"Resident Evil 5" - A Good, Though Dated Experience
(This review is originally from www.montyboggs.com)
After the critical success that “Resident Evil 4” was in 2005, people have been clamoring for Capcom to make the next game in the series. “Resident Evil 4” surprised fans by changing the direction of the series and third-person shooters in general with the brand new “over-the-shoulder” point of view. Four years have passed and Capcom has finally released the game’s follow-up, “Resident Evil 5.”
“Resident Evil 5” continues with the story that was started in its predecessor, but not in the way one might think. The story does not follow (or even mention) “Resident Evil 4” protagonist, Leon Kennedy. Instead, the game follows Chris Redfield, who was from the original “Resident Evil” game. Chris is now a member of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance, BSAA for short. He is sent to Kijuju, Africa in order to capture Ricardo Irving with the help of a fellow agent who is local to the area named Sheva Alomar.
The introduction of Sheva adds the biggest change to gameplay from the fourth game. Capcom has put a co-operative gameplay option into “Resident Evil 5.” This is the clear highlight of the game for a couple of reasons. First, because “popping caps” into infected (a.k.a. zombies) with a buddy (either online or split-screen) is always fun. Secondly, because if you don’t use the integrated co-op option then you’re stuck with computer A.I. and that is a less fun alternative. The A.I. given to Sheva is very conservative in nature and that leaves you to do most the work. For example, Sheva’s default option is to always use the handgun. In some situations where you are being attacked by a massive group of enemies, a handgun is not the best weapon of choice. Sheva’s main use as an A.I. partner is mainly to hold all the items that the player wants to use.
Chris and Sheva each have their own inventory menu. There are options that encourage player’s to trade and swap items with their partner. Keeping this inventory organized can be a hassle at times. The game saves you from having to access the menu every time the player wishes to swap weapons with the addition of hotkeys on the D-pad. This minor change was a huge improvement from weapon swapping in previous games in the series. It was a nessecary change because going to the inventory screen does not pause the game anymore, the enemies will keep on approaching you while you panicly fumble through your inventory.
As mentioned earlier, “Resident Evil 5” keeps the gameplay mechanics found in the fourth game intact. This choice comes with both good and bad consequences. The good part is “Resident Evil 4” was a very fun and innovative game. The bad part is that is was innovative four years ago. Virtually every third-person-shooter after “Resident Evil 4” has used the “over the shoulder” view. Not only that, but they have also added mechanics since then such as strafing while aiming. “Resident Evil 5” uses all the old mechanics found in its predecessor without adding any of the mechanics that other games have added since. Be prepared for not being able to move while shooting. This choice leaves the gameplay feeling a little dated, though still fun.
The story in the game helps give one oversight of the dated gameplay however. One doesn’t have to be a “Resident Evil” aficionado to appreciate the story. The cutscenes make this game feel just like a summer blockbuster action movie. Capcom also did a very good job at explaining the nessecary components from previous games to a new player (Usually by Sheva asking Chris about what is happening) while leaving small little bits that only the hardcore fans will catch and appreciate. The story also fluctuates to only tell the player the amount they want to know. If the player only wants the “bullet points” of the plot, they can just watch the cutscenes. If the player wants more detail, however, they can read the optional documents scattered throughout the game. You also unlock files on characters and events from the entire series at different points in the game. Not force-feeding every detail the player in a very effective manner while still having a very engaging story, is what makes this good game become great.
The incredible graphics in this game make the cutscenes look as good as they feel to watch. The explosions are top-notch. They add to the destructive feel of the game and frankly look awesome. Seemingly minor things like the lighting from sunsets will make this game’s environment incredibly vibrant at times, while dark areas feel like they are filled with danger and adds a spooky feeling to the game at other times. To sum it up, “Residnet Evil 5” is one of the better looking games of this generation.
Apart from the “story mode,” “Resident Evil 5” has very little else to offer. After beating the game you do unlock a “Mercenaries Mode” (basically a 2-minute killfest that gives you a score on a leaderboard), but that will not add much to the longevity of your total playing time on this game. After once, maybe twice, through the story mode you will be done with the game. Keeping that in mind, “Resident Evil 5” would make for a great rental or a very good purchase.