Hype, anticipation, high expectations – these are some of the things that could, as strange as it sounds, actually ruin a video game: whenever you want something so bad that it hurts, whenever you are offered that something, you’re a bit disappointed. Capcom’s Resident Evil 5 showed all the pre-launch signs of history repeating, of a horror game people were simply expecting too much from. Fortunately for the fans of the franchise and for Capcom themselves, this horror game f***n’ rules. Pardon my language!
Resident Evil 5 tells the story of Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar who have to investigate some strange happenings related to THE virus, black markets and ugly mutated humans and monsters. The game throws in into action pretty fast, but not after it gets you in the mood for slaughter with an awesome intro.
One of the most important aspects in Resident Evil 5, at least gameplay-wise, is your new partner Sheva, since she can be controlled by a human player in a great co-op mode that simply takes the game to a new level (and, honestly, if you don’t play Resi5 in co-op, you miss a lot!). Still, if you simply don’t want to bring a friend in and follow the story together, Sheva will be controlled by the AI and, unlike what you might expect, she does a great job, never stays in your way and will soon become a really useful companion. Of course, she is not perfect, she tends to waste ammo and she doesn’t really seem to understand boss fights perfectly, but I wouldn’t like an AI character to drag me after her through the game, either. So she is quite OK.
Now you might be wondering if Capcom really delivered a horror title or not. To put it short: yes, they did, even though it’s a different experience compared to that of Resident Evil 4, for example. But that’s not a bad thing: the general direction of the “horror” in the latest game tends to come from the intense combat, and surprise combat instead of bunches of scripted events that are not triggered unless you take that step forward. Which is great and really, really scary, so it would be safer for you and your heart if you didn’t start playing the game late at night. Honestly.
However, the biggest problem with the game is the moving-and-shooting thing which is not possible, for whatever reason. It’s artificial, unnatural and completely pointless to be unable to move and aim at the same time, but this was probably a trick Capcom used to add some extra difficulty to the game and, why not, even slow us down a little. There’s not too much horror a human being can take, right? Still, I would’ve preferred some more freedom in moving and aiming, especially in the later stages of the game when the action gets very, very intense. But we have to deal with that and say “thanks” for the other improvements.
One of which is the inventory system. Except for the fact that, in single player, you can use Sheva to carry some of the items (nine at most) you don’t really, really need, the object themselves no longer have different sizes, which means that anytime one item will take just one spot, no matter how big or small it is.
The second is the Mercenaries mode, which adds an extra heart to Resident Evil 5. This is an unlockable game mode prepared by Capcom for the best of the best: exceptionally fun in multiplayer, you have to kill as many enemies as you can until help arrives. You have limited ammo and limited time, but there are combos and time extensions to keep you going. Except for this great unlockable mode, there are single player unlockables too so you will probably start playing Resident Evil 5 once more after you finished it.
Visually, Resident Evil 5 is one of the best looking Xbox 360 games I have ever played, with great lighting effects, rich and detailed animations and some great designs. The sound also rises up to the standards of the game, providing a great voice acting and a pretty good soundtrack. However, I kind of felt the need for “more” from the music, even though I can’t really define “more” in this case. Strange, I know.
As I said in the intro, Resident Evil 5 manages to meet the expectations and deliver quality gameplay, intense action and, overall, an almost flawless Resident Evil experience. I consider the game evolution compared to the highly appreciated Resident Evil 4, and I guess that sums things up pretty well. It’s a must play title nevertheless with only one problem that keeps it away from being perfect: the rather strange controls.
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