dudacles's Resident Evil 5 (Xbox 360) review

Resident Evil 5 isn't perfect, but it's an enjoyable experience

Resident Evil is one of those long-standing franchises Capcom possesses that make fans go absolutely mad with excitement and nostalgia. However, with Resident Evil 4, Capcom drastically flipped the wheel on the franchise, with gameplay that was very unsimilar to its predecessors. The game was hated by some, but became a huge succes overall. As such, it comes as no surprise that Resident Evil 5 is an exact copy of the fourth iteration in the franchise in many ways. It does change up a couple of things--some for the better, others arguably for the worse--, but there's no denying this game feels almost exactly like the previous game.

Meet Sheva Alomar
While Resident Evil 4 turned its story into somewhat of a spin-off that was only ever so slightly related to the previous Resident Evils apart from its main character, Resident Evil 5 picks the story threads laid out in the older games back up and resolves them all. You play as Chris Redfield, who has appeared in previous games as a lead character. The story in this game is pretty standard fare though. The dialogue isn't all that great, and the voice actors over-act quite a bit. Then again, would you want anything else in a freakin' Resident Evil game? On the other hand, the cut-scenes are pretty damn great. The facial animations and expressions are unbelievably well done, and the cut-scenes, rendered entirely in-engine, feature some of the best combat scenes I've ever seen in a video game. Watching the scenes is a real treat on a technical level, and as such they were really enjoyable.

But you probably won't play this game for its story. Many people had hoped Capcom would give the gameplay an overhaul, most notably the ability to walk while shooting is something many would have liked to seen included. Capcom has ignored them, however. That's not to say the gameplay is bad. In the right mindset, you probably won't mind the way the shooting works at all. I didn't. In fact, I love the gameplay in RE5.

There are some key changes to the formula though, the biggest one being the fact that you are now joined by a new character. Indeed, Chris will receive aid from Sheva Alomar, the native BSAA agent that's as good with a gun as she is hot. As an A.I. partner in singleplayer however, you'll probably grow to hate her. While the idea of having her as a supporting character that can also act as an item mule might sound handy, it's an entirely different story in practice. She'll do everything you don't want her to do. Lots of players had learned to use the knife instead of bullets in RE4, but Sheva just loves to waste bullets. She does take out quite a few enemies, but it's very hard to get her to do you want her to do. You can't approach a situation tactically, because she'll go in guns blazing. She also like to waste health items while you have over half of your health left.

Playing this game in co-op is key to your enjoyment
However, all those issues cease to exist once you try out the co-op. You can play online and locally--splitscreen has a rather odd split, but it's still functional--and it is an awesome experience. This game seems like it was designed with co-op in mind, as the game really shines here. Shooting zombies in the head while your partner backs you up with a sniper rifle is really great. While communication is definitely required to manage items between the two of you, as well as decent tactics, co-op is a fantastic ride all the way through.

Another issue with the structure of the game though, is the inventory system. It might be a cause of frustration, or at least it was for me. While RE4 had you playing Tetris with grenades, rifles and herbs, RE5 offers unlimited inventory space. The catch to this is that you can only take nine items into a level. You'll often be forced to drop something rather important because you need to pick up this new weapon the game throws your way. Sheva can be used as a mule in singleplayer, but in co-op, it becomes an even bigger issue, as both of you tend to have full inventories with important stuff. If you can get around this flaw however, RE5 plays quite perfectly.

It also has some great enemies. You'll face off against standard zombies, (though the game never labels them as such) but some great bosses join the mix as well. The bosses are all gruesome and well-made, and I had a great time fighting each and every one of them.

Some really quite fantastic graphics round out the mix of awesome
This game is a technical beast. As mentioned, the game features unbelievable real-time cutscenes that feature some of the best facial expression since Metal Gear Solid 4. It's really nice to see--albeit a load time later--that the playable game looks exactly the same. Environments are expertly crafted, and there's quite a variety of them as well. You'll start out in a shantytown, move on to swamps and Tomb Raider-like underground ruins (with matching puzzles) and finish in Metal Gear Solid 2's lab environments. They all look fantastic too. The models are great too, and Capcom knows this, as they've included a model viewer that allows you to view the enemies and heroes from extremely upclose, at which point you realise they are extremely well-done.

Figurines galleries aren't the only things unlockable in the game either. While I beat the game on normal in slightly under 8 hours the first time through, a bevy of unlockables greeted me after the credits. Mercenaries makes a glorious return, and infinite ammo is great as well. There are plenty of other things here as well, and completionists will be busy for quite some time unlocking and beating everything there is to see in this game.

In short, RE5 succeeds. It doesn't reinvent the wheel for the franchise, but it didn't need to. If you liked RE4, you'll probably love RE5.


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