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Resident Evil 5 (PlayStation 3) artwork

Resident Evil 5 (PlayStation 3) review

"Over the countless years Iíve been playing video games, Iíve anticipated the release of many titles. Most of them have been sequelsóShining Force II, Lunar: Eternal Blue, Bloodrayne 2. Itís a long list. But never, ever, have I anticipated a game as much as I did Resident Evil 5. "

Over the countless years Iíve been playing video games, Iíve anticipated the release of many titles. Most of them have been sequels--Shining Force II, Lunar: Eternal Blue, Bloodrayne 2. Itís a long list. But never, ever, have I anticipated a game as much as I did Resident Evil 5.

I read every article I could find, watched every trailer that existed, played the demo more than I did any normal game I own. And when it was finally released, I waited out in the piercing cold for three hours to be one of the first in line to pick it up at midnight.

It was going to be worth it. I knew that much before I even peeled off the cellophane. 5 was anticipated as the be-all end-all of the series. It was an assumption, but after playing 4, a safe one. And in playing it, day after day, I realized one thing: It was the furthest thing from what I expected, but greater than I could ever hope for.

Because Resident Evil 5 is unlike anything that has come before it.

Yes, it is scary. Though 5 doesnít use the psychological method 4 did--Ganados chanting, sneaking up on you, or waiting patiently for you to jump from your safety perch to chainsaw your neck.

5 makes more use of the momentary jolts--giant insects suddenly rupturing out of random eggs, zombified mutts and hyenas rushing out from under train cars to leap on you and latch onto your throat, massive Majinis (Ganados) bursting through the walls and leveling you with a colossal hammer.

The game is riddled with those exciting scenes, but thatís not to say the fear is there one second and gone the next. The jolts are simply a highlight. RE 5ís real intimidation factor lies in the overwhelming, seemingly unending army of enemies. Almost every chapter contains at least one area that will leave you overwrought, low on ammo and outnumbered. Majini pile in by the dozens, busting out of ship containers, leaping down from catwalks and scaling over chain-link fences.

One scene found me at the end of a bridge. On the other side a two-story building with a set of large iron doors. After a brief cut-scene and a gun fight with an oncoming truck, a horde of Majini threw open the door, screamed something incoherent and charged. To my luck, the bridge was decorated with four exploding barrels--intricately placed. As soon as the undead mob was directly in front of one, I shot it. Using only one bullet, I dazzled over a dozen Majini in a flaming baptism. Yet even before their corpses stopped smoldering, another onslaught ensued; shouting even louder, racing even faster. Another bullet was embedded in barrel number two, and another crowd demolished.

Then they came again, and again, each one larger than the last, storming across the bridge until I was out of barrels, and no choice but to put them down the old fashioned way. It wasnít long before I was overwhelmed, and drawing back to save my life. A part of me still thinks they were simply waiting for me to foolishly dispense the gasoline containers before the real attack began.

Barring the Ganados, the Majini arenít like the undead brain eaters seen in prior games. They can do things I would have never imagined: Drive trucks, ride motorcycles, fire AK-47s and drill through you with Gatling guns.

Now perhaps this derails from the strong formula of previous Resident Evils. Maybe it even goes against everything common of a survival horror game. Itís possible 5 is just a really gorgeous shooter with a dark and gory ambiance.

Iím not going to argue that, because frankly, it doesnít matter.

Itís hard to label RE 5 as any one certain type of game, because it doesnít come across as one at all. Resident Evil 5 is an experience; An emotional, nerve-hammering, bond building journey that no game before it has even come close to emulating.

It begins from the first flawless cut-scene, where returning RE favorite Chris gives you a brief overview of his new life, and new job with the B.S.A.A. From there, youíre introduced to 5ís second pivotal character, newcomer Sheva Alomar. Though their assigned as partners, at first Chris seems a little apprehensive. Mainly due to a very powerful, very tragic plot twist revealed within the first five minutes--one that drove me through the entire game searching for answers on.

Yet as each chapter unfolds, the more perils they endure and survive, the stronger the relationship between Chris and Sheva becomes. And that, is the most poignant and involving aspect of the game.

Because it actually works.

Rather than filling cut-scenes with useless, unending dialogue of them talking about how much they care about each other, and how strong their connection is, 5 demonstrates it through actions. Like when Sheva shoots the chains binding Chris to a motorcycle to stop him from being dragged to his death and he gives her an appreciate glance, or where Redfield disregards his own safety and leaps out to catch the falling Sheva before sheís dumped out of a planeís open cargo hatch.

In fact, I think Chris only says it once: Remember. Weíre a team. Whatever happens, we stick together.

Truthfully, thatís all that needs to be said. It allows the player to form his own opinion rather than having the game tell you how to feel. Maybe Chris and Sheva are just partners. Maybe there is something else going on between them. Itís up to you to decide. That magic is what develops the actual in-game experience.

Everything--and I do mean everything--in this game is done with your partner. There isnít a level youíll explore by yourself, or an enemy you must face alone. If they die, your game is over. If one of you loses all your health, only your partner can save you.

Strictly A.I. speaking, this formula works. The in-gameís partner wonít take ammo without you telling them to, theyíll heal you or save you without you needing to ask, and when it comes to fighting the massive army of Majini, the computer is nearly flawless. It will rarely miss a shot, wonít fling itself recklessly into danger or let the enemies get to close to you. It will use the best guns for different situations, and will never waste even one bullet.

Now if the co-op of this game were simply A.I., it would be only good; verging on great. But the true wonderment is found playing online, with anyone in the world.

Granted, you get the occasional hack. Players who ignore you, who will leave you trapped behind a gate while they take all the ammo, or constantly get themselves killed (typically by trying to destroy everything--including bosses--with the knife.) Yet, every now and then, youíll find a keeper. Someone you get along with. Who you depend on. Someone who will give you ammo when youíre out, distract Majini while you reload. A player who will rush to you--no matter what theyíre doing--to save you from "dying status". A person who youíll want to play the entire game with, because they look out for you, and help you enjoy the experience. One you will bond with while Chris and Sheva commit the same act onscreen.

And that changes the face of Resident Evil--forever.

Iím accepting of that. Hell, Iím amped about it. Because Resident Evil 5 is more than just a survival horror game. Itís one of those rare gems like Super Mario 3, Street Fighter II or Final Fantasy VII. A game that breaks all the boundaries. One you canít stop playing long after youíve beaten it, and one you canít stop thinking about long after youíve turned it off. Resident Evil 5 is a rare experience that you may not find an equal for. Something phenomenal. Something unforgettable.

Something, that legends are made of.


True's avatar
Community review by True (May 28, 2009)

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zippdementia posted May 29, 2009:

Well, a very enthusiastic review, but one I'm in almost total disagreement with. By the way, zombies have ridden trucks, fired gattling guns, and displayed intelligence before. It was called Resident Evil 4.
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JANUS2 posted May 29, 2009:

I haven't played RE5 and I can't remember much about RE4, so I can't say whether I agree with this review or not. What I can say is that I enjoyed reading it. True's enthusiasm for the game is obvious, but never excessive (apart from the final line perhaps). He doesn't really deal in specific gameplay issues -- well, he does, but the focus is more on expressing his personal experience of the adventure and explaining how RE5 met and surpassed his expectations. For me, that was an approach that resulted in a very engaging and convincing review.
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True posted May 29, 2009:

Thank you, Janus and thank you Zipp. That sentenced you mentioned was more a reference to old-school RE Zombies that were slow, stuck their arms out and moaned like a hoarse porn-star. In my mind, the Ganados and the Majini are pretty much the same thing in a different location, but I could see where it caused some confusing so I changed it.
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zippdementia posted May 30, 2009:

I think you deserve special mention for the enthusiasm you show in your review. You actually made me question if I hadnít enjoyed myself more than I thought I had while playing the game. However, the piece came off a little too much like a blog post for me. There are some points EVERYONE complains about (such as Shevaís AI) that you seemed to have no problem with, further adding to the feeling like it might be a slanted review, and thereís a whole section of one or two sentence paragraphs that reads very awkwardly. Still, I respect a reviewer who pronounces his love (or hatred) loudly from atop a tall tower, and no one stands taller than True.
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EmP posted May 30, 2009:

The only problem almost everyone seems to proclaim about Sheva's AI is that she's far too keen to heal you. Even this is more more 'in passing' complaint that a substantial one.

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