The lastest installment from Capcom's hugely successful Resident Evil franchise brings us a co-op only action adventure that leaves you wanting more. You play as Resident Evil series veteran, Chris Redfield or new-comer Sheva Alomar (depending on whether you're hosting or joining a game) from an over-the-shoulder camera angle, similar to that of Resident Evil 4. Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance agent Chris is sent to Africa on a mission to investigate a terrorist threat of the Umbrella companies weapons. Here he teams up with BSAA member Sheva, who is sent to aid him in completing his targets.
While making their way through a village, they find two men assaulting a third and feeding him a strange object before running off and leaving him in the care of the two BSAA agents. The man begins to choke and cough, before becoming agressive and attacking the two. They kill the man, who takes a few shots to die, after which Chris notes that this was unlike any Zombie he had seen before. Continuing on, they come to a small house where the story really gets started.
You start with handguns and a small amount of ammunition, but new weapons can be bought between chapter intervals and/or when you die. Before the start of a chapter you are given a chance to organise, buy, sell and trade items, such as ammo, herbs and anything other than guns. You characters are given limited space to carry items, 9 slots, which usually finds itself filling up very quickly once you get started, but also have a chest for storage of items that you don't wish to take with you. Here they're available for you to swap and switch with should you need them. At this menu, you're also given the option to upgrade the weapons you do own. There are 3 options normally, Power, Reload Speed and Capacity, for damage dealt, how fast you change clips and how much ammo your weapon holds, respectively. Some have a fourth option, such as Critical Hit upgrades and converting Sniper Rifles to Semi-Automatic for faster firing. These upgrades cost money which you earn from drops after killing enemies, from crates and boxes, selling items and as a bonus for your rating, once you finish a chapter.
Throughout the game you find yourself coming up against various opponents, which generally get harder to beat as you progress (made easier by upgrading weapons). Occassionally throughout the story, the game will jump to a cutscene to see a new enemy appear. You usually have to face several of these in succession, after which they're barely seen again. They use this formula a few times to try and cover the lack of variety of enemies. In reality it just serves to be annoying and frustrating in equal measure as you find yourself bored of following the same pattern again and again to take down a creature you just killed a moment before. Some RE4 favourites make an appearance too, such as the Chainsaw-Wielding-Bag-On-His-Face killing machine (though far easier to kill) and the G.I.-I-Got-A-Minigun-You-Better-Move Beret wearing soldier of fortune (Also much easier to kill).
The boss battles, that appear periodically throughout the story are tedious and boring and usually require you to repeat the same process over and over again until the creature gets bored of itself and dies. It drags on for a long time with many boss' requiring you to shoot certain parts of its body before it exposes another limb, which you then shoot and hurt the enemy, which then recovers and leaves you to rinse and repeat. They're not fun and even playing with a buddy doesn't help make it exciting.
The game is incredibly linear, with the only way to go being the only way available. This makes replay value diminish instantly. While following the path you usually come up against enemies in wave patterns. The first being, 1 bad guy, after another, after another. Then 2 or 3 stood waiting to attack you as you make an appearance. The third way is a horde of enemies rushing you and your partna in an attempt to surround and kill you. The story is predictable, and doesn't offer anything that hasn't been done previously, yet is still enjoyable the first time playing through. Trying to go through the game a second time usually results in skipping videos in an attempt to get to the action. Unlike RE4 which tried to keep it's suspense and horror roots, RE5 has left all that behind and tried to move into a complete action game. It leaves alot to be desired and alot missing, most of which you loved the original games for. With that said, it's still incredibly fun and shooting creatures in the legs and uppercutting them, never gets boring, as long as you've got someone to play with and a good conversation can ensue.
You can play on your own, but I wouldn't recommend it. This game relies on it's co-op gameplay and without it, would fail to impress even the most avid RE4 fan. Graphically, it looks amazing, one of the best to come out since the consoles release, and the sound is superb, but you get that feeling that too much effort wasn't put in to putting it to good use.
I was really expecting more from Resident Evil 5, but it fails to Deliver, or improve on it's predecessor. It's always going to be fun if you're playing through for the hell of shooting things with a friend, but that's about it.
Great review Anthony, I keep hearing "oh you never played 4? then your in for it" and it drives me nuts!!! im a huge fan of the originals so thats the style im used to, this stop-shoot mechanic is horrible. I cant see why they choose to make it this way, i mean what FPS have you ever played that restricted your movement while firing, thats a role playing attribute. I love the game,don't get me wrong, I just hate the controls.Anyway we have to play some Co-Op before you trade it in, i assume you'll be doing so since you stated the replay value was shit!!
really enjoyed this game. compelling story for Resident Evil 1 fans(no zombies im afraid, technically), mercenaries for the RE 4 fans (yeo) all the equiptment carries over to the next game so makes hard mode a cakewalk, controls bit fiddly to start with but will get use to. would rather pull out my PSP and play RE 2 for the win
Go get some!