I remember waiting outside of my local game store at midnight so that I could grab the first HD Resident Evil to ever hit consoles. I stayed off the Internet before the games release so I knew very little of the title, all I knew was that there was co-op, it took place in Africa and that Chris Redfield took steroids and joined a new anti bio-terror team. I rushed my game home and enjoyed the first level before I had to get to sleep because I worked in the morning. Many people give Resident Evil 5 a hard time, but man did I have fun with it. I went through the campaign with only with Sheva’s blotchy A.I. to assist me, then some buddies and I went through on hard which was unbelievably fun. Yes, Capcom went a different route and went more action movie instead of horror movie, but that doesn’t take away the fact that game is still solid. As I replay it for a 4th time, I’m still just as excited to blow away these monsters as I was when the very first Resident Evil was released.
This story takes place a few years after Leon’s escapades in Resident Evil 4, Chris Redfield is now a member of the B.S.A.A. and finds himself in Africa tracking down some leads to a new bioweapon. He is greeted by Sheva Alomar and their tale into horror begins quite swiftly. They encounter a new virus called the Uroboros that turns humans into blood thirsty Majini that want to take a bite out of you. This isn’t the type of vacation anyone would want to take to Africa, but as long as you’re well armed you can have some fun chasing down your nemesis and hunting for your long lost partner. Let’s be clear that this game isn’t very scary, the DLC has its moments but the main campaign of the game is one huge action movie set piece. Resident Evil 5 is Capcom’s Dawn of the Dead remake, all explosions, very little scares. Now, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just isn’t the scare filled jump fest we have all grown to love.
One of the big changes to the series in this game is the addition of a co-op partner, this lasts for three more games until the release of Resident Evil VII which gets rid of your partner and the third person perspective. Since co-op was riding high at the time of release this change was accepted and was actually quite a bit of fun with a pal. However, the AI isn’t too bright, so playing alone with Sheva can get pretty frustrating. You don’t really have to worry about health in this game, just load Sheva up with the herbs and spray and she will come to your rescue if you skin your knee. There was a point where I was running from her because she wanted to heal me when I had half my health still there, so that can get annoying. She will also just fire away at everything you see, so I left her alone with a pistol and an automatic rifle, no big guns for her or she’d blow all the ammo.
The controls are vastly improved, the only thing Capcom kept from us is run and gun. When you press Left Trigger to aim and Right Trigger to fire you must be in a stationary stance again. What is nice is the fact they added a quick weapons change, in your paltry backpack you can place your most used weapons in a cross pattern. When you hit the corresponding direction on the d-pad you quick change weapons. This is extremely helpful seeing as the game doesn’t pause when you look into your bag, so you can take damage while shuffling for a grenade. The aiming and camera movement are much smoother than its predessor, when I played Resident Evil 4 I had to take a few minutes each time to acclimate when I booted up since the camera was so clunky. Left Bumper and Right Trigger unleashes the knife on all unsuspecting boxes and crates, so use this instead of your ammo. Seeing as this is a Resident Evil game, keep an eye out for quick time events, even during a cut scene or you may get a quick “You are dead” screen. Another hugely annoying fact about the inventory system, other than it being only nine slots for each character, was the fact that if you buy a bullet proof vest it takes up an inventory slot. I don’t know how the developers at Capcom wear their clothing, but I know if it is raining out I don’t have my slicker in my pocket!
What makes this game stand out is the throwbacks to the original three titles. You get some of the original S.T.A.R.S. members, some old baddies you haven’t seen in decades and a villain to rival that of Goldfinger. They also kept the market from Resident Evil 4, sadly without The Merchant though. It is nice to upgrade all the guns and be able to buy things between levels, but I miss my blue clad buddy. This is the first Resident Evil to also have DLC, which is becoming a standard now, and I must implore you to purchase The Gold Edition of this title, or the recent updated releases on the Xbox One and PS4. If you get one of these versions you get the excellent Lost in Nightmares DLC that shows gamers what could have been if Resident Evil was made on the PS3 instead of the PS1. This DLC has some legitimate scares, and brings back difficult puzzles and sweet door animations. I enjoyed replaying this more than the main campaign, the only problem with the DLC is the fact you cannot save whilst playing this. I had to finish my play through in one sitting, and lost half of my first go around because dinner was ready..
While this isn’t my favorite Resident Evil, it still is a great entry to play, especially if you have a buddy for it. If not prepare to gnash your teeth and swear at Sheva for wasting precious commodities. I have had a lot of fun with this title and I plan on continuing to do so when I pick up the Xbox One version later down the road. If you’re looking for a fun, well balanced over the shoulder shooter then may I suggest picking this title up; it doesn’t matter which generation you buy it for you’re going to have a blast with it either way. So grab a copy and get your ass to Africa!