Resident Evil 5 - Cheat Happens Game Review
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Resident Evil 5
Playstation 3, XBox 360, PC

Reviewed on: XBox 360

Developer:
Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Rated: "M" for Mature



CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

   
   
   
Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
   
CHEATfactor: 6
   
     
I still remember the first time I played Resident Evil thirteen years ago. After reading about it for months, a group of friends and I stayed up all night on the day of its release.  We may have lost a bit of sleep (we made up for it the next day at school), but it was worth it.  It was a pitch-perfect, suspenseful b-movie experience that for its time looked amazing.

Borrowing heavily from its most recent predecessor, Resident Evil 5 ditches many of the series staples in favor of a new and more open experience.  Featuring a new and innovative co-op mode, addictive gameplay and incredible visuals, the latest in the long running series could quite be the best. It’s not the masterpiece it could have been, but damn is it fun.

Resident Evil 5 picks up roughly 10-years after the destruction of Raccoon City from way back in Resident Evil 2. Original protagonist Chris Redfield is now a member of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA for short), a government organization aiming to rid the world of bio-terrorism.  Chris gets a tip that a well-known weapons dealer will be attempting to make a deal for the failed Umbrella Corporation’s weapon technology  in the African Village of Kijuju and heads there to put an end to it, but this is Resident Evil…of course it won’t be that easy.

"...what Resident Evil 5 does excel in is creating "Oh Crap" moments."

 
   

Upon arrival, Chris finds that something is very wrong in Kijuju.  The villagers are sprouting tentacles, oozing eyeballs and want nothing more than Chris (or anyone else they come across for that matter) dead.  While it sounds like it could be the plot to any Resident Evil game, RE5 feels quite different than anything that came before it.  While it is missing some of the creepiness of past games, and can’t really be called a survival horror game, what Resident Evil 5 does excel in is creating “Oh Crap” moments. You know the type.  You’re facing a literal wall of charging cannibalistic villagers – not to mention an executioner wielding an incredibly large axe --  and you’re out of bullets. There’s plenty of these moments to be found in the game, and while they won’t make you jump out of your seat, they will get your blood pumping.

Gameplay wise, not much has changed since Resident Evil 4. You’re still going to view most of the action via third person, over the shoulder camera, and you’ll still have the occasionally entertaining quicktime sequences to move the story along.  The biggest problem with RE5’s gameplay is the same thing that was wrong with Four – you have to stop moving completely to shoot or use your knife.  While this is deliberately done to create a sense of urgency and make the player think – it tends to take players out of the experience.  Think about it, if a group of blood-thirsty villagers with axes and pitchforks were hunting you down – would you stand still to fire at them? I didn’t think so.

Thus begins the most interesting aspect of Resident Evil 5 – the pacing. It’s by no means a slow, methodical shooter, though you must use a great deal of strategy, but it’s not a run and gun shoot everything that moves title though you’ll have to make plans fast and even quicker decisions. In some aspects, this may turn off certain gamers, but they’d be missing quite a lot. The fine line that RE5 tows between strategy and action not only adds to the suspense, but makes each playthrough different – a rare quality in many current generation games.

The biggest change from previous games is RE5’s co-op gameplay.  A second player -- or AI if playing solo -- can control Sheva, a fellow BSAA agent via Xbox Live or Split Screen. The addition of a second major character (the first major multiplayer mode in the series and no Outbreak doesn’t count) makes battles and the entire game for that matter feel incredible new and different.  Even the presentation feels different, take the split screen gameplay for example. Rather than dividing the screen in two either horizontally or vertically as we’ve seen done so many times in the past – RE5 gives each player a generously sized cube that doesn’t even touch the others screen. While it may seem like you’re getting less real estate to work with, which in turn would limit your visibility – the tactic actually works very well. It’s easier to focus on what’s going on in your screen, and you can still see the action quite clear.

Co-op works well mainly because even when AI controlled; Sheva doesn’t feel like a burden as we’ve seen in other games with similar modes. As a protagonist, Sheva is just as capable as Chris. Capcom has done a great job presenting, and requiring the co-op elements in a series known for its single player campaign without pushing it down player’s throats.  In most missions, you’ll have to stick close to your teammate to watch their back, and share your weapons; health and items to ensure survival, but some of the more entertaining missions find you watching your partners back from a distance – picking off villagers with a sniper rifle.

"Resident Evil 5 truly should be experienced online..."

 
   

In theory, joining a Co-op game is incredibly easy – you merely press start and drop right into the action; but in reality, it’s much, much harder. Sure, just pressing start initiates the process but there are several incredibly annoying hurdles you’ll have to jump before you’re actually playing.  When joining a local co-op match, players are immediately taken to the inventory screen to confirm the weapon and item choices, and then are brought back to the last checkpoint – which not only takes away from the otherwise immersive gameplay, but can also be quite deterring for the initial player – why go back and play another area again? Joining an Xbox Live Co-Op game is another feat as the joining player must wait until the host player restarts a chapter, or moves on to the next before they even make it to the inventory screen. Resident Evil 5 truly should be experienced online, it’s just a shame it’s such a process to do so.

Where Resident Evil 5 truly shines is in its aesthetics and feel. Previous games in the series were mainly dark and moody, relying on desolate areas and lighting to immerse players in the creepy feeling. With RE5, the levels feel much more open, and most happen during the day – and it looks absolutely amazing. The colors pop, the textures are clean; third world countries never looked so clean.  It also must be said that the developers did an amazing job recreating the feeling of being a foreigner in a country that doesn’t want you there.  Early on in the game, I took a walk through a village to find a group of locals using sticks and pipes to beat on a man writhing in pain on the ground. I walked up to them, and they stopped and stared me down. It’s this attention to detail that sets Resident Evil 5, and the entire series ahead of so many others.

Resident Evil 5 got a lot of media attention, and was seemingly proclaimed a masterpiece before it even hit shelves. It’s not, it has its flaws, but it’s still one of the most cinematic and well done games available. Anyone looking for an immersive, challenging and fun experience need look no further than right here.  

 

CHEATfactor

CHEATS USED: Unlockables

At best, Resident Evil 5 will take you about 12 hours to complete, which by itself is a bit shorter than previous games, but luckily there’s multiple things to unlock that should keep you interested enough to go through the game again.

As it was in Resident Evil 4, the biggest unlockable is the Mercenaries mode. This multiplayer mode pits you and a partner against an ever increasing wave of zombies who you have to defeat in a certain time limit to advance. It’s simplistic, but it’s incredibly addictive.

Finishing the game also unlocks alternate costumes, higher difficulties and even an ultimate ammo option (Note, you have to have fully upgraded a weapon to unlock infinite ammo). Going that extra mile and finishing the game in less than 5 hours will net you the ultimate cannibal equalizer – infinite ammo for your rocket launcher.

 

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