Hot off the heels of Resident Evil 4 comes Resident Evil 5, originally released on the PlayStation 3. It’s a great action game that feels like an evolution of the formula establish with 4, but skews even more towards an action game.
You play the game as Sheva and Chris, two mercenary’s that are ready to blow shit up. Right from the start you can choose who you play as, even though they are generally the same character with the same set of skills. The game doesn’t have drastic changes in gameplay based on the choice, leaving any differences to story alone. What makes this game different than any other RE game is that you have to work as a team, whichever character you don’t pick will be right by your side throughout the story. You’ll help each other defend positions and solve puzzles. You can even have a co-op partner jump in and play as the other character instead of the computer controlling them. It’s an interesting idea, one that harkens back to 2009 and the proliferation of internet multiplayer. They were trying something different and I think it’s a really good idea.
The games story follows similar RE tropes, where you start in a fairly “normal” environment and slowly work your way into the Umbrella Corporation facilities. You go from typical environments to sterile labs where corrupt experiments are being conducted in secret. It’s a bit of nice world-building for the series, it shows more of the reach of Umbrella and just how hard they’re getting to avoid.
The story does start getting into the insane territory, which can be typical in these games. It’s usually at this point where I tend to lose the plot. You have Wesker, who is basically a supervillain who can dodge bullets. He turns into an unkillable monster that needs a volcano to take down. It’s a silly concept for a series that tends to get derailed in the third act, so par for the course really.
What makes these games fun is the combat and the progression system. While you don’t level up your character per se, you collect money from killing enemies and finding items in the environment. You spend your money to buy upgrades for your character. This is a system that was established in RE4 and really was a breakthrough for the series and is still in the DNA of the new RE games. It simply works, and it does a great job of hooking you into the leveling system. You always want to play just a little bit longer, collect just a bit more, and level up one more weapon before going to bed.
If you’re into dressing up your characters in silly outfits, this game has you covered. If you like either Sheva or Chris it has you covered as well. You can dress them in costumes most mainstream games today would find offensive to wear. Sheva can be put in a leopard print bikini while running around Africa killing zombies. Chris can be outfitted in a Mad Max looking outfit as well. The majority of costumes are pretty uninspired and weak, and the really good ones take some doing to unlock, but it’s still great fun to finally get to wear them and see them in the cutscenes.
This game follows in the footsteps of RE4 in that the game is split up into levels. It’s not just an open game like the mansion or police station in 1 and 2 respectively. It works well in that it allows you to easily segment how much you play in one sitting. If it’s getting late you can tell yourself that you’re just going to play one more stage and that’s it.
Final Score – 8.2
This is a really fun and enjoyable game that still holds up today. The controls may be a little stiff, but the gameplay and progression system will get you to see the end. The story cannot be taken seriously, unless you’re really into schlocky action/zombie/monster movies. After the RE4 remake comes out, I’ll be looking forward to this one getting the remake treatment next. Hopefully they keep some of the silly costumes in the rotation, which is doubtful.