Resident Evil 5 Review

Player(s): 1-2 (online or local [local through split screen])
Extra Features: Online play through PSN or Xbox LIVE, Leaderboards, Download Content

Ever since the trailer shown at E3 2005, Resident Evil 5 has been the center of attention for many hardcore Resident Evil fans. E3 2006 basically set the standards for what to expect from this new Resident Evil and the following gaming conventions added the introduction of a new lead character along with the main character and co-op play. A vast majority of new trailers and gameplay videos have been surfacing for the past few months along with some very clever marketing schemes by Capcom dealing with building up hype for Resident Evil 5's release.

The trailers do not lie one bit about this Resident Evil having a story suited for hardcore fans of the series. There are some things you will find out about the series' past that will completely blow you away while answering some of the more elusive story aspects that were only hinted upon in the older games. Resident Evil 5 does a very good job of pulling together aspects from Resident Evil 4 and the more classic Resident Evil games. Las Plagas (Resident Evil 4) and the Progenitor virus (pre-Resident Evil) are the main focus of the story along with a few new additions.

It also showcases the return of a few older fan favorite characters such as Albert Wesker and another very popular character that has been missing from the Resident Evil storyline for far too long. One of the most elusive Resident Evil characters of all time is actually given a face and a voice in Resident Evil 5 as well. The reoccurring theme of "partner" is one of the major story elements in Resident Evil 5's narrative and it succeeds in bringing in some pleasing emotional depth to the overall story. I've always deemed Resident Evil: Code Veronica X as my personal favorite Resident Evil because of its overall story and characters, but Resident Evil 5 comes close in dethroning it from a story aspect.

The first major change one will definitely notice about Resident Evil 5 when compared to its predecessor is the impressive overall leap in graphics. This game is overflowing with high production value in many ways but the high resolution appearance is quite a sight to behold. The character models are all life-like and detailed. Even though we all know Chris Redfield has near perfect genes, you can see minor skin imperfections such as freckles if you look closely at his arm while controlling him. Character outfits are detailed enough to show stitching in the fabric from close range.

Backgrounds showcase some impressive lighting effects throughout the game as well. There is one sewer area in particular that gradually gets darker as your character moves toward the middle of the tunnel then slowly gets a bit brighter as an opening is reached. Shadow effects are lifelike as well such as seeing realistic character shadows as they move by an area with sunlight peaking or simply seeing the shadow of a crow that is flying overhead.

 

Resident Evil 4 had some pretty impressive battles, but Resident Evil 5's boss battles blow them out of the water. The boss battles about midway through the game onward are quite a sight to behold. Some of them are more shooter-based than normal but all of them feel unique and left me really excited throughout the battle. Being a hardcore Resident Evil fan, there is one boss fight in particular that left me extremely giddy throughout the whole battle since I couldn't believe what I was seeing unravel before my eyes.

The overall game plays much like Resident Evil 4 for the most part. It has plenty of newly added melee attacks that can be performed on an enemy by shooting and stunning it in a certain way. Resident Evil 5 even changes some of the melee attacks depending on the side of the enemy that your character is facing. There are even some tag team melees that require teamwork and these can be fun to try for while playing with a partner.

With melee attacks and many other actions, Resident Evil 5 still uses Resident Evil 4's button prompt command system where a button will appear in order to perform a certain action depending on the object, obstacle or enemy in front of your character. This works pretty well for the most part but there were still times where I'd accidentally perform a command that I didn't want to because my character stepped out of a certain detection area for a button prompt command. This is still only a minor issue though, just as it was in Resident Evil 4.

Slightly early in the game, a button prompt cover system is introduced where a character can stick to a wall with a tap of the action button. The cover system plays out much like it was in a certain part of Resident Evil 4 where Leon could take cover from enemies that tossed dynamite at him. Resident Evil 5 greatly intensifies the need to take cover as the game progressed however and the slight cover feature in Resident Evil 4 is given much more emphasis making its flaws more showcased. When your character takes cover behind a wall, that character cannot move along that wall at all, which can be a slight annoyance when you just want to simply move to the other side of the wall to get better aim. With that said, the button prompt cover feature matches the gameplay setup that Resident Evil 5 still maintains from its predecessor but a slight bit of enhancement over the old feature would have made it feel much better.

The game still uses the classic Resident Evil tank controls but loosens them just as much as Resident Evil 4 and provides the player with the same over-the-shoulder view perspective that we are now familiar with. Resident Evil 5 has four different control setups. It uses the classic Resident Evil 4 control style and a new style with a sidestep, a shoulder firing button, and the use of the right analog for turning. The two other control types blend these two together for a mix of the two controls. If you're starting this game right after having played Dead Space then Control Type D is most likely going to be the one for you, but if you're entering the game after having just played Resident Evil 4 then you'll most likely want to continue on using Control Type A's more traditional setup.

In Resident Evil 5, you play the main game with one completely controllable character and a partner. The AI partner in single player is both a blessing and a curse. My main gripe with the partner system in single player is the limited amount of control you have over your partner. Only two commands can be issued to a partner - Attack and Cover. Under the "Cover" command, your AI partner sticks close to your main character and equips the least powerful weapon in the partner's current inventory. When in "Attack" mode, the partner will equip the most damaging weapon in the character's arsenal and the AI will be more aggressive and go off on its own to do battle with enemies or find items. Thankfully, whether online or offline, you can keep track of your partner through a mini map which can be displayed on the side of the screen.