Platforms: XBox360 and PS3
Release Date: March 13, 2009
* “Panic” Horror
The air is dry and hot as step off the air conditioned plane. The dust from the scorched land is kicked up with each step, tinting the bottom hems of your pants a light orange color. Your glasses on your face reflect the sun’s glare as you gaze around you. You feel out of place as you see nothing but barren grasslands and sandy villages. It was definately a different scene from the busy urban surroundings you knew. A dark skinned man welcomes you with a smile and a hand shake as he steps up to you. Your converstation with him is brief as he explains that mission to you while hurrying you quickly to a jeep waiting for you in the shade. The man gives you a nod and a “good luck” as you settle in behind the wheel; the GPS sitting in the seat next to you informs you that your destination is only a few miles down a dirt road.
Time seems to pass by slowly as you drive silently through the Savannah. The turning feeling within your stomach and uneasiness that runs through you prevents you from enjoying the natural sights Africa had to offer. Even as you passed by herds of wild Zebra that seemed undisturbed by the loud roar of the engine, you could not bring yourself to focus on the beauty. Too many thoughts were running through your mind as the village before you comes into view. As you slowly drove through, the tension in the air seemed to worsen. Something in the air didn’t feel right…
A locked gate prevents you from driving onward more. A man holding a large machine gun stares at you through the window; a stern look was on his face as his eyes narrowed. You step out from jeep cautiously, keeping your eyes to yourself out of fear of contacting anyone eye to eye. Nervously, you run your hand through your hair as a woman approaches you. Unlike everyone else who glares at you from the shadows, she seems delighted to see you. Much like the man you met when you first got off the plain, she greets you with a smile and introduces herself in a polite, welcoming manner. You return with a firm shake and an introduction of your own. Despite never seeing her before in your life, you felt a small connection between you. Something told you that you could trust her and knowing what you were about to face, trust was the one thing you needed more than anything.
Resident Evil 5 picks up five years after Resident Evil 4 and a year after the CGI movie, Degeneration. Chris Redfield has returned as the main character after being one of the first recruits for a new bio weapons defense group called the Bio terrorism Security Assessment Alliance, or BSAA. Chris finds himself being selected for a mission taking him to a remote location in Africa due to the possible terrorist threat known as the Uroboros Project that is believed to be stationed somewhere near the village.
Chris teams up with another BSAA member, Sheva Alimar. The two are sent on a mission to retrieve some information regarding a man named Irvan, who is believed to be behind the project. However, Chris and Sheva soon discover that pieces of the Uroboros might have already escaped or be released as the local residents turn hostel towards them. Acting much like the Grandos from Resident Evil 4, a parasite has infected them creating a new wide spread threat for Chris and Sheva to face while the continue to discover the truth to the Uroboros as well as bring it to its end.
The story continues to unfold in gorgeous settings. The attention to detail is amazing both in the environments and in the characters. As you look around you, you quickly discover that Resident Evil 5 is surprisingly rich in color compared to other games that feel that realism only comes in shades of brown and gray. While the environments themselves feel a bit generic, shifting from villages to underground tunnels to laboratories, they still are amazing to look at. Pieces of ripped paper and dust blow in the wind as you wander around the villages with colorful clothing on both the characters and enemies as well as the buildings themselves. The setting sun over the landscape showed a sky exploding with oranges and yellows. Even the dank underground areas still offered something more to look at than brown dirt or silver metal, making the whole game feel a bit real since real life isn’t as colorless as most games present it to be.
Despite the beautiful settings, the animations and details on the characters have been among the best I’ve seen so far. You can see hair move with each movement or in the wind when standing still and you can even notice the different look in fabrics from each characters outfit. Resident Evil 5 graphically has improved on many things that other games struggled with. For once the skin on character bodies does not look like latex or plastic spread over a humanoid figure with even some cuts and scraps appearing on the body when attacked. The body portions are actually quite good despite Chris’ rather large arms. All of this mixed with very smooth animations brings us one of the best looking games to date done in amazingly choreographed scenes by an actual movie choreographed professionals.
An extremely cinematic feel is painted all over the game but not just from the scenes. The soundtrack’s quality is just as good. Mainly made up of orchestral arrangements, the soundtrack was done by the Hollywood Studio Symphony and conducted by Wataru Hokoyama who’s done tracks for a variety of independent films. The music fits well to the game’s scenes helping to intensify the feeling given as everything unfolds before you, making you feel slightly more immersed to what is going on.
Though solid audio cannot be complete without solid voice acting. Luckily Resident Evil 5 offers just that. Fans might recognize Roger Smith who played Curtis in Degernation as Chris or D.C Douglass who took over Wesker’s role in Umbrella Chronicles. Yet not all voices come from the past; Actress Karen Dyer offers a great Sheva. Between the cast, the voices fit extremely well to the characters and is improved with how well their acting is. Each actor and actress seems to be in their roles offering emotions that can easily be picked up by the changes in their voices. Over all, the script was very well written with only a few cheesy lines appearing here and there throughout the game.
Comments are tossed out between the characters as the player presses onward. Naturally, you can play by yourself with a A.I taking over for Sheva but generally, the A.I is a bit lacking. NPC Sheva will do a decent job as holding her own and helping to cover or heal you but she tends to make quite a few mistakes and often can be a bit of a hog. Luckily you are able to play with a friend via either online or same-system co-op. While you’re friend might still be as skilled as NPC Sheva, it’s obivous that Resident Evil 5 was made with the idea of working together in mind. Every aspect of the co-op is created quite well. Skilled players have the ability to split up yet the game doesn’t pull you apart if you don’t want to.
Unlike the demo, the final version offers a better way to handle the inventory. Co-op players can easily share items while those playing alone have a bit more control. Players are able to give NPC Sheva items and also request them as well. However, some complaints do arise from the fact that the action does not stop when you access the inventory like previous games. Players are able to tie items to each directing on the D-Pad but you will still find yourself opening it up in order to combined items or use an item that isn’t on the hot key. Personally, I small annoyance but overtime I learned to just organize my items in order to quickly access it if I needed to. Though you just have to hope that either your friend or the NPC can keep the enemies away from you.
A: Run/ Quick Turn/ Confirm
B: Co-op action
Left Analog Stick: Move
Right Analog Stick: Camera/ Aim
Left Trigger: Aim
Left Bumper: Ready Knife
Left Toggle: None
Right Trigger: Fire
Right Bumper: Display Map
Right Toggle: None
Back: Skip Cinema
D-Pad: Item Shortcut
Despite the addition with co-op, it’s obvious that Resident Evil 5 has strayed away from its roots. The game features plenty of tense, action based events with puzzles being very few and far between as well as being extremely simply. The game plays much like Resident Evil 4 with having an over the shoulder camera. A variety of button sequences pop up requiring both players, or sometimes just one, to hit the right combination in order to go through the scene without failing. Also like Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil 5 allows you to buy and upgrade weapons. Gold and treasures can be found hidden within each level that can then be sold at the end of the level for money. With the money, you are able to either buy new weapons which become unlocked as you find them or upgrade your existing weapons to their fullest. Allowing plenty of reasons to replay it.
Resident Evil 5 offers a few difficulty modes and multiple reasons, besides to re-experience the game with someone else. Figures and unlockable costumes become available by locating hidden bright blue BSAA badges throughout the game. Mercenaries mode returns with ten levels ranging from locations in the game and one “new” area. Four characters are available to use but there is a total of ten variations of them. Each character offers a different costume and a different selection of weapons to use.
Then there is the controversial downloadable multiplayer modes that have caused an uproar among the audience. Capcom has announced a Survival mode that seems to basically be a four player Mercenary as well as a four player Verus mode. However, these are only available if you purchase them when they are released…
Yet, a new gameplay mechanism has been added over the co-op and multiplayer: Covering. The covering system is quite simple. Unlike games like Gears of War, the player cannot cover anywhere and where ever. Only certain locations show up that allow you to duck behind a create or hide against a wall in order to better your chances of survival.
Speaking of survival…Some concerns have arisen regarding the fact that Resident Evil 5 seems to have dropped all elements of fear. While it is true that Resident Evil 5 doesn’t contain the cheap scare that had made the series popular, the game still offers reasons to get your heart pumping. I like to call games like this “panic horror” because a bit of you still gets jumpy but not because of cheap scares or creepy hallways. Instead, you will start to find your heart pumping at the sight of your partner getting surrounded but you being unable to do anything about it. Resident Evil 5 still contains the classic “stand and shoot” scheme that farther helps to build the panic feeling that thrives when you and your partner get separated.
In the end, Resident Evil 5 still offers solid gameplay with an extremely cinematic feeling to it. The co-op feature works very well with only a few minor issues when playing alone. It’s an enjoyable experience for both newcomers and diehard fans, even if the scares have subsided. It’s as obvious as day that Resident Evil 5 was developed with the fans in mind since the story offers some closure and events that fans have been waiting for. Needless to say, even if you do end up playing alone, you will not walk away feeling unsatisfied since the good things about Resident Evil 5 overshadow the few flaws the game has.
- Solid gameplay
- Beautiful, detailed graphics
- Amazing, cinematic feeling
- Enjoyable experience even if playing alone
- Well done soundtrack
- Good replay value
- Story is satisfying
- Overall was entertaining
- Can be frustrating
- Gameplay scheme might not please “action” fans
- Might not feel like “Resident Evil”
- Some modes require additional fees
* Panic horror: a horror sub-genre where the adrenaline rush comes from being overwhelmed with enemies and panicking over your partner’s safety as you see a unpreventable threat approach them and being unable to save them.
Examples: Left4Dead and Resident Evil 5