I plan to write a full length review for Resident Evil 5 sometime soon. But, since I don't really have the time right now, I figured I'd write up a mini review.
Now, I have nearly completed the game on 360, and there are a few things I would like to address. First of all, I hve had a lot of fun with the game. It is definitely entertaining, and provides a variety of environments to fight through. And, although the co-op play takes a bit of getting used to, it can prove to be fun, and even strategic at times. But somehow, despite the immense graphical enhancements and effects, I don't think this game quite lives up to Resident Evil 4.
Undoubtedly, this game had some big shoes to fill. After all, RE4 was the 2006 Game of the Year for many different webstes and publications. Although the graphical enhancements and co-op additions are an obvious improvement for the series, there are some areas in which, in my opinion, RE5 falls short.
One such area is the gameplay. Although many people probably appreciate the fact that the controls are very cimilar to RE4, they do feel a bit outdated. I was hoping that they would improve minor aspects of the control scheme. It can be very frustrating when you cannot move while firing. I guess this is how it has been for all of the RE games, but you'd think they'd try to improve it for a truly next-gen experience. And, although the item sharing and hotkey menu is nice, it slows down the gameplay when exchanging items between characters. Sometimes, I wish the game would just pause and let players swap the items without having to worry about being chainsawed from behind. Then again, maybe that's what they were going for.
Another problem with the gameplayare the fighting environments. When I first walked through that little African town at the beginning of the game, I thought they foreshadowed danger very well. It was a really cool environment to see. But, after a while of play, you start exploring many indoor environments. This bugs me because the outdoor environments are so beautiful, and I don't know why they would trap us inside so much.
Another area is the horror aspect of the gameplay. When I first heard that RE5 would take place mostly in the day time, I was a bit skeptical. Then, they talked about how they were going to base it loosely off Black Hawk Down. They said they were going to use various glare and shadow effects to make it look "scarier." I'm playing on a Sharp Aquos in 1080p, and although the graphics are really good, I don't see very many examples of these effects. I guess playing in daylight just isn't very scary, o just not as scary as they made it out to be. I feel likeI'm playing Uncharted: Drakes Fortune, except withcrazed parasite hosting enemies. I will say that the explosions and environmental destruction have greatly improved though.
Last of all are the graphics. I know I said that they were great, and they are. I don't want to be picky, but I thought Chris Redfield could have used more detail. He looks a bit inhuman if you ask me. At times, he looks like Ben Stiller on steroids. His ears are huge, and he is a little disproportionate. Think about it: you are playing this character for the entire game...wouldn't you want him to look a bit better. Also, I know they used motion capture for the mouth movements, but sometimes they are really just "off," as in the vocal audio doesn't match the mouth movements. This happens especially with Chris Redfield, and sometimes it just makes me cringe.
Oh yeah...the puzzles kind of bugged me as well. The puzzle solving in the temple was way to cliche. This isn't Tomb Raider here...this is Resident Evil! The mirror reflection puzzles were really simple, and kind of stupid if you ask me. I feel like the developers said, "Hey, let's just put a puzzle in here for the heck of it." RE4 had some interesting puzzles. RE5 on the other hand, does not. That mirror thing has been done before (Prince of Persia, The Mummy, and maybe even Tomb Raider). And the part with the moving stairs is cliche as well, not to mention pretty unreal. AND...what happened to the obstructing of entrances, defending houses, and things like that. The only time where I got to move a freakin' shelf in front of a window was in the very beginning, and then...gone. I know they're porbably on a strict schedule and everything, but wasn't Leon Kennedy alsostrapped for timein saving the PRESIDENT's DAUGHTER? This feature was either left out, or simply forgotten.
Despite these few problems I have with the game, I am enjoying it thoroughly. I like the vast array of weaponry available, and it is nice how you get to upgrade your weapons at the end of each chapter. The item swapping system, although a bit sluggish for the more tense gameplay moments, is a good adition to the game. It increases the strategic aspect of the co-op gameplay, because you have to decide who gets what weapon, and what items they have. For example, it is really handy to give one player the sniper, and the other a more close-range weapon, such as a shotgun.
The level of environmental destruction has improved as well. There are a lot more explosions, and many more things are breakable than in RE4. I guess its thanks to the Havok physics engine. The graphics are much more detiled, and the lighting, although not as good as it could have been, was very good.
Another thing I liked was the addition of more melee attacks, such as the straight, the uppercut, the stomp, etc. Its much more fun to have a variety of melee attacks, rather than just the ability to kick zombies everytime they're downed.
The boss battles were pretty good also. They have gotten much bigger, and much shinier too! Ooooo. But seriously, they look great, and are highly detailed as they should be for a next-gen console.
Other than that, everything is very similar to RE4, aside from a few things. This is porbably a good thing considering RE4 was amazing. I just wish that they would have improved the gameplay more, and that they would have focused mre on the game's horror factor. Is Resident Evil 5 good... yes! It is great, yes!! It is fun...definitely! But does it live up to it's predecessor? Well, in my opinion, no... as much as I would like to say yes. In no way am I encouraging anyone not to get this game. I just feel that RE4 was more unique, and had much more memorable gameplay moments. Am I living in past glory? Maybe, but I'm sure the reviews will agree with at least some of the opinions I have for RE5.