Capcom is a company which has been veering between being on the rails, off the rails, dead in a bush near the rails and back on the rails once again during the tenure of the Resident Evil franchise.
2009’s Resident Evil 5 was a game which seemed to start the “Veering off the rails” phase which ultimately paved the way for several disastrous spin-off’s (the names of which I will not mention) and a game which I gave almost as many chances to be good as Mass Effect: Andromeda— That is of course Resident Evil 6: The Clusterfuck Chronicles.
But Resident Evil 5 is none of the above, its a game which simply isn’t Survival Horror so it shouldn’t be judged as a survival horror game– Its an intense action shooter which makes effective use of the mechanics which Resident Evil 4 started, has buckets and buckets of replay value and a fairly decent plot for Capcom circa 2009 standards.
So grab your shotty and your annoying AI friend and lets delve into RE:5 (Xbox One Remaster)
Instead of the dark and creepy Mansions & Labs we’ve been spoilt with previously, RE:5 takes place in Africa. Still just as creepy, though…just brighter. Out are the Zombies and in are the infected villagers– namely with the Uroburos (or Las Plagas as its locally known).
We take control of series favourite Chris Redfield, the first time we’ve seen him since Code:Veronica, and apparently he’s done little else in that time but hit the gym. hard. Now a member of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSSA); Chris is dispatched to Kijuju in Africa. He and his new partner Sheva are tasked with apprehending an annoying little scrote called Ricardo Irving before he can sell a bio-organic weapon (BOW) on the black market.
The plot thickens when Chris finds out that his supposedly deceased partner Jill Valentine may be alive– The story then follows Chris and Sheva as they try to track Jill down, Unearthing a familiar foe on the way.
The plot does what it says on the tin, there’s enough of an incentive for Chris to drive through the chapters but plot was never Capcom’s strong point, especially at this point in time– It wouldn’t have one many awards save for this one utterly ridiculous quote:
Much like its predecessor– Resident Evil 5 is played in the third-person with an over-the-shoulder perspective. The array of weapons on offer is pretty comprehensive, including handguns, shotguns, automatic rifles, sniper rifles and grenade launchers, as well as melee attacks.
As you progress through the story you pick up treasures and gold, you can use this gold to upgrade weapons in the shop available at the chapter select screen– Once you upgrade a weapon fully it then becomes eligible for Infinite Ammo which can be unlocked after completing the campaign on any difficulty.
The New Game + offers a host of replay value, from upgrading all weapons, to completing the game on Professional, to unlocking all the extra content– There are several extra game modes as well as multiple DLC packs for the game.
Versus – This mode has two online game types: “Slayers“, a point-based game challenging players to kill Majini, and “Survivors“, where players hunt each other while dodging and attacking Majini.
Lost in Nightmares – The first DLC pack which sees Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine infiltrate the Estate of Umbrella Corporation co-founder Oswell E. Spencer in 2006, Fans of the original games will enjoy the setting here, there’s even a static camera easter egg.
Desperate Escape – The second DLC scenario where players control Josh Stone and Jill Valentine shortly after Chris had set Jill free from Wesker’s chest piece– It follows the pair as they fight their way out of Kijuju’s TRICELL facility and is more action based than Lost In Nightmares.
Lets be honest though..
The game has some problems, notably only being able to take cover from enemy fire in very specific areas which towards the end of the game can be very frustrating and pretty much the different between life and death when playing on the higher difficulties.
There are also issues with the aiming– its too slow and the inability to strafe away from (or quickly jump back from) enemies is also pretty frustrating, given the need for quick actions at times throughout the game, the lack of movement while aiming seems like a cheap and artificial way to increase difficulty than a technique to enhance tension at times.
The NPC AI is a fairly mixed bag– while Sheva is invaluable as a healer and a second inventory, she is pretty terrible on some of the boss battles, particularly with Wesker towards the end of the game. When flanking of an enemy is required she just follows you around, leading the enemy straight back towards you– infinitely frustrating.
When I first played Resident Evil 5 back in 2009, my enjoyment came from the new way the game played, new enemies, and new environments. Today, however, my enjoyment comes from remembering all the good times I had playing this game back in the day both by myself and with others.
The game still has a vast amount of content and replay value and I am as committed to full completion today as I was back then.
The game has its rightful place in Resident Evil history, it just a shame about the circus which it saw rise to.
Highly recommended for any fan of the franchise, hours of enjoyment to be had whether its playing alone or playing online on the still surprisingly well supported servers.
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