Resident Evil 5

Capcom delivers another fantastic chapter in the Resident Evil universe.

Classic horror series Resident Evil can only be reinvented so many times and no, this is not a reinvention of the series like Resident Evil 4 was, but it is still an awesome game that every fan of the series should play. Some people may be put off by the controls, but anyone who sticks with it should find them very well made and functional. The main complaint most people have with the game is that you can’t move and shoot, but, in all reality, you don’t need to in most situations. Resident Evil works really well, and most action fans should have a blast playing through it.

The story finally takes us back to the original tale that leads to the discovery of where the virus originated. The beginning of the story takes place in Kijuju, Africa, and begins with the original hero Chris Redfield driving an army hummer to meet his contact. Chris arrives to a town that doesn’t exactly have warm feelings for Americans. Their stares of general dislike of his being there are clearly displayed, which help to set up a sense of tension. Chris and his new partner Sheva move across the town to meet up with his contact in a butcher shop, and that is where the game truly begins. After getting weapons, they are really thrown into the thick of the action as your first real fight is against an entire village of infected, including an axe wielding executioner who becomes the first mini-boss for you to challenge. The opening scene is expertly crafted and really gets you engaged straight into the experience.

Ever since the fourth, Resident Evil has been moving away from the horror genre and more towards an action game with horror qualities, which some people may not be a huge fan of, but I think is for the best. I’m going to be honest when I say that my heart still got pumping a little faster when I was face to face with a chainsaw wielding enemy in the middle of a reload animation. Scares come out of the game through the gameplay now instead of through scripted events. Taking out the mass of infected and all the strange creatures that go with them can be a tough experience; luckily you and Sheva are armed to the teeth with armaments that are a little more advanced than most of your enemy’s posses. While they are bringing axes, scythes, and maybe a crossbow or two, you are fighting back with an assortment of firearms like pistols, shotguns, and bolt-action sniper rifles.

The inventory system is back in full force from past games in the series. Both characters have nine slots to put whatever items they need in. So if you’re going at the game by yourself, your AI can function as a sort of pack mule by carrying everything you don’t need at the moment. No matter how big the item is, it only takes up one slot, unlike in RE4, where every item has different dimensions that take up different amounts of space. The old style inventory system and control scheme are two factors that some might look down upon, but, for me, they worked just fine and didn’t take anything away from the gaming experience.

Resident Evil 5 was very clearly built with co-op in mind. Having a real human there to watch your back is a great advantage even if it only means that you don’t have to break every one of the barrels and boxes you find lying around by yourself. There was a part in the game when I was playing it through by myself, though, when it hit me that not only does the co-op work but the AI for Sheva does too. We had to split up and go pull two different switches in the environment. After doing so, a cut scene triggered, and a bunch of enemies came swarming in. Without even thinking, my first instinct was not to fight the enemies right there; it was to immediately link back up with my partner so we could tackle them together. Even though my partner was controlled by an AI, I still tried to meet up with her and take down the enemies with someone watching my back. As soon as I realized what I did, it hit me that co-op and the AI work just fine. I have heard some stories of the AI not functioning properly in all situations, but my experience was largely undamaged by bad AI, and I have played through the game twice now and am working on my third play through.

While the original setting of the game is found in a swelteringly hot African village the environments do change throughout the course of the game. From the marshlands to seedy underground labs the shifts in environment do help keep the game looking fresh but you do kind of lose that African feel about halfway through. One thing you never lose though is the absolute visual fidelity that goes along with these locations. This is one superb looking game. From the way the sun just beats down on all the villagers as they go about their day in the opening scene, to the play of the sun off the water in the marshlands, this game looks stunning.

Once you finish the game for the first time you are nowhere near done with the game if you don’t want to be either. Capcom has done a great job of packing in a bunch of extra features after the game is complete. The unlockable Mercenaries mode has to be the best inclusion that adds the most life to the game. In this mode you race against the clock to kill as many enemies as you can, with multiple time extensions and a combo to try to keep going, this mode can be a lot of fun especially playing with other people. There is also a good amount of stuff to unlock in the single player game for multiple playthroughs. Every weapon in the game can have unlimited ammo after getting fully upgraded and there are several new unlockable weapons to be used as well.

All in all this a fantastic game that I know I will keep coming back to over and over again. The co-op implementation is great and the extra unlockable provides more than enough incentive to play the game through multiple times. If the controls don’t bother you, anybody can have a great time playing through this adventure.