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Old 03-24-2009, 02:10 AM   #1
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[PS3/360] - Resident Evil 5 Review

Title: Resident Evil 5
Platform: PS3/360
Platform Reviewed: PS3/360
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
MSRP: $59.99, 39.99, €59.99
Writer: Martin 'lost' Perry

Resident Evil 5 Review

After an era-defining game Capcom would always struggle with the latest iteration of one of its biggest franchises. Have they made enough positive changes for this game to stake its own claim for the Resident Evil franchise?

Resident Evil 4 was, by all accounts, one of the greatest games of the previous generation. It even managed to creep into this current run of consoles with a definitive Wii version. This success must have been intimidating for those who sat down to work on the follow-up. However, it seems that the folks at Capcom have taken the challenge in their stride and created a game that may not usurp the current king of the franchise but still provides a distinctive experience for gamers.

This latest game sees you, once again, take on the role of Chris Redfield but this time you are joined by a new partner as you journey to Africa. Sheva, your part-time guide and full-time switch flicking assistant, plays a vital role in gameplay. The biggest change in Resident Evil 5 is not a revolutionary camera angle or inventory system but a fresh focus on co-op gameplay. This focus changes the series almost beyond recognition and creates a single-player experience which is mostly unenjoyable.

You see every single one of the games challenges and enemy encounters are centered around your co-operation with Sheva. Paths fork, vantage points are offered and boss battles are exercises in baiting your opponent away from your attacking colleague. The most immediate impact of all this is that the series no longer lives under the guise of survival horror. Instead this is a far more action-orientated affair where the odds are not necessarily against you and loneliness is a relic of the past.

It may be no surprise then that the game's dislike for frightful isolation means that those who choose to close off their game to the friends and the general public may well find themselves bored and confused. The ruthless efficiency of the robotic friendly A.I is something of a punishment for survival horror hermits. Choose to be sociable in this particular zombie nightmare and you will soon find that the game takes on a life of its own. Constructing the game in the manner that they have has gifted Capcom with the best co-operative experience I have had the pleasure of playing. Every single aspect of the design tends towards this single goal.

Doubling the number of players in every situation has allowed the development team to ramp up the chaos. The poor souls who have fallen victim to the latest variation of Las Plagas now approach you in far greater numbers. You and your partner would do best to vary your weapon choices. With one player focusing on a powerful machine gun and another preferring shotguns you will make quick work of the 'zombies' that lurch or sprint towards you. Well, they actually do rather a lot more than that. Multi-racial beasts will attack you on motorbikes or armored trucks, commandeer turrets and, in a nod to gaming's current fad, force you to take cover as they rain down machine-gun fire.

This, friends, is not Resident Evil as you may know it. Purists will find themselves angered by a game that feels more worthy of a subtitle rather than its own numerical seal. The clever inventory management has gone and ammunition hides away in almost anything including, but not limited to, piles of fruit. Puzzles are now far more linear in order to support the involvement of a friend. Suspense or feeling overwhelmed is a distant memory as military might bears down upon these newly intelligent opponents. With its predecessor creating quite such an imprint in the minds of gamers most of these noticeable differences will cause you to tut and sigh.

For those who can appreciate these changes as attempts to create a unique experience you will find most of them forgivable, even worth welcoming, as you breeze through a campaign of middling length. Stand out pieces include a very close encounter with a massive troll. Blasting away at his swelling sores it becomes difficult to hold their new found preference for ostentatious spectacle against the developers. The approach of bigger is better has worked so often for the games industry that it is no real wonder that the creepy corridor crowd has been dragged into it. It is far more surprising that Capcom have managed to make it work for the Resident Evil series.

Resident Evil 5 is an absorbing game; one of those “I can't get enough” titles. The shooting mechanics work and provide a genuine ladder of skill progression. Upgrading your weapons, collecting treasures to fork out for more ammo capacity or power, plays a completely new role. Becoming more empowered and overcoming your enemies through smart, co-operative strategy remains inspiration enough as you travel through the diverse locations. Towns, wooden villages and underground tombs lay ahead and all provide a different feel. The easiest comparison is between the aboriginal, multi-layered huts and the narrow corridors of a sinister organizations hidden base. That description alone should speak volumes to those who might not believe these survival horror experts capable of continually interesting all out action.

The story doesn't quite fit in. The quirky fiction of the series sits uncomfortably with the stocky militarization of the series. The characters aren't given time to become appealing because there is far less dialog. Most of them are just dumped into the situation and only really serve as slight motivation for your diverse journey. Stopping to read the files or computer screens found around the levels feels pretty odd. Since the game can be enjoyed best with a friend you will be particularly unwilling to force them to stand around as you read up on the development of a new virus. In all Resident Evil 5 adds little to nothing to the series' mythology.

There's plenty of other reasons to replay though even if the story is not one of them. You can unlock new outfits, infinite ammo and special weapons. Not only that but every one of the games character models can be purchased as a virtually mounted action figure. 'The Mercenaries' makes a return and its score attack variation on gameplay is a pleasing distraction – the steep difficulty curve making it entirely different from the normal campaign. The promised competitive multiplayer DLC might have come across as an exercise in money-making and, to be honest, it is. The game doesn't need it as you'll look to replay missions with different friends rather than pump lead into their decidedly un-undead bodies.

The games visual presentation is truly standout. The outdoor sections are particularly beautiful with Africa being brought to life with an Eastern twist. Dust rolls across desolate streets, harsh sun beats down against sweaty brows and grimacing faces are worn with detail. Unfortunately the audio doesn't quite match up. It would all be fine were it not for the ridiculous crunching noises your kit makes. It is quite possible that the sound effects team pogo jumped around in sleeping bags to capture the effect.

In all the game's strengths and weaknesses are pretty obvious. The former outweigh the latter and mean that Resident Evil 5 can fit in with the other core entries in the series. It works as an action game on all of the levels you would hope and fears about the control system can, in my eyes, be laid to rest. You can't avoid the fact that it is a poor in single-player. Strict gameplay structure and robust network code means that this won't be a problem for anybody with a modern connection. However, there are plenty who will have been looking for that solitary horror story. A great game, just not the greatest.

Score: 4 out of 5



The Good
  • Amazing visuals, some of the best of this generation.
  • Great action gameplay with some standout sequences.
  • Excellent co-op design that has more subtlety than you might think. Meta-communication through set phrases feels exceptionally cool.

The Bad
  • Poorly told story, falls short of your expectations.
  • Boss fights are all very similar and don't stand out beyond their excellent visual design.
  • Removing the smart inventory management is the hardest change to appreciate. No more “hello stranger” either.

The Ugly
  • That kit sound effect never goes away.
  • No good in single-player.

Last edited by lost; 03-24-2009 at 02:02 PM..
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Old 03-24-2009, 09:39 AM   #2
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Bandwagon. Play a game before you let forum kids mold your opinion next time around.
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Old 03-24-2009, 10:59 AM   #3
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Specifically, the claim that this iteration doesn't stack up to your opinion of what is "survival horror." That opinion is all well and good. Have that opinion. But don't present it as fact. Your argument commits a fallicy, ad hoc ergo propter hoc, and lacks non-anecdotal data. There isn't an established, imperical ruberic which states that this is survival horror and that is action. The game is fully capable of producing fear through scarcity and desolation. I fail to understand why so many people are missing it.

The score, however, is right on. You just deducted for the wrong (and frankly retarded) reasons.
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Old 03-24-2009, 11:47 AM   #4
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This is one of the better reviews I have seen on Evil Avatar. It features well versed thoughts that extend deep into the content rather than simply alliterating the titles appeal, or lack there of, to you personally as well as appropriate conjecture for the masses. Bravo.
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Old 03-24-2009, 11:59 AM   #5
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This isn't a zombie game, it's Biohazard game, and in that respect I think it succeeds brilliantly.

I also had a TON of fun in single player. I dare you to claim it doesn't feel tense on higher levels when those giant dudes with bullet proof tribal masks come after you amidst a horde of Majini.

I also don't see what the huge problem is with the inventory- this is an action game, and you carry only a few more items than you would in Halo. If you limit your weapons to two or three, you don't have to worry about having enough room. I burn through enough ammo and healing items in the midst of battle that I'm hardly ever running into a situation where I need more space.

People who want a haunted house game also seem to forget the focus on obtuse and ridiculous puzzles- rotating stained glass windows from RE4? WTF? Nobody talks about how great the puzzles were- it's how great the action is.

Where the story has been simplified, I don't think it needs to be complex to tell what is essentially a conclusion to much of the loose threads in the series. It's to the point MGS4 was- rather than bog you down with more surprise technology and the next big thing, the tech (or bioweapons) are now common to the battlefield.

I'd rather the story just serve as a vehicle for delivering more awesome gameplay. If it doesn't do that, then you end up doing shit like fishing or gathering chickens like you do in Zelda. Could the story have been more developed? Yes. But as it is, it acts as a string to bind together what is essentially a series of over the top, beautiful action-set pieces.

And that's what a game should be about. Gameplay.
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Old 03-24-2009, 12:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Froggy View Post
Specifically, the claim that this iteration doesn't stack up to your opinion of what is "survival horror." That opinion is all well and good. Have that opinion. But don't present it as fact. Your argument commits a fallicy, ad hoc ergo propter hoc, and lacks non-anecdotal data. There isn't an established, imperical ruberic which states that this is survival horror and that is action. The game is fully capable of producing fear through scarcity and desolation. I fail to understand why so many people are missing it.

The score, however, is right on. You just deducted for the wrong (and frankly retarded) reasons.
It always amuses me when a comment with a pseudo-intellectual argument contains oh-so-many typos that it totally negates the entire "smarter-than-you" image the person was trying to create!

Spell-checker is your friend, Froggy!

@OP-- the review is exactly what my roommate said about this game, while she and her boyfriend were marathon-playing it on co-op all last week. They both preferred RE4's single player, but definitely felt the co-op and multiplayer made RE5 worth the purchase.
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Old 03-24-2009, 12:39 PM   #7
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Blah, blah, troll, blah...
I had more typos, but fewer grammatical errors than the review itself.

In other news, you commit the same fallacy (spelled it right this time) by projecting my intentions with your post. I'm not going to apologize for good vocabulary and syntax. The typos I can work on.
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Old 03-24-2009, 01:58 PM   #8
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I had more typos, but fewer grammatical errors than the review itself.

In other news, you commit the same fallacy (spelled it right this time) by projecting my intentions with your post. I'm not going to apologize for good vocabulary and syntax. The typos I can work on.
Sorry but good vocabulary is one thing. Knowing when to use it is entirely another.

This is a gaming forum. Not an outlet for your pretentious needs. You can't start spouting "ad hoc ergo propter hoc" and end it with comments like 'retarded' expecting us to take you seriously.

Anyways the story being poorly written/designed is a very valid reason. It sucks! The cutscenes aren't exactly unique but do bring out some good memories but the character development was piss poor to boot. I don't mean we need a bigger chunk of flash backs nor bread crumbs to figure out why this why that but I mean it's just a boring story(yes i did read all the documents and did appreciate the licker portion, i did miss them).

The inventory system is workable(makes you want to get infinite ammo for one thing). If thats the purpose of it, it works pretty damned well at driving you towards that ambition.

I would have really liked more play with the melee combo moves that really do shine but as the game stands by itself, spot on. It's a solid game with replay value up the wazoo.

EDIT: You should definitely add to the ugly that people playing online without a mic SUCKS. The search for game system should have made that a filtre option I would have greatly appreciated. People who have played through the game and know what to do are fine but people who don't have a clue are a chore leading to an end of game because you can't communicate with them. It is cool though to play with people from japan, germany, england with no lag problems and really makes me happy about PSN.
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Old 03-24-2009, 02:11 PM   #9
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Bandwagon. Play a game before you let forum kids mold your opinion next time around.
Considering that I got the game 2 days before release I think it would be difficult for an opinion to form based on other opinions which were not yet available. This review has been sitting ready for some time now.

In regards to the survival horror jab - My statement was that it "no longer lived under the guise of survival horror" and that it was a "far more action-orientated affair". At no point do I say it can not be judged as a survival horror game but instead suggest that the game has broken free of that genres more specific constraints. I even commend it for doing so.

@Venkman - For as long as I was playing solo I found myself pretty bored and noticed all the fun I could be having with a friend. I'm glad you enjoyed it though.
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Old 03-24-2009, 02:35 PM   #10
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Considering that I got the game 2 days before release I think it would be difficult for an opinion to form based on other opinions which were not yet available. This review has been sitting ready for some time now.
Wow surprised you contained the scotsman in you. You're on par with the saints in my book. No wonder you're a red!
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Old 03-24-2009, 03:27 PM   #11
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Considering that I got the game 2 days before release I think it would be difficult for an opinion to form based on other opinions which were not yet available. This review has been sitting ready for some time now.
In that case, retracted. But you can see how the timing was poor, considering that a thread was up 2 nights ago in which the general consensus about the genre was almost exactly what showed up in the review.

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This is a gaming forum. Not an outlet for your pretentious needs. You can't start spouting "ad hoc ergo propter hoc" and end it with comments like 'retarded' expecting us to take you seriously.
Exactly. That's why it's not pretentious. I don't expect people to take me seriously in a gaming forum, so I mix and match.
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Old 03-24-2009, 03:35 PM   #12
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Well I will say that I have no desire to play this game in single player myself, so I agree with Lost in his review. The co op is fun in the first half of the game, then the game gets really boring. So far I hate the second half, but having my friend on there with me is fun so we can both rip the game apart while playing it.

Also the controls are shit, Capcom can fuck off. There is no reason for it. I was never scared because of the restrictions, just annoyed.
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Old 03-24-2009, 04:24 PM   #13
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In that case, retracted. But you can see how the timing was poor, considering that a thread was up 2 nights ago in which the general consensus about the genre was almost exactly what showed up in the review.



Exactly. That's why it's not pretentious. I don't expect people to take me seriously in a gaming forum, so I mix and match.
More funny, less gamefaqs.
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Old 03-24-2009, 04:35 PM   #14
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In that case, retracted. But you can see how the timing was poor, considering that a thread was up 2 nights ago in which the general consensus about the genre was almost exactly what showed up in the review.
Cheers. I didn't read the thread but I think I know the one you mean.

Resident Evil 5 has courted way more controversy than I think anybody expected. It's a great game and everybody can appreciate its strengths, I'm just not sure it's what most people wanted.

Quote:
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Wow surprised you contained the scotsman in you. You're on par with the saints in my book. No wonder you're a red!
Don't worry! I sexually abused a haggis to relieve the rage. Squishy.
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Old 03-25-2009, 09:28 AM   #15
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Cheers. I didn't read the thread but I think I know the one you mean.

Resident Evil 5 has courted way more controversy than I think anybody expected. It's a great game and everybody can appreciate its strengths, I'm just not sure it's what most people wanted.



Don't worry! I sexually abused a haggis to relieve the rage. Squishy.
Why is it odd that multiple reviews and reviewers would share the same opinion? In the real world, not this digital dystopia in which we reside, that is usually a case for credibility and not suspicion.
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Old 03-26-2009, 11:52 AM   #16
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I'm not going to get into your review... it was well done, imo.

But I will say, holy moly this game is amazing. 5 out of 5 from me. That is all.
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