With 13 years under its blood-drenched belt, Capcom have finally dared to produced a Resident Evil title that has moved the focal point away from the horror, although it still remains in the details, and onto the action.
The storyline may seem one that has had its teeth stretched through rancid zombie flesh one too many times. But there are some new twists and turns to take in from Resident Evil 5. We see Chris Redfield take up a returning role as a BSAA operative and partnered, this time, with Sheva Alomar. Set in Kijuju, Africa, their mission brief is to apprehend Ricardo Irving, who is attempting to sell viruses on the black market – tying up loose ends from previous plots along the way.
The tone is set for a far-more action paced Majini(zombie)-romp than it’s predecessors but Resident Evil 5 still maintains the stop-and-shoot gameplay staple that holds through the franchise.I’m glad that Capcom kept this in – to me it’s an important game mechanic that has been preserved in the face of the increasing popularity of run-and-gun titles. If nothing else, it gives the player a better understanding of how to use the game environment to their benefit and, more importantly, surviving the variety of Majini – who can attack from all angles and heights in Resident Evil 5.
The visually stunning African setting of Kijuju, albeit fictional, is paired with gameplay action that only draws breath in short cinematic sighs that either nudge the story along or highlight the next location for Chris and Sheva to explore. Both lighting and use of colour are spot on, bringing a level of high detail to the African landscape – be it an Oil field, Savanna, cave or marshland.
Some of the six chapters allow the player to approach certain puzzles and activities in more a free-form style – weakening the grip of the linear gameplay, somewhat. Chapter 3-1 Marshlands is one such moment. Here you are given free reign to decide in which order to find 4 slate pieces, that together unlock a door and allowing you to progress. But don’t let this fool you, Resident Evil 5 is no sandbox horror game.What you do get is the opportunity to play the whole game in co-op mode, either off or online.This negates having to deal with the sometimes unresponsive AI from your partner, Sheva, while playing singleplayer mode. Central to this mild irritation is the resource management needed to ensure both you and your AI partner are making good the use of all ammo, healing herbs and weaponry at your disposal. When Sheva is an AI partner, combining items becomes harder and sometimes impossible to navigate – especially when feeling the breath of a Majini horde bearing down on you. But these are all just minor quibbles.
Overall, Resident Evil 5 paints a gore-ridden picture soaked in excellent gameplay that’s given depth by fantastic co-op modes(that include the unlockable Mercenaries).