Action fans will enjoy this but Resident Evil fans will find this to be a masterpiece.

User Rating: 9.5 | Resident Evil 5 X360
Like most RE fans I've been anxiously awaiting RE5 since the day I finished RE4, which I consider to be at least among the best video games ever, if not THE best video game ever. For everyone's information this review is based on coop as I played RE5 in coop mode with my 19 year old son using the split-screen.

GAMEPLAY (9.0) - The overall game plays much like Resident Evil 4 for the most part. It has plenty of newly added melee attacks that can be performed on an enemy by shooting and stunning it in a certain way, and there are even some tag team melees that require teamwork and these can be fun to try while playing with a partner. The game still uses the classic Resident Evil tank controls but loosens them just as much as Resident Evil 4 and provides the player with the same over-the-shoulder view perspective. The inventory system can only be pulled up in real time, and even though cycling through the inventory while action occurs on the screen takes some getting used to at first, it brings a whole new level of depth and strategy to the usual pause in gameplay to select from the inventory. As in RE4 there will be many different weapons that can be bought and upgraded. One other thing to keep in mind is that many times the cut scenes will be interactive, and you'll suddenly be prompted to quickly press the correct button. This can be fun but it also keeps you from being able to sit back and enjoy the movies.

GRAPHICS (10.0) - This game is overflowing with high production values in many ways but the high resolution appearance is quite a sight to behold. The character models are all life-like and detailed and are the best I've seen in a game yet. Backgrounds showcase some impressive lighting effects throughout the game as well. There is one sewer area in particular that gradually gets darker as your character moves toward the middle of the tunnel then slowly gets a bit brighter as an opening is reached. Shadow effects are lifelike as well such as seeing realistic character shadows as they move by an area with sunlight peaking or simply seeing the shadow of a crow that is flying overhead. This is definitely a game that can be used to show off the power of the 360 on a HDTV.

SOUND (9.0) - RE 5 features a some decent voice acting and while there are some cheesy lines which seem to crop up from time to time generally the script is pretty solid. The music was fine and appropriate for the particular settings though overall I didn't find the soundtrack to be as memorable as RE4. Sound effects are outstanding, whether if they are coming fro weapons or grotesque monsters.

VALUE (9.5) - For an action game this will take you a decent amount of time to complete, and there's plenty of incentive for repeat playings due to the incredible amount of weaponry that can be unlocked plus the bonus of unlimited ammo for any weapons that are fully upgraded. But the biggest bonus, as any RE4 fan will attest, is unlocking The Mercenaries game. It is unlocked after the main story is finished on any difficulty. Just like in Resident Evil 4, you can select a character with a predetermined weapon list and your character will enter a stage full of enemies where your goal is to get as many kills as possible before the time runs out. Players can collect time bonuses to extend the timer for more killing time and chaining kills all within a certain amount of seconds can raise the overall score. Everything about the Mercenaries mode is bigger and better this time. More stages can be played and there are more unlockable characters. But that isn't even the best part. The most fantastic part about this mode is that it can now be played with two players, so you can join up with a friend locally or online and work together to get a high score. It's absolutely amazing how addicting this mode can be with two people and really shows off how the overall Resident Evil 4 style gameplay still holds up.

SUMMARY - There are some things you will find out about the series' past that will completely blow you away while answering some of the more elusive story aspects that were only hinted upon in the older games. Resident Evil 5 does a very good job of pulling together aspects from Resident Evil 4 and the more classic Resident Evil games. Las Plagas (Resident Evil 4) and the Progenitor virus (pre-Resident Evil) are the main focus of the story along with a few new additions. It also showcases the return of a few older fan favorite characters such as Albert Wesker and another very popular character that has been missing from the Resident Evil storyline for far too long. One of the most elusive Resident Evil characters of all time is actually given a face and a voice in Resident Evil 5 as well. The reoccurring theme of "partner" is one of the major story elements in Resident Evil 5's narrative and it succeeds in bringing in some emotional depth to the overall story. I've always deemed Resident Evil: Code Veronica X as perhaps having the most epic story, but Resident Evil 5 comes close in dethroning it. Resident Evil fans obviously have to play this game and others, while perhaps not as interested in the story, should still enjoy the great graphics and action.