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Resident Evil 5 Review

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Developer: Capcom Publisher: Capcom
Release Date: March 13, 2009 Also On: PS3 and Xbox 360

The Resident Evil 5 demo just launched on the PlayStation 3 and I thought that I would give it a whirl ahead of its March 13 release date. I had previously reviewed the instant classic Resident Evil 4 giving it a 9.7 out of 10 and its Wii overhaul a 9.3 out of 10. From what little I have played of Resident Evil 5 I can’t help but say that I am disappointed thus far.

For anyone that has been following Resident Evil 5 you probably know that the game takes place in Africa with series veteran Chris Redfield returning from the original Resident Evil as the main protagonist in 5. Chris is aided by series newcomer Sheva Alomar who can be played by a friend in co-op or is controlled by computer AI in the single-player. The computer A.I. is obviously not going to be very advanced compared to a human player and will often squander much-needed herbs and bullets.

It’s a letdown to me that the single-player aspect does not allow for any true single-player action since you are always accompanied by either a computer or a friend. The fact that you can play over the Internet with a random stranger is a plus since it virtually guarantees that you will find someone at any time of the day to play with. Split-screen is also a viable option for co-op, although I prefer to take up the whole screen myself.

The demo gives players the opportunity to try two different areas in Resident Evil 5. One essentially blocks you off in a building where a flood of zombies notice you hiding. The other has you wandering down an alleyway and into the streets of the city where the game takes place. You end up going from one building to the next and up stairways teeming with zombies. There are a few moments where the co-op element is put on full display as the characters will split up at different points. Teamwork is required to unlock doors as well as defending the other player.

My biggest gripe so far with Resident Evil 5 is the controls. They feel like they are a step back for the series. The robotic feel of the old Resident Evil games is back. Simple things such as reloading require you to press multiple buttons while changing weapons is a tedious task itself. You have to open a menu where all of your equipment is, select the item with the radial (which is not precise) and then press “equip” to use the item. All without pausing! This five to ten second process can easily get you killed in the middle of a heated battle.

Control complaints aside, Resident Evil 5 is still one of the best chances this year for a AAA title. It has a lot to live up to. The graphics are brilliant and the action is just as intense as Resident Evil 4. I would say that the entire system (minus the controls) is a tweak to Resident Evil 4 with the addition of a second player. Online co-op is a definite plus that will add hours of replay value to the experience. All said the verdict is still out on Resident Evil 5, but we will know soon enough as it launches in approximately one month.

Written by Kyle