have to be good, right? That was what I first thought when I played Resident Evil 4. I was one of those few people who didnít like the way that the game took the Resident Evil (Or Biohazard, if you prefer) series. Despite this attitude, I must admit that I enjoyed Resident Evil 4, perhaps not as a Resident Evil game, but as a shooter. When Resident Evil 5 was announced, I was one of those people who prayed, unrealistically, that it would return the series back to the old school horror survival style. It didnít take, of course, and I spent the next year or so dealing with the fact that horror survival was pretty much dead. The co-operative style of the game intrigued me however, and I was delighted to find that superhuman emo badass wannabe Leon Kennedy would have no part in the game. Despite my reservations about the lack of horrendous dialogue, frustrating camera angles, and ingenious puzzles involving cranks, I placed my pre-order of the collectorís edition of the game.
The single most important thing of Resident Evil 5? Youíve got to have a partner to play with, preferably over the internet, since the split screen isnít exactly the highest quality ever. RE5 plays very similarly to Resident Evil 4. The player controls their character in a third person perspective, with the camera directly behind the shoulder of the character. Being a combat focused game, players spend the majority of their time aiming and shooting at enemies. When the player aims their weapon, the camera zooms in over the shoulder of the character. Aiming is done through a laser sight mounted on the weapon. There are also sections where two players must work together by moving to a certain object and pressing the teamwork button. Other than that, there isnít much to the game play beyond reloading, healing, and running. It is this ridiculously simple layout that gives Resident Evil 5 its rapid fire pacing, and makes it a great co-op game.
The majority of Resident Evil 5 consists of simply moving from point A to B. Sometimes both partners need to manipulate a set of mechanisms in order for both to reach their destination, such as raising a bridge, or clearing a path by moving a laser beam and allowing the other person to cross. Such activities make up the bulk of the co-operative aspect of the game. Players will also need to work together during many of the gameís enemy saturated fight sequences, where it is more than likely that healing items and ammunition will need to be shared in order to ensure success. Often times, partners will almost literally be back to back fighting off swarms of enemies just dying to tear them apart. If one partner is hurt badly enough, the other partner can restore him or her back to health. Healing items, when used in close proximity with a partner, will heal both characters.
Likewise, whenever one person picks up gold or treasure, the other person gets a duplicate of it in their inventory. This ensures that both partners have exactly the same amount of money that they can use to purchase new weapons and armor between levels. Weapons can also be upgraded to increase their firepower, ammo capacity and reloading speed. Some weapons also have a special ability such as an increased chance of landing a critical headshot, or the ability to piercing through armor and shields. Healing items and weapons are kept in separate inventories for both characters. Unlike older Resident Evil games, the inventory is real time in RE5, so the action doesnít stop while weapons and items are being equipped. This forces players to protect each other and make quick, tactical decisions.
Basically, Resident Evil 5 is a game built mainly for two person combat. To make it through the game efficiently, both partners will need to work as a team in order to get the job done. Unlike other co-op based games however, Resident Evil 5 actually works well. Although the usual two person gimmicks (both people have to press a button to open a door, one person drives, the other person shoots) are present, there are also many ingenious two person activities in the game, for which Capcom definitely deserves praise. Never before has such an intense, immersive co-op experience ever been made. The only flaw in the system is the ďdoor and elevatorĒ partner system. Doors or elevators that lead into new areas require both players to open, and this is done by running up to the door and pressing the co-op action button. The problem, however, is that once one partner has stood up against the door, the other sometimes will have a hard time finding the exact correct spot to stand. Sometimes the spot wonít be obvious, and the second partner would need to walk around the spot mashing circle. Despite this sometimes annoying quirk, it is the only real problem to a fantastic co-operative mode.
Resident Evil 5 follows another adventure of series regular Chris Redfield and his new partner, Sheva Alomar. Since the events of Umbrella Chronicles, Redfield has joined the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance, or BSAA, an anti bioterrorism organization. Alomar has been assigned as his new partner from the BSAA for his current mission. Redfield travels to Africa in order to stop a black market weapons deal in the village of Kijuju. He is also hoping the mission will lead him to his long time rival, Albert Wesker, as well as someone else he is searching forÖ
Resident Evil 5 has a very basic control scheme that strangely does everything it needs to do with very little conflict. L1 aims the weapon in hand, and R1 fires the weapon. When L1 isnít being held down, R1 will lock onto the other player. The L2 button draws the knife, and again R1 is used to attack. The X button is used to reload when a weapon is being aimed, or to start sprinting when the left analog stick is being pushed. The right analog stick controls the direction the player is facing. Square is the action button, and is used to obtain supplies, open most doors, and perform actions such as operating levers, climbing ladders, and jumping across gaps. The triangle button is used to bring up the item inventory. Finally, the circle button is used for partner/co-operative actions such as readying to open a two person door or to heal the other player when they have been seriously injured. Despite the lack of complexity, Resident Evil 5 manages to pull off being extremely efficient and easy to use.
Stunning is the word best used to describe what Resident Evil 5 looks like. The game looks fantastic, rivaled only by a few select high budget games. Character models have excellent detail, equipment is well animated, and the lighting effects used to express mood in the game look simply amazing. Many parts of the game feature harsh lighting making it look like a Hollywood movie. This gives the game a certain style that hasnít been used in video games a lot, which is very unique. Without noticeable blurring, this game certainly makes use of current generation visual technology, and is a treat to look at.
In the past, Resident Evil games have traditionally had a few excellent audio tracks thrown into a bunch of barely noticeable pieces of background music. Itís hard to say that this is the case here. Although most of the tracks fit the mood well, many of them arenít memorable, either. Itís not that the music isnít good, itís just that it isnít very attention grabbing when players are busy fending on dozens of crazed villagers or a giant mutated monster. Some Resident Evil fans might recognize a few redressed and recycled tracks from previous Resident Evil games, most notably Resident Evil 4, Outbreak and the GameCube Remake of the original, but most of the sounds in the game are completely original. The first few weapons have some very generic boring sound effects, and these may seem disappointing. But many of the weapons unlocked as players advance through the game have excellent sound effects that just beg to be fired just to hear the audio track that plays. Unlike previous Resident Evil games, the voice acting is top notch, unhampered by the usual horribly cheesy lines. Since the game is designed to feel like a movie, some cut scenes may sound like it is coming through a filter, but this isnít really a bad thing, more of a unique style.
Resident Evil 5 has enough unlockables to keep most action and horror survival fans playing for a while. There is a wide range of hidden emblems to find throughout the game and finding these will unlock bonus points, which can be used to unlock special features. Many of these include infinite ammo, figurines and hidden weapons. The game can also be played on two harder difficulties. The camera of the game can be changed with filters that change the overall appearance of the game. Finally, like most of the other RE games, there is an unlockable mode called ďThe MercenariesĒ. The goal of this mode is to survive, defeat as many enemies as possible within a time limit and attempt to achieve a high score through kill combos. There are several maps and character that must be unlocked in The Mercenaries.
The Collectorís Edition of the game includes a messenger bag, a Chris Redfield figurine, a BSAA patch, and a necklace. While these are certainly nice, they arenít really worth the money. The metal casing on the game is also nice, although like many other special editions, it doesnít really feel that much like metal. The bag appears to be of a low quality, so donít expect to actually use it for much. The Chris Redfield action figure has to be the biggest disappointment in Resident Evil history since the GameCube ports of Resident Evil 2 and 3, so save the money and actually go buy the Chris Redfield action figure that Capcom had made for the 10th anniversary of Resident Evil. The bonus disk is worth the money only if youíre really into watching those kinds of things. Overall, the Collectorís Edition seems pretty overpriced for what is a great game, bundled with some low rate garbage.
Community review by Probester (March 14, 2009)
A bio for this contributor is currently unavailable, but check back soon to see if that changes. If you are the author of this review, you can update your bio from the Settings page.
If you enjoyed this Resident Evil 5 review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!