Like many other gamers I have a serious backlog of video games I need to catch up. I either I didn’t have enough time to invest in them or, the most likely reason; I didn’t have the cash to purchase it new. But now I plan on crossing a few games off the list and presenting my impressions of them to you. So to start I will be delving into the fifth installment of one my favorite series – Resident Evil.
For those of you who may have missed it too, Resident Evil 5 takes place not long after the fourth installment. You now take the role of Chris Redfield after a long hiatus from the series. The story begins in a small town in Africa where Chris is investigating the use of biological weapons and terrorism. Much like RE 4 you find the inhabitants are being infected by las plagas (“The Plagued”) and start attacking him and his new partner Sheva.
Capcom once again has been able to capture the dark and gruesome nature of the series even under the bright African sun. Rundown buildings, scenes of animal sacrifice and even more brutal scenes of recently-used torture devices all point to the grim signs that something unpleasant is happening here.
Character models are now much more fluid providing more range of motion and very few enemy models are recycled. Seeing the red in your enemy’s eyes as they charge toward you has never been more intimidating.
Gameplay is almost identical to RE 4. The over-the-shoulder angle for combat remains incredibly useful in aiming when fighting enemies. Combat can become intense quickly making ammo a precious commodity once again. However, melee attacks are also much more useful allowing you to get out of some tight squeezes.
The one new piece of gameplay is introduced through Sheva. Sheva remains your partner throughout the game providing combat support, as well as solving puzzles and obtaining items. As an AI helper she can sometimes hold her own, but more often than not you’ll be saving her more times than she’ll be saving you. But this also means you can now have a friend join you for some monster slaying. Capcom has created a co-op mode for either offline split-screen or online play.
While it still maintains the fear of being chased down by a group of maniacs wielding garden tools, the one drawback I have with the combat is one that has been pervasive throughout the series: you still can’t walk and shoot. I’ve died multiple times due to the slow clunky movements of my character.
Though the environments and the combat deliver some jaw-clenching fear, I still have not come across a single moment in which I’ve jumped out of my seat in fright. Quite frankly this installment isn’t all that scary. It’s pretty disappointing given Capcoms ability to create moments like these in the past. Even with RE 4 introducing the action-style of gameplay there were at least a few incredibly unnerving moments.
Overall, I’m pleased with this latest outing for the Resident Evil franchise, even with the lack of surprise moments. The angry locals will still have you running in fear and bosses are still intimidating as hell. So if you’re like me and you missed out on this installment I highly recommend picking this one up. Well, unless you’re scared. You’re not scared, are you?