Chris and Sheva take aim.

I’ve never been much of a fan of the Resident Evil series, but the reinvention in the shape of Resident Evil 4 shook me to my senses like many others, and left me hungry for more.

Has Resident Evil 5 managed to shake off the shadow of it’s mighty predecessor? Largely no (how could it?) – but here’s what I think works and what doesn’t.

Multiplayer

  • Co-op gives a new feel to what in the past has been quite a lonely game.
  • Although you still can’t run and shoot, it is nice to have someone else to cover your back while you navigate a level.
  • Slight bias towards those who are able to play multiplayer. Those who will want to experience RE5 as a normal Resi game may feel frustrated at times.
  • The brightest AI in the world can’t compare to playing with a friend. Certain points of RE5 have obviously been created with two people in mind.

Inventory

  • Your Inventory is persistent allowing you to keep your items and weapons for multiple playthroughs or to join a friends game.
  • The selection of weapons are good, placed often enough through the game to allow you balance your upgrades.
  • We’re back to the days of rationing ammo, which is challenging, meaning you have to be quite tactical with your fights, only this is more enjoyable with company.
  • Inventory isn’t upgradable from nine slots, you’ll often struggle for space.
  • Unable to swap weapons in multiplayer. Presumably this is to stop you giving upgraded weapons to a friend, but even being able to pass a basic version of a weapon back and forth would have been helpful.
  • No option to split ammo to help out your partner, would have been helpful if one stack of bullets could be split between two.

Gameplay

  • Capcom has added a cover system! Making the later, and more difficult chapters more manageable, and more like a proper firefight.
  • The cutscenes are involving and a genuine pleasure to watch, and thankfully skippable after you’ve watched them once.
  • It’s nice to return to the RE4 format. Despite the inclusion of new multiplayer elements it still has the right amount of Resident Evil tension.
  • That said it’s not up to the standard of other cover systems, it’s very cumbersome and will only work in a tiny percentage of areas.
  • This will help because the quick time events will kill you more than anything else in the game. They need to go.
  • But the menus may create some more. Capcom’s title screen menus are dated and unhelpful. Joining an online game, or continuing a saved games means scrolling through pages of jargon.

Conclusion

I suspect if you start RE5 expecting it to be better than RE4 you’re going to walk away disappointed. RE5 doesn’t improve upon the genre in the way it’s predecessor did but it will provide you with an enjoyable experience which will be improved by the fact that you can play with another.

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