Patreon button  Steam curated reviews  Discord button  Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | PC | PS4 | PS5 | SWITCH | VITA | XB1 | XSX | All

Resident Evil 5 (Xbox 360) artwork

Resident Evil 5 (Xbox 360) review

"Throughout the first chapter while trying to escape an entire city that hated me, while hiding in dark corners and climbing walls to escape the bloodthirsty masses Resident Evil 5 provided a heart-pounding, frightening, and thoroughly playable adventure with some disturbing real-world implications. I knew these people weren't evil, just sick... but I killed them anyway. I had to kill them to survive they were bursting through ceilings, climbing through windows, hiding behind fences. By the end, I was shooting everyone on sight, and feeling pleasure. Heaven help me if there was an actual innocent soul wandering the streets."

"Are you OK?"

How on earth could Dkembe be okay? He was just force-fed a slimy, squirming, parasitic little beast by two people he considered friends. And then, instead of pulling the creature out, a burly American started asking goofy questions.

The American outsider extended his hand, as if to say "We're here to help." Dkembe's response was less than cordial.


The blood-glazed eyes, open-jawed snarl, and tentacles protruding from the screaming African man's mouth were all clear symptoms of a Las Plagas - type 2 infection. This is the biohazard that Chris Redfield faces in Resident Evil 5. I missed the fourth episode, but as best I can make out, "type 2" is an advanced form of the same epidemic that Leon Kennedy faced. Instead of injecting people with eggs and waiting for the Plagas to mature, adult versions of the creature are crammed into peoples' mouths. It's a gruesome visual, and the sounds of crunching and gnawing as the parasite devours the host's insides made me wince.

At first I thought, "Okay, the parasite is essentially turning people into mindless but agile zombies. Same game, different name." Shortly thereafter, I witnessed an execution scene, during which a black man wearing shades shouted propaganda through a megaphone, inciting throngs of black men to cheer for the impending slaughter . . . more specifically, the slaughter of the swarthy (non-black) fellow who had helped the white American. Upon catching sight of white man Chris watching from a window, the militant black man barked another order and the infected black crowd gave chase.

So it's not as if the parasite completely wiped peoples' brains; instead, it supplemented their minds with a violent fervor. This revelation shed new light on the earlier "force-feeding" scene . . . the two villains were not torturing their victim; they were turning him into one of their own via grotesque baptism. It's an "us versus them" world: convert those who are worthy and kill the rest. One could suspect me of making much out of very little, but all of the above so clear to me within the first fifteen minutes is explicitly stated throughout the final two chapters via text documents and frequent (but brief) cutscenes.

Since the game revolves around a white man (and his African partner) gunning down crazed black men, some people have accused Capcom of racism. I think that's unfair. Resident Evil 5 is set in west Africa, so it's natural that the majority of infectees would mirror the majority of the populace. Besides, there are white villains. The top-tier masterminds, the ones subverting and controlling the black men, are white.

Is Capcom racist for showing that black men are dominated, controlled, and killed by white men?

Or instead of immediately dismissing the game's content as racism, should we instead consider the game as an allegory for the destruction of cultural traditions via physical colonization in the past, and via ideological dominance in modern times? Detractors criticize the game, saying that Capcom didn't present the African populace in a sympathetic light . . . but I find it hard not to sympathize with an oppressed people who are forced to fight on the frontlines for an evil overlord.

The above storyline could make for an amazing experience with some actual relevance. Throughout the first chapter a chapter spent escaping an entire city that hated me, while hiding in dark corners and climbing walls to evade the bloodthirsty masses Resident Evil 5 provided a heart-pounding, frightening, and thoroughly playable adventure with some disturbing real-world implications. I knew these people weren't evil, just sick . . . but I killed them anyway. I had to kill them to survive they were bursting through ceilings and smashing through windows, determined to eat my brains. By level's end, I was shooting everyone on sight and feeling pleasure. Heaven help me if there was an actual innocent soul wandering the streets.

Even throughout the next chapter, which was decidedly less hectic and decidedly more linear, I was still bound by the game's spell. I had to defeat the creature that annihilated Alpha Team . . . but how does one go about defeating a puddle of slime? The game features a lot of weaponry, with generous servings of ammo and upgrades, but none of it seemed particularly effective against this toxic beast. I knew there had to be a way, and I knew it was most likely hidden within the stage itself. While searching for the answer, I died many times. Fortunately, Resident Evil 5 generously provides checkpoints before each difficult encounter, so I was able to try and try again without treading over covered ground. I was engaged. The game had swallowed me into its world.

Then it suddenly spit me out. You see, when Resident Evil 5 begins, Chris is tasked with preventing a notorious arms dealer from completing a sale. Chris's newest female sidekick, Sheva Alomar (competently controlled by computer, or incompetently controlled by beer-guzzling buddy), was also ordered to apprehend the criminal. The arms dealer repeatedly eluded their grasp and eventually commandeered a battleship. Chris and Sheva successfully overtook the armored battleship via speedboat, at which point the arms dealer turned into a polar kraken. More specifically, he turned into the polar kraken's tongue. The other twenty tons of beast sprouted from his back. Chris and Sheva proceeded to fend the beast off with rocket launcher turrets.

Ah, classic Capcom.

Later on, Chris cures a brainwashed buddy by ripping a giant eyeball thing right out of their chest. Thank goodness it was just stuck to the skin's surface and hadn't attached itself to the heart, brain, or any other important bodily organs. And it's really too bad Chris didn't try that approach before he blew all the black guys' heads off.

Chris later tops all previous heroics by flying a plane into a volcano. He then disembarks. INSIDE A VOLCANO. Fortunately, there are rocks floating in the lava. Even Capcom wouldn't let people walk on lava.

Then again, perhaps they would. After all, over the course of several episodes, Chris's recurrent arch-nemesis Wesker has transformed from "traitorous scum" into "man who catches rocket-propelled grenades in his hands, and doesn't mind too terribly if they explode". Wesker fans who purchase Resident Evil 5 won't be disappointed his ninja arts are put on display several times throughout the game. Strict survival horror fans will likely roll their eyes when Wesker uses his sunglasses as a weapon.

It's absurd, but I'll be damned if all the ridiculousness isn't endearing in that cheesy Devil May Cry way, although Chris isn't nearly as nimble as Dante. One of my favorite moments was a fantastic gunkata showdown, reminiscent of the final battle in the film Equilibrium, during which the combatants repeatedly dodge each others' feet, fists, and bullets. That's a far cry from the gritty military mission that began the adventure. Considering the way such a fantastic premise turned into B-movie silliness, I actually feel really guilty for enjoying Resident Evil 5 so much. Capcom absolutely squandered an intriguing setting and a powerful premise. But damn it all, I still enjoyed it.

. . . even though I still couldn't shoot while moving.


zigfried's avatar
Staff review by Zigfried (March 17, 2009)

Zigfried likes writing about whales and angry seamen, and often does so at the local pub.

More Reviews by Zigfried [+]
Attack on Titan (PlayStation 4) artwork
Attack on Titan (PlayStation 4)

Koei's latest not-a-Musou lives up to the source material.
Deception IV: The Nightmare Princess (PlayStation 4) artwork
Deception IV: The Nightmare Princess (PlayStation 4)

Tecmo Koei continues to stake their claim on PS4 with quality software.
One Chance (PC) artwork
One Chance (PC)

One Chance is a bad game for obvious reasons. The graphics are poor, the music is repetitive, the guy walks slowly, the story is silly, player interaction is minimal, and victory is achieved through repetition instead of mastery. Its claim to fame is that you only have one chance unless you game the syst...


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!

board icon
joseph_valencia posted March 17, 2009:

This was a very good review. I'm surprised you preferred the AI over human co-op, since a lot of reviews usually say otherwise.
board icon
Masters posted March 17, 2009:

Good stuff, Zig. I'd say more, but I haven't really gotten anywhere in the game yet. :T
board icon
zigfried posted March 18, 2009:

My friends are tools. If they were good at the game or didn't always want to use the same weapons I use, then human partners would be better. But the AI does what I say, and it uses the weapons I want it to use, which makes for better item sharing and ammo distribution.

EDIT: and I can predict that they'll actually try to stay close and heal me instead of running off on their own

board icon
sashanan posted March 18, 2009:

In my overall multiplayer experience - which doesn't include RE5, mind you - a game's AI would have make a whole bundle of critical mistakes to approach the potential of human stupidity.

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

User Help | Contact | Ethics | Sponsor Guide | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998 - 2024 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Resident Evil 5 is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to Resident Evil 5, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors. Staff and freelance reviews are typically written based on time spent with a retail review copy or review key for the game that is provided by its publisher.