The fun horror-action series returns and ties up many loose ends lingering from the previous games.

User Rating: 8 | Resident Evil 5 X360
*** RESIDENT EVIL 5 ***

THE GOOD

-Excellent story that ties up many loose ends
-Multiplayer is a lot of fun
-Active menu makes fighting even more intense
-Mercenaries mini game is still fun and now offers co-op
-Superb graphics and audio

THE BAD

-Controls are sluggish, limited and down right awkward
-Close camera hinders peripheral vision

OVERVIEW

Resident Evil 5 (RE5) takes place shortly after the incident in Resident Evil 4, with the Los Illuminados cult, in an African desert area in Kijuju. Chris Redfield returns as the main character and is heading up an investigation about a possible viral terrorist threat with Umbrella's weapons. Chris has put on some muscle since we last saw him and is now a member of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA). When Chris reaches his destination, he meets up with the beautiful Sheva Alomar (a local BSAA agent) and the two become partners for the entire journey. When Chris first meets Sheva he has a flashback of his former partner Jill Valentine. You see, Chris and Jill were attempting to arrest Ozwell Spencer (the founder of Umbrella) when they meet up with long time rival Albert Wesker. Wesker had already killed Spencer and attempted to kill Chris until Jill tackled Wesker and the two fell out of a high window in Spencer's mansion. The two bodies were never found and they were both pronounced dead. So, when Sheva calls Chris her partner, he feels a little uneasy about the situation.

Anyways, after a short greeting the two proceed to meet their informant who tells them more about the guy they are trying to apprehend. A man by the name of Ricardo Irving is attempting to sell viruses to local terrorists in the area. After the informant leaves, Chris and Sheva encounter two natives stuffing an organism, which later is found out to be Umbrella's Uroboros virus, into another native which turns him crazed and hostile. After the two dispatch the hostile man, Chris tells Sheva about the findings from Leon Kennedy's report and the similarities with what they just saw. Shortly after, Chris and Sheva find themselves fighting for their lives and that their BSAA backup has all been wiped out. Chris's dutiful nature takes over and he vows to put an end to this viral threat and Sheva won't let him go through it alone. They will fight fear together or die trying.

In Resident Evil 5 you'll encounter some familiar faces, from the series, along with a brand new majini race. The character development is top-notch and our two heroes have great chemistry together. The story is just as good as the rest of the games in the series and you'll find that RE5 resolves many cliff hangers left by the other games. The gameplay has some setbacks but the story, characters, and cut scenes are very entertaining; especially for long time fans of the Resident Evil series.

GAMEPLAY

Resident Evil 5's story is exciting but now let's dive into the actual gameplay. A new and exciting feature to the Resident Evil series is ability to play co-op online and split screen. Together you and a friend can play as either Chris or Sheva and traverse through this terrifying African settlement. There are some parts where the game will require you to split up but most of the time you'll be fighting side by side. Teamwork is key in Resident Evil 5 because the amount of enemies has almost tripled since the last game and they move a lot quicker. You'll be able to swap ammo, explosives and restorative items but weapons are restricted. Also, if a player takes a near fatal blow, your partner will have the chance to restore them back to health.

Now if you don't have anyone to play with, the A.I. will fill in the vacant spot. But don't worry because the computer actually serves as a formative teammate. Your computer ally can be toggled to "cover" or "attack" mode. In cover mode the A.I. will stay close to you, take decisive shots to conserve ammo and recognize when you need an herb or first aid spray. In attack mode you partner will start to tear stuff up. They'll still come to your aid but they'll wonder around a bit more, pickup items and take out enemies but do it in a non-reckless fashion. I was actually surprised on how intelligent the computer player was and how adaptable it was in a multitude of situations. I mean don't get me wrong the A.I. has some hiccups now and then but it almost felt like playing with another human player.

With enemies moving faster and attacking in groups from all directions, you'll definitely notice that the combat can be frightfully exciting. There are many times when you're heart with start to beat faster; especially when a chainsaw majini is right behind you. Well, to add to the already panicked struggle, Resident Evil 5 decided to throw in an active menu system. This great new feature won't let you pause the game to search in your inventory anymore. Instead, while you're looking in your weapon's cache, enemies will still be coming at you. Now don't worry because you are able to preset up to four different items to be quick selected using the d-pad.

Unfortunately, not everything in Resident Evil 5 is enjoyable. There are a few setbacks in this game and the control scheme is a major one. The controls are pretty much the same as RE4 with some slight differences. One of my biggest pet-peeves about this game is the fact that you can't run and shoot at the same time. Now this wasn't as big of a problem in RE4 mainly because the enemies moved a lot slower but now it feels like you are at a huge disadvantage here. Also, since there has been a huge growth in shooters, in the gaming industry, the inability to shoot and run at the same time just seems outdated. Now the action commands make a return which is nice because you'll be able to interact with the environment like knock over ladders and stuff, but all in all the controls are just plain awkward.

Another gripe I have with RE5 is the camera being way to close to your character's shoulder; especially when your gun is drawn. This greatly reduces your peripheral vision so while you're shooting three majini in front of you, you'll never know that there are two more trying to bite off your elbow.

Now the main story is a little on the short side (around 10 hours) but there are a few other fun things to make you stay and play more. First, the wide selection of weapons and possible upgrades for each is awesome. This alone will make you want to play through the story mode again on a higher difficultly. Since the items in your inventory travel with you from game to game, you'll be able to keep your upgrades, which is a nice feature. Also, you'll be able to unlock infinite ammo for each weapon to give you a little advantage for the toughest difficulty. The other fun extra is the return of the Mercenaries mini game. Co-op with another human is available which is good because this mini game is extremely frantic. In Mercenaries the object is to kill as many enemies as you can in the time allotted. There are time increase items scatter throughout each of the maps and a bonus for combo kills. There are plenty of maps and characters to choose from so it'll be easy to spend a decent amount of time here.

GRAPHICS & SOUND

The graphics are exceptional. The clarity in the environments and characters really stand out in this game and truly make it look like a rural African town. Another neat effect that RE5 offers is the "eye adjustment" feature. This means that if you're outside in the sun and then run indoors it will take a few seconds for your eyes to adjust and vise versa.

The musical score compliments the gameplay to a tee. The boss music, especially, creates the right amount of urgency and excitement. The voice acting fits each character nicely and the dialog isn't boring at all. The sound effects are another great part about Resident Evil 5. The huge blasting sounds from the shotgun to the yells from the majini enhance the gameplay greatly.

CONCLUSION

Resident Evil 5 is an exciting game with a great story. Sadly, the outdated controls will keep some from enjoying this one. Hopefully, Capcom will incorporate a run and gun feel for the next Resident Evil because it is much overdue. For those who have enjoyed the other Resident Evil games, in the series, you'll most likely enjoy RE5. I would recommend this game to long time fans of the series and those who enjoy action games but can put up with frustrating controls. Chris and Sheva will fight fear together but the question remains, is it all worth fighting for?
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