Capcom has hit the ball out of the park with the very enjoyable latest chapter in the classic Resident Evil series, Resident Evil 5. This time out, Capcom has wisely eschewed the on rails gameplay of the recent Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles and allowed gamers a full range of movements to explore the detailed landscapes of the game.
Playing as Chris Redfield (from the original game and Resident Evil: Code Veronica), the game is set roughly 10 years after the original game and sees Chris travel to Africa in order to investigate a reported viral outbreak at the hands of the Umbrella corporation. Shortly after his arrival, Chris meets his new partner, Sheva Alomar and sets out to investigate the strange happenings in the local town.
Before Chris can even get settled in, hordes of infected locales are laying siege to he and Sheva forcing them to fight a defensive battle. As the duo move about the decimated town, they discover that a team of soldiers has been decimated by an unknown force. When Chris and Sheva locate a disc of information, they soon find themselves in a race not only to deliver the date and solve the mystery behind the infection, but for their very survival.
The game uses the same over the shoulder perspective of Resident Evil 4, and in a new twist players must work with their partner to complete the game. This to be honest, was a mixed bag for me, as while I was grateful for the help, healing, and company Sheva provided me, there were times where she was in the way, or responded in a manner contrary to what I was trying to accomplish. Thankfully you can opt to use a flesh and blood player to back you up and for certain segments of the game, I found it easier to play with a human rather than the A.I. character.
It did take me a little practice to get used to the controls and inventory system as well as the ability to upgrade weapons and attire. Once that was down, and I was able to focus on my game, I found that I really enjoyed the game.
While it has been a source of some controversy amongst fans, I found the mostly daylight setting of the game to be a novel approach and found myself immersed in the story. While it did not provide me any real scares such as did Dead Space, it is a entertaining and enjoyable game, and I took great delight in shooting an oncoming enemy, and being able to finish them off with a well placed stomp.
Playing on my Playstation 3 system, I really enjoyed the vibration function offered by the Dualshock 3 control as it was a perfect compliment to the solid audio and amazing visual quality of the game.
While the controls and the a.i. were at times an issue for me, I was able to work around this and found myself really getting into the game. While it is a departure from past games in the series, I applaud the designers for stretching out instead of just recycling the same formula again and again.
As I mentioned earlier, the sound and visual quality of the game is amazing and the dynamic and natural lighting effects added a sense of immersion to the game that really helped sell the story. While not perfect, Resident Evil 5 is a solid and enjoyable game that should delight fans of the series and provide a great gaming experience to new fans.
4 stars out of 5.