Resident Evil 5 Review (Xbox 360)
A little while ago Capcom announced the arrival of a seventh official instalment in the Resident Evil game series. While I’ve always been more a fan of the film series, I do enjoy the games a lot and so I decided it was time for me to catch up by playing through the two instalments I’ve yet to have covered (well, I’ve never actually played RE3 either, but that’s neither here nor there).
RE5 sees Chris Redfield of original RE and Code: Veronica fame going to Africa to stop the spreading of Umbrella Bio-Weapons by an unscrupulous weapons merchant Ricardo Irving. He’s helped along by fellow BSAA operative, Sheva, who helps Chris take down the new batch of fast-moving, weapon using Zombies ála Resident Evil 4.
Gameplay: 3½/5 – The gameplay is very similar to Resident Evil 4. The over-the-shoulder control style still works surprisingly well and having Sheva along kicking ass is actually a huge help (as opposed to RE4, where your companion needed to be constantly protected).
For the main-gameplay though, my biggest gripe is the inventory. At the very start it wasn’t a huge issue, but as the game goes on and you start to run out of room for items, playing the game becomes incredibly frustrating when you’re forced to discard items from existence (rather, say, drop them like in RE0). Also, there were many times I started to wish that I could just pause the game to organise shit better in my inventory while under attack from enemies but couldn’t. I get the feeling Capcom was reacting to complaints how your inventory was too generous in RE4 and then back-pedaled too much.
Another thing about the gameplay which I didn’t love were all the quick-time events. More so than in RE4, they almost always came out of nowhere and this tended to get me killed more than enemies half the time which really pissed me off. Also, the turret level was a load of crap. I appreciate the fact the game designers wanted to give the players a bit of variety, but in RE5’s case it was a failed effort.
Graphics: 4/5 – The graphic variety in this game was surprisingly good. The shanty towns were appropriately creepy but I also enjoyed the swamps and even the final boat level. By far the best looking location was the giant temple which was also probably my favourite section of the game. The least interesting location was the token underground research facility, which luckily only took up a small part of the game.
Animation: 5/5 – I really would have wanted to have complained about the current RE games’ complete lack of cheese-factor in their cutscenes and how they’ve become too self-important and over-the-top. But that would be incredibly unfair because the cutscenes look excellent and a lot of effort clearly went into them. There wasn’t a single cutscene that felt too long or dragged out and the game luckily lets you skip cutscenes you’ve already viewed once which was nice. As a side-note, I was rather intrigued by how much of the visual components of this game were recycled almost exactly into Resident Evil: Afterlife.
Music: 2½/5 – I’m not gonna lie, the music is really flat, uninteresting and simply doesn’t stand out amidst the cacophony of zombie and creature grunts, explosions and gunfire. I’m beginning to think these latter RE games should have taken a note from the movies in regards to the scores.
Sound: 3½/5 – The voice-acting is mostly very solid and fits the game. There sadly isn’t the same sort of cheese-factor as there was in prior games (yes, even Resident Evil 4) with the sole exception of Allan Groves as Ricardo Irving, who sounds like an evil Peter Lorre. Regardless, the performances are actually so good that I have to give half a point for them, especially to Roger Craig Smith and Eva La Dare.
Plot: 3/5* – In all honesty, the plots of most Resident Evil games are complete rubbish. RE5’s beginning is very muddy in regards to what the villains’ end-goal is but once it turns out at the end that Albert Wesker has turned into something of a super villain, the game actually gets something resembling a motivational drive and gets a whole lot more compelling as a result.
Replay value: 3½/5 – I really liked some of the characters and levels. However, the challenge could get borderline infuriating at times which made me really frustrated with the game. For the vast majority though, the game was really enjoyable, some of the boss-fights were kinda neat and I actually enjoy exploring locations, though I kinda miss the free exploration of the old school titles. I can definitely see myself coming back to this game.
Score: 73% – Resident Evil 5 has some obvious design flaws, but if you’re willing to look past them, the game is actually very enjoyable from time to time and features many memorable locations. The difficulty can get on my nerves and item management is a real hassle, but if you can get into the groove of the gameplay, you’ll have a good time. However, RE4 will probably be more accessible for those not as experienced with this style of Resident Evil games.
* Update (July 7, 2016) – The Plot scores in RE game reviews: I’ve decided, after some deliberation, that the Plot-scores of Resident Evil games will no longer affect the final scores of the games. I’ve made this decision after considering that the review-scores of certain entries (like RE1, RE0 and RE4) were dragged down unnecessarily by the plot-scores. Even though these numbers are just that, numbers, I feel the over-all grades should at least somewhat reflect my opinion of these games, and I feel with the revised scoring for these games, they now do (for the most part). The scores below and above have been corrected but have not been updated into the online database yet (they will be during the next update). The Plot-scores will remain in the archives (for posterity) at least for the moment.
Review History (Resident Evil Series):
- Resident Evil (PS1): 85%
- Gam: 3½ – Gra: 4 – Ani: 5 – Mus: 4 – Sou: 5 – Plot: 3* – RV: 4
- Resident Evil Remake (Wii): 78%
- Gam: 4 – Gra: 5 – Ani: 4 – Mus: 4 – Sou: 3½ – Plot: 3* – RV: 3
- Resident Evil Zero (Wii): 77%
- Gam: 4 – Gra: 4½ – Ani: 4½ – Mus: 3½ – Sou: 4 – Plot: 3* – RV: 2½
- Resident Evil – Code: Veronica X (GC): 65%
- Gam: 3 – Gra: 4 – Ani: 5 – Mus: 3½ – Sou: 3 – Plot: 2½* – RV: 1
- Resident Evil 4 (GC): 75%
- Gam: 4 – Gra: 4½ – Ani: 5 – Mus: 3 – Sou: 3 – Plot: 2* – RV: 3