Resident Evil 5; the PS3 Attitude Review
For most video game enthusiasts, that would be ‘Resident Evil’. The fifth installment, although technically the seventh in the main series, has garnered a lot of heat from issues of racism to the exclusion of ‘run-and-gun’ controls.
With the highly successful Resident Evil 4 bringing the series to a new level, can 5 live up to its predecessor whilst remaining fresh and new?
Resident Evil 5 is the culmination of the series as we witness the rise and fall of Umbrella. Although when one tyrant falls, another shall rise up to take its place.
Former S.T.A.R.S. member Chris Redfield has joined the Bio-terrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA) and is sent to Africa on a mission to find and capture Ricardo Irving, a researcher who sells BOWs to terrorists on the black market. To help him in his mission Chris is given a partner, Sheva Alomar, who is familiar with the African wilderness.
Little do the two know about the horrors that they will face in uncovering the truth. The Umbrella Corporation has fallen but in its place, a new entity has risen; The TriCell Pharmaceutical Company. A new project has been born; one that will progress human evolution and create a new world order. And the man behind this evil plan? It is none other than long time antagonist, Albert Wesker.
The gameplay is very similar to Resident Evil 4. The over the shoulder camera style remains the same along with the ability to upgrade weapons with the money you either find or sell treasure to attain.
The ‘big’ issue with controls (according to the Internet) is how it is more ‘stop-and-shoot’ rather than ‘run-and-gun’. So what?! This isnâ€™t an FPS or even a TPS. It is Resident Evil. Weâ€™ve been playing the game the same way for years yet it has never been a problem before. Having to constantly be on the move – learning when to shoot and when to run – is all part of the Resident Evil experience. The settings are adjustable to your liking so mess around a bit and go with what works best for you.
Visually, Resident Evil 5 is the best yet. Shadows and sounds all play an important role in creating that eerie atmosphere, and even though the game takes place in the daylight you still get the sense that there could be anything around the next corner. Both the environments and models have vastly improved. Shoot a zombie in the leg and they will fall down, leaving them open for a famous Redfield super-punch to the face. Our favorite effect though would be shooting the dynamite that a ‘Majini’ is about to throw.
Aside from the update in graphics, the game goes one step further with the addition of Sheva, adding a new element of cooperation. Sheva can either be controlled by the AI or you can find yourself a mate and team up to take Wesker down. Each of you can carry a total of nine items that can be used, exchanged or discarded.
We all know how annoying AI partners can be from previous attempts. Remember having to protect Ashley in Resident Evil 4? Admit it, you wanted to kill her too. Sheva however, is different. She carries a gun and can kick some Majini booty.
You work as a team, sharing all ammunition and items. If you or Sheva are killed then it is ‘game over’. There are two different states in which you will be able to assist her. One is when you see ‘Help’ displayed by her life bar, and you must run to her aid and fight off an attacker. The more dangerous status is ‘Dying’. You then have a certain amount of time to resuscitate your fallen companion before she dies. Donâ€™t worry though, sheâ€™s got your back incase the same happens to youâ€¦ at least most of the time.
Sheva can sometimes come off as annoying. Many times she will wait a few seconds before helping you out, even if sheâ€™s standing right next to you. On the plus side, Sheva works as a handy item chest. She can carry extra guns, ammo, or healing aids. Be careful with giving her your herbs and first aid sprays though; she appears to enjoy using them when you donâ€™t quite need the extra health.
We found Sheva to never be as much a burden as having a partner in other games. She is helpful most of the time and sometimes will surprise you with a gift of ammunition that you didnâ€™t expect. Working alongside you, rather than against you like a dead weight, Sheva does a better job than some might think.
Since the first Resident Evil, the story has continued to evolve and become more complex. We learn more about the past as well as new developments. Zombies have always been the key characteristic of the series. Then there was the Las Plagas, a parasite that would control its human host. Now we have the Progenitor Virus and Uroboros, which further separate the series from the zombie mythos.
The Majini will take up arms and fire back at you. They will wear protective armor and masks. Sure, you still have the usual ‘run up and try to bite you’ enemies but the game feels very different. It is more linear with fewer puzzles. We have fond memories of running all over the mansion, looking for that one locked door to which we had just gotten the key. There is none of that in Resident Evil 5.
This isnâ€™t necessarily a bad thing as the game is still tons of fun. There is a great deal of satisfaction to be had in taking the head off a Majini with a Magnum. Speaking of weapons, you won’t be disappointed as there are plenty to choose from. Handguns, machine guns, shotguns, rifles, and rocket launchers; all within your grasp. With the ability to upgrade the firepower, reload time, and ammunition, youâ€™ll want to have the most powerful gun available. That means it is going to take a lot of Majini killing and treasure hunting to have it all.
The replay value of Resident Evil 5 is quite good too. There are BSAA emblems to collect in the stages that allow you to purchase figures, bonus costumes, and other goodies to enhance your experience. It is not possible to get it all on the first run or maybe even the second, so repeat playthroughs are essential if you’re the Pokemon type. If you get bored with the main story you can tackle The Mercenaries. This mini-game made its debut with Resident Evil 3 and returns with more characters and locations. It is a fun distraction from the main game and can be completed either solo or with a partner.
Speaking of partners, the co-op is an excellent feature. With both online and offline multiplayer, it is relatively easy to find someone to play with. Completing the story with a fellow human is much better and more satisfying than with the AI Sheva, provided your teammate is cooperative and reasonably skilled.
We do suggest being careful when deciding who to play with. If the other person is way more advanced than you,Â it probably will not be such a fun time. For example, there are ‘super-weapons’ that come with infinite ammo and other benefits. If you donâ€™t happen to have those guns yet and co-op with someone who does then most likely it will be you on the sidelines playing ‘follow the leader’. Of course, you can just create your own game and adjust the settings so that infinite ammo is off. Problem solved.
With its leap to the current generation of consoles, the Resident Evil series continues to impress. Sure, it is going in a different direction than previous games with a greater focus on the action and less on the puzzle solving, but is that a bad thing? No, provided that the game is fun and Resident Evil 5 delivers in that respect. With the â€œVersusâ€ multiplayer mode coming in the future, it is safe to say that Chris and Sheva should have a welcome home on your game shelf next to Snake and the Helghast.