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

264 comments
Silver-Sentinel
Silver-Sentinel

Firstly, let me thank dollomite704 for saying what I think a lot of us were thinking. Now onto the actual subject (since I'd hope after what dollomite said we'd be past the immature name calling and pointless sucker punching) I think some you guys are missing the point. RE fan or not, not everyone is going to like the same game you do. They have their own right to like the game or not, it's not like it's affecting you directly in any way, unless you allow it to. That said, I'm psyched for RE5. I got my pre-order in already since I've just been waiting for a good co-op game lately (and Fable II disappointed me in that area). Sure hope the rest of the game is as fun for me as the demo was!

dollomite704
dollomite704

You can cuss all you want to - you can type little stars and try and sound like a tough guy whose been around the gaming block a few times all you want to - you can call people names and all types of other testosterone filled rhetoric - but that is not doing one thing to stop all the people I know from talking about how horrible the controls are and the fact that they will not be purchasing this game. Last time I checked, this is what you are supposed to do - give feedback - not cuss like a 5 year old child with silly little one-liners as if your feelings are hurt. No one takes you seriously, chum.

sushiroll
sushiroll

yeah!!! he is right!! just enjoy the fu**ing game !!!

DDkonga
DDkonga

1) every people that said the controls s**ks must be damn stupid at playing games. i try it out for the first time and i had no problems with the damn controls.you guys just can't play games like this besides its just a freaking demo maybe they will read you're comments and add more stuff. 2)just enjoy the f***ing game. 3) by the way its my first resident evil game that i've played

sushiroll
sushiroll

I will buy it and i will put it a ten!!

sushiroll
sushiroll

the controls are not horrible!!! aaaaaa!! you are just stupiid managing them correctly!

sushiroll
sushiroll

I downloaded the demo too on my PS3, once you get used to the controls(which are realy diferent and dificult from the ones of a common first person shuter) you will really like it. You need to be really quick managing the control becouse there are a lot of button conbinations, but i really enjoy it and i will buy the game...Its awesome!! ooo yeah ,another thing, there are a lot of people that get frustrated just like soupgfx but thats becouse they are soooo stupiid they cant get used to the controls, I think this game is more cool for the guys like me that have a lot of experience and can get used quickly to the controls. Fucck you soupfx!! im totaly with Kikouken

soupgfx
soupgfx

I downloaded the demo on my PS3 and after playing the demo for 15 minutes was soon bored and frustrated with the controls. For one, it's inexcusable for you not to be able to run and shoot. That's just an expected game standard in a FPS. 2nd, there was just nothing new or innovative about this game. Zombies come chasing and you shoot... Same premise of the old games and nothing new and innovative. 3rd, the flow of the game is clunky and you have this general sense of not knowing what's going on at all. No real sense of space.

Kikouken
Kikouken

And seriously WTF? If you say the controls suck because you can't "run and gun" and rush the enemies with your knife, you are probably NEW to the Resident Evil series or have not even touched RE4 in your life. Get used to it, I had 0 problems with the controls and they were pretty much similar to what I was used to.

Kikouken
Kikouken

One more month...one more month. I just imported Biohazard 0 for the Wii, going to catch up on the RE series once again. I can't wait for RE5.

lil_luz_10
lil_luz_10

LOL really guys!?...seriously!? "like re4 with better graphics"... Ummm is that a bad thing? I'll take that any day of the week re4 was way too awesome and such a great breath of fresh air into a series using the same idea over and over.

jets78
jets78

they should atleast put a free roam control as an option for casual gamers like my self

jets78
jets78

free roaming controls would be better like dead rising

Angels_Airwaves
Angels_Airwaves

I don't understand why the controls are sooo horrible for people that it will justify whether or not they purchase the game. Capcom has stated many of times that the controls are this way to keep the tension. If we could run and gun, then people would complain the game is just your typical modern day shooter. Seriously guys I'd lay this to rest and just enjoy the game

dudukalache
dudukalache

Bring back the zombies, tired of those new monsters and stuff... agree with TXMostWanted...

Sir3tt
Sir3tt

Agree partially wit TXMostWanted but i think this game will be a classic despite of capcom's changes.

TXMostWanted
TXMostWanted

...oh yea, and bring back the zombies!! I miss the ol' Raccoon City days

TXMostWanted
TXMostWanted

Controls are abit outdated now (x+D pad to run!?) and the whole fact that Sheva is by your side 24/7 takes away from the whole "Surrounded/Ambush" Horror Theme. Resident Evil is now officially just a shooter rather than Survival Horror. Thank you Capcom for putting too much emphasize on reaching out to a Western Audience when you already had it.

dollomite704
dollomite704

I couldn't agree more with TurambarGS - the controls are so bad that the people I know that play games and are discussing RE5 are talking about how horrible the controls are - how lame it is you cannot walk and shoot at the same time, you cannot walk with your blade out - you cannot see crap with so many zombies around and with such sluggish controls...you can forget it if you think me and my group of friends will buy this game as is!

ecko1o1
ecko1o1

This coop thing is gonna be lame.

fatredfu
fatredfu

NVMD I just checked the specs... damn

fatredfu
fatredfu

So i'm confused about this Co-op thing... maybe I haven't read enough... but is the Co-op something you do online, or something that can be done with one console and two controllers? I guess I wish more games for the PS3 were two player with one console instead of selling the game as multiplayer when you have to have an online connection to get to other players... to play with.... My Girlfriend loves shooters and gorey games. She's a big fan of F.E.A.R. and has just picked up RE4 for her PC. She's thinking of getting a system, (I'm recommending a PS3 so we can game together) but I know she'd love this game and it would really blow if you can't play two players on the same system... I've got a big TV so even split screen would be fine...

zRO_degrees
zRO_degrees

question?...Are there customizations to yur weapons like in RE4...Since there practically the same it should right? That would be awesome if u can purchase ammo and armor this time.

snipermx06
snipermx06

the demo was great. the only complain is the gunfire sound, but hopefully that is fix when the game release. control is much like RE4, and like the inventory.

cardkoda
cardkoda

To anyone complaining about the controls saying they liked RE4 controls better. You can set it to RE4 controls. I actually think the controls were fine. Maybe a tad bit needs to be changed but nothing more.

man-man-man
man-man-man

well i actually liked the controls but sum pple don't but capcom is still working in the game as we speak now so we should wait by the way what is the consle u have????????

burstlimit514
burstlimit514

@ man-man-man why do they have to update the controls? I actually liked them. I dont see the complaint about them except grenades. I mean you have to equip genades to use one!? It only takes 1 hand.

suliman99
suliman99

hey guys, leon and zero r right , when i saw the demo and how u control the character i remembered RE4 its exactly the same style, so it is not that big deal :(

lionheart2255
lionheart2255

Thanks zRO_degrees , finally someone understand the failure in this game.

man-man-man
man-man-man

everyone the controls of the game has been updated and capcom well let another demo out soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

denaz
denaz

Swweeeeet! Cannot wait to kill me some zombies!

PSWII60user
PSWII60user

burstlimit514, they are called headsets. you can't buy a process through which electronics connect. sorry it is just one of my pet peeves. but the demo was awesome and can't wait to pick up the game.

burstlimit514
burstlimit514

Just played the demo with this guy and we used bluetooths. The game does still have a horror feel to it and the game was easier with bluetooths. So if your going to get this get a bluetooth. It would help people out a lot.

Morphine_OD
Morphine_OD

Controls are kinda awkward, guns don't sound powerful, no horror at all. Can't say that the game is bad, but definetly it's not excellent. The knife is useless, headshots are piece of crap. Well, let's hope that they still have the time left to right the wrongs

TehUndeadHorror
TehUndeadHorror

Coolies, didn't really like the demo (not my type of game =\), but still looks like it'll turn out to be a good game.

man-man-man
man-man-man

"The whole resident evil series was a survival horror type" But after resident evil CV (code veronica x) capcom was trying to Superior konami's game $ILENT HILL 4:THE ROOM---------so the have Issued - resident evil 4------in fact --it was a good punch from capcom to konami>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>the graphics and the gameplay have improved so much than before-but as well they have losed the horror in this game---the game was Turned from horror to Action - i already played re5 demo-well the controls have some problems ------ is they could fix it------then maybe the game well have 10/10>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Thanks every body my gamer tag at xbox live is INWARD MEGAMAN Note: Be sure to press the button distance

neo001
neo001

therealsomeguy stated: 'is it just me or is everyone sick of games that go on and on about awesome co-op...that is ONLY online....etc' Check the previews, or better yet - PLAY THE ACTUAL GAME - it has a split screen offline coop mode, check your facts before commenting on something you seem to know very little about. The offline coop has been promoted for this game for a long time....

therealsomeguy
therealsomeguy

is it just me or is everyone sick of games that go on and on about awesome co-op...that is ONLY online, even psx games had split screen co-op it seems delevopers these days think the only time we coomunicate with people is through a mic...now it sounds like this game might just also have ofline co-op...but i've been let down before the only game that i know of that has co-op on PS3 was Resistance Fall of Man and Resistance 2 and they were both brilliant games...for crying out loud, even racing games dont have split screen anymore (NFS undercover)

TurambarGS
TurambarGS

Man, I hate the controls. Seriously what game doesn't let you move around with your gun out. And what is the point of being able to melee if you can't move with your blade out!? You're out of ammo - there's hordes of zombies all around and what do you do if you want to kill any of them for some pickups? Stay rooted to the spot and hack away at them. Nah, played the demo all yesterday and couldn't get past the horrendous controls like Gamespot said I would - I'll pass.

zRO_degrees
zRO_degrees

The only reason some say its hard is because of the cpu not responding on its own much...And if u have a horrible partner wanting to be RAMBO then good luck surving. try RE4 where u had 2 save a defenseless child all the time.

zRO_degrees
zRO_degrees

@ liohheart2255 I totally agree wit you. I love the demo and I love killin the executioner many times but like someone said, the controls are a tad sluggish, and the melee weapon is flow as well. A zombie is in ya face while yur aiming and the damn knife hardly pushes them back. I like RE4 controls better then this. Listen i love it and its alot better now that u can play co-op online...cause you'll need it.

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

Resident Evil 5 will get some game of the years. and to those that say its too hard you just suck. Go get RE4 and play that for the next month so your used to it.

jono2
jono2

I'm still not impressed with the graphics. Everything is shiny and smooth. There is no texture in the people and environment.

DeathsGrip6390
DeathsGrip6390

Great Demo and Game Co-op Games Are Where It's At!

mat_r17
mat_r17

yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay this is guna be cooooooool

coureurke
coureurke

The Graphic are awsome! Its a shame they didnt stick too the gameplay from Resident Evil 4..