Resident Evil 5 is a survival horror game made by Capcom for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC in 2009, and was later ported to the Shield Android TV, Xbone and PS4 in 2016. It stars a returning Chris Redfield and his new partner Sheva Alomar as they investigate a bio-terror threat in Africa.
The plot serves as closure for residual plot threads going back as far as RE1. It has its entertaining parts, but it's mostly just super-serious generic action drivel and loads of explosions, missing the awesome camp (and slower moments) from RE4.
Chris has lost his old partner partner Jill, making him rather emotional through the game, but it doesn't really hit home. I think I feel this way because they've only ever interacted in the masterclass drama that is RE1 before, so their relationship is difficult to pin down. The DLC Lost in Nightmares remedies this slightly, but I still don't think it cements their relationship properly. Same for Revelations, which came out later.
Sheva is an ok addition, but she has even less to her. She just wants to protect her home and avenge her comrades, which is a fine motivation. But she doesn't really gel well with Chris. Their interactions are basically all business, leaving no room for any levity, nor much friction.
They're working together like professionals because the game said so. It really shows that Sheva was baked into Chris' revenge story halfway through.
The supporting cast is lame and barely deserves mention. But our big bad Albert Wesker, is a different story. His scheme is basically that of a JRPG villain, but the delivery saves it. DC Douglas delivers ham, eggs and bacon, the complete breakfast of awesome crazyness. It more or less makes the whole story worth it.
Same goes for the amazing animation work done in the pre-rendered cutscenes. Not only do they still hold up graphically, but the choreography coupled with the detailed lighting makes for some really pleasant visuals. Hell, even the in-engine stuff looks okay. Hear that, Tools of Destruction!?
Might as well get this out of the way. Hopefully, I won't come to regret it.
From the outside, RE5 looks racist to the point of parody, what with the game featuring a caucasian giant of a man shooting his way through hoardes of african people.
I don't mind that part, as there doesn't seem to be any racially fueled hatred behind the game. I could be wrong, but death of the author and whatnot. It's just what happened in RE4, but in a different location. Hell, it's what happens in every RE game.
There's an argument to be had over how accurate the overall game is at depicting Africa, but it sure as hell fails once you get to the natives with death pits who throw spears at you en masse! Not only is it insensitive (compared to the cultists in RE4 especially, since they didn't have a concrete basis in reality), it's also incredibly lazy.
After deciding the setting with a dart, I bet one of the designers was chomping at the bits for the chance to use native africans as enemies, thus saving himself a fifth of the game to figure out. The justification of the virus making people go back to their old ways is also really poor.
Not only is it in a missable textfile, but they don't even try to justify it with even a strand of logic. The virus just makes them act like their ancestors.
I could buy the virus making people angry and paranoid, thus driving some people to take up ceremonial/hunting spears to kill others. Building up to the result of a schism between two factions (perhaps only one infected) would have been awesome! Instead, we get spike traps that border on magic and...floating pot mines?
I'm of the belief that they thought it would make for good content (it's about equal with the rest of the game play-wise) without giving it much care beyond that. A shame, really. Africa seldom gets to be fully featured in games and deserves a chance to shine. Europe can take a backseat for a bit. Same goes for dragons. Can't we get games with legendary killer hippos instead? I'd buy that.
Mechanically, there isn't much new to be found here, save for the co-op. You can strafe now, there are more complex melée attacks and there are a few more weapon types. The barebones cover mechanics from RE4 have also been expanded to the bare minimum needed for a 3rd person shooter. That's about it. Nothing bad, just a bit less than one would expect of a sequel.
Of course, the co-op changes things drastically. The first big thing is atmosphere. I don't find much of the series prior to be scary, but atmospehere was on point. RE5 on the other hand, goes for bright areas, an everpresent partner and really ramps up the gore while downplaying dread.
It sort of works, as co-op all but assures that you won't take it slowly nor be freaked out, so a gory action romp makes sense.
The other big thing is how much more brutal the game has to be with the addition of a second character. Enemies are faster, more numerous, use guns and lategame ones are quite tanky. Not to mention that the allmighty shotgun has been nerfed something fierce. It's no longer a screen clearer and you actually need to aim.
With another player, this works out fine (especially when you get the new combo melée system down), but with the AI, problems crop up. I gave praise to Ashley's design in RE4, and Sheva is fine for most of the time, but she lacks the depth I want.
Now, the gambit system from FFXII is always the solution in these situations, but I'll explain the few things I really want to get Sheva to do. She is helpful in a generic sort of way. She shoots enemies, goes for melée combos, stays close and heals you when she can.
That's all well and good, but I want a bit more control over her besides the Cover/Attack commands we get. The big things are the fact that we can't set how she uses healing items, or when she'll use certain weapons.
It's common for her to waste singular herbs when you might want to save them for mixing and to not wait for both characters to be low on health before pulling out the big stuff. It works as is, but being as efficient as possible with healing items is sort of a Resi staple, something I quite enjoy in RE4.
Weapon-wise, she's programmed to use up her weakest ammo first, which is done to save the good stuff for the player. But having her on sniping duty is awesome and I wish there was a way to direct her into doing it beyond stealing her pistol ammo.
The game goes for more setpiece bosses this time around, leaving only a few regular ones. They're fun (if somewhat confusing or bland sometimes), but the regular ones don't really play up the co-op angle much.
There are some tactics to employ (like splitting up), but nothing that feels like it only belongs in a co-op game, save for perhaps the two weapons only one player can pick up in two of the boss fights. You can split up during certain sections (broken ladders be everywhere) to cover more ground, but it barely changes how fights play out.
It's fun, even alone, but I don't feel like I can completely master certain sections like in RE4.
The QTEs are back with a vengeance and are somewhat more prominent than before. And just like before, the ones in gameplay are ok, while the ones in cutscenes stink. Using them for dodging or melée is fine (which would spawn the dedicated dodge in RE6 later), but using them for cranks, boulder punching or evading instakills in cutscenes is just a hassle.
Especially in co-op, where the button prompts get split between players and it's easy to get pissed at your partner for missing. Co-op games should not drive a wedge between people at the drop of a hat like that. Leave that for the MOBAs.
What's this, my fifth reviewed game with connections to RE4? We've had God Hand, Haunting Ground, Dead Space and DMC1 so far. Man, that game got around. Did I mention that it was awesome? Good. Now, to the point!
I've seen many sequels (especially to Japanese games) where certain parts of the prequel is just redone in the sequel. From the developer's view, I can see it being alluring to do something again, either to improve the concept or improve the quality of the sequel without burning resources.
The redone sections in RE5 are a mixed bag. The boat section is better, as it allows for some open exploration, while the opening mob survival section is just sorta there. I can't say the recycled stuff is worse, but it lessens the impact of things when you recognize so much.
To heighten the panic factor (and make online co-op not godawful), inventory management takes place in real time now. Not a bad call frankly, since swapping weapons in RE4 is incredibly easy.
What's less good is how it's balanced now. You only have 18 spaces between the two characters, with every item taking up one space. Items stack more, but his means that the more diverse your inventory is, the tighter it is. I can barely fit two weapones per character before things go awry.
This means that keeping a varied stock of grenades (either throwable or shootable) for example can easily make you unable to pick up herbs for mixing. This was true in RE4 to an extent as well, but there grenades took up less space than guns and you were allowed inventory upgrades. It's no fun to sort your inventor either. Hell, you can only do it in the shop menu!
Then there's the issue of the three pieces of eqipment you can buy. It's two vests and a stun rod. These are essentially upgrades to your innate abilities (vests for defense, rod for melée), but they take up a slot each, making their versatility close to nothing. I've had a playthrough ruined by someone who insisted on using a vest, which led to countless moments of full inventory.
The differing sizes of items in RE4 was such a better call. Attache Case HD for life!
The upgrade system is about equal to RE4, except that the magazines can go up to ridiculous sizes, culminating in infinite ammo and the unlock of some fun bonus weapons, should you want it.
The upgrades are made available at a steady pace, but just like in RE4, I can't help but gravitate towards the guns with the highest attack power, just like before. It's just such a good investment, especially if you play like me and don't upgrade much until you get a strong gun. I'm thinking that unified damage between guns of the same type would do both RE4 and this game better, but I'm not entirely convinced it would work.
Of course, without knowing which gun is the strongest, it can be difficult to pick. But they game does imply what a gun's final stats will be in the UI, so it has that over RE4.
Treasures are about the same, but they're not as satisfying to pick up for some reason. I think it's the lack of expensive inventory upgrades plus the fact that most guns are found, so all there is to buy are incremental upgrades and the odd first aid spray. The change of currency has also reduced the numbers you pick up per drop/treasure. Since prices are relative to what you pick up, it doesn't make an actual difference, but it feels like less.
What is new is the introduction of BSAA emblems in every chapter. These can be shot for unlock points spent in the special shop for some really nice goodies. Most are found at the side of the areas you move through, but some are hidden in incredibly difficult ways. I'm talking in the ceiling of a vendor booth or at the ass end of the area, requiring some really steady sniping.
But since there is a chapter select option now, it's not too bad. What is bad is that you can't actually start a proper new game without deleting ALL unlocked progress. Stuff like extra modes and the ability to play as Sheva.
If you get the gold version (and why wouldn't you these days?), there is a rather juicy amount of content to be had. There is co-op in both versions of Mercenaries (which amounts to loads of characters with fun moves), versus mode (which involves killing eachother while dodging zombies) and the two extra campaigns.
These campaigns are callbacks to the older games. Desperate Escape is basically the old Mercenaries mode where you have to get through an army of monsters before time goes out. It's tight on ammo and a real thrill to just survive, nevermind master. It's all new areas too, which helps it from feeling too cheap, even if there aren't any new enemies, save for a palette swap.
The same can't be said for Lost In Nightmares (It has ONE whole new enemy!), which is like a small remake of RE1. It's a slightly randomized mansion where Jill and Chris have to cooperate in loads of puzzles to survive.
It's heavily focused on atmospehere and exploration and manages to be a little bit scary even. The new monster is rather effective at inducing panic, at least until you learn how to trounce it.
It's short, sweet and really makes me wish for a version of REmake that played like this and let you swap between Jill and Chris as needed. The final boss is a bit rough however, due to the need to trigger certain QTEs to damage him properly. But the fight is timed, so just surviving works too.