The lights are on
Continuing the horror action series Resident Evil 5 takes us to Africa to hunt down the vaunted Las Plagas that came into being in Resident Evil 4. Do Chris and Sheva score headshots or get beaten by shambling hoards?
Resident Evil 5 is an over the shoulder third person shooter. The camera is over the right shoulder so you have no real view of your left side but it really isn't a problem. The controls feel fine and the game plays much like Resident Evil 4, you can't move when you are aiming and you have a laser sight to aim at locations on the enemies.
The game is broken down into six total chapters with each chapter being broken down into three parts. on normal with a human partner each part took us around 43 minutes but we checked every corner for loot. Overall the game took us around 15 hours so it's long. However we started on veteran and it has taken us under 20 minutes per part this time around which would shorten the game time a lot.
There is a good selection of weapons but nothing out of the ordinary. The best part of the weapons is they are all upgradeable except the rocket launcher and grenade launcher. The damage, reload speed and clip size can be enhanced and some weapons have upgrades for critical, pricing or more zoom for your scope. Some even net you special weapons once you fully upgrade a weapon.
You get the money to upgrade by killing enemies and picking up their loot drops, much like the Resident Evil 4 treasures, or finding chest that contain loot. You can even sell off items you don't need at the shop, more on that later. The enemies don't drop a ton of cash, 100-300 normally, but it mounts up when you have to kill around 100-200 enemies in some stages. Larger "tank" enemies drop a treasure that sells very well most the time you kill them but they take a few extra shots to bring down.
The shop comes between chapters and you can sell treasures or items, store items, trade items with your partner, upgrade weapons or buy weapons and some other things but not ammo for your main weapons only rocket launcher and grenade launcher ammo. The problem with the store is you can only use it between parts of the chapters so if you have a bunch of extra stuff you want to sell you might not be able to if you find things you need.
Mercenaries mode is fun with a friend or online with someone else. You can play it alone but it just doesn't feel the same now that you can have a partner. It plays the same as the game mode from Resident Evil 4 or if you haven't played that think Nazi Zombies or Hoard mode in Gears of War.
I caution against playing the game with the AI partner. I beat the game with a friend, we played the whole game together, and the team work was 10 times that of using the AI. When I messed around with the AI player all it did was give me ammo I didn't need, take too long to save me when I needed it and shoot into the chest of enemies instead of aiming at limbs. If you are going to be playing this alone I warned you.
The enemy AI isn't much better. The bosses, while some are fun and others aren't, do the same scripted attacks over and over. The normal enemies shamble at you in a straight line or sometimes don't even react when you walk into a room. Yes they do dodge out of the away sometimes when you aim at them and some of them carry weapons and shields but in general the AI is pretty weak.
A small problem is that you can't trade weapons once someone picks one up. Instead you have to buy the weapon if you didn't pick it up which is a waste of money. I don't understand why this makes sense but it is annoying.
Overall the game handles well. Good controls, lots of weapons with upgrading, looting and lots of firefights are the high points. Poor enemy AI and partner AI along with the inability to trade weapons and lack of shops hurt the game but not enough to make it unplayable.
The story of Resident Evil 5 is weak at best.
Let me tell you what the cut scenes are like..."JILL,WESKER, JILL, JILL, JILL, WESKER, BSAA, JILL, WESKER, CHRIS, JILL, JILL, WESKER, JILL!". For the most part Chris complains about finding Jill, Sheva acts like an idiot and Weskar tries to play god.
Yes Jill, don't worry I was confused too. She is added in for no real reason outside of being part of the resident evil world. Plus the game shows cut scenes of her and Chris before the events of Resident Evil 5 like it expects you to know about them. The only way you can find out about what happened is buying DLC which is stupid. Capcom could have found a way to do this in game.
The story connects with Resident Evil 4 in terms of what Sheva and Chris are looking for but that's about it. If memory serves Umbrella caused the events of Resident Evil 4, if not then my bad on this, but all the sudden this new company Tricell pops up. What is their deal? Where did they come from? Does anyone care? I do because I like my stories to not have plot holes.
The writing was awful and it wasn't helped by sub-par voicing. The plot twist was easy to catch and wasn't all the surprising.
There are little things that make the game nice for the core fans of the series. Notes and documents you find can explain things that happened in other games or just confirm what youo have been told in other games. However this is a small saving grace.
Resident Evil has never been known for its' story even though it probably thinks it should be. That is good for it in this case because I didn't go in hoping for a great story and Resident Evil 5 didn't disappoint. Nothing about it was that good and it felt almost like fan service.
The opposite of the story is the sound. The fleshy sound of bullets hitting flesh, heads blowing up, plagas ripping through flesh and the yells and screams of the enemy add to the atmosphere that Capcom was trying to create.
Guns sound like they should, a pistol doesn't sound like a shotgun. Doors and windows getting busted down or smashed sound real and add again to the atmosphere.
The music however is more background music than anything else. It picks up when enemies are around but it isn't anything memorable. The sounds of the game do much more than the music does.
Another shining moment in Resident Evil 5 are the graphics. The game looks great in game with good detail on the world as you move around it. You can were bullets hit the enemies with little splashes of blood on the body.
The settings go from a poor area of Africa to native villages made of huts and to sleek metal walls of Tricell labs. Each captures the correct atmosphere and look how you would expect them to look. You would never expect a lab under the part of Africa you're in which makes it a good shock when you walk in.
The cut scenes look fantastic. The faces of the characters are some of the best I've seen this gen, the detail of the clothes and equipment is top-notch. The only little gripe I have is that every time you pull out a weapon it's the pistol. It would have been nice to see the weapon you're holding in the scenes but I don't know if that's possible.
There are a lot of collectables along with merc mode and weapon upgrades to get in Resident Evil 5. However the game is linear and has no real reason to play it more than twice unless you get all the DLC. If you are playing it by yourself you might not want to spend another 10-15 hours with the poor AI partner that the game gives you.
Resident Evil 5 is nice game to add into the Resident Evil series. The story isn't there but the gameplay is good and the sounds give it a great atmosphere. The graphics are some of the best of the this gen in the cut scenes and in game is pretty too. If you have a friend that is willing to buy it with you pick this up because it is a great co-op experience.
(My review is not an average of my numbers but what i feel the game as a whole should get. the numbers under each category are based on what I think those categories are in general when compared to most games on the market today.)
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