Welcome to Kijuju, a breeding ground for bio-terrorists and black market weapon sales, located in West Africa. As it turns out, the Umbrella corporation had research facilities in Kijuju but has since gone bankrupt, and pharmaceutical company ‘Tricell’ has reopened those facilities. This spells trouble for the natives of the Kijuju as strange occurences start to become more frequent.
You play as Chris Redfield, a member of the now defunct S.T.A.R.S. and a returning cast member from the original Resident Evil game. Chris now works for B.S.A.A. and is sent to Kijuju to capture and arrest Ricardo Irving. Chris isn’t the only one tasked to locate Irving, as your partner this time around is Sheva Alomar. What Sheva is lacking in brawn and biceps, she makes up for it with cunning and good looks. She provides backup for Chris, assisting with opening doors and numerous other tasks. But Sheva does act a bit reckless at times, unloading clip after clip into the Majini, the natives infected with an advanced version of the Las Plagas virus.
This isn’t the Resident Evil you are used to. Gone are the suspenseful, creepy moments. In fact, you don’t really get scared throughout Resident Evil 5, as it’s more focused on action this time around. Most of the screens and trailers of the game show a bright, sunny, sandy environment, but soon you will find yourself playing in some more familiar areas, such as murky swamps, and bat infested caves. Even with the eerie surroundings, you don’t get the same feeling you would while playing the previous installments of Resident Evil, as you are never alone throughout your playthrough.
The addition of Sheva takes away that feeling of desperation, but makes up for it by saving your ass countless times. This game was built to be played with a friend, or even a stranger, both online and offline. Co-op takes the center stage, and the better the other player is, the easier your play time will be. Your partner’s A.I. isn’t all that bad and will definitely get the job done. You might have to forgive her for a few annoyances, such as giving you items you just don’t want, especially after having made some extra room in your inventory. But it certainly doesn’t ruin the experience. It’s also important to note the benefits of an AI character automatically supplying you with potentially important items.
The Majini are relentless, attacking from all angles, and the hordes of ’em never seem to stop coming. You will have to keep a variety of weapons in your inventory to deal with the different enemy types throughout your journey, many of which are new to the series. I have to admit, I am a tad disappointed by all the accusations of racism the game faced when it was first shown, as the enemies within this game fit the region they occupy. Regardless, you get over this pretty quickly as you will be too busy trying to stay alive to notice who is trying to kill you.
Boss fights are some of the best the series has offered, with each boss boasting some of the smoothest animations I have seen during this console generation. Each boss offers a pattern that you must pick up on and use to your advantage to finally take it down. And when you do, the feeling you get is quite rewarding, especially since your heart finally stops pounding.
When I first played Resident Evil 5 I was instantly disappointed by the control scheme, as they haven’t changed much since RE4. Especially after playing other westernized games with previously clunky controls, such as Metal Gear Solid 4, I longed for more fluidity. Having to stop and plant your feet just to swing your knife, or aim your gun, is my biggest complaint by far. After about an hour into the game, you get acclimated to the control scheme and it becomes second nature. So don’t let the prehistoric controls keep you from enjoying this masterpiece.
This title gives you plenty of reason to play again and again, featuring a ton of hidden treasures, unlockables, and various weapons for you to upgrade. Since your inventory is very limited, you might not get a chance to toy with all of the different weapons, but you sure can make up for it on subsequent playthroughs. Upon firing Resident Evil 5 up for the first time; there is a mandatory 5 GB install. Before you moan, your HDD space woes aren’t for naught, as it speeds up load times considerably compared to its Xbox 360 counterpart, making the PS3 version the clear choice for multi console owners.
This latest iteration strays from the formula that helped make Resident Evil such a successful franchise, but it makes for a unique co-operative experience. Blood, gore, and mindless Majini will give you the ‘Resident Evil feel’ you are looking for; though the other mainstays such as as mind-boggling puzzles and back-tracking are very few and far between. This may not be such a bad thing, but for long-time fans of the series, ‘Evil’ may not be the biggest resident in this game. Nevertheless, if you are a long-time fan, or just finding yourself interested in the series for the first time, this is not a game to miss.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
A ton of hidden items and unlockables.
Takes series in a new direction with compelling Co-op.