Resident Evil 5 is the latest installment to the Resident Evil series. As with it's predecessor, Resident Evil 4, it is an action horror game rather than survival horror. It sees the return of Chris Redfield, who has previously starred in the original Resident Evil and Resident Evil: Code Veronica X. Other returning characters from past games in the series include Jill Valentine and Albert Wesker. Being the hardcore Resident Evil fan that I am, I just had to buy the game as soon as I could, and beat it. So here you'll have a review of someone who has beaten the game.
The game is set in the fictional country of Kijuju, located in Africa. Chris goes to investigate rumours of a bioweapons dealer known as Ricardo Irving causing trouble. Joined by his new partner, Sheva Alomar, he sets out to pursue Irving, but, as is Resident Evil tradition, all hell breaks loose. Surprise, surprise.
The game brings back the partner system from Resident Evil Zero, albeit the partner character relies as strongly on AI as your own actions. You control the leader, but they do what they deem necessary such as attack enemies, run around knifing boxes etc. The inventory system is also similar to what it was like in Resident Evil Zero, with the characters containing a certain amount of item slots and being able to trade items etc.
As far as I'm concerned, the graphics are fantastic. I haven't seen graphics any better than the graphics in this game.
The characters are incredibly detailed and almost look real. When they are conversing, their mouths move in time with the words, which is brilliant. The enemies and monsters also look incredibly realistic - so if you're easily frightened this might not be the game for you.
The scenery has been beautifully created, with exceptional attention to detail. Of course, you'd expect it since they took four years to make the game. Every area you'll visit in the game looks very realistic. You can also unlock different graphics filters as you progress through the game, which are well worth a look.
I'm going to give the graphics a perfect 10/10. As of now, I'm sure they're about as good as graphics can get. I certainly haven't seen any better.
I found the sound to be very good. The voice acting and dialogue was certainly fine - it seems as if Capcom have finally resolved the issue completely (Resident Evil 4 was also very good in terms of dialogue, but a few phrases were still a tad cheesy). The main reason, however, that I'm deducting a point from the sound is that Sheva can sometimes blurt out something that's a little irritating. For example, sometimes when you give her an item, she'll say "Thanks partner!" in an overly-enthusiastic sort of way. It's not bad if you hear it about twice, but becomes annoying after about five minutes. Also, at a later part of the game when you are working on a puzzle involving mirrors (you'll know it when you get there), Sheva just runs to a safe corner and stands around doing bugger all leaving YOU to do all the work. However, when you finally solve the puzzle, she'll run up and sy "We finally did it", despite the fact that she did nothing whatsoever that contributed.
The music I have no problem with. It's what it should be - intense and rather dramatic during moments that are centred around action, and eerie when it needs to be. As an added bonus, Resident Evil 5 is the first game in the series to recive it's own theme song. I'm not a big fan of video game-based theme songs, but it's no bad thing for Resident Evil 5 to get it's own.
Overall, a 9/10 for sound. Would have been a ten if some of the unecessary lines Sheva speaks weren't included.
There is quite a lot I have to say on the gameplay.
Firstly, in terms of controls, they might take a moment for you to get used to them, but are fine on the whole. Chris is controlled very similarly to how Leon was controlled in Resident Evil 4, which is fine.
The action in the game is excellent. Most of the chapters will see you having some good fun wasting entire hordes of enemies. Ammo is even more plentiful than it was in Resident Evil 4, so you never have to worry much about it running out, except in the Veteran difficulty setting. BUteven then there's also an option for infinite ammo to access after you have beaten the game once (on any difficulty). The only problem with the action is that you STILL can't move and shoot at the same time - you have to stand still whilt handling firearms. This is normally something that can be overlooked, but if you're reloading a weapon whilst a gargantuan maniac with an axe, or a nutcase brandishing a chainsaw, is literally taking a swing at you then the results are not going to be pretty. It makes you think a little, I guess, but it's an issue to be resolved more than anything.
One major complaint I have is the inventory system. Resident Evil 5 sees the return of the good old limited items slots from before the Resident Evil series headed in an action-based direction. It wasn't much fun back then, but if you knew what you were doing you could get by, more so in Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 than the others. However, the attache case in Resident Evil 4 was completely fine. Sure, it meant you had to pause the game every time you wanted to change to a different weapon, but at least you rarely ran out of room. However, that's ancient history now, and what should have died after it was first introduced has returned. Chris and Sheva get nine item slots each, and they'll fill up before you can even guess what happened. Unfortunately, if you have a Red Herb in your inventory, and find a Green Herb that you can't pick up because nobody has a free item slot, you can't bring up the temporary storage space like that was in Resident Evil 4, or bring up the option to even use it like you could in Resident Evil - Code: Veronica X. No, you just either have to discard something or leave it, which is both unecessary and irritating. Also, if both you and your parnter have full inventories, and she's the only one with a healing item tha you must immediately use, you can't ask her to use it on you. No, you have to exchange it for one of your godly weapons of destruction, eat it and then request your weapon back. And why the hell a Chicken Egg should take up as much space as a Grenade Launcher, I'll never know.
Whilst game critics have praised Sheva's AI, I most certainly am not about to. Okay, so her AI is about as good as it gets, at least at this point in time. She does lend a hand in fights and can work on her own pretty well, but that's about it. For starters, if there are item crates nearby that you're not looking at, she'll run over herself and steal the items that you proably wanted, and then run off somewhere else to do it to more crates before you get the chance to run over and retrieve them from her. This means you have to call her back each time, which isn't really necessary. Secondly, she doesn't use her brain as well as you'd want in battle. Since you've probably given her a bunch of healing items and the latest type of Machine Gun (which is still unrealistically near-useless in the Resident Evil series) and Handguns if you'd rather not use them, she'll be far more like a backup than a partner, since you'll be taking control of the action with your Grenade Launcher, Semi-Auto Rifle, Shotgun, Magnum and Grenades, simply because it's more fun. However, Sheva is kind enough to use the likes of a First Aid Spray if you so much as scratch yourself, despite the fact that she has Green Herbs in her inventory. But I guess you can't complain too much since she does lend a hand. However, I'd rather they just brought back someone like Ashley so she could be kidnapped or hiding for half the game and you could have killed all the enemies you want, just like you could on all chapters but 5-4 in Resident Evil 4.
As far as the story goes, it's excellent with minor disappointments. It tied up about 90% of the loose ends in the story as far as my knowledge extends, and I know just about everything in the main Resident Evil series storyline (and before you tell me that the mediocre spin-offs like Gun Survivor and Outbreak were part of the main storyline - THEY WEREN'T). I was disappointed that Sherry Birkin was scrapped out of the final storyline because I want to know exactly what happened to her after Resident Evil 2, but know I'l have to wait until Resident Evil 6. I was also quite disappointed that the game didn't elaborate on what the surviving S.T.A.R.S. Members have been up to for the last ten years, with the exception of Chris, Wesker and Jill. On the whole, I thouroughly enjoyed the story. It was about time we saw what Ozwell E. Spencer looks like, too.
Overall, 8/10 for the gameplay. Minor gripes let this down a little.
Okay, so the main game is quite short. Overall, I'd say it's slightly shorter than Resident Evil 4, despite the fact that there are more areas to visit in general. The game will take you on your first try, without using a guide, about ten to thirteen hours at estimate, and you'll be finishing it at quicker times afterwards.
However, the Resident Evil series has always cleverly worked on replay value, usully allowing you to unlock things like Infinite Rocket Launchers and such to use on a second playthrough. This is just like any other Resident Evil game - you'll probably want to play through it several times before you move on to something else for a while. As well as adding different unlockable elements to the main game, there's also the Mercanaries mode, which we've seen before in Resident Evil 3 and Resident Evil 4. It's no different here - just the same old mindless slaughtering for a few minutes before you get airlifted to safety (this time by Josh Stone). It's good fun, for a while. And like before, there are several characters to play as (most of which have to be unlocked).
There are also numerous side-quests in the game, some of which you need to finish in order to get the most out of the game (such as finding and destroying the BSAA emblems).
Overall, I'm going to give the lastability 9/10. There's plenty to do here, and finishing the main game once is merely te tip of the iceberg.
I'm going to score this game 9/10 overall. Whilst it does have some minor issues, they can be overlooked the majority of the time. It's still an excellent game.
The only game in the Resident Evil series that it can really be compared to is Resident Evil 4, as all the previous games were very different. Personally, I'd say that 4 is probably my favourite. However, this is only a minor difference, and in some aspects it prevails. The only factors that really contribute to this difference are the item system, which should have stayed as it was in 4, and the location. On the whole, I liked 4's location the best, but I really liked 5's too and it's a very close call.
I'd say that, by my chart, Resident Evil 5 would take the bronze medal if I was asked what my favourite Resident Evil game was. Resident Evil 4 would take the silver, and the almighty Resident Evil 3 still holds the gold medal, despite all the fierce competition it's received ever since its' release ten years ago.
Final Score: 90%