Here we go Resident Evil 5! The pioneer survival horror franchise returns but far from the dead. Running fresh off the heels of the successful and modernized RE4, the 5th official installment chronicling the various strains of viral/parasitic evils aims to kill. And it pulls it off with style.
Returning character Chris Redfield is in Africa, investigating some weird occurrences (are there any other kind)? He eventually finds his partner for the rest of the game in Sheva Alomar, a new character to Resident Evil who can kick as much butt as anyone... almost (sorry no spoilers). Needless to say, infected people start coming out the woodwork with chainsaws, chain guns and motorcycles to ruin your day and it's up to you the player to put them down and foil the evil plan of whoever is lurking in the background. Pretty standard stuff. The way this is executed however is classic Resident Evil, creepy corridors, frightening villages, and there is always SOMETHING just around the corner. The story unfolds in a pretty predictable manner, you learn why the hell your in Africa, who it is causing all this stuff, and of course you have to defeat them. What little plot twists there are are painfully obvious thanks to the first official teaser that was released a long time ago.
As with any RE game, the enemies in 5 are just as intriguing, gruesome, and straight up cool. The bulk of them are of course African villagers, obviously infected with the Plaga from RE4, unfortunately Leon Kennedy isn't around to help you with that. Other enemies can be brutal and terrifying. Chainsaw guys and giant axe-men will make you wish you could roady run like in Gears of War. Other, more monstrous enemies do appear but like I said twice previously, no spoilers.
The gameplay is standard RE4 stuff. Over-the-shoulder and laser-guided gunplay is how you will spend most of your time dispatching enemies. Each character now also has their own set of melee moves which are very entertaining (and useful). If your a fan of RE4 then you should have no trouble jumping into this. The biggest irk I had with it was the inability to shoot/reload and move at the same time. I found it annoying and to me at least, it took me out of the overall experience. Dead Space proved without a doubt that a survival horror can be scary beyond reason even if the player has full movement during combat. Let me be clear, this is not a run-and-gun game. You will quickly walk around, stop, aim, shoot, walk some more, aim, shoot, walk some more, reload, repeat. That's pretty much the jist of it. RE5 doesn't seem to bother with new weapons either. There are a few but there isn't anything that wows you. The sniper rifle feels especially useless now, since there aren't any variants of Iron Maidens (sadly) or Regenerators. You may find use for it against a certain enemy, but for the other 99.9% of the game it feels unnecessary. This is a pretty old question and slightly off topic, but how exactly does a spray can heal you?
Co-op is a new concept in Resident Evil and the game does it well enough. If anything it makes the game less scary and I didn't really see a ton of things to do individually. Sure it helps coordinate attacks and defense when your playing with a friend but is it really necessary at all? I don't think so. Regardless of your opinion, the co-op system is solid. If your playing with AI you might have the occasional problem like them obscuring your view, or doing something ridiculous that gets you killed (but these occasions are rare).
The shop system is now done in between levels and deaths, it's nice when you need a helping hand. However, it is a shame that they didn't go in the way of bringing the shady dealer from RE4 back.
The graphics and frame rate are excellent. Not once did I spot any sort of pop-up, clipping, or slowdown. Each character model shimmers with beads of sweet, pulsating veins, glistening teeth, and/or violent blood spatter. Plainly put, the Resident Evil series has never looked so good. I could not find any differences on the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 versions.
I will also say that the game does a good job with variety. You'll find yourself in villages, ancient temples, speeding boats, car chases (guess whose being chased), and of course Resident Evil's staple underground lab facilities among many other locales. The game takes a good chunk of time to complete, and offers a high amount of replay value. You can spend days trying to get an S ranking on every level, collecting all the treasures, purchasing every upgrade, unlocking bonus costumes and obtaining cool little trophies, etc.
Mercenaries Mode is fun, just like in RE4. It features you the player with a character of your choice (there is a good variety to be unlocked) and your basically dropped into the middle of a bad situation. Your fighting against the bad guys and the clock. The objective is to stay alive for the remaining time whilst scoring as many points as possible via kills. You'll be chased, RELENTLESSLY. Fortunately, ammo is plentiful and you can shatter time capsules for more time and even get bonuses and points for higher strings of combos. And if all else fails, you have a knife, and a wicked right hook (that is, if you playing as Chris).
Overall Resident Evil 5 is a great game. It doesn't really bring a whole lot of new things to the survival horror genre but what it does do is bring a whole lot of already established elements and executes them all superbly. If anything else this should at least tide over survival horror fans until Left 4 Dead gets new downloadable content, or until then next DOOM, Dead Rising or Dead Space comes out. Needless to say, Resident Evil fans will be pleased for a long, long time. Still, I can't give the game a perfect 10 because the combat is just so sluggish to me. I'll probably receive a ton of hate mail, but this is my review, my opinion, and that one little gripe is enough to bring it down a few notches. But seeing as to how everyone has probably already played this game themselves, I think it hardly matters what I say to begin with (if you haven't played this game yet, you should).
Resident Evil 5 is rated M for Mature for blood and gore, intense violence and strong language. It is brought to you by the fine folks at Capcom.