I was excited for this game, now I don't ever want to play it again. A word summarizes the game perfectly, frustrating.
Instead of moving forward like I thought it would the Resident Evil series is not only standing still, but in my mind, may have slightly moved backwards even. I was hoping that RE5 would finally allow me to shoot and move at the same time, a hope, which was soon extinguished by the demo. The controls are some of the worst I have seen in this generation of videogames. While the controls have not changed much since RE4 the combat has. The enemies now surround you, which makes the sluggish controls much more noticeably slow and the inability to move and shoot even more apparent and frustrating. Most of the tense moments in the game are not due to fighting against smart enemies or overwhelming numbers, but because the controls are terrible. I think that a truly good survival horror game is not one that is tense because of bad controls, but one that has perfect controls and yet has the right mood and has good enemy AI to make it tense.
Some new "improvements" to the game are co-op play and a cover system. The co-op play is what makes this game truly frustrating if you are playing alone. Your partner's AI sucks and she will constantly die because she rushes straight into the middle of packs of zombies. If she dies you lose and have to start over. The combat has a 360 degree quality to it because it is supposed to be easier to handle since you have twice the firepower, but so long as you are the only one playing you will be dispatching most of the enemies meaning that you'll have to watch your own front, back and sides, and those of Sheva, your partner. Once you start playing with a friend to combat shines, but this is only true if that person is already familiar with the control scheme, if they are not they'll be about as much help as a blind sniper. The new cover system is also completely worthless. Once you are in cover you cannot change your vantage point, or change cover without standing up, leaving cover and repositioning yourself, which is frustrating and inconvenient. Unfortunately you are forced to take cover in the later levels since enemy zombies have guns and grenades.
Why the hell did Capcom think that giving zombies guns was a good idea? What makes them zombies in that case? This game doesn't feel like a zombie game at all. All Capcom would have to do is replace the character models and boom, you're fighting African Rebels. Don't like that? Change the character models again, and you're fighting terrorists in Africa. This could be any cookie cutter game with cookie cutter enemies you wanted if Capcom didn't tell you that they were actually zombies.
Then there's the plot. It sucks, it's convoluted and pretty boring. The dialog is awful and the voice acting make it even harder to listen to. The locations are mostly bland. There are some interesting locals like the African village, but most of areas you'll visit you've seen in other games, and in other Resident Evil games. There's the evil lab, the spooky cargo ship and others that all kinda blend together as uninspired filler.
Then there's the fact that RE5 is no longer even a survival horror game, it's a shooter. You no longer have to conserve ammo, at all, because every 3rd or 4th zombie you kill will drop some and the only feeling of impending doom is the idea that you still have another 7 hours to go at the half way mark of these controls that have already driven you completely bonkers.
Then you have your inventory, which is pretty much nonexistent. Each player gets 9 spaces to put stuff. The inventory come up in real time, while the combat is still going on, making switching weapons and trading guns and ammo frustrating and possibly resulting in death. You also can't give someone a portion of your ammo, it's all or nothing so if someone runs out of pistol ammo you'll need to kill a horde of zombies by yourself so that your friend can replenish his ammo and get back into the game. The entire inventory system seems like a tacked on afterthought. Basically this entire game seems like it was tested by people who have never played a proper shooter or a proper survival horror game in their lives, and therefore doesn't live up to either expectation. Capcom needs to streamline the controls and then make the AI smarter, make the enemies be able to take more damage and make them slightly faster. They should also make ammo and health drops less frequent and take the guns away from the zombies. this would make the game easier to learn while keeping the gameplay tense and scary (but this way it'll be tense and scary for the right reasons).
Basically if you want to punish yourself or if you have a friend who is willing to play through the entire game with you, then you should go ahead and buy this game. If you just want to find out what happens next in the Resident Evil story line I suggest renting the game, or just watching all of the cut scenes on youtube. Unless you are a hardcore RE fan and you can't imagine playing the game with any other controls then you won't like this game. Not that this game is horrible by any standards, and it gets kinda fun if you are playing splitscreen with a friend who knows what he is doing. The problem is that it's nearly impossible to get through the entire game playing only with a friend, unless you live together. Also if you want to get some replay value, you won't find it here.
*Also, for anyone interested, this game is not racist, I've been to Africa, and this is basically what it looks like (not the African village level, but the shanty town and the African city), and you know what's in Africa? That's right, you guessed it, black people! There's no other way that Capcom could have had a RE game based in Africa.