This will probably go down as the most improperly reviewed game of 2009! Here's why...
That said, this is NOT Gears of War and it never was! All the little game mechanics for cooperative play say this is not Gears. All the moody and subtle game design says this is not Gears. The feeling of openness and that someone is about to hit you from behind says this is NOT Gears! This is not a game that forces you to hide behind a wall for 50% of your playtime. Item collection and upgrading is also integral to Re5; this is not the case in Gears.
To summarize, if I hear one more comparison of Re5 to Gears I'll turn to my girlfriend playing Sheva and tell her to !@#$% you up! Believe me, she will!
So let us move on and use this as our sanctuary where we can do a fair assessment of Resident Evil 5.
Resident Evil 5 adds cooperative gameplay and online gameplay; this is huge! This game is all about cooperative play. If you hear people talking about what it's like to play with the AI close your ears. This game isn't meant to be played alone. It's your own fault if you can't find one person to play with, not the game's. Seriously, play this game with another human being as it was meant to be played.
Resident Evil 4 was one of the best games of all time and Re5 is a fantastic sequel. Re5 doesn't have many of the corny or endearing characters and things that 4 did; the merchant comes to mind. However, the spirit of cooperation and partnership between Chris and Sheva is far more endearing than Ashley's repetitive "Heeeeey Leooooon HEEEEELLPP!"
Re5 has almost unanimously hailed graphics so I give their graphics 5/5. Re5 has tons of unlockable content and online play + co-op will get you a huge amount of value. Not to mention, it appears that some groundbreaking DLC is in the works for this title. Value gets a 5/5. Sound also gets a 5/5 because it never gets in the way and it adds to the experience 95% of the time. Sound effects are crisp and were pulled from controlled recording taken specifically for this game. Voice acting is also very good. Gameplay gets a 5/5 as well; it was probably tempting to let you move and shoot during game development and Capcom was able to avoid that pitfall. The problem with quick turning and strafing is that they remove most of the suspense and make it much harder for enemies to sneak-up on you. Besides, that's why Sheva (played by a friend) is there!
My only quibble is that I wish Re5 had been even longer.