121 Reviews

Resident Evil 5

Review: Gunning for a piece of the action

We still remember the first time we played Resident Evil. The then-impressive live-action intro. Our first steps into the deserted mansion. The creaky door-opening sequences. The first sighting of a zombie chewing on some bloke's face. It was a masterpiece of tension and fear. While Resi 5 is a very good game, it's not the Resident Evil we've come to expect.

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Like Killzone 2 it looks amazing and that's one of the reasons you'll love it. From dusty town roads, steaming swamps with moody tribesmen, temple ruins and obligatory research labs, every location has been lovingly crafted.


Yet despite it being the most realistic-looking Resi game yet, it's just not scary like previous games. It won't make you feel uneasy in a dark room, or make you jump out of your seat with shock tactics. And that's part of the problem.

Chris Redfield aggressively kicks in doors, dives through windows, uppercuts enemies in the face, blows stuff up with rocket launchers and shreds mutants to bits using massive gun turrets.

You wander into a new area and one of the Los Ganados-style (RE4 'zombies') enemies spots you. He points your way, shouts some stuff and a group charges you. Scared yet? No. You've got a very loud shotgun that will explode heads.

Resident Evil 5 is an action game from start to finish. Whether or not that's the game RE fans want is a personal question. Ammo is plentiful, guns are powerful and enemies explode with so much gore that it never gets boring. It feels like Capcom's attempt at a Gears of War-style title.

The addition of a co-op partner, Sheva, only aids your sense of security. There's no-longer that feeling of being alone in a horrible place. She's always there to help you. You occasionally end up going down split paths where one player provides cover fire from afar as the other has to activate a switch.

Just before your character dies you enter a 'dying' state. It's a bit like the equivalent of being shot down in Gears of War. You can't shoot or perform any actions, only limp towards your partner who has to give you a revitalising thump in the chest.

Under CPU control Sheva can be a pain in the ass. She doesn't pick the right gun for the situation and often neglects to shoot the most threatening enemies. She'll waste long-range rifle ammo on close-up enemies while using her pistol to shoot long-range. She'll also use green herbs before you need to.


You're also in control of the items she holds via a fiddly menu. Up, down, left and right on the D-pad serve as quick select buttons. But you can only organise which items (usually guns) go in these four slots during mid-mission menus - a pointless restriction.

You can't choose how much of your ammo you want to transfer to your partner either, it's all or nothing. Another human player jumping into your game, which can be done online or offline at any time, makes RE5 an easier if altogether better experience.

The second half of the game basically turns into a straight up Hollywood blockbuster. For no reason (that's made clear if there is one) enemies suddenly gain the ability to use guns just like you. The environments suddenly fill with cover points and you've got to grasp a cover system that's far inferior to Gears of War.

We don't get the logic behind these enemies either. They can run, leap over fences, pilot boats, shoot guns and do wheelies on motocycles. Yet when they get within a few feet of you they insist on shambling like zombies just waiting to be shot. It's inconsistent.

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