Chris Redfield, a former STARS member and now part of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA), is dispatched to Kijuju, Africa, to stop a black-market deal for biological weapons. Jill Valentine is not present at the start of the game, and in Jill’s place is Sheva Alomar. Upon arriving, Chris and Sheva discover that the locals have been turned into zombies by a parasite, and thus begins Resident Evil 5.
One of the most important elements in a Resident Evil game is “edge-of-your-seat” tension. While previous Resident Evils delivered this by placing you in confined spaces with limited ammo, RE5 does this by overwhelming you with enemies. Some fans expecting a more traditional RE game may be turned off by this, but as a fan of the series it didn’t bother this reviewer in the least. RE5 is more edge-of-your-seat action movie than it is suspense thriller: think Michael Bay (without the in-movie commercials) as opposed to M. Night Shyamalan.
Additionally, Resident Evil 5 is one of the most beautiful games on the PS3. Environments and enemies are meticulously detailed. Two levels that come to mind are the Ancient Ruins and the Marshlands. In addition to beautiful environments, RE5 does a nice job breaking up the regular levels with vehicle levels that put you in the back of a jeep or at the controls of a boat. The movie-quality cut-scenes further add to the beauty of the game. Character expressions are lifelike, as is the voice acting. The dialogue is a little cheesy at times, but it does provide comic relief.
One departure RE5 makes from its predecessors is the gameplay. Whereas earlier installments in the series are single-player experiences, RE5 is more teamwork-based. One player takes control of Chris and they have the option of inviting a friend to control Sheva. If you don’t invite a friend (or your friends are lame and don’t play video games), Sheva is controlled by AI. However, this game was meant to be played online. Teaming up with your friends to take on bosses is not only easier, it’s loads of fun. Also, communication is essential for online play. Thus, it’s worthwhile to invest in a bluetooth headset. Even though the characters can yell out several simple commands, the headset makes communicating much easier.
Another area in which Resident Evil 5 shines is its replay value. While playing through the levels, there’s tons of hidden stuff to find. For example, many levels have hidden BSAA emblems. By shooting these emblems you unlock content such as new costumes and unlimited ammo. Additionally, there’s a lot treasure hidden throughout the levels. As well as collecting all of the treasure, you’ll want to sell it to upgrade your guns. It takes a lot of ammo to beat RE5 on the harder difficulties. The first run-through will take about 12 hours, and unlocks the Mercenaries mini-game. Don’t worry if 12 hours isn’t enough RE for you. You’ll want to play the game through multiple times just to get everything, especially the unlimited-ammo rocket launcher. Even after you play through the game there’s still the downloadable content, which not only pays homage to Resident Evil‘s roots but also explains why Jill is nowhere to be found at the start of the game.
It’s pretty tough to find bad things to say about RE5, but there are a few. Some of the bosses are insanely difficult on the hardest difficulty setting. While this may not be surprising, I almost gave up beating the game on its hardest difficulty altogether because of it. The rock monster at the end of the Jeep level comes to mind. Additionally, this game is a pretty big departure from Resident Evil‘s roots. Even though levels such as the mines and the mansion have that classic Resident Evil feel to them, there’s little else after that. Furthermore, the classic RE games are all single-player while RE5 is more multiplayer-oriented. However, none of these flaws subtract from the experience significantly. RE5 is still a really fun game.
All in all, RE5 is an extremely fun multiplayer shoot-em-up with tons of replay value. The action is non-stop from start to finish, and the level layout keeps the action from being repetitive. Additionally, the environments, cut-scenes and voice acting are well done and really draw you into the game. Overall, the action and beautiful presentation create an immersive experience. With all the hidden and downloadable content, RE5 is an exciting game you’re going to play for hours and hours. Just don’t expect a traditional Resident Evil game.
This review is based on a retail copy of the Playstation 3 version of Resident Evil 5 developed by Capcom
- Great Co-op Mode
- Lots of Fun
- Great New Character / Environments
- Story Could Use Some Help