Carrying forward many of the changes from the previous title in the series, Resident Evil 5 is an excellent coop shooter even if it fails to uphold the survival horror legacy that was set before it.
Type: Single-player, Multi-player
Release date: 15 Sept, 2009
I took far too long to finally buckle down and give Resident Evil 5 a shot. As a huge fan of the classic three, I wasn’t sure how much it would click with me as I’d often heard that it was a complete break from survival horror. Sure, I get plenty of enjoyment out of action games, but I couldn’t get hyped over what seemed like the final nail in the coffin of a series that’s always been close to my heart.
Nearly twelve years after it’s release, a friend and I decided that we’d dive into it and see what it was all about. I expected to have a good time since it was a full coop run, though I had no idea how much I was going to enjoy it. It doesn’t alleviate the disappointment of the horror being scraped away, but it does prove itself to be a solid game in its own right.
Move over, Leon, Chris Is Here
It’s no secret that Leon Kennedy is my least favorite Resident Evil protagonist so it’s a personal plus to see him taken out of the role as I play through the series. Chris Redfield returns to the role and he earns a batch of action hero points for his obnoxiously swole build in this one. Seriously, he looks like he’s been surviving on a diet of steroids and protein powder while wrestling gorillas for fun since we last saw him earlier in the franchise. Over-the-top build aside, Mr. Redfield is accompanied by a new partner, Sheva Alomar, who’s quite the badass herself even though she often finds herself overshadowed by the legend that she’s with.
Like the previous entry in the series, Resident Evil 5 takes place far from Raccoon City, may it rest in peace. Our heroes find themselves investigating a biological threat that’s been making itself at home in Africa and turning the populace into nasty creatures. Both Chris and Sheva arrive as agents of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA) and are determined to root out the cause of the recent events no matter how many obstacles may present themselves. Yes, there are a whole hell of a lot of them.
Arnold Would Be Jealous
Resident Evil 5 is an action game through-and-through. It may be based on horror-like themes but it’s unlikely that you’re going to end up feeling anything resembling tension or fear. It does succeed at what it does do quite well though as the excitement kicks off immediately and you’ll find yourself in the middle of adrenaline-pumping chaos frequently.
The seeds planted by 4 have grown and matured. Currency makes its return as an important element of progression with an arsenal that steadily increases in size as you progress. Though you’ll see familiar weapons, there’s plenty of variety to be found and depending on your playstyle you may even skip or double-down on certain pieces of gear. For example, among shotguns there’s one that’s got the most bang for its buck with the highest damage per shell fired, one that’s capacity drastically reduces that amount of time that you’ll spend reloading, and another that has a wide spread meant for wiping out large groups of lesser enemies at a time. The fact that you can upgrade your weapons by their individual stats continues to be a nice bonus that keeps you invested and excited each time you loot a valuable treasure.
Kijuju and its environment still look goods good in 2021, though like the previous entry, it isn’t as soaked with atmosphere as the classic three due to its focus on combat. Many areas are clearly designed for extended, large-scale combat encounters. Enemies are everywhere, so your weapons will get a lot of use, but ammo is surprisingly plentiful so it’s rare that supply will be an issue unless you’re spray-and-praying everything that moves. Oh, and if you’re wanted to dump some of that depot’s worth of bullets, shells, and grenades into giant eyeball monsters, you’re covered here.
Resident Evil 5 is a much better game than I had expected when I had been viewing it through the lens of a Resident Evil purist. Combat is fun, the story is entertaining enough, and both of those things are made exponentially better by being able to share it with a friend in a surprisingly well-implemented full-coop campaign. Gone are the days of Leon and Ashley, Chris and Sheva make a great team and you’ll feel like you’re really counting on each other by the way the adventure is designed. You’ll even be able to laugh along at this entry’s incredibly corny villain that competes with Salazar for the ‘Villain You’ll Spend Every Encounter Rolling Your Eyes At’ award. While it may not feel like a Resident Evil title it’s an excellent shooter and one that would be a loss to miss.
Now I’m off to finally play Resident Evil 6 for the first time about eight and a half years late. Wish me luck!