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Monday | October 15, 2018
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Resident Evil 5 (PS3 & X360)

Resident Evil 5 (PS3 & X360)


We had a quick look at Resident Evil 5 last month in our preview and today we play with the final release version and put it through its paces. The story? … a power mad corporation are toying with evolution and have caused a biological disaster that turns people into brainless hosts for a military level parasitic infection.

The populace of Kijuju are going through some nasty changes which involve insane levels of bloodlust, the appearance of tentacles and pus laden eyeballs. As befitting of a Resident Evil game you make an appearance unprepared for what lies ahead and have to adapt on the fly to stay alive. The end result is a fanastic game play experience with beautifully designed environments, focused and satisfying gameplay and entertaining combat situations. Resident Evil 5 has an underlying story which is based on evolution.

Although RE5 still requires the player to pit his wits into surviving, this time around Capcom have broken with tradition in many regards. You take control of Chris Redfield, one of the stars of the original Resident Evil game. Chris is not alone and joining him in RE5 is Sheva Alomar, an African national and bioweapons expert. Both Sheva and Chris are members of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance, a worldwide organisation tasked with preventing the deployment of biological organic weapons. Dramatic and a great talking point for a storyline.

To be fair thus far, the group has done a pretty poor job of handling their duties. When we last saw Chris in Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles he and former S.T.A.R.S. member Jill Valentine were fighting through Umbrella’s Russian base. The absence of Jill is somewhat of a mystery until later in the game when we find out what happened.

Sheva on the other hand is an an agile and gymnastic partner and she parts with Chris in various sections of the game to reach hard to access areas. It is a nice way to bring cooperative elements into the game and Capcom clearly had this in mind during development. The only downside this time around is that the game never puts you in total isolation so the fear factor is less intense.

Sheva for the most part is handled well by the Artificial Intelligence. She does a good job of staying out of your way during firefights and she protects your back and heals you when she can. Unfortunately it is not all perfect and there are some issues. Each character is limited to a specific number of inventory slots and making the best use of that space is one of the focal points of being successful when playing. In single player mode you have access to both characters inventories and you can swap between them as needed, on the fly. Sheva unfortunately tends to be a little careless with ammo and health packs. She frequently tries to lock onto enemies in less than perfect shooting positions and wastes quite a few ammo rounds looking for a kill. Her protective nature also means if you even bruise your arm she will whip out a health pack and heal it. All in all however it would be fair to say that she is one of the better AI controlled partners I have witnessed in a game. There are several ways to use her, you can either gave her a few powerful weapons and point her in the direction of the enemy or strip her inventory and just utilise her as a medic style pack mule.

For the first time in one of the Resident Evil titles cooperative gameplay has been made a focal point of the experience. Almost all aspects of RE5 are more fun with a friend, either online or split screen which is available in both Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions. You just take hand of a second controller, press START and join the action. It is not very well explained mind you in the instructions but it is as simple as that.

Split screen gameplay is dealt with in a slightly different manner than the majority of titles. Rather than cut the screen into two vertical or horizontal sections, Capcom have given each player an equal sized horizontal offset rectangle, one on the upper left and one on the lower right of the screen. It looks strange initially but it grew on me the more I played it with a colleague. Granted there is less screen real estate to take advantage of, but the developers claim that it is easier to remain focused on one screen due to the positioning.

The majority of gamers will be playing the cooperative mode online and this is where the game really excels. You also have the screen all to yourself obviously to admire the gorgeously rendered environments.

Placed throughout the six chapters are treasures that can be collected and sold for money, some of which are dropped by bosses and mini bosses. There are also B.S.A.A. emblems hidden in various places and with these you can unlock 3D models of various RE5 characters. The detailed models are presented on pedestals just like the popular vending machine capsule toys popular in the far east. It is a nice touch which will appeal to many players and add some further re playability to the experience.

There is less focus on the hunt for ammunition in RE5 which will be a welcome relief to many and this is witnessed by the fact that if you fully upgrade a weapon over the course of the campaign then you are treated to unlimited ammo. There are sniper rifles, grenade launchers, magnums, handguns and shotguns available and most of them can be upgraded throughout the game. Thankfully Capcom have ditched the wandering merchant system and you just head into your inventory screen between levels and cash in your treasures or spend gold to improve them.


If you play well enough this means you can beat the game with a fully upgraded weapon then head back into it in new game+ mode with infinite shells to deal out some serious damage. I played Resident Evil 5 three times over the course of a week which is rare for me, so there is some serious long term fun available. It took me around 12 hours to beat the game which is a fair amount of game time but if you want to find all the treasures and extras it could easily take 20 hours to complete the game. Even if you find all these bonuses you can replay the game in Mercenaries mode which is unlocked after completing the game. This is a timed arcade style mode which pits you against waves of enemies and you need to kill as many as possible before help arrives. You are literally on the edge of your seat as wave after wave try to pound you into the ground. The developers have allowed the huge plethora of weaponry to be brought into this mode and you need to fight to get ammo and health packs to stay alive. Unfortunately this game mode is slightly ruined due to the lack of coop options.

Game producer Jun Takeuchi has implemented a system of not being able to shoot while running, so if you wish to take out the mutated bad guys you need to stand still. He states this is to create a more intense atmosphere and while I understand his direction I would like the option to be able to move while firing. I don’t think it is realistic for a trained soldier to have to stand totally still while firing. There are also limitations on the inventory system with a total of no more than 9 slots available at any time. With these restrictions in place the game ends up as a kind of hybrid between an action game and a survival horror title. Anyone who has played the demo will already know what the mechanic so if you didn’t like that, you still won’t like the full game.

The action is well paced, the levels are very cleverly designed and the weapons are balanced to ensure the game remains playable no matter the circumstances. The combat is very enjoyable especially with a friend and as well as the standard weapons and explosives you have the options for up close and personal melee attacks which are triggered by face button presses at specific times. If you hit an enemy full frontal with a few handgun shots for example they stagger backward a little and pause to get their footing which means you have a few moments to land a melee attack. If you get in close a button icon will appear and if you press it in time then your character will initiate a flashy finishing move like a stab, somersault kick or powerful uppercut. Sometimes it doesn’t seem to work totally right but when you pull it off it looks great.


An interesting section of the gameplay deals with tackling bosses. Many of the boss fights involved quick time events that require you to alternate between firing your weapons at an enemy and quickly pressing buttons at the specified times. Killing a boss rewards you with some of the Resident Evil 5 storyline which details Chris and Sheva’s exploits as they attempt to stop a suspected weapons transaction being fronted by a dodgy guy called Richardo Irving. Irving is a shockingly bad character who looks and acts like a badguy from CSI Miami. That said, you expect a little cheese with a game like this and Resident Evil certainly doesn’t deliver on that front either.

Resident Evil 5 is a fabulous game and Capcom should be proud of what they have achieved. It rides the line between two game genres and does so exceptionally well and will be sure to bring a larger audience to the RE franchise. There is a ton of material to get through and replaying is a very viable option as there is so much on offer especially when you consider the wicked mercenaries mode. Highly recommended, but if you are an old school Resident Evil purist then the changes may prove to be too radical.



Action packed and breaks from tradition for the better in many ways. The controls are a little out of date though.
Extremely attractive, both on the 360 and PS3. Great environmental design.
Subtle score and packed with tons of ambient effects which set the tone.
Great replayability due to the collectables and additional game modes which open after beating the main game.

One not to miss!

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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