Resident Evil 5: Redfield’s Muscles Unleashed.
Now I’m a fan of Resident evil games, I’ve always found the combination of survival horror and strategic action a refreshing and somewhat complex combat system, that really earned this series the bragging rights, that Capcom flaunt on an almost constant basis.
The series was really brought forward in the last few years, making the big switch from zombies, to people infected with an over-sized stomach worm controlling their brains, making them into savage, blood-thirsty killers.
While this was a refreshing idea, one that earned the series high praise for switching up the methos, what was not an inspired idea was this...the game that some, more conservative gamers, have said, is the beginning of the end for the series. I would have to agree, not because I dislike the game per sea, but because the game itself feels rushed, technically uninspired, and confused.
The story is classic Resi, as former Resident Evil protagonist Chris Redfield makes a return to the series, and he has been eating his steroid-o’s, as his muscles would put Arnie himself to shame. Chris’ task is to uncover the bio-terrorist threat, and fight off the forces of the Majini, the newest enemies of this game. Unlike previous Resi titles though, you get a partner to come along for the ride, the sultry desert fox, Shiva Alomar, who must aid Chris with the native population, as she can speak the language, knows the customs, etc. Just on a quick side note...Shiva was introduced into the game late in the development process, as apparently a large, burly white man slaughtering hordes of infected black people is considered racism...yet killing hordes of Spaniards as a blonde haired, blue eyes, badass with a gun is not...someone got their wires crossed, but back to the point. The critical reaction from, well, clearly idiots and racists as believing that everyone is equel, unless they’re from a different country to your own, then you better believe they’re more equal than anyone else.
Anyway Chris and Shiva take off hand-in-hand to fight the evil forces of some general whose been infecting his men with a new form urethral worm that works its way to your brain, called Uroboros, in order to make his army stronger. Yet there is a figure cloaked in dark robes who is distributing it, and you’ll never guess who it is...really, it’s not that hard and comes as no real shock. The Ultimate form of power himself, Wesker, returns to kick some ass and take some names, while planning for world domination in an overly-complicated way.
The gameplay is classic Resi, aim, pull trigger, take head off. The only issue one might have with this is...that headshots are notoriously hard to pull off. It seems that there are some issues with the collision detection, but still, once the stronger weapons are obtained, this issue becomes less frequent. Unfortunately, when it comes to this game and the horror/action it attempts to blend together, it just doesn’t gel. The classic stand still and shoot method doesn’t work in high pressure situation, and more often than not, you end up running away, not out of a fight or flight, horror response, but because standing still and fire while a wave of angry, hardy, axe wielding maniacs are coming at you is damn near impossible to steel yourself against when you cannot manoeuvre, bar aiming, which can be clunky at times.
The AI in this game is somewhat decent; enemies are clever and will attempt to flank you in larger areas, coming from every angle. Tension building as it may be, this is not necessarily fun when you have to stand still and pick them off, with an AI partner who wastes every ounce of ammo on the torso of an enemy, when the head is the natural place to shoot, as this is a Resident Evil game, and that’s a given. This makes the game impossible to play solo, and co-op is the only way to go, if you don’t want a frustrating time of the later levels, where tactics and ammo conservation are necessary.
Having said that, the level design is excellent...in the first two acts of the game. After that, quality begins to fail, miserably. It’s just not worth commenting on anything after the beginning of the game, which has explosions and gunfire a-many, along with quite a fun turreted vehicle section that really raises the bar for expectations. Yet the game cannot deliver. I honestly can’t explain how bad some of these levels are...
The enemy designs are somewhat generic, and in addition to the roster we have the Resi equivalent to Silent Hills Pyramid Head...along with one of the most stupendously stupid and confusing enemies of all time: the Giant Cockroach, that farts blinding gas and can kill in one strike. I can’t say I approve, seeing as other than the cockroaches, the enemies are all bland and copy-pasted throughout the game, and, just on another side note...you can’t have blood-thirsty maniacs that operate firearms and manoeuvre motorcycles. I don’t care if it is fiction; stick with something that isn’t such a joke.
As a game with a developer that jumps on as many bandwagons as an impressionable teenage girl, Resi 5 takes on Quick-time events, more so than the previous title....and executes them so badly, they might as well have just stated that they had no idea how to fill this games time quota, and just stuck them into certain cut scenes, for those of you with lightning fast reflexes that believe this crap is good, and some in-combat ones, such as shake off an enemy. QTE’s are all well and good from the God of War series, I was willing to give the game a chance with them. They abused it, and went overboard, putting in some of the most pointless QTE’s in gaming history into cut scenes, just to pretend that they had a well thought out game. The irritating QTE’s are the ones the player is cannot possibly see coming. It can become increasingly frustrating and difficult to immerse yourself in the game when the QTE’s are sometimes random and unnecessary.
However, what I do love about this game can be boiled down to two, very impressive parts; the graphics, which are simply stunning. Whether in a sparse African savannah, or a ship in the middle of the ocean, this game does not fail to impress with its graphical ability. The character models are well detailed, and, on a slight digression, the voice acting is something that I found quite enjoyable, Wesker topping the list of excellent voices thrown into the mix. Now back to the point at hand: graphics. This game is simply stunning, is classic Resident Evil style, they push the limits of what a console can do, and it makes for some interesting viewing.
The second, and possibly redeeming item this game has to offer, is Mercenaries Mode, unlocked by finishing the campaign. You are on your own, against the hordes of infected individuals, who slowly become more and more powerful. Each character has a certain array of weapons to use, with some, like Shiva in hunter gear (pretty much the most naked they could make her without changing to a whole new age-rating system) with infinite bow and arrow ammunition, or Wesker’s triple barrel shotgun, a thing of beauty, and incredible fun. This single mode made me play the game for days, DAYS after I finished the campaign, that I disliked so much, that my co-op partner had to hear me rage for three minutes on why the story concept was bull, and the game itself was abysmal. Mercenaries Mode brings back the classic Resident Evil style, with some interesting level choices, taken from the campaign. After a quick replay on the campaign levels once again, I noticed something interesting; Mercenaries had made better use of the levels. This impressed me, as the developers had managed to turn levels that I had previously had nothing but loathing for, into something that could be executed very well, with some traps and areas in the levels that made logical sense within the context of this mode. This was indeed something that made the game playable again. Though it cannot redeem the game, it stopped me from reducing the score drastically.
Resident Evil 5 is a game that has many shortcomings, due to mismanagement and rushed development. The story is shoehorned, as well as the partner AI, into something that seemed unnecessary, and made me care less and less about the characters, and more angry at Shiva wasting my damn ammunition. This game has potential, but it cannot deliver that amazing experience that its predecessors had.
Final Score: 3/5
· Significant issues that hinder the game’s enjoyment, but has a good concept, which, if followed correctly in the next game of the series, will make for a game I believe is worth playing.
· Excellent Graphics
· Voice Acting Enjoyable
· Character Models well detailed
· Mercenaries Mode is the most fun you can have within legal limits.
· Boring story
· Partner AI issues
· Control mechanics issues
· Unnecessary Quick Time Events
· Copy-Paste type enemy types
WTF? Moment: Giant. Mutant. Cockroaches.
Time Played: 15 Hours (Xbox 360)