Hands down the best sequel I have played!
Where should I start in this review? Since there are many topics about the gameplay, controversy, and blah blah blah, I'm just going to flat out say it. Resident Evil 5 is an excellent game in many ways. While its focus mainly is more of an action-oriented game instead of the survivial-horror game it still can provide the tension that you love from the franchise.
The story now focuses on Chris Redfield and now has to investigate the virus that sends him all the way to Africa. In Africa he soon meets the femme fatale Sheva Alomar, who sticks with Chris throughout the game and assists you in many ways. Overall Sheva is a solid addition to the game as her voice acting is pretty good and isn't the type of female character that gets on your nerves, and trust me that is a good thing. Now the virus has turned the village of Kijuju into a death trap as the villagers have become hostile. Now Chris and Sheva must investigate what happened and who did it. The story will take to plenty of locations like villages, towns, caves, etc. as the game progresses which is nice compared to Resident Evil 4 because RE4 pretty much traveled into 3 main locations. The overall storyline isn't too shabby and closes up nicely, while the dialogue isn't exactly award-winning, it still has moments where I'm going "whoa...".
Now the location of the game is something that brings controversy, Africa. Now for those that aren't informed, controversy is about the debate whether killing of the African villagers that become infected and hostile is racist for killing them. Now there are two ways of percieve this. The mainstream media would most likely percieve the game as a white male raiding a village, killing black people, and stealing all their treasure to upgrade their weapons to kill even more. THIS IS NOT THE CASE!!!!!!!
Here is a numbered list of why this game is not racist:
1. The enemies are hostile and will attack and cannot negotiate with them.
2. The overall story arc is leads to Africa and just didn't place them in there for the hell of it.
3. This is a game for goodness sakes, get over it. (1st Amendment FTW!)
I mean sure there are some stereotypes in the game but it really isn't racist at all.
Now for the game mechanics of RE5 are changed but not completely; the shooting is still the same in that you cannot strafe and have to aim and shoot with a laser sight. While many will complain that you cannot strafe in the game but in a way I'm really glad that it didn't go in that direction because if was a standard cover it would a mediocre experience. Actually at a certain point can take cover in certain places in the game, however, its isn't like Gears of War in that you can strafe around cover but its a nice touch to it. Overall I'm glad that they perserved the core shooting mechanics that Resident Evil 4 excellent because it keeps it from being run-of-the-mill shooter. If you want to play a game with run and gun controls, look for another game.
Resident Evil 4 had an attache case used to store items and can be upgraded but this is gone in favor of having a set number of slots, you cannot upgrade the number of spaces so you have to be careful what you carry with you. This applies to ammo, grenades, weapons, and healing items; for example, your gun takes one spot and you ammo takes another spot so you can't carry very many weapons because the ammo type takes a space as well. Accessing your items in the game is also set in real time which luckily the D-pad can be utilized to quick select an item. There is also a wide variety of weapons at your dispsal such as machine guns, pistols, shotguns, etc and these can be upgraded as well; don't worry about space for storing those weapons because every time you complete a level, die, select from your menu, etc. there is a item management screen that you use to store things in an inventory in order to make room.
Another game mechanic that they decided to add is the addition of Co-op gameplay which is an excellent and best addtion to the game! Co-op is set up that you do have to rely on each other in order to accomplish certain objectives. For example, you have to help give a player a boost up to a ledge in order to acquire an item and stuff like that. Another mechanic added is the Dying state, when you run out of health, instead of dying, you go into a state that you are badly wounded and cannot shoot and so you must have your partner resuscitate you back to normal. Although this kind of depends how you play it because the experience is pretty different depending if you play on your own or with another player either via splitscreen or over Xbox Live.
On your own, you have an Partner AI with you and its solid but not perfect. The AI is quite vigilant about healing and recovering you from a dying state and giving you ammo that you need. Overall it does a good job except if you put it on Attack mode then they will shoot random enemies with little priority and chews up your ammo without thinking. Over all they are useful as a pack mules as well but over all AI does an alright job at saving your behind. As with a partner it really changes the experience because you have another person and makes some situation tougher or easier depending if you actually work together. I would like to add that a headset is a must in this game because you need to keep constant contact with each other in order to just survive to a voice communication is an absolute must. Even though its not required, its essential that you have one in order to have a closer watch with each other backs.
Another strong aspect of the game is the unparallelled graphics in the game; I have never seen a game look so beautiful since Crysis and Gears of War 2. The textures are very excellent, the facial motions are very convincing and along with good acting really makes this game look it best. The animations are excellent as well as you run, stop and shooting, along with switching weapons are seamless. Even the transitioning of the cutscenes are mere seconds and flow really well with the action. Loading times are also quite short makes this game a very smooth game. The lighting of certain parts also gives it some creepy moments as well so it all just fits together quite well with the atmosphere. Overall this game is well polished.
This game is truly a wonderful game however it depends on your perspective of the game itself. As a survival-horror game it does a somewhat fairly decent job it of creating tension in the game but it will be disappointing for those looking for a horror game that the past games have been. As an action game however, it truly succeeds by adding many twists and turns in your way. While the game is about 12-14 hours depending on the difficulty you set it on, it has such a high replayability that I'm most likely still playing this game after I write this review with added modes and unlockables. Is this game a revolutionary game compared to Resident Evil 4??? Nope, not even close. However this hands down one of the best sequels that I have had a pure joy playing with its great storyline, graphics, and mechanics. While it isn't the perfect or revolutionary game, it still is a blast from beginning to end and soon as the credits ended, I immediately played from the beginning. This is truly a game that is worth buying because you will get alot of bang for your buck!