9.0 out of 10
Intense, addictive gameplay and gorgeous visuals make ‘Resident Evil 5’ a worthy evolution of its venerable predecessor. Though marred by an unusually shallow plot and cheesy dialogue, its faults do little to taint what is otherwise a superior game.
The ‘Resident Evil’ franchise has both invented and reinvented genres throughout its long history. It coined the term ‘survival horror,’ then turned it on its head by revamping both the style and gameplay in ‘Resident Evil 4,’ creating a new type of action game. ‘Resident Evil 5’ stays within that same action formula, streamlining the interface and adding a cooperative element.
The story follows Chris Redfield, series-veteran and zombie-hunter extraordinaire, and his new partner Sheva Alomar, two Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA) agents tasked with hunting down and preventing a man named Irving from selling a biological weapon to a group of terrorists. Chris eventually stumbles upon something much larger, a mysterious and world-threatening project known only as ‘Uroboros.’
The plotline takes players to Africa, and a huge variety of environments are rendered in beautiful and meticulous detail. Players explore African villages, ancient ruins, decrepit industrial settings and high-tech underground lairs. The bleak environments, rich graphics and stark chiaroscuro lighting create a unique set of visuals unlike anything currently on the market.
The gameplay has changed very little from ‘Resident Evil 4.’ One very refreshing addition is the new inventory menu, which can be accessed quickly using the D-pad rather than having to pause the game to switch weapons or items.
Perhaps the most radical change is the addition of an online and offline cooperative mode, which allows a second player to jump into the game at any time (but which will reset the game to the last checkpoint). Player two takes control of Chris’s partner, Sheva, who is reasonably intelligent while controlled by AI but can’t replace the real thing.
There are really only two detrimental aspects of ‘Resident Evil 5,’ the corny and melodramatic dialogue and a lack of puzzle sequences, which were much more prevalent in previous games.
Despite these flaws, the fifth addition to the long-running series will keep players coming back for more, even after the main storyline, which is considerably shorter than ‘Resident Evil 4,’ has ended. Players can unlock a fourth difficulty setting and unlock new weapons and items. The ‘Mercenaries’ game mode also makes an encore appearance, this time with cooperative play.
‘Resident Evil 5’ is well worth anyone’s money, whether they’re a series veteran or a zombie neophyte.