When I heard about the new Resident Evil (RE) I was neither excited nor oblivious, I was more like neutral. The original Resident Evil was a classic that forever changed the face of gaming as we know it. For the youngsters, all those scary games like Alone in the Dark, Deadspace, F.E.A.R and all the rest all owe their existence to RE. Just like any game that so drastically changes the gaming landscape, the biggest question is can it sustain that brilliance. RE like many other huge series has had its ups and downs but with the release of Resident Evil 5 it has found its way back to greatness.
Resident Evil 5 is a direct sequel and picks up from where Resident Evil 4 left off. This time you once again take up the persona of Chris Redfield, Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA) and travel deep into the heart of Africa on a journey that will bring things full circle. This will be a tough journey but fear not for you will not have to go it alone for you will be accompanied by Sheva Alomar, an African BSAA agent. The game can be played in multiple ways such as single player where Sheva is controlled by the computer, or in Co-Op mode where any one of your friends playing online can jump in your game at any time and join the fight. At the start of your game you have the option of determining whether or not you will allow someone to do this.
The game is fun to play and the story is very engaging. The controls haven’t changed much so anyone who has ever played RE will feel right at home. The controls are as good as you can expect from a game in the Resident Evil series since one of its signatures is this kind of boxy movement, however it is more fluid than ever before. The most exciting thing about RE5 to me is that it is a complete reimagining of what is Resident Evil. Most people will recall that most of the previous RE’s have taken place in dark environments and at night, thus a major part of the fear factor was completely in the setting. With Resident Evil 5 it seems that someone at Capcom figured out that you can make a game scary and still have bright and vivid locales. In RE5 you can really see the growth of the series and where you used to see cheap scares you will now kind of feel this eerie sense of uncomfortableness throughout the whole gaming which to me makes for a much more brilliant game.
The folks at Capcom also saw fit to finally create an environment where ammo doesn’t have to be tracked bullet by bullet as any of us long time players will remember. Nope this time the weapons are diverse and the ammo is ample, not to the point that making good choices with your ammo isn’t important, but it does allow a more free wheeling style of play that I think will make it easier for anyone to pick up and play and that’s always good for sales. The game’s puzzles are back and while they have never really been complicated, they do add a nice component though you won’t spend hours looking for an item as the game takes a more direct approach of building most items you need into the flow of the story. The boss battles are crazy and sufficiently challenging with some requiring sheer firepower and others requiring more smarts. Don’t forget to sell those items that you will inevitably pick up during your journey for some serious dough that you can use to upgrade your weapons or else you will really wonder why it is taking some long to kill some of the bosses. This becomes especially relevant against what I call mini-bosses, that aren’t quite level bosses but are aggravating and tough none the less. The enemies are tough to kill and can kill you with one hit, I won’t give anything away but all I will say is fear the chainsaws and keep your shotgun fully loaded lol.
Resident Evil 5 is just about as much as you could want out of a title these days, a compelling story, good gameplay experience and controls and just plain fun. I really have to give Capcom credit for really pushing themselves and the series to another level and not just stick with original formula which proves that you can stay true to your core fans and still take some creative license to keep the game on the cutting edge. Resident Evil 5 doesn’t introduce anything new as far as things that haven’t been seen in a game before, but it does introduce lots of new things that haven’t been in the Resident Evil series before and it does it in excellent fashion. This will definitely be one of the top games of the year and with that I give Resident Evil 5, 5 out of 5 stars.