Resident Evil 5
Posted 4 years ago By - Jay Acevedo
After the impressive Resident Evil 4, Capcom unleashed its newest game in the franchise, Resident Evil 5 on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 in a serious attempt to redefine survival horror by adding action elements to it.
Set ten years after the first Resident Evil (RE) game, Resident Evil 5 puts you in the shoes of Chris Redfield, an ex member of the STARS’ Alpha team now working as an operative for the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA). His mission consists to investigate a terrorist threat of a biological attack using an Umbrella Corporation virus on the African city of Kijuju with the help of BSAA African branch operative Sheva Alomar. Together, you will try to find out who’s behind this and why. This is where your journey starts…for the better or the worst.
Resident Evil 5 plays just like Resident Evil 4 only with some noticeable control-based additions. Some quick time events during certain action sequences, the absence of a running and shooting control scheme, characters that move like they have broomsticks for spines and an over the shoulder point of view matched with a new melee strike system and the ability to strafe (if you’re not running). Capcom said that they wanted to keep the suspense and survival horror feel to the game. Problem is there is no feel for survival in this game as the emotionally tense moments are being replaced by tense action moments, making it feel more like an action game. The same stuff seen in past RE games are back like how slow the infected run at you then stop and slowly come at you but we keep feeling like the franchise is slowly turning the corner but not quite there yet. Frankly, in a world where games have evolved, having to experience this once again almost five years after the exceptional last-generation Resident Evil 4 game on the GameCube came as a in the gut to me. I wanted the game to be a straight-up action game, not a poor hybrid game that doesn’t officially fits in neither on the action or survival horror departments. Don’t get me wrong, the game is fun but being randomly taken from one genre to another by making me play something I’ve played back in 2004 makes the whole thing confusing and really sad. Additionally, most of the key elements that made the Resident Evil franchise special are completely forgotten here. Goodbye to enigmatic puzzle elements and that constant feeling of mysteriousness. Once again, I’m happy to see Capcom going the action way but if you want to go all the way to “Action Land”, don’t stop in the middle.
Speaking of Resident Evil 4, the interesting inventory system introduced back then returns but only improved with a 3x3 slot system instead of a briefcase. It’s good to see a better version of RE4’s inventory system but once again, Capcom managed to make things a bit more complicated by making the access of the inventory system in real-time, with the inability to pause the game like we were accustomed to. What does it mean? It means that you need to organize your inventory before jumping into the action because the usual inventory cumbersomeness seen in past RE games will give you some troubles if you try to fool around while battling a horde of infected. One of my colleagues pointed out that Dead Space also featured a real-time inventory system but in Resident Evil 5, it just feels odd. The use of directional pad will help you access your weapons and health packs rapidly but it can only be matched with four of the nine slots. Any lack of attention during the missions could result in a very odd situation if you forget to assign the correct d-pad direction to the right item. On the positive side, every time you die, you will get access to your inventory stash and the weapon buy/upgrade menu.
The biggest addition brought by Capcom for Resident Evil 5 is the cooperative gameplay whether via offline split-screen or online through Xbox Live or PSN. For the first time, you will be able to kill the infected with a friend. Funny enough, the game plays completely different from the offline AI controlled Sheva and for the better. Cooperative play is certainly a welcomed addition but there are two little issues. First, just before you start playing, the game asks you to setup your game in a way to any online player can jump into the action or set up a private match where you can invite your friend. That’s all good but the coop integration doesn’t feel natural. Example, if an online partner wants to join your game, he has to sit and wait for you to either restart the level or get to the next checkpoint. The second issue I had was the fact that item swapping is weapon-restricted. You can swap ammo, health sprays and other stuff but not weapons. Since you can bring your own inventory to any online game, I can understand that the developers wanted to challenge and force each player to acquire and upgrade its own guns. These aren’t huge issues but certainly put a small cloud over the game’s online part, which never experiences any slowdown or dropouts. From all the sessions I’ve played so far, I’ve experience only a few rare disconnections only when hosting public games but nothing when I played privately via invite matches. The offline split-screen mode is neat and comes as something really kind for Capcom to make it available for those who don’t play online. Still, online co-op is something everyone should experience as your view on things will be way better than being limited to a half-screen view.
Graphics & Sounds
There is one thing I cannot deny and that is how beautiful and almost without any errors looking the game is. Surely one the most beautiful games on the market as of today, Resident Evil 5’s visuals are astonishing. The well orchestrated character emotions and animations paired with an exceptional gritty and dark rendition of a doomed African territory ravaged by the deadly virus and incredibly beautiful cinematic moments make Resident Evil 5 an incredible nice looking game. Frame rate drops, texture pop-ins, glitches and/or freezing are barely noticeable too. In other words, it’s extremely impressive. You need to see it to believe it.
As for the sound build, just like any other Resident Evil game, everything revolves around environmental sounds mixed with a very discreet, almost absent but intense music soundtrack. The voiceover work is solid and delivers every bit of tension both Chris and Sheva experiences during the game. As for the rest of the cast, its cheesy and extremely predictable. Yes, the same-old corny RE dialogue makes a comeback in this new game. Finally, the weapons still don’t sound great and aren’t distinctive from one to another (ex. the Magnum sounds pretty much the same as the 9mm pistol) . Thankfully it doesn’t overshadow the overall quality of the audio.
Depending on your skill level and your ability to adapt fast to the controls and inventory system, you should be able to complete the game in around 10 to 15 hours. The online/split-screen co-op and the un-lockable “Professional” difficulty level will sure to give you additional hours to your experience. I’ve also noticed that many people go for Leaderboard supremacy by completing levels as fast as they can. It might one of the rarest games to take advantage of the Leaderboard function for bragging rights among the Resident Evil fan base.
Adding to the replay value, upon completion of the game, the “Mercenaries” mode gets unlocked. Your goal will be to survive against a horde of zombies for two minutes. Yes, it seems like “Zombie Survival” it’s very popular nowadays with Left 4 Dead and even Call of Duty having their own survivalist mode. There is nothing new in this Resident Evil game, but most of the time quite a bit of fun to be had, especially when you don’t have to pay for it. Yes, you can expand your Resident Evil experience furthermore by paying an additional five dollar for the highly-controversial "Versus" mode. It is controversial because it’s the kind of mode that any game has right out of the box and you don’t have to pay for it in other games. You face a horde of infected and you try to rack up as many points possible by chaining kill combos. The faster you attack and chain kills, the faster your multiplier goes up, gaining points in the process. It’s a straight-up boring mode certainly not worth the extra cash.
Resident Evil 5 is a Resident Evil game which is trying to be an action game while keeping the old survival horror feeling which the franchise is known for. While it worked with Resident Evil 4 to a certain point, the next-generation evolution of gaming forces developers to retool their original visions in order to deliver something to remember. Resident Evil 5 tries constantly to remind us it’s still a Resident Evil game but all I saw was a very restrictive, slow and totally emotionally broken action game. If Capcom is sending us a message for change in the Resident Evil franchise, they need to come out clean and say it. Make it an action game, put some run and gun controls and embrace the evolution of gaming. The Resident Evil producer already said that the new next-gen Resident Evil game could be presented in eight years but hopefully four. That’s plenty of time to decide what they are going to do. Make this game a good lesson to learn from.
Versus Mode Verdict
After playing it for a few rounds, I can safely say that no one should ever think of paying for this. I would suggest to stay away from it but it’s a free country. Most of RE fans will buy it with their eyes closed. Still, I don’t think anyone should pay for something that we should have built into the game.
Note: The Versus mode is not taken in consideration in the final score.
+ Nice environmental sounds
+ Chris and Sheva voiceover work is good
+ Online co-op plays great, makes the game way more interesting
+ Improved inventory system but still cumbersome
+ Interesting replay value
- Being in the middle of an action and a "survival horror" game hurts the overall nature of the game.
- Except for Sheva and Chris, the game has cheezy and predictable dialogues
- Lack of "run and gun" controls. The control scheme doesn’t match what the gameplay design wants to be.
- The AI controlled Sheva puts you in strange situations
- All the survival horror elements were sucked out of the game
- Limited item swapping when playing online
- Co-op drop-in poorly executed
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Release Date : 2009/03/13
System : PlayStation 3
Publisher : Capcom
Developer : Capcom
Category : Survival Horror
ESRB : M
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10