Resident Evil 5 is an incredible game from beginning to end. It has an interesting story that answers many of the mysteries revolving around Capcom's long-running series. It has amazing graphics that are full of detail and constantly impress. It has solid controls that make it the easiest to play Resident Evil game in the series. It has enough extras to keep you coming back for more long after you've finished your first play through. Yes, Resident Evil 5 is an incredible game. There's just one problem - it never once feels like a Resident Evil game.
It's been three years since the last numbered sequel and to say that people are excited would be a huge understatement. Let's face it; Resident Evil 4 was one of the best games of last generation. It was an adventure game that took everything we loved about Capcom's survival horror series and added all of the things people had been asking for. But most importantly, the game featured a drastically improved control scheme that made all the difference. After seeing what Capcom could do with the GameCube and PlayStation 2, many gamers were excited to see what they could do with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
The good news is that Resident Evil 5 is an immensely fun action game. It's slightly longer than your average action game, offers two-player co-op gameplay and has a cool boss fight at the end of practically every level. Capcom is building on everything that was good about Resident Evil 4, while simultaneously attempting to close the book on Raccoon City, Umbrella, S.T.A.R.S. and the rest of the conspiracy. And, for the most part, Capcom has done an excellent job. You'll definitely come away from Resident Evil 5 feeling a sense of conclusion. This certainly isn't the best Resident Evil game ever made, but it does feel like it's a story that was necessary to tell.
The game takes us to the far reaches of Africa, where Chris Redfield (hero of the very first Resident Evil game) is sent to learn everything he can about an infectious drug known as Uroboros. Here he meets the co-star of this adventure, a nimble and attractive young woman named Sheva Alomar. Together they attempt to track down this new drug and stop it once and for all. Unfortunately that's easier said than done, and our heroes are forced to come face to face with horrific monsters and a number of familiar faces.
As our team fights through cities, sewers, swamps and factories, they'll learn the true nature of Uroboros and why it needs to be stopped. The story clocks in at around a dozen hours, which is significantly shorter than Resident Evil 4. What this sequel lacks in length, it more than makes up for in resolution. The problem with most Resident Evil games is that they always leave the story open, that way they can reel you into the next installment. But that's not the case with Resident Evil 5. In this game we kill off major characters, we resolve huge loose ends, we finally find out what everything means. I cannot think of a major mystery that is not resolved in the course of this adventure.
The story is understandably goofy. Despite people's overwhelming love for Resident Evil, I don't think anybody can argue with a straight face that this series is well written. It's certainly fun and has a mansion full of charm, but Resident Evil is not the game to turn to when you're looking for quality storytelling. That said, Resident Evil 5 continues the tradition of giving us over-the-top characters and preposterous situations. We get a bunch of regular sized people turning into enormous freaks of nature. We get a lot of laughably bad conversations between two-dimensional villains. We get all of the high-minded talk about pushing human evolution and tampering with nature. We get it all, and much, much more. By the end of the game I was exhausted by the game's narrative, but at the same time I loved every minute of it.
In past Resident Evil games all this would add up to a spooky time where you are trapped in some sort of large mansion avoiding giant spiders and zombies. But that's not the case in Resident Evil 5. In this game you take a linear path through six different worlds (each with two or three sub-sections). Each act takes place in a different area, each with their own look and puzzles. For example, early on you'll fight through "zombie" (used in only the loosest way possible) infested African cities. Soon after that you'll be wading knee-deep in swamps full of alligators and snakes. By the end of the game you will have played through underground ruins, caves, research facilities, oil fields and even on a giant boat. The game is constantly moving forward, so you'll never find yourself getting bored with the game's numerous backgrounds.
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