A sequel worthy of Resident Evil 4
Remember the amazement you got from Resident Evil 4 back in the day? Yeah, me too and what you're getting with
Resident Evil 5 is the same game with a few improvements with less of the wow factor.
The latest addition to the franchise sees you control Chris Redfield, former S.T.A.R.S and now member of the BSAA
(Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance) in an attempt to prevent bio-terrorism. This leads Chris to Africa where
he is partnered with Sheva Alomar, a member of the African division of the BSAA, to investigate an arms deal occuring in the
the town of Kijuju. As expected this is far from a normal weapons deal and before long things in this village take a turn for the
worse and the villagers become very aggressive under control of Las Plagas (the same enemy that featured in Resident Evil 4).
The whole story in Resident Evil 5 is well written and helps bring a lot of the loose ends left unanswered in the other games
to a close. Although slow to pick up the pace, the plot eventually brings in series antagonist, Albert Wesker and it's from then
on that the story is at it's best.
Resident Evil 5 contains essentially the same control scheme that its predecessor had. You use the shoulder buttons to take aim
and shoot being unable to move while aiming. Although this control scheme worked well in 2005 it seems quite archaic and clunky now. The game however, does a good job of making sure it doesn't hinder the gameplay as the enemies seem to be stuck to the same controls as well so aren't any faster than you are.
Having a partner with you is a lot like it was in Resident Evil 4. You still have to protect them and make sure they don't die
otherwise it's game over. However, unlike the previous game, Sheva has the ability to protect and heal herself. The AI in the game
is fairly average using whatever gun the player chooses to give them. On the contrary I found that when I gave Sheva two different guns, A sniper rifle and a machine gun, she would use the sniper rifle to clear out numerous enemies at close range instead of the machine gun making her less effective in battle. That said however, I found myself using her a healer mainly, giving her first aid sprays and herbs instead of any meaningful weaponary. Resident Evil 5 was built around the co-op aspect and therefore the game can be enjoyed a lot more if you have a friend play with you instead of the AI.
The inventory system has undergone a reformation as well. Instead of the Tetris-esque slotting weapons in certain position way Resident Evil 4 provided, you now have 9 slots in which you can store 9 different items. I never found this to be too little room as I only ever used around 3 different weapons during the course of the game and the rest of my slots were for ammo. Also if I was ever pushed for space I made Sheva pick up the items so I could just retrieve them from her later on.
There are lots of different weapons in the game, more so than any other Resident Evil to date. Some are classics that have been featured in the series such as the shotgun and magnum but there are also new introductions of the Stun Rod, Bow and Arrow and the Gatling Gun. Almost every weapon in the game can be upgraded and once you've upgraded it enough with money you gain from enemies and treasure then you can purchase unlimited ammo for that chosen weapon. This is a clever incentive to help boost replay value as I found myself replaying the game numerous times to get more money to be able to upgrade all of my weapons for which there is a nice achievement in the end that in no way made me go for this goal.
What can you use the weapons on though? Well there are lots of different enemies and clever boss fights throughout Resident Evil 5. The spectrum ranges from villagers, tribesfolk and dogs to 50 feet tentacled monsters and giant bats. I felt that game was paced just right so that I never got bored of fighting one type of enemy and chapters were split up with some nice boss fights. Furthermore, as a Resident Evil fan myself there was a certain point in the game where the nostalgia really hit and I found myself fighting Lickers (an enemy from Resident Evil 2).
Graphically speaking Resident Evil 5 is one of the nicest looking games on the Xbox 360. The cut scenes are clear and crisp and there is hardly any places where the frame rate drops. Chris, Sheva and the rest of character models look really good and one thing that impressed me was the way they could look so human as they shown some great facial expressions throughout;
kudos to CAPCOM to making such a good looking game.
The voice acting is superb. Chris has the perfect 'macho' voice for someone of his stature however, one character that stole the show was Wesker. The voice Wesker has simply steals the show and perfectly portrays him as evil and cunning. Gun sounds are as per any Call of Duty game so are top notch. One limitation in the sound department for Resident Evil 5 was the lack of any orchestral, tension building pieces. However, I think this was me reliving my glory days of Resident Evil 2 and 3 when in the Police Station the music really helped scare the crap out of me.
Overall Resident Evil 5 is a great game, there are no two ways about it. Sure the control system might seem a bit dated but it makes up for this is so many other ways. Firstly it's a great looking game, in fact scrap great looking, super looking.
The plot intertwines all of the previous Resident Evil games and ties up all loose ends. It's safe to say that Resident Evil 5 doesn't disappoint and can be enjoyed by veterans and newcomers alike!