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Considering how long the PS3 has been out, it was about time Playstation's favourite franchise finally arrived on the PS3. If you have already played Resident Evil 4 you will be pretty accustomed to how this game plays but it still holds many differences which I'll try to cover in this review.
You once again take the role of Chris Redfield who people should remember from the first Resident Evil game as well as Code Veronica. Chris now works for the BSAA which is a organization that fights bio-terrorism following the dissolution of the Umbrella Corporation and finds himself sent on a mission to Africa to hunt down an arms dealer selling B.O.W.'s which seem very familiar to what Chris as dealt with in the past. Upon arriving Chris bumps into Sheva Alomar and this is where the games most new prevalent feature comes in.
During the entire course of the game Sheva will constantly be by your side either through 2 player split screen, online co-op or controlled by the AI which even though insulted by critics still works reasonably well. The AI on Sheva to be honest is quite hit and miss, sometimes she can help quite a lot with dispatching enemies effectively and helping you out quite well whereas other times she will constantly get killed whilst wasting ammo and healing items.
In Resident Evil 4 you could also melee attack enemies during combat, this has been greatly enhanced enabling combo attacks between Sheva and Chris or whoever you are using in Mercenaries mode. You can combo up to 3 attacks allowing for sweet looking fire fights.
The inventory screen has also been changing changed considerably from the last game. In Resident Evil 4 you have an attache case which you have to constantly rejig in order to fit the items within it, the game is paused during the section allowing for a cleverly arranged setup. Resident Evil 5 is a slighter faster affair whereby you and Sheva both have 9 inventory slots for weapons and healing items which is rearranged in real-time so the game doesn't pause meaning you have to sort items quickly to avoid getting attacked. You also have a separate out-of-game inventory to store items for stockpiling extra weapons, I feel this is mainly here to enable you to acquire some of the trophies but I feel it allows you to stockpile ammo making 2nd and 3rd runthrough's of the game really easy.
You may also remember the treasures of the last game which you would constantly find in order to sell on to buy and upgrade weapons. In Resident Evil 4 you would find treasure items like lamps and things that you could combine with gems and such in order to sell them at a higher price to the seedy, Cockney, Australian merchant fella. In Resident Evil 5 the items are merely found and sold as is on the out-of-game inventory which means you lose the seedy merchant.
You may well find me drawing comparisons between Resident Evil 4 and 5 and rightly so in some regards. Take the first 5 minutes of Resident Evil 4 as an example. You arrive on the outskirts of a Spanish village, enter a house before shooting the occupant, acknowledging that it isn't a zombie before running into the village, getting attacked by the villagers including a guy wielding a chainsaw. In Resident Evil 5 you head to the Public Assembly area, on the way their you meet a guy that attacks, you acknowledge he isn't a zombie and head to the Public Assembly area whereby you are attacked by loads of villagers as well as a huge man carrying an axe.
The enemies in this game are a lot more varied and vicious than they have ever been in any of the previous instalments of Resident Evil games but this has divided fans. Some of the fans like this more faster-paced experience but some still yearn but the puzzle based survival horror affair of yesteryear. I personally like both so this game suits my taste.
I'll start to cover the extra content.
This mode made it's debut in Resident Evil 3 and finally developed through Resident Evil 4 into what we have in Resident Evil 5. It is a timed affair whereby you have to shoot up to 150 enemies whilst collecting timer and combo bonus. This can be played using several different characters each with different weapon loadouts and melee attacks, it can be played 1 or 2 player. This mode is unlocked after completed the game and once I unlocked it I never played anything else. This mode has been deemed so addictive that a full game of it is scheduled for release on the 3DS.
As this is the Gold Edition it also has several new additions into it. In fact it has lots of extra content crammed into it so here we go.
This is Mercenaries mode with different characters and loadouts. The loadouts make the mode a lot easier but the stages have been made considerably harder to balance it out. The best thing about this mode is you can play as Barry Burton and Rebecca Chambers.
LOST IN NIGHTMARES
This mode harks back to early Resident Evil games. You play as Chris Redfield whereas the 2nd player or AI takes the role of Jill Valentine of Resident Evil and Resident Evil 3 fame. This mode plays just like Resident Evil 5 but contains a lot of the survival horror aspects from previous games, it also explains a lot more of the Resident Evil 5 plot prior to Chris arriving in Africa which if you are a plot whore like me you'll love it.
In this mode you play as Jill Valentine or the BSAA operative Josh Stone trying to escape the Tricell facility. This is once again a 1 or 2 player affair but unfortunately it is quite short making it my least favourite mode. You do get to play as Jill in a tight, leather catsuit though which is nice.
Gold Edition features extra outfits for Chris and Sheva allowing you to play through Resident Evil 5 in 5 different outfits.
Their is several different figures based on the extra Mercenaries, Lost In Nightmares and Desperate Escape characters.
The Gold Edition of Resident Evil 5 is the worthwhile version to get but the extra stuff is available for download if you have the original version at the same time. Resident Evil 5 in itself is an awesome game. It has stripped away most of the puzzling elements of previous games, unfortunately a lot of the atmosphere has gone but that doesn't make it a bad game, just a different one.
Having not pickup up a Resident Evil game since its debut on the PS One, I wasn't quite sure what to expect from its latest offering - Resident Evil 5. Maybe it was the offline Co-op mode that excited me most? (as I enjoy playing a game with a mate in the same room rather than online) or perhaps it was all the added features it included being the Gold Edition of the game? Either way, £14.99 for this 3PS was a bargain I couldn't turn down.
For the story mode at the beginning of the game there are 2 difficulty levels; Amateur and Normal. I always opt for Normal mode so I selected this together with a mate and we started the game with the Co-op option with split-screen display. Player 1 takes control of Chris Redfield (one of the main characters in the original series who is a former member of S.T.A.R.S) whilst Player 2 takes control of Sheva Alomar who becomes Chris' partner in the game (Sheva is a member of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance or BSAA which Chris is now a part of).
The game's setting is based around the two characters teaming up and being sent to investigate a terrorist bio-organic weapon in a fictional West African town called Kijuju. Their main objective is to apprehend Ricardo Irving so that they can prevent him selling a bio-organic weapon on the black market.
When they arrive they discover that the locals have become hostile and converted by parasites carrying Type 2 or Type 3 Plagas into what's known as Majini (we'll just call them 'psychotic zombies' for now!). They also discover that the BSAA's Alpha team have been killed and radio in for help from the Delta Team which includes another recurring character in the game called Josh Stone. Upon rescue Josh provides some data to Chris which includes a photo of Jill Valentine which makes him curious (Jill was his old partner from the first series who was presumed dead after a battle with Albert Wesker). As the team start to close in on their main objective, Irving escapes with a mysterious hooded figure. They leave behind some documents which lead the team to an oil field which turns out to be a diversion so that the weapons deal can take place.
Without revealing too much into the game, there appears to be an addition to the main objective when Chris reveals that he is determined to learn if his former partner Jill is still alive and Sheva tags along with him to find out.
The Co-op mode is what makes this game a hit. Although it is split-screen, it has enough to keep you going and want to progress more and more. I must admit that at first glance I thought the split-screen action would be a hindrance but you quickly get into it and it becomes less of a problem and hardly noticeable the more you play the game (It helps having a large LCD TV by the way!).
There is however a benefit to the split-screen action whereby you can separate from each other on any given level. Just think about how difficult the game would be if you couldn't?
Anything and everything can be shared between players in Co-op, from weapons and ammo, to herbs and first aid sprays. The idea is that you need to be close to one another in order to 'Give' the other player a selected item. This is great for when you happen to pick up ammo for a weapon that your team mate has or you have some spare ammo you wish to give to your team mate. Weapons can only be exchanged at the end of a level however.
Having split up from a team mate you can quickly use a button combination to locate your partner. Your character will point in the direction of the player and a flashing yellow ring will appear on the screen to pinpoint them.
There are lots of reasons why you may need to quickly locate your partner, such as helping them out with a Zombie onslaught, resuscitating them when they are dying (by stabbing them with adrenaline) or interacting with an object that requires both players (such as flicking switches, kicking down doors, pushing heavy things or pulling chains etc).
Helping each other out is a crucial part of Co-op. The main reason being that as soon as one of you die it's game over. You can of course start the level again from the last checkpoint, but that's the last thing you want to do.
Each player has their own power gauge which decreases for every hit you take. When you get to a critical stage on your power gauge your player begins to walk slowly whilst slightly crouched forward and holding their stomach (which makes you more vulnerable to attack). Another hit and your power gauge turns completely red as your player shouts for help (at this point you can only stumble along with limited vision). Your partner has a limited amount of time to get to you and stab you with adrenaline to resuscitate you (by pressing the circle button when prompted) before your power gauge evaporates. The adrenaline only restores a fraction of your health, so it is useful when your partner has some herbs or first aid spray to heal you with instead which will switch the prompt from 'resuscitate' to 'heal' on the screen when they get close by.
The best part about Co-op is the satisfaction of when a planned strategy comes together (A-Team style). One of you killing off enemies close range with a shotgun or pistol whilst the other takes out distant enemies with a sniper rifle is a good example. In addition you need to team up well to defeat stronger enemies which take more hits. If for example you shoot an enemy in the legs a few times, they fall to their knees, allowing one of you to run up to them and perform a special move or 'melee' attack (as it's known in the game). As you get near them you get a prompt with the square button depending on your position to the enemy. This is usually a Hook or Uppercut with Chris or a Twist Kick and Somersault with Sheva. If the enemy is on the floor then Chris can perform a Stomp or Sheva can perform a Stab to try and kill them whilst they are down. If you are behind the enemy then Chris can perform an instant KO with a Neck Snap or Sheva can perform a Throat Slit. Needless to say, melee attacks add more points to your score for which you are rated at the end of each level. Ratings are based on numerous things such as enemy kills, accuracy, player deaths etc.
Although the game can be played single player you do lose some of the excitement of the Co-op mode. Sheva is still your partner as you go through each level but she is computer controlled. Like in Co-op mode, you can make gestures and shouts to them using button combinations to tell them what to do but it doesn't always stop them doing things you don't want them to do. A typical example would be when Sheva collects some ammo which you badly needed as you then have to request it from her whereas in offline Co-op you can tell your mate to leave certain items for you to collect. Resuscitating each other can have its ups and downs in single player as you can sometimes ensure that your partner is close by issuing commands but if they are far away they don't always bother to reach you.
The computer AI for Sheva also appears quite dumb as she is always getting herself injured (for which you have to risk your life in saving her) and very trigger happy with poor accuracy. As ammo is quite scarce in some parts of the game, you end up giving most of it to her to waste.
In the Mercenaries mode single player will allow you to resuscitate yourself by tapping the circle button which makes it really easy. Some of the QTE as mentioned below are a bit different too as you won't be relying on your computer controlled partner to tap buttons, you'll be doing most of it yourself.
You do however get the benefit of full screen viewing on your TV which is quite overpowering if you've been playing in split-screen action with a friend for days on end.
Graphics & Sound
The graphics on this game are pretty good visually so I don't really have any complaints about it. Some players may be critical as it probably doesn't have that cutting edge compared to 'Uncharted' for example but keeping as much originality to the game as possible is where Capcom have succeeded with RE5. Levels containing water are pretty impressive with a lot of attention to detail. Surrounding buildings look realistic and a lot of the enemies look great. Character models and the animation that takes place in cut-scenes are also fantastic. In addition you do not suffer with the graphics when using a sniper rifle for killing enemies as they still look as good as they do up close.
Sequences involving explosions look stunning in my view, whether this be during a cut-scene or mid battle they look impressive either way. Weapon firing is another personal favourite of mine, especially with the way the bullets fly out of the Gatling Gun for example or the detail added to your weapons and characters during re-loading.
If you manage to complete the game on different difficulty levels you can unlock filters that change the graphics of the game to 'Classic Horror' so that it appears black & white, or 'Noise' which makes the environment more grainy for example.
The sound on RE5 is quite decent but nothing spectacular (it isn't going to blow you away as it does lack some music during game play). The sounds created for creatures and enemies within the game are pretty good and you can feel the intensity rising as the sound changes in the background when you start to hear shouts and roars from nearby enemies. A good example of this is the Tribal level where you can hear Indian calls before you are presented with a barrage of enemies wielding spears to fight off. Commands issued by your characters are also nice and clear but it does sound like Sheva is having an orgasm when she dies!
Quick Time Events
The Quick Time Event or QTE for short will allow a player limited control of their character's actions during cut-scenes or cinematic sequences. You are usually prompted to press a certain button on the control pad for your character to perform an action but you only have a split second to perform it. This may be a one-button press or a combination of buttons. One particular example of this in the game is when Chris and Sheva are running through a collapsing corridor where you both have to tap a button constantly for a few seconds to run then tap another button in time to make a jump or dodge. Sometimes, one of you will make a jump and the other will be left behind (like hanging on the edge of a pit) and require their partner to have pressed another button combination on time in order to rescue them and pull them up to safety.
There are several instances of this in the game and more often than not, the button combinations change each time you die, so there is no way to remember them. This makes the game more challenging but it can be annoying on Co-op if your mate or online partner is not as quick on the reflexes as you are.
Lost In Nightmares
This is the first instalment of new content for the Gold Edition of the game. You have to buy this mode from the bonus features section (with your game points). Part way through the main story mode during a conversation with Sheva, Chris Redfield mentions a mission where he lost his partner Jill Valentine. With 'Lost In Nightmares' you get to find out what happened to Jill. The mission starts off at the Mansion in the original Resident Evil series (Spencer's Estate). If you are familiar with the original game in the mansion then you'll be happy to see that all the old puzzles are there (such as playing the piano and searching for passwords for the computer). This is almost an exact replica with a few added bits. There are a few levels after this which are pretty well made and tie into the style of game play in the main story mode. Eventually you get to fight Wesker where Chris and Jill's original battle began. Completing this mode will unlock new characters for The Mercenaries Reunion. This mode adopts a puzzle and survival strategy which doesn't take that long to complete but it does provide a great added bonus.
This is the second instalment of new content for the Gold Edition of the game which is full of shooting action. Near the end of the story mode, Jill Valentine is rescued by Chris and Sheva but they leave her to finish their mission. In this mode you get to find out how she made her escape with Josh Stone. This is another fun addition to the game as you get to play 2 completely new characters with different melee attacks and weapons. Once again, completing this mode doesn't take that long but it does unlock more characters for The Mercenaries Reunion.
The Mercenaries Reunion
This mode is what probably makes the game durable and even more fun although it's not limited to the Gold Edition. The basic idea is that you roam around a selected map in either solo or two player mode trying to kill as many enemies as possible before the time runs out. Scattered around the map are time bonuses that allow you to increase the timer and give you more time to kill more enemies. As you unlock features in the game you get to play with more and more characters with different weapons and costumes. One of the un-lockable characters is Heavy Metal Chris, for which you get to use a Gatling gun with unlimited ammo (great fun!).
After each level is over you get an overall rating based on the points scored in the round. More points are awarded for melee attacks, combos, shooting chickens (yes chickens!) and defeating stronger enemies.
New to the Gold Edition, this mode allows you to pit yourself against other players offline or online in team death-matches with up to 4 players. With 'Survivors' rule turned on, each team or player have to gain as many points as possible by shooting Majinis. With the 'Slayers' rule, players have to hunt each other and get as many opponent kills as possible. This mode adds a lot of variety to the game but I just wish they had more maps to choose from. It is also in your best interests to unlock as many characters for this mode as possible as other online players will have an advantage if they have managed to unlock characters that you haven't got with stronger weapons.
Gameplay online over a wireless connection has worked flawlessly for me which is quite impressive. Naturally, this performance will greatly depend on you own connection speed but from my experience there have been no lags or freezes in frames which has made it very enjoyable.
If you haven't got the Gold Edition of the game then you can download this mode at a cost of around £3 from the Playstation Network.
As you start the game you manage to get a bog standard handgun with limited ammo but you can also use your knife if you run out of bullets. As you progress through the game you manage to pick-up more destructive weapons such as shotguns, machine guns, sniper rifles, magnums and grenade launchers to name but a few. There are a few variations of each type of weapon, each with their own variances in firepower. Pretty much all of the weapons can be upgraded as you play the game by selling items, treasure and jewels that you pick up along the way. Upgrades consist of increases to firepower, capacity, re-load time and critical/piercing levels. A weapon with a good critical level can usually kill an enemy in one shot if it is aimed at the head for example. A weapon with a high piercing level can penetrate armour (yes, some zombies have armour now too!). Some weapons are only available through unlocking them once a particular weapon has been fully upgraded (something which can only usually be achieved by completing the game a couple of times).
The S&W M500 Magnum is one of the most powerful guns to have in the game but it requires a lot of game points to unlock it (and only once the M29 Magnum is fully upgraded). Towards the end of the game you also manage to pickup a Rocket Launcher but as you can only carry 1 rocket at a time they are not worth keeping in your inventory when you get the chance to buy one.
There are 3 types of grenades in the game; a Flash Grenade to blind enemies for up to 5 seconds, an Explosive Grenade to enforce some serious damage and an Incendiary Grenade to inflict some fire onto the enemy. It is worth noting that if you are too close to any of these once they've been thrown your own player or partner can also take a hit.
The grenade launcher can also take several types of grenade such as explosive, acid, nitrogen, flame, flash, and electric. Nitrogen rounds are awesome because they can freeze some enemies and they can then be blown into pieces (think of Wesley Snipes in Demolition Man). Acid and flame rounds can be great for groups of enemies which may only take one hit on lower difficultly levels within the game.
Upgrading a weapon to its full capacity in all areas will unlock the option to enable infinite ammo for that weapon under the bonus features of the game. This is a must for harder difficulty levels.
Once you've completed the 'Normal' mode of the game you unlock a harder mode called 'Veteran'. In Veteran mode, enemies take more damage to be killed but you take more damage when hit. Some enemies also have different behaviours in the game and may make different moves or get up again when you think they are dead. During Quick Time Events on some levels, they may require more effort, a trickier combo or quicker responses. After completing Veteran mode you unlock an even harder mode called 'Professional'. In this mode enemies take several hits to kill and it will only take one or two hits for you to start dying. Your energy gauge also depletes at a mush faster rate so if your partner is not close by to inject you within a second or two you are dead. This is a very, very difficult mode to play but with infinite ammo and your partner by your side, it is just about manageable. With these added difficultly levels it gives more punch to the game along with new scenarios so that the game is not always the same. Let's just say there are a few surprises!
There are several variations of Majini that wield farm tools, flame crossbows, spears, electric rods and a range of guns (who can also grab you and make you vulnerable to attack from other enemies). The only way to get out of a hold is to either move the analogue stick back and forth as quick as possible to shrug them off or have your partner shoot them or perform a melee attack. Some Majini will have Plaga sprouting out of their heads as they inflict damage (which look like large tentacles). These enemies retain the same capabilities as a regular zombie but have the addition of causing you damage by swinging their tentacles.
Throughout the game there are several tough enemies to kill which are sometimes treated as boss characters on earlier rounds (or mini bosses on higher difficulty levels). I have only mentioned some of my favourites below as there are far too many to discuss here, plus it would spoil the fun of the game.
Chainsaw Majini has made a return from Resident Evil 4 but in a slightly different form. As I never played that version it was somewhat freaky seeing this guy for the first time and having to run away from this maniac with a sack over his head wielding a chainsaw. If this guy gets you with his chainsaw it's an instant death as he plunges it into your head, neck or chest with sickening results.
The Executioner is probably fiercer and scarier than Chainsaw Majini. Wielding a customised axe that's five times the size of your head, this guy can turn walls and small buildings into rubble so there's literally no place to hide. His one time kill is either his long range axe slicing your head (which he spins around his own head) or him holding you up in the air and strangling you to death. He can also chop his axe in a downward angle which is just as deadly.
'Adjule' are dogs which are vicious and deadly. They are very fast and can jump up onto higher ground to catch you. Their specialty is to pounce on you and bite your neck but if they've been shot a few times their heads mutate and split in half like a crocodile's mouth. If they get you again, you're dead!
Popokarimu is a bat-like creature exposed to large doses of the virus that mutated it. This particular enemy is a stern boss which can fly around as well as manoeuvre quickly on the ground. On higher difficulty settings this enemy appears more than once in the game as a mini boss but it does not have to be defeated the way you think.
Licker Beta is a lizard-like creature that features throughout the game. They are heavily infected humans that have mutated into a creature that can move around the ground and up walls using all-fours. They also have long tongues that can inflict serious damage if they manage to get it around your neck and they can also jump and claw at you. As these creatures usually come in groups, it makes them much harder to destroy.
The Reaper is a large insect-type creature that at first glance appears very difficult to kill. After running away from it for several minutes you'll finally get the courage to stand your ground until the creature reveals its weak spot to you. As he does this you have to hit him with a precise shot for his other weak spots to be revealed so that he can be taken down. Firing aimlessly at this enemy from a distance will inflict zero damage and they can also camouflage themselves to make them completely immune from attack. They are a very difficult enemy to encounter, but easy when you know how to destroy them. Just don't get into a situation where two of these guys are chasing after you as you'll stand no chance (one impaled claw through the chest from these guys and you're a goner!).
Critically speaking, I'm not going to give the game 5 stars because there are a few annoyances which dampen the realism. The first problem is the reloading of weapons. Although you can use a button combination to reload your weapon without bringing up your inventory, you cannot run and re-load at the same time. This is very annoying if you have enemies heading towards you and you are stuck there like a lemon trying to re-load your weapon. If this is a triple barrel shot gun on the Mercenaries mode that you are trying to re-load, then you are powerless for a good few seconds before you can fire again.
The other annoying thing on the game is not being able to aim and shoot whilst running. It seems like everything has to be done at a standstill. What person can't shoot a weapon whilst running towards someone? I feel that if you were able to fire shots at an enemy whilst closing in on them then you could perform a lot more melee attacks when you reach the enemy at close range. This would have made the game a lot more fun.
There have also been occasions on the game where your player seems to get stuck and unable to move when you need to resuscitate your partner. This results in them dying before you can reach them. Thankfully though, this does not seem to be a regular occurrence.
The Gold Edition of the game has so many added features and unlockables (more than I can possibly mention) that it is hardly worth buying the original Resident Evil 5 game. With a £5 difference in the price tag on average between the two titles I can more than vouch for value for money as you get a lot more for the small added expense. The game is also 'PS Move' compatible for better handling but I've seen mixed reviews on this.
Controls on the game are relatively easy to master and the quick 180 degree turn to run from enemies is a great inclusion. Having so many modes in which to play the game will keep you coming back for more every time. I can truly say that it has been one of the best games that I have played Co-op and I don't think classic Resident Evil fans will be put off by the direction this has taken.
The story that the game follows is quite interesting unlike some PS3 titles, so you don't mind watching the cut-scenes. Having been playing this game now for a few weeks, there are still lots of things to unlock which is more than can be said for some games. If you are a trophy hunter for PS3 then this game will not let you down as it has so many achievements to make.
I just feel that had Capcom added a 'shoot whilst running' feature to the game and been less restrictive on the re-loading of weapons it may just have won 'Game of the Year'. I'm already looking forward to number 6 though!