The problem is that none of these areas are necessarily spooky this time around. There are plenty of creepy-crawly creatures and zombie-like monsters, but there's nothing particularly scary about the happenings in Resident Evil 5. Part of the problem is that much of the game takes place in the middle of the day. I'm not saying that all horror games need to take place in the dead of night, but it certainly helps to set the mood. Here everything is geared a little too heavily towards being an action game. Instead of feeling like a Resident Evil game, this felt like a Gears of War sequel. If you're a fan action games, then you're going to love this new Resident Evil game, but everybody hoping for survival horror is going to be sorely disappointed.
Part of the problem is Sheva. The fact that you always have a friend nearby giving you cover and keeping you healthy allows you to have the upper hand on just about every enemy in the game. The sad truth is, it's scarier to be in a freaky situation all by yourself. When you have an equal there with you your task (no matter how hard) always seems more manageable. Sheva is a big reason why this game doesn't feel like a traditional Resident Evil game.
Yet I don't begrudge her for it. As much as she kills the game's tension, she also adds a new element to the series that I really like. Having Sheva around adds the opportunity for a second person to play with you. It allows you to strategize in ways never before seen in a Resident Evil game. And that I like. I also like the fact that you can use her to carry your overstocked items.
I'm not sure I like it at the expense of the game's creepiness, but I do appreciate that Capcom was trying something different this time around.
Obviously the best way to play the game is with a friend, but don't let that keep you from going through the game with a computer-controlled Sheva. For the most part the computer is smart and will pay close attention to what you do. There were times when I found the computer-controlled character using too many green health herbs or being a little too liberal with the bullets, but none of these problems got in the way of the experience. Thankfully the game gives you a few different options about how you want your character to react and who you want to play with online.
The game is a blast online, even though I ran into a few technical problems getting my game to sync with both friends and strangers. Even though the game itself is only a dozen hours long, I found myself wanting to go back through it again to find all of the secret medals, improve my time and see things from Sheva's left-handed point of view. On top of the game's story, you can also check out a fan-favorite, the Mercenaries mode found in Resident Evil 4. Here the object is to mow down as many zombie-like creatures as you can. Best of all, this mode can be played with a friend, giving this game just enough added content to warrant the game's asking price. There are other online modes (including a four-player deathmatch-style mode), however Capcom is offering this as optional paid downloadable content. It's a shame that they couldn't have built these modes into the retail disc, however there's more than enough content on the disc to keep most gamers happy.
For the most part this sequel's controls feel like a tightly refined version of 2005's Resident Evil 4. You still can't move and shoot at the same time, something that will no doubt be jarring to anybody coming off of Gears of War of Call of Duty. Still, the gameplay is leaps and bounds ahead of what we had to put up with in those old Resident Evil games. The gameplay is a little more forgiving this time around, especially when it comes to running away and dodging enemies. The game also keeps the quick time events found in Resident Evil 4, so be ready to have to push buttons even when you're watching the game's multiple cinemas.
While the gameplay may not live up to every gamer's expectations, I have a hunch they are going to keep going if for no other reason than to see the amazing visuals. Given how amazing the graphics were in Resident Evil 4, it should come as no surprise that this game looks so good. It is easily one of the best looking games on the Xbox 360, a real achievement given the stiff competition.
Resident Evil 5 really is a slick game. It's full of exciting moments, amazing graphics, action-packed levels and a story with a real conclusion. It's everything you could want from a Resident Evil game ... only without all of the scares. If you're looking for an exciting action game with an involving story, then Resident Evil 5 is the game for you. Longtime fans of the series may poo-poo the heavy emphasis on action, but stick with the game, I think they will find that the story more than makes up for the game's shortcomings.
Opinions of Resident Evil 5 from other GN Staff:
Resident Evil 5 is a lot of things - it's a great action game, the multiplayer is a lot of fun, the graphics are unequaled and the story is a lot of fun. There's just one thing Capcom's newest survival horror game isn't: Scary! Thankfully the pros out way the cons, but it sure would have been nice to have a fright-filled Resident Evil this time around!
- Staff Writer
This was my first time playing straight through a Resident Evil title but the experience was not alien to me. The decay filled halls of the Ishimura from Dead Space prepared me well enough for the survival aspects of Resident Evil 5. Tons of action are the icing on this hard to swallow and even harder to decipher story of two well trained peace keepers blazing a trail through evil.
With my trusty backpack Sheva by my side I found the task of navigating the peril fraught lands of the African bush easy to navigate. Death was an uncommon occurrence thanks to her knack for getting my butt out of trouble when I stuck my nose too close to danger. If it wasn't for the stiff controls and lack of chest high walls I might have thought I was playing Army of Two. Later in the game when the "zombies" began wielding guns instead of pitch forks and spears I almost found myself yelling at Sheva to "draw some f-ing aggro already". Her general lack of precision meant she always got the shotgun and never under and circumstances did she handle explosives. Grenades are not for children or AI controlled partners.
My only major complaint is that the final boss fight has a few sequences that weren't intuitive for me. Maybe if I had played previous installments I would have known to wait for certain events to take place before taking action. As it were, I had nearly 20 deaths at the hands of gravity before I broke down and found the solution online. Never before had the end fight of a game made me feel so frustrated and then very dumb.
Resident Evil 5 is well polished, looks great, and has a sound track that doesn't get in the way of the decent voice acting. I would definitely recommend this game to anyone who liked Dark Sector, Dead Space, and/or Resident Evil 4.
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