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Resident Evil 5

AT A GLANCE
  • Co-op campaign is immensely fun
  • Amazingly gorgeous visuals
  • After-game content is quite generous
  • You still have to stop to shoot
  • Lacks the mystery or suspense of RE4
  • A couple of really frustrating areas

Following in RE4’s footsteps, part five offers several damn good reasons to keep playing even after the credits have run their course. There’s The Mercenaries mode, which has you selecting a character and running through an area of your choice with a time limit, racking up combo kills for a high score (more or less as it was in RE4). It was supremely addicting four years ago and still retains that “just one more time” appeal, and now that your various records are (allegedly) trackable online, there’s even more incentive to squeeze every last second out of your timed assault.

Now here’s the utterly confusing bit – Mercenaries does not support online multiplayer. It has to be played split screen with someone sitting next to you. The entire campaign is co-op, so it’s correct to expect a simple shooting gallery mode would be online as well. Comparing scores on leaderboards is one thing, but we want to hook up with friends from all over, not force them into the same room. Stranger still is what the split screen actually looks like. Take a gander:


Above: Wha?

Several other 360 games offer split screen play, but none we can think of shrink the screen and present each player in an off-center window. It’s a little distracting at first and doesn’t make any sense at all, but at least it’s not horribly distracting.

Update: We have confirmed with Capcom that Mercenaries mode will be online at launch via a free downloadable patch. Also revealed are other new multiplayer modes. These additions do not affect our 9/10 score, but do remedy one of our concerns. See you online!

Then there’s the densely populated Library, which is packed with ultra-detailed, Smash Bros.-style figurines and hundreds of pages explaining every character, every virus, every company we could think of. It’s a wonderful tome of knowledge for anyone enraptured with RE’s labyrinthine story, though the presentation is dull as can be – just text on a bland, boring background.


Above: Content!

Add in the requisite silly costumes and hidden weapons (which we dare not spoil, that’s half the fun) and there’s definitely more to do than wade through the surprisingly straightforward story. But, as we’ve alluded to throughout the review, it’s all stuff RE4 did quite well, so ultimately…

From top to bottom, RE5 is a copy of its groundbreaking predecessor. The enemies animate similarly, some of the bosses are clearly one-upped versions of RE4 favorites and the weapons are pretty much identical. Trouble is, the moments meant to pay homage to RE4 lack weight, because there’s no mystery, no suspense at all. Compare fighting the fish boss in RE4:


Above: Leon on a leaky boat, with hand-thrown spears

With the aquatic boss in RE5:


Above: Chris and Sheva on a cruiser with machine guns and rocket launchers

It’s the same general idea, but ratcheted up to high hell and stripped of surprise. There’s no spooky “why are the villagers acting this way?” atmosphere, your partner is a highly trained specialist instead of a helpless girl and the story exists only to give Chris and Sheva a reason to strap on more ammo. It’s still damn good fun, and extremely recommended for co-op, but feels like a Hollywood-ized take on the RE4 experience with a few (much appreciated) control improvements and admittedly gorgeous visuals.

Then there’s the matter of the alleged “racism” that’s followed RE5 since its African setting was revealed. Amidst all the screens and videos you may have noticed Majini enemies wearing grass skirts, brandishing tribal masks and giant spears. In-game excuse or no, they could be the subject of much discussion, far more than the images that’ve already caused a stir. If you’re dead set on pursuing this topic, consider this article on the subject.

 

Gears of War 2? It’s on par in overall excitement, with plenty of bloody spectacle and gleeful ways to annihilate your enemies. Neither are scary, yet are populated with nightmarish creatures that, in a proper horror setting, would have us reaching for the light switch. Multiplayer belongs to Gears though.

 

Dead Space? It borrowed heavily from RE4, but not as much as RE5 – Dead Space was at least filled with a few cool new ideas that made it stand as its own game. Plus it’s a lot more forgiving with aiming and attacking, unlike a certain sequel we happen to be reviewing right now (you still can’t walk while holding a knife!). These two are very close, but we can agree that Space’s solo is stronger, while RE5’s co-op makes it just a bit better.

Silent Hill Homecoming? We’re only putting this here because these two series used to be bitter rivals and comparisons are bound to be made. But it’s just not applicable anymore, as Silent Hill embraces its clumsy horror background and strives to provide a genuinely unsettling, disturbing story, while, as we’ve mentioned to death, RE5 is more like Gears with a few switch puzzles.

 

Resident Evil 4 taught the industry so much, and in turn we expected RE5 to at least learn from what others have since added to those accomplishments. Instead, it jams the series full of gasoline-enriched testosterone, keeps outdated inventory and control ideas and refuses to admit the franchise is now more action-adventure than survival horror. Don’t let the negatives fool you though – it’s still one of the best balls-to-the-wall co-op excursions you can buy.

More Info

Release date: Mar 13 2009 - PS3, Xbox 360
Sep 15 2009 - PC (US)
Mar 13 2009 - PS3, Xbox 360
Sep 18 2009 - PC (UK)
Available Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Genre: Action
Published by: Capcom
Developed by: Capcom
Franchise: Resident Evil
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
PEGI Rating:
18+

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  • tororosso - May 1, 2010 12:19 p.m.

    HUGE MISS What where they thinking changing our original horror game that started it all into a copy cat Gears of War style image. Playing this game is like trying to finish a B rated movie. Its just that horrible... Hope they bring back the team that made RE4 and RE:Code Veronica because this crew who produced this one totally trashed the RE culture. (360)(Surround sound) Story: 60 Gameplay/Immersive: 90/70 Video:92 Audio:85 Overall: 79 More info on Story:(Bad pacing, horrible writing. Voice actings suffers because of it.. I can tell the actors trieds so hard to make it work but writing so horrble that was useless) One good thing is the controls.. its much more enjoyable with the new control format. But RE identity was lost in the process. I say bring back guys that did past RE but keep the guys who made this game to cover graphics / gameplay department.
  • FluffyDestructo - August 25, 2009 8:49 p.m.

    Great game but waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too easy and not very scary at all. The only things that could really actually scare somebody is when a big guy comes up and screams and grabs you from behind. The enemies in RE4 are a lot scarier than the ones in RE5, but it's a still a lot of fun, and at least you don't have to protect some little teenage girl that can't do anything for herself adn get's killed and captured very easily in big battles like in RE4...
  • BEASTMODE1236 - August 6, 2009 10:57 p.m.

    sorry ment till i get it
  • BEASTMODE1236 - August 6, 2009 10:56 p.m.

    i cant wait for this game to come out it ganna be soooo sick
  • coolkiid407 - July 31, 2009 5:40 p.m.

    I think dat RE 5 is tha best out of all tha RE games tha only problem is dat its not scary but its a really cool game.
  • ghostofwar - July 19, 2009 1:45 a.m.

    It's ridicuise becuase you can't walk and shoot. Also run out of ammo too quickly!!!
  • gamer49 - June 7, 2009 12:01 a.m.

    i haven't had a chance to play this yet but i will probbaly be mad by the time i get done. But the game will still be good.
  • Da-Ku - April 4, 2009 9:20 p.m.

    COD5 Has the same ofset split screen system the bane of mine and my dads life...
  • jasoncon17 - March 30, 2009 9:31 p.m.

    WE R THE REAL REAIDENT EVIL
  • deathwhisper9602 - March 27, 2009 6:05 a.m.

    yeah that sucks how you cant run and shoot.
  • Biohazard82493 - March 19, 2009 2:45 a.m.

    damn i didn't see the comment of DawgsFan117 until now men stop complaining about this game. if you dont like go play a game you like why do you have to critisize a game you dont like damn i hate than kind of people you say you heat retarded fanboys well see who' is talking DawgsFan117 what you think you are the masterchief or what hell men you are pathetic
  • GoGoGadgetFlow - March 14, 2009 11:23 p.m.

    my apologies for the double post, but i forgot to mention my hatred of the addition of co-op. RE4, and the RE series for that matter, were meant to be played by onself and to be hard in the sense that you had to play and replay parts that you died on. By having two people, the challenge factor is shattered
  • GoGoGadgetFlow - March 14, 2009 11:18 p.m.

    i agree that the stand and shoot idea is outdated. it worked for RE4 because that game WAS scary, so in reality, it was like being "scared stiff". I am dissapointed to hear that ammo is no longer scarce as it was in RE4. Thta added some challenge to the killing and the boss fights (the demos was far too easy IMO). And WTF not scary? I was hoping to soil at least one pair of underwear while playing this (RE4 made me jump more than once). I will be buying this, but with a heavy heart. RE4 will still be top dog.
  • crimson_soulreaper305 - March 14, 2009 5:03 p.m.

    sorry about double post i dont want to completly crap all over this game like adam sessler its still really good but to me it couldnt live up to its hype just like assassin's creed and force unleashed
  • Phantasmagorical - March 14, 2009 7:13 a.m.

    An excellent score for an excellent game. I agree with every point you made, so this review makes me very happy. Lucky for me I don't mind that it's missing some key points that RE should have. I can of course say, "Yes, if it had that it would be a better game." But it's certainly an impressive game either way.
  • ThunderMuffinsMcgee - March 14, 2009 12:39 a.m.

    This game is awesome. I hated RE4's controls so I didn't play all of it. I didn't get too deep into the previous games so I never really like the series. But I rented this game this afternoon. So far it is really good even though you can't shoot and run. I didn't think that RE4 was that frightning anyways so this one not being so is just another reason to play. Good review!
  • Diamondis - March 13, 2009 7:37 a.m.

    Yeah... Except the chainsaw guy has stupid AI meaning you can stand infront of him, then walk past him while he tries to attack thin air and kill him. Personally I think Capcom forgot about move + shoot, then called it a feature lol. RE isn't a scary game anymore, so no point trying to make it scary with one tiny annoying feature.
  • Synster - March 12, 2009 7:46 p.m.

    Keep defending this game by saying "That's what RE is/Etc." Whatever though. I've heard many Professionals on many different sites say this is a Great Game, but fails to live up to it's expectations. See. The reason you might have thinked previous Resident Evil games were 'Scary' was because the controls were so infuriatingly frustrating. At first this was a rent, but now I'm not so Sure.
  • loves2spoon - March 12, 2009 12:43 a.m.

    Wow you guys are like moody old ladies. It sounds like you would complain about any little thing in the game. Like the fact you cant run and gun. Thats part of all RE games, survival horror or not. If they had changed this I bet that you guys would have started to whine because they changed it. Face it you guys aren't easily pleased. This is a great game with fun gameplay and awesome replay value. The one thing I would have liked to see is a longer story mode but because of the replay value I'm satisfied. Also why did you guys have to compare this with Gears and Dead Space? Because they are in the same genre category..... Not good nuff... Gears may have a better multiplayer but only because it was meant to have that function. RE4 wasn't multiplayer so why would RE5 be. It has co op yes but only because your partner isn't a whiny blonde bitch. That being said I think it is unfair to compare the two games that way. Yes I have rambled on for like 2000 words but only because certain things that you said in the review really pushed my buttons so I kinda had to vent lol. Other than the few picky comments it was a nicely done review and the score..... I cant argue ^_^
  • Phazon117 - March 11, 2009 7:21 p.m.

    Gaylo is one of the stupidest fanboy puns around. Nice review btw, GR.