reviews\ Mar 11, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Resident Evil 5 - PS3 - Review

Certainly one of the most popular and highly-revered franchise in Capcom’s stable, Resident Evil has long been an incredibly successful series for several console generations now. Now, the series is in its fifth official iteration (there have been several spin-offs and side stories), with Resident Evil 5 launching on PS3 and Xbox 360. While it does feature many of the familiar game elements that the series has become known for, RE5 also takes some steps to modernize the series a bit as far as the third-person action game genre is concerned. While there are still a couple of minor missteps here and there, Resident Evil 5 is still an intense and engaging entry to the franchise, and one that stands nicely with other coveted games in the series.

Resident Evil 5 follows series regular Chris Redfield as he embarks on a quest to an “Autonomous Zone” called Kijuju, an area in Africa that seems to be heavily inspired aesthetically by areas like Mogadishu. Chris is searching for a man by the name of Irving, who works for a mysterious corporation known as Tricell and was recently discovered to be dealing in the same type of B.O.W.s (Biological Organic Weapons) that have been making Chris’s (and others) life a living hell since the inception of the series. Additionally, once Chris convenes with another agent, Sheva Almovar, the situation in Kijuju gets from bad to worse once the inhabitants start exhibiting symptoms of the Las Plagas virus from RE4, causing Chris and Sheva to take up arms and fight their way through the situation.

Reisdent Evil 5 feels a lot more action oriented than its predecessors, even Resident Evil 4. To further emphasize this, the developers have opted for a more action-focused control scheme for the game. The left thumbstick is still used to move your character around, although you now use it to strafe as you walk, and the right thumbstick controls looking and turning, more akin to third-person shooters like Gears of War. The game also puts less of an emphasis on puzzle solving and item gathering than previous games in the Resident Evil series. While these elements are still in the game, they definitely take a backseat to intense shootouts and firefights with enemies. Most of the features from RE4 return in the sequel, including the ability to upgrade your weapons and a store that is accessible between missions where you can buy new weapons and a few items (one thing of note is the inability to buy ammo from the store, requiring you to be especially careful with your shots and what ammo you allow Sheva to have).

The biggest feature in RE5 however, is the inclusion of co-op. RE5 is the first entry into the series proper to feature online gameplay, allowing you and a friend to play as Chris and Sheva as they go through the game’s campaign. Even if you choose to embark on the journey alone, the Sheva element still factors into the gameplay and storyline quite heavily. Chris and Sheva will each have their own set of weapons and inventory (including finite storage options), and will often have to work together in order to take down foes as well as progress to new areas. You’ll have each other’s backs through the whole single-player campaign, healing and rescuing each other from enemies quite often.

There are still some issues in RE5 that bring it down slightly, including some questionable AI issues and control problems. While the developers have made great strides in modernizing the series, there are still a couple of nagging issues with the control scheme, namely the inability to shoot while walking and reload while walking. While the shooting issue isn’t that big of a problem considering the way that enemies will approach your character, reloading while standing completely still can be quite frustrating, especially during some of the more intense firefights.

The other issue concerns Sheva’s AI when playing the game without another player. While she works quite competently through the majority of the game, shooting enemies and healing you should it become necessary, she does handle the boss battles, which hinge quite heavily on the co-op mechanic, in a less than stellar fashion. As these battles seem to be focused on problem solving and working together with your partner to take down your enemies, Sheva’s inability to adapt to your enemies’ specific weaknesses is a big problem, and one that leads several boss fights to go on much longer and arduously than necessary. During one of the final boss battles, her deductive shortcomings are especially apparent, making the experience pretty frustrating.

Resident Evil 5 is a great looking game, benefiting quite well from the transition to high-def consoles. The character models look great and are fairly well animated, especially the two main protagonists, and the sun-bleached environments have a great sense of atmosphere. The enemies and bosses are well done, and often pretty disturbing in their appearance. One minor graphical issue in the PS3 version are the framerates, which get a little bit bogged down at certain times.

The sound is also very well done. The voice work is great, and doesn’t feel stilted (or ridiculously bad) like previous RE games, and the music adds intensity to the on-screen moments when the action gets hairy.

Resident Evil 5 has a couple of issues bringing it down slightly, but if you’re a fan of the series, you won’t be disappointed with this latest entry to the beloved franchise. It goes without saying that you’ll want to team up with a buddy to play this game as it’s meant to be played.

Review Scoring Details for Resident Evil 5

Gameplay: 8.5
The co-op element in the game is a pretty daring addition to the RE formula, but one that pays off in a big way if you’re looking to tackle the campaign with a friend. There are a few minor issues, like AI issues and control problems.

Graphics: 9.0
The series makes a smashing HD transition, with great looking character models and detailed environments. There are a few minor framerate issues here and there.

Sound: 9.5
The voice acting is spot on, and the music adds some great intensity to the action.

Difficulty: Medium

Concept: 9.0
Not to spoil anything, but followers of the RE series and its storyline will definitely get some fan service in this entry.

Multiplayer: 9.0
The co-op element is definitely one of the biggest in the game, and playing through the single-player campaign is a blast.

Overall: 8.9
Resident Evil 5 is a great addition to the series, adding some intriguing new features. While there are a couple minor quibbles here and there, it’s still a lot of fun from start to finish, especially with a friend.


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