Dissapointing and surprisingly generic yet still addictingly fun.
Game series hardly ever manage to really last forever, besides a notable few most of gamings top franchises have either simply hit over to the retirement home or have began to delve into mediocrity and more or less becomes a nuisance to the gaming world.
Resident Evil 5 isn't exactly either. Its certaintly showing its age and lack of innovation yet still has plenty of energy left which does transend into its highly addictive latest outing.
RE5 reunites classic RE fans ((and introducing the RE4 fanatics)) to its own leading man, Chris Redfield. Paired up with his new partner, Sheva Alomar, he is sent in to Africa to investigate an apparent BOW deal happening in the small community of Kujiju.
Its not long before we are all swept into familair territory.
As its very evident if not thanks to the plenty of trailers, but also from the early lines in nearly ever professional review, RE5 is not survival horror, infact its hardly even a horror game at that anymore. Wether its hard to guess if this is the route CAPCOM have decided or if RE5's own themes have just strayed a lil too far than they expected, RE5 is completely devoid of scares. It has its tense moments but overall its all about getting the players adrenaline rushing off the charts.
RE5 plays out very similairy to its predeccesor RE4. You control Chris, or Sheva, through an over the shoulder view with the possible ability to observe your surroundings as far as Chris/Sheva's neck may allow.
Just like RE4 too, you aim your weapons through a close up look to the shoulder using the convenient laser thats equipped on every weapon. Both characters also have themselves a knife which can be selected by but one button.
Upon certain conditions, Chris and Sheva may also unleash some painful looking melee attacks too.
If your waiting for any new gameplay mechanics your out of luck, theres practically no serious addition to the gameplay at hand. Besides of course the coop system. Which in its own right is a nice addition, adding in some extra fun to be had with a friend but at the same timr sacrificing any possible horror potential.
RE4 may have dryed up all of the fear due to your overpowered arsenal but still being on your own for the most part could still give you a slight chill wondering if anythings behind you.
RE5 and having Sheva with you at all times basically leaves all possible shocks extinct.
None the less, the coop aspect of it all works pretty well. Together Chris and Sheva can combine melee attacks and will also fairly often have to work together to get past some obstacles.
They can heal each other now with but a single healing item and if one happens to reach the ''dieing'' stage the other character can quickly administer a shot to bring them back.
Chris and Sheva truelly do have to rely on each other, since on their own this mission would be pretty impossible.
Sheva being a constant companion gives her all the same strengths and weakness' as Chris. She can die just as easily herself and will of course need her own weapons to defend herself with.
Depending on the AI or human player she is certaintly a versatile allie. While she can vary from being a total meatheaded moron to a true heroine of a partner, the AI at least gives you a pretty reliable Sheva.
Sheva's (or possibily Chris) AI will still get on some players nerves, but IMO shes still some of the best none-invincible friendly AI I've come across. She will use melee attacks when the opportunity arises and is pretty good aim with most weapons. She'll never hesitate to heal you or to hand you ammo that she believes you need.
It does feel like this AI wants to complete the game just as much as you do.
She still does have her problems of course, for one if given a handgun, she'll just brand every other weapon inferior and simply fire away with her 9mm. Which is all fine against the usual horde of Majini but pretty questionable when facing against a giant worm filled mess of a BOW. She also will never throw grenades and can sometimes get confused with how to manage her inventory, specially if you two happen to share two of the same type of weapon.
But as far as I'm concerned the small nuisances don't match up to her prowess as a loving partner :P.
How the coop plays into gameplay though isn't as inventive as you'de expect. Theres not really many of the duo puzzles and the ones that do exist are simply ''one character turn crank so other can go forward...''
Sometimes however Chris and Sheva will get seperated. Its those occasions that are some of the best in the game for me. While one character will have to carry on to wherever, the other is to provide support. Its incredibly tense in these sections, for both characters. Since on their own if in the dieing state equals certain death.
Overall the coop is implemented well, though isn't fully fledged and could of been made much more innovative. None the less its still an excuse to experience RE4 like gameplay but with a friend.
But the gameplay overall is fairly mixed. Most of the complaints surge from no moving while shooting. Which is pretty noticable in this day and age with games like Dead Space perfecting the over the shoulder horror gameplay style. I for one wasn't fazed so much and in fact did give an occasional ''horly ****'' when say struck from behind.
Later on in the game Chris and Sheva will be able to take cover behind certain objects. Though its incredibly flawed bordering on the ridiculous. You can go behind cover and pop out, but thats all. You can't shimmy along the cover, blind fire or even quickly roll to another piece. Its incredibly underwhelming, can lead to frustration and is simply a failed attempt at entering RE higher up into the action genre.
Strangly you may only take cover in specific situations, not like it matters however since whenever you feel you need to take cover you'll regain the ability take cover.
The difficulty of it all is not bad. Four different difficulties with the final fourth being pretty damn cruel. On the standard three though, espiecally if you have 2 experienced players, the game can be a slick n smooth cakewalk. The AI's occasional low points may add some difficulty at certain times but overall RE5 isn't all ''that'' challenging.
What is certaintly a tough task is finding the hidden BSAA emblems.
Theres 30 located throughout the campaign, some will be blatantly advertised in front of you while others are incredibly well hidden. It is a nice touch to give in some collectibles but the fact that they respawn upon on every playthrough is annoying. Luckily however, as the game is now split into chapters similair to a DMC game, you may check to see how many you've shot down per chapter and how many is left.
A real time inventory ((and much limited inventory space too)) pile on some extra tension too, with you fiddling about in you inventory it can be quite a rush to quickly have you heal yourself just before the enemy arrives. Theres also a handy ability to macro items/weapons to the d-pad buttons so you may switch through your fav four with just the tap of the d-pad direction.
Some memorable boss fights and one exhilirating turret sequence finish up pretty much all the gameplay has to offer. The boss fights are all fun to fight through though not all that difficult, it still holds a strong flame to the past RE boss' however and the coop aspect adds all the more strategy to finishing them off.
The sound of it all much like past RE entrys is very well done. The soundtrack much like the rest of the game incorporates some fast paced themes to accompany the past faced action and the sound effects too are all very well done.
Voice acting this time is certaintly a truimpth also, both Chris and Sheva are very likable characters and on Chris' behalf should finally start getting the recognition as a character thats he deserves.
Matched with the excellent voice acting is the story. Its has its problems and actually contradicts what early previews suggested, but its overall enjoyable and definatly raps up alot of the branching RE arks. The script this time around is pretty good and certaintly matchs up to some star studded action flick with Wesker notably giving a grand performance and all the more reason for everyone to have him on their favourite characters list.
While the sound is a high quality detour from what RE is used to and the gameplay is a very mixed affair. one thing that can only be praised is its graphics. It could well be the greatest looking multi-platform game so far. The characters models all animate fantastically especially speaking for the majini during their pummeling from Chris' melee attacks. The enviroments too all emit its appropiate beauty with the shiny african village showing you plenty of shanty towns and reflections from the sun to an Indiana Jones esque hidden temple filled with weeds and musty debris in every direction all with the sun giving its grace from a gaping hole in the top.
Graphically theres no flaws from what I could see, besides an occasional pop-in and some frame-rate issues during some more intense scenes in split-screen, but there easy to overlook with RE5's own standard high quality graphics.
The game as a whole is rich with replay value, which is fortunate considering its much shorter than the epic length of RE4. This time usually taking around 11 hours on your first go. The replay value of it makes up for that though. The BSAA emblems to the huge assortment of weapons to buy, upgrade and massacre with. Unlockable costumes and also playing as both Sheva and Chris in single player offer alot of the campaign to keep you occupied.
Now becoming a trademark for RE, the Mercenaries minigame makes its gracious return. Now improved upon immensly from RE4 with a great deal more levels, coop availablity and also leaderboards to show off your scores too. Lack of characters however is a shame but may still be made up for with DLC.
RE5 can be hard to decipher just what CAPCOM are aiming for, theres basically no horror anymore yet it still feels lacking in terms of an action game. It contains little of RE's signature gameplay and whats left is actually what needed to improve upon.
But it still manages to become highly addictive and with plenty of incentive to spend this addiction with a friend.
Its more or less a harcore RE fans nightmare, but anyone who can look past all of its shortcoming in terms of a horror game can find themselves with a damn pretty looking and intense coop experience, limitless ammo and an armory of weapons to shoot it all from.