Resident Evil 5 Updated Co-Op Hands-On

We go several hours deep into Capcom's latest zombie-killing shooter using a delicate balance of teamwork and brute force.

If it seems like it's been forever since we've seen a new Resident Evil game, that's probably because it has. Resident Evil 4 came out all the way back in January of 2005 before later ports to the PlayStation 2 and Wii. So for fans of the series, this is the long-awaited homestretch, with just over a month to go until the release of Resident Evil 5. To make that wait easier to cope with, Capcom has been kind enough to give us our most thorough look at the game yet. We've been spending time with the first three chapters, playing them through in both single-player and co-op. It may come as a surprise to exactly no one that the latter option is a blast and preferable to going it alone in almost every way. But what may come as a shock is that even with a friend at your side in a game set mostly during broad daylight, RE5 still manages to produce plenty of scares.

Resident Evil 5 carries on the series' tradition of quality visuals.

After a brief and thoroughly creepy cinematic depicting an African villager being overtaken by what appear to be zombie worms, the game begins in earnest with a shot of Chris Redfield cruising through the African savanna in a Humvee. His inner monologue is kind enough to spell out the circumstances of his arrival for us: working for the BSAA antiterrorism unit, he has been sent to a remote African village after a potential bioterrorism incident. After his arrival, he's quickly met by Sheva Alomar, who will be his partner throughout the course of the game.

They go on a brief walk through the village where the locals appear to be mostly normal, insofar as they're not all zombies. Sure they're leering suspiciously and one small group appears to be beating a burlap sack containing a human body, but at least it's not the zombie apocalypse. But shortly after, things go quite wrong: the villagers all disappear for a few moments and then suddenly reappear as rabid, brain-starved undead.

This is where the action starts. If you're playing a co-op game, the host will take on the role of Chris Redfield while the other player will assume control of Sheva Alomar. Aside from the occasional moment when Chris gives Sheva a boost to reach a high area, there's no significant difference between the two: they move similarly, they both have the same nine available item slots in their inventory, and they can use the same type of weaponry. From our time playing RE5, we spotted only a couple of differences. For one, Sheva is left-handed. Rather than occupying the left side of the screen like nearly every character in a third-person shooter (including her partner, Chris Redfield), Sheva and her southpaw aiming style sit on the right side of the screen--a cool little twist that doesn't affect the way you shoot after you take a minute to get used to it. The other difference? Melee attacks. Chris uses brute force, such as deadly uppercuts and head-stomps on fallen enemies, while Sheva opts for acrobatic kicks and precision knife-stabbings.

Getting a friend to play co-op should be your first order of action.

The similarities work nicely to maintain a sense of balance to the co-op. We never felt like one player was a burden to the other at any moment during the game. And that's good, because Resident Evil 5 isn't a game that's going to hold your hand. The first chapter begins in a familiar location: Chris and Sheva stumble upon an apparent execution, which you might recognize from the game's demo. But shortly after fighting their way through this mass outdoor scuffle, they move on to an underground facility mysteriously littered with dead soldiers, culminating in a boss fight that seems tailor-made for two players. Without giving too much away, successfully defeating this boss requires a careful combination of distraction and timing, with one player taking on the role of decoy. It's moments like these when you realize co-op isn't something that has been tacked on but is a real part of the game.

Later environments take Chris and Sheva on a journey through industrial shipping yards filled with zombie dogs and hyenas, a small fishing village, and an extended underground mine sequence that recalls one of the scarier chapters from RE4. The difference here is that these mines are pitch black--at least for a while--and require one character to stash his or her weapons and carry a floodlight for a good while. This means both characters must stick close together, one taking offense while the other becomes a highly vulnerable target. Other sequences that mix up the familiar on-foot shooting that dominates the game include moments that find you on the back of a moving truck shooting zombies on dirtbikes, cruising through the swamps on a fanboat (watch the crocodiles), and engaging in a turret-mounted battle that pits you against a familiar boss from RE4.

Altogether, there seems to be a good variety to the action in Resident Evil 5. Veterans of the series won't be feeling too much deja vu, because the new setting and often startling new takes on the zombie tropes make the game feel quite different from its predecessors. The co-op strategies of sharing ammo and supplies, healing one another, and working as a close-knit team in the aforementioned scenarios achieve a similar result. In fact, the most pronounced legacy is in the game's control scheme: RE5 controls very similarly to its predecessor. Four control options exist, but not a single one lets you run and shoot at the same time. The closest you'll get to feeling like you're playing a recent third-person shooter from the West (Dead Space, for example) are the second and third control schemes, which at least let you strafe when you don't have a gun out.

Certain enemies offer a nod to older baddies, like the masked chainsaw monsters.

But in our personal experience, the quirky controls weren't much of a hindrance. Once you take a moment to get used to them, you'll likely come to appreciate them for the deliberate nature in which you'll face every minor scuffle. You get a good appreciation for the smaller battles, never feeling like you're just slicing through a huge swath of undead humanity. In other words, you have to look at the zombie hyena who has just cleaved his own head in two to produce a giant, gaping alternate mouth. You wouldn't want to dart past that sort of visual, trust us. You'll get to soak it all up for yourself when Resident Evil 5 is released on March 13.

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Discussion

143 comments
jmartin1016
jmartin1016

You can map your weapons to the Up,down,left,right, buttons on the d-pad for quick access, but you have to manually select healing items and other things. Once you get used to it it feels better than 4, because you can't pause to heal yourself, you are always in the action.

ubercoolio204
ubercoolio204

I wonder if they changed the way when you go into the menu it does not pause when you want to change weapons that pissed me off so much in the demo!

soulfulDAGGER
soulfulDAGGER

Resident Evil ZZzzz. Same old stuff nothing new here. Hence the word "new".

tuzlic
tuzlic

I cant wait to buy this game

Remises
Remises

do anyone know if this game is a system linked coop-play? or a one system coop-play?

mortimersneed
mortimersneed

Some people are under the impression that a good discussion, means people are complaining. People are voicing their views. Ignorant individuals always fall back on "if you don't like it, don't play it. Someone said that they like clunky game-play. That's childish and stupid. You may like the lack of ammo, or the lack of movement in a character, that's your opinion and your welcome to it. But if someone disagrees with it, you automatically say, fine don't play!! Waaaaaaaaaaaaah, how dare you not like the game I like. RE4 was excellent, I played it on the hardest setting and it was a lot of fun, although just a demo, I feel RE5 is lacking. Another thing, some games are a whole lot scarier as single player experiences, Dead-space for instance. Others are awesome at coop, GEARS!!! RE5 doesn't know what it wants to be, and when that happens, it just makes it confusing. Adults, add to the conversation if you like. All those with limited mental faculties.........Well, you know what to do.

powerfulone1987
powerfulone1987

z24man15: What you're describing isn't a game. I don't know what it is, but it is just simply not of this Earth. You sound like Peter Mollineux (however you spell it) that "Fable" guy with all of his "Overly Ambitious" ambitions.

z24man15
z24man15

Just to make clear. I am a fan, I have played and enjoyed every RE game and watched every movie. Storyline rules all. In a game series that has a super awesome storyline and is driven by it, why not have a choice to custom change camera angles and controls. I don't remember the RE series having a multiplayer, in which these options could cause problems for. If they did, they could just put a limitation on how the options could be set or what players you could play with with the select options. Case close all problems solved and equals more people buying/playing the game, some people like to move and shoot and some don't, some like clunky controls and some don't, some like gore some don't or can't have gore(MA 17 why a limit on gore lol) some like lots of ammo some liek barely any, well you get the picture... just add options for all of them lol on a unluck at end of game menu, like a cheat menu. Some times after playing a game so many time the right way or a hard way or same way ... you just want to play through the game a different way. I think it would be fun to play it as a stop and shoot, a run and gun, a walk and shoot, adn a run for hide dodge duck get out of there in fear way ,what ever way you played it, the storyline would not change. How come everyone can't be happy LMAO

z24man15
z24man15

I have no problem with running out of ammo. You have to go look for more or kill enemies with your knife, though you should conserve your ammo. Not being able to walk forward and knife is the stupidest thing though, I would like a useful way to defend myself, if I find myself having to give my ammo to my partner and then myself and him/her running out. I really like using the knife, I just wish I could move a few step forward or backward while it is out... or to lean forward or backward would be nice. In the demo the enemies didn't throw stuff at you as much as in RE4. The control layouts are good, could use a custom config and maybe a walk and shoot/knife unlock after you beat the game or somehting. Other than that I like RE5. Other thoughts my friends don't like it only because of the lack of being able to walk and shoot/knife. So , I will probably find myself playing with the AI sheva, most of the people I found online sucked at the current RE5 control styles and gameplay. lol

Xx0M3NxX
Xx0M3NxX

I honestly don't understand why some people are complaining. You can choose what type of control style you want. If you want to strafe you can, if you want to stick to the original controls you can do that. As for the "horror and fear" factors that changed to. Don't judge a game that hasn't even come out yet. Just because the demo was filled with more action then expected don't think that there won't be any fear involved. First of all a good shooter player can handle a situation that you have limited ammo in. It's called picking your shots. Aim for exploding drums or shoot them in the legs and use your melee skills. Also, this article says that there will be scary parts to it. I would be scared walking in a entirely pitch black mine while my partner is completely vulnerable because he/she is holding up the only single form of light. Just wait until the game comes out and i you have any doubts about the game then just rent it and find out for yourself. Quit complaining.

Ja-nem-ba
Ja-nem-ba

Yay! Someone with some sense. Egood, some good points there; yes the controls are a bit awkward, but actually, I've felt that with ALL the RE games. It's always taken forever to turn around, guys, put the damn quick turn to some use. Better yet, don't think that taking a little hit from an enemy means that the controls are bad; the developers WANT you to take a few bits of damage in a giant brawl, it adds to the suspense and is to be expected. I also think that this no-policy-change in their game play is a smart move by Capcom. They certainly didn't change anything pertaining to gameplay, camera, shooting mechanics, item collection or movement after the first RE game, or the second, or third, OR FOURTH. When they finally do make the switch to try something different, they can't just give in to a few individuals who don't like the scheme, they have to ride it out. I would enjoy another old-school RE title, but I think we'd all have to wait at LEAST until after RE5, at the least. I'll admit the fear factor has been diminished somewhat - although I find it fine - but then, you can't have a 3rd/1st person view and be all-fear; unless you ARE playing F.E.A.R., but then RE has never been one to go "psychological." Personally, I found RE4 to be a bit short (not in it's own length itself, but too short to quench my thirst for it's particular form of gameplay), and now with RE5 coming soon, I'm ready for more. I am just going to enjoy playing RE5 for one full weekend, with a good friend to share the experience with, and soaking up the storyline (my favorite part of any game) of a game series that just recently took second place on my "favorites" list, behind MGS.

EGood13
EGood13

I played the demo and I thought it was a lot of fun and I am looking forward the the actual game. I will say that I agree that the controls seemed a little bit "clunky". I do think that walking and shooting should be an option but not running and shooting. I don't know how many of you have actually fired a gun before but running and shooting at the same time don't mix very well. A lot of police and military units practice shooting on the move which involves a lot of slow and deliberate walking. The game doesn't need to be realistic though, it's Resident Evil, and the best thing that the game developers have finally realized in the past couple of years is that a lot of us gamers love coop play. I say that the coop addition to an awesome franchise is welcome in my book. If you don't like the demo then don't buy the game, just quit crying about it.

mortimersneed
mortimersneed

You tell em powerfulone, let's be reasonable people. Gears and Dead-space were mentioned because the control scheme worked and the games are fun. Anyone who believes clunky controls and gameplay are a good thing must be subject to the game makers mind control. No modern day game should make you feel like your running through molasses in the Artic! RE 5's makers fouled it up, and they want you to believe it's a good thing. By the way, anyone want to buy the Brooklyn bridge, I'm selling it cheap.

powerfulone1987
powerfulone1987

Punumscott: Really? You wnt CLUNKY Gameplay? That's never good no matter what game you are. If you're looking for that, why don't you hook up an old Super Nintendo/Sega Genesis/Atari and have a ball. No game aspires to be CLUNKY. Ridiculous. And no gamer in his/her right mind would be happy with it.

Punumscott
Punumscott

@Mortimersneed: Thank good they have all that stuff, because this game is not Gears, or Dead Space. It is Resident Evil, and if it goes back to the clunky, no ammo gameplay I am happy.

mortimersneed
mortimersneed

If you wanna sell a game, put out a good demo. RE4 was excellent, although re5 is only a demo, I found the controls stiff and un-wielding, and only a fool goes into battle knowing he's going to run out of ammo, that DOES NOT make it exciting, it makes it frustrating. Gears is exciting, Dead space, exciting, scary, suspenseful, and you don't run out of ammo. I can't begin to count the number of times I ran out in the stiff game play of RE 5 during the big fights, and the character movement was so stiff and slow, that it made it very difficult to pick any up when all the craziness was happening. I wanted to like the demo, but I actually felt that it was a step backwards, regardless of the "innovative" coop experience.

Fenix0-7
Fenix0-7

How is everybody complaining about the controls, there easy to get the hang off. As for moving and shooting i don't know how many of you people have a real gun but i try not 2 b shooting rabbits while chasing them around the farm. Capcom is going for more realistic game play with less realistic enemies to keep it in balance.

plightstar
plightstar

Was really looking forward to this game, but after playing the Demo I was massively dissapointed, though the graphics are good the control scheme is terrible it still plays like a bad third person game created 10 years ago. Capcom should really try and evolve its ideas. I am not saying it should be 'Gears' controls but at least they should have something similar to Max Payne or something.

Fady117
Fady117

To powerfulone1987: i think u're right, though carrying the evolution far away from the core format might destroy the essential experience of the game. Consider it yourself..... we have RE5, Left 4 Dead, FallOut, Dead Space.... and a working title "HARKER"..... you see, because the gaming community wants ACTION (side effects of playing COD or Halo or GRAW too much :P :P) now they're adding it to survival horror games. Almost every zombie game from 2005 to today has little horror and seat-jumping emos to experience.... true, Caitalian said that less ammo would make it even more fun, but some ppl just CANNOT survive like that coz they ram in guns blazing and need the ammo belts to do it. Basically, 7 out of 10 gamers will use M16 rifles against zombies. More "genuine" ones will stick to handguns. The way i see it, RE7 is gonna have military troops against the zombies lol....

Fady117
Fady117

Ah man, sounds like the Resi saga is dying.... well at the beginning it was all about horror and survival (means getting the hell outta the shethole) but now they're giving us action-packed zombie shooters (means getting in and blasting the hell outta every zombie). Still amazing and off-the-chain, but the makers should really focus on the main scenario: lost in a desolated city, surrounded by zombies, outnumbered, and only one goal in mind: escape. The action-packed style started with Resident Evil 4 i think.... Leon was looking for the president's missing daughter (!!!!!) and had to eliminate anything that gets in his way (occasionally, every zombie in town). NPCs weren't much of a help, but here Sheva is an improvement. And uh, looking forward to having a long, difficult journey, with MORE weapons and LESS ammo. :D :D

powerfulone1987
powerfulone1987

Caitalian, you just described "DEAD SPACE" in so many words. ha. But yeah, the changes made to Resident Evil was on purpose. If they hadn't changed, people would be saying how they're stale and irrelevant. Each series eventually HAS TO try something new to maintain their audience and pull in more. It's no question that Resident Evil is more of an Action Adventure Game now than Horror and it seems to be working. Resident Evil 4 was amazing and they're continuing on from that. It wouldn't make since to go back to the original format. It's just the natural progress of evolution. They aren't necessarily doing anything wrong. And as I said, if they hadn't changed and were doing the same old thing after all of these years, they wouldn't hear the end of it. And you definitely won't like this but I heard that there's a control option that actually allows you to move/or strafe while shooting. It's optional though. It's called the "NEW" Controls. So you can play the "NEW and IMPROVED" way or the old way. That's how they pitched it. Hey, I like action adventure games so no beef with me. Still a good game either way.

caitalian
caitalian

To me this series is dead, I have been playing the RE series since the first one for the PS. This is no longer RE which was a suspencuful horror game. It is now a sci-fi game. Since RE 4 (which I loved for the WII by the way) having tenticles comming out of the heads and then little alien comming out of the corpses by the end of the game just make it something non RE. Now every little kid who grew up playing crap like halo want RE to take on its run and gun. RE is not a run and gun game and if they do to the 18 and below crowed that wants it then they may as well change the title. They need to go back to the roots, have actual zombies not people infested with some insect, and less of them, having 20 come after you makes them less special and scary ( more is less), third less ammo, RE4 I would have to sell ammo because I could not carry it all. Having to worry about running out of bullets will add to the tension. Of course non of that will ever happen and eventually we will have some full in some space gear that doesnt know how to talk shooting his laser gun to kill these T virus infested people in some random remote part of the world.

alexc4444
alexc4444

I actually cant wait for this game to come out. Gotta wait till my xbox is fixed first thoguh :/

thezman8
thezman8

RE4 for the wii is one of the best games I ever played, and was game of the year on the gamecube.. After playing the demo, I really think RE5 can do the same.

powerfulone1987
powerfulone1987

Ecko, let's wait for the actual game before we make such blatant and crude accusations. Although, I've been very weary of Shiva as well ever since I saw the Preview way back when on X-Play. The computre was HORRIBLE and Adam and Morgan could tell regardless of what that NON-Informative guy said. I was just hoping by the time the game came out it would be dealt with. Going by the DEMO, Shiva is still a hot mess, hopefully they'll use the remaining time to save her. And also, it's a DEMO. Shiva doesn't talk? CHRIS doesn't talk either! Do you see how backwards you are? Either way, I'm so flooded with School work, I won't be purchasing any games for a while, which might include this game too. Ugh. I'm definitely getting it though this summer if not earlier.

Kougeru
Kougeru

"I'm glad you don't run & gun in RE5. Not every single franchise needs a "Halo"/"XBOX Control" revamp. However, I wish the whole walking/running was through tilt control, not pressing a button like every other RE!! Its '09, not '96" actually if you press in the left analog on the ps3 version ,u do run lol

jimbo-89
jimbo-89

Standing still whilst shooting is deffo a good idea in these survival horror games since it makes it much harder because you could be stood still shooting one thing whilst you get munched on unsuspectingly from behind making you jump out of your skin. If you could run whilst shooting it would be too easy.

ecko1o1
ecko1o1

BTW I HATE Sheva. WTF is she doing there. She doesn't talk, she isn't useful and she only gets in the way or gets killed. And if she gets killed its game over. WTF?! This game is supposed to be suspenseful and a little scary but with that stupid ***** constantly getting in my way, the fun just drains away.

Syzgygy
Syzgygy

This sounds great! Co-op rules.

ecko1o1
ecko1o1

The demo sucked pretty hard. Definitely wouldn't buy it unless it had universal acclaim (not likely from what I've played).

st_dat_deal_313
st_dat_deal_313

im just hoping that we get a little bit of zombie action in this resident evil ........sumthing that will just grab me and try to bite off my head thats what im looking forward to

ResidnetEvil777
ResidnetEvil777

idk about anyone else but i found sheva taking up the right side of the screen was really annoying since u couldn't change the view. Does anyone else agree?

urnotmega
urnotmega

I don't need/want halo or gears type controls, but would it be that game breaking to allow walking while shooting? I'm pretty sure the main characters are skilled enough to pull that off...

Dawg9000
Dawg9000

The standing still and shooting was what made RE so survival horror. You frantically unload a clip into a zombie while not being able to move. Imagine going through RE 0-4 while being able to move and shoot. It'd be unbalanced. And the controls were upgraded in RE5. Now we can strafe. I'm content. It's either get used to it or go home.

mikeyg756
mikeyg756

Dead space may have done the controls better but resident evil doesn't have you fighting the same two enemies through out the entire game. It also doesn't stretch its playtime by copying and pasting areas so you can switch another one of the spaceships lights on. Seriously Dead space has nothing on resident evil. The controls are like this for the fans, and they work fine. Not every game has to have the same controls, get over it and stop whining. If you don't? then fine, you can miss one of the top games of 2009. I don't care, i'll be playing it!.

NND1
NND1

I cant wait for this awesome looking title

TXMostWanted
TXMostWanted

I'm glad you don't run & gun in RE5. Not every single franchise needs a "Halo"/"XBOX Control" revamp. However, I wish the whole walking/running was through tilt control, not pressing a button like every other RE!! Its '09, not '96

vaikinglee
vaikinglee

i dont know, but i like the whole having to stop to shoot thing. making precise headshots with a pistol would be pretty hard while running. it gives it a feel of me actually playing than playing a deadeye character

Karrez
Karrez

The controlls are out of date. Really not intuitive at all.

funnysplay
funnysplay

Me and my oldest brother are big fans of the series. it'll be nice to play with each other in co-op for a change.

saadsalah
saadsalah

شكررررررررراااا

Lionoversusking
Lionoversusking

OMG if you are finding the controls clunky go out andf play resi4 again Capcom have always been good at making their games for fans if you dont like the controls your not a fan seeing as they just add that choice that resi has always had being run or shoot not both its called choice. My goodness the demo has just wet my appetite for more so much that i'm currently near the end of playing resi 4 after playing all of the other games before it on gamecube :)

JB2B
JB2B

I dont care a lot about running & gunning together. In the Wii version of RE4 you couldn't run and shoot at the same time. While you might think this is a problem, it suprisingly adds more tension to the game. The co-op sounds real cool, but I need some one to go through the story the same as I go through it. Not by just trying to complete it asap, but to really enjoy every part of it. Hopefully I can get some of my friends to buy this one. MS Should give me a game for free for all the people I convinced in buying games like Fall Out 3, Far Cry 2, Halo 3.

shultz180
shultz180

played the demo love the game i cant count how many times i played it cant wait till it comes out on march 13.

army2067
army2067

definitely going to buy this game first day its out!