After Resident Evil 4 took a bold and successful venture into a different genre, any sequel that looks remotely similar was destined to be a very hyped game. Resident Evil 5’s hype went beyond that of Resident Evil 4. The trailers that were showed off the gameplay that many came to adore after playing Resident Evil 4, and got people very excited for the game. After a less than amazing demo was released, the full game is now available. Is Capcom’s latest effort as good as Resident Evil 4, or does it fall short of expectations?
Chris Redfield from the original Resident Evil returns for RE5. Chris now works for the B.S.A.A, and travels to Africa. It is there that she meets Sheva Alomar, who accompanies him on his mission. Chris and Sheva are sent by a nearby butcher to track down Irving, a man who is involved with a potentially deadly threat named Uroboros. While going to find Irving, he finds a wounded Alpha Team member who has some extracted data relating to Irving’s whereabouts. While examining the data Chris finds a picture of his old partner, Jill Valentine. So, Chris and Sheva set off to destroy the threat of Uroboros, and to try and find Jill Valentine in the process. The story is by no means amazing, but it will keep you interested, and you’ll want to observe the story’s progression.
The gameplay feels very similar to that of RE4. This has caused numerous complaints with the game, but there’s really no need to worry; the formula first demonstrated in RE4 shows no signs of becoming stale in RE5. This being said, the fact that nearly none of the, albeit minor, advancements in the third-person shooter genre were added into the game is dissappointing.
The controls of RE4 (using the gamepad) are perfected in RE5. While the lazer in RE4 felt a bit slow, it seems a little bit faster in RE5, which is helpful when there are as many enemies as there are in RE5. The Left Trigger is used to aim, and the Right Trigger is used to fire. You could argue that it’s used in every 360 game, but it’s used in every 360 game for a reason: because it’s perfect for the 360 controller. There’s no shame in copying shooting controls if they work perfectly.
RE4 was the first step into the third-person shooter genre, and RE5 pushes it further into the action genre. There are still signs of the Survival Horror genre, but they are much less apparent as they were in RE4. Whether you like it or not, the scary and chilling environments such as those seen in RE4 are gone. There is one location in particular which looks very dark and chilling, which would look more suited to the Survival Horror game. Unfortunately, it is only used to host one boss battle, and then Chris and Sheva wander off. Dissappointing.
The game now gives you a cover system. Later in the game, there are gun weilding enemies, and the mechanic actually becomes necessary. A pity, because the cover system is a really ‘Meh’ affair. You’ll simply put your back towards the cover, and either ready your weapon or get out of cover. If Capcom had worked much harder on the cover system, while not making it a core mechanic, it could have easily been awarded a higher score.
Now, there is a big emphasis on co-operative play. Obviously, no matter how advanced the technology used in video games become, A.I will never be perfect. Sheva can get the job done, but the A.I could be a lot better. In Gears of War (just an example) the A.I for your partner was bad, but you didn’t need to rely on them that much. In RE5, it’s a huge mechanic, which is let down by Sheva’s dodgy A.I! Sheva can take a shot at an enemy just as you have carefully aimed at the enemy’s head, and can just walk in the way and block your shots sometimes. She will also give you herbs when you don’t want herbs, and give you an item when you want to give her an item so you can eventually pick up another item. Unfortunately, the fact that she is not a human means that you can not strategically swap items with her. This is a minor problem, but it can be an annoyance. When grabbed by an enemy, your partner will be able to get the enemy off of you. There’s just one slight problem: Sheva rarely does this. However, when you’re health bar is displayed as Red, it will display the word ‘Dying’, and your partner can recussitate you by pressing the B button when nearby. This is one of the instances where she suddenly becomes helpful and rushes to your aid. Needless to say: playing in co-op is the preffered way to play through the game.
The inventory system in RE4 has been taken out, and replaced with a far more limited one. There are two inventories, one for you, and one for Sheva. The two inventories allow you to exchange different items. So, a wise thing to do would be to give your partner a fair share of guns and healing items. Each inventory has 9 spots for items. A certain amount of ammo for each gun can be held in 1 spot, and ammo can often be combined with guns as a method of reloading the guns. However, the yellow herbs are now gone. There can only be a mixture of Red and Green herbs or two Green herbs. The only small problem I have is that the inventory is much more lacking in space than in RE4. This will leave you running out of ammo very often, and causes an annoyance. Still, the limited inventory is the only element of the Survival Horror genre that I can recognize in RE5.
Once the game is completed, you will unlock the Mercenaries mode. Mercenaries is a very addictive mode, which adds a suprising amount of longevity to the game, and is a lot of fun. You will be contacted before the game begins saying that a chopper is on it’s way and will arrive in 2 minutes. You will have to kill as many enemies as possible before the chopper comes. Shooting many enemies in rapid succession will earn you some bonus points. To get more time, there’s a huge hourglass item which you can break, and this will normally add 30 or 60 seconds to the clock. You can unlock characters other than Chris and Sheva to play with, and each one has their own unique selection of weapons. The more time and more enemies, the higher your score, and the more you unlock!
RE4 was a game that pushed the hardware it had to work with to it’s graphical limits, and RE5 is no slouch in the graphics department either. The lighting is perfect, the textures are great and the world in RE5 is, at times, beautiful. The graphics are among the very best of this generation of consoles, and can be compared with the likes of Metal Gear Solid 4. The character animations are similar to those of RE4. In some cases, I think the developers copied some of the reaction from RE4 enemies and put it into RE5. One thing that needs to be applauded is the perfect replication of the Falcon Punch. Truly stunning. You are often playing outdoors in the game. As you’d expect from a game set in Africa, outdoors is a very tropical setting. You’re not just playing outdoors, though. You also play in temples, labs, and even aboard a ship. All of these locations look stunning.
The cutscenes in the game are also spectacular. The game features great choreography for fight scenes, and a return of the button mashing seen in RE4. You often have to mash buttons to sprint away from monsters, and to avoid weapons hurled at you by enemies. These type of cutscenes do not occur often, though.
The music in the game is also a sign of departure from the Survival Horror genre. While RE4’s music was spine-chilling and eerie, the music featured in RE5 doesn’t have a Horror theme at all. That’s not to say that the music is bad. It’s in fact the opposite. The music is great, and has a very epic feel to it, but it’s much more suited to the action genre than the Horror genre.
+ Astounding graphics
+ Huge replay value, despite the rather short single player.
+ The great RE4 gameplay fans came to love
- Nearly no advancements in the gameplay
- Sheva’s A.I is unimpressive
- The cover system isn’t very well implemented.
Note: Something that needs to be noted that I found rather odd is this whole racism row. Capcom did a good job of trying to avoid this in the first section, but then there’s an area where there are black people in tribes hald-naked running at you with spears. I’m not saying it’s racist, I’m just mentioning that bit because I found it hilarious when it was pointed out to me.