Resident Evil 5 is an odd one for me. It has a Metacritic score of 83, but I have never met somebody with a good thing to say about it. Even on Reddit nobody really defends 5 (but a lot will defend 6), so who is wrong? Everybody, or Metacritic.
I am going to get this one out the way early. Ashley in Resident Evil 4 was terrible. If Ashley was in your party, you were in for a bad time.
Sheva, is… worse.
RE5 employs a 2 player story mode, and if (like me) you hate playing games with random 12 year olds on Xbox Live, you stick to single player. In single player Sheva is controlled by the shonkiest of shonky AI. Give Sheva a magnum with unlimited ammo, and she’ll insist on using the starter pistol with 3 bullets. Let her near a health item, and guaranteed she’ll instantly use a first aid spray to heal a paper cut.
She is a constant pain.
Whether it is standing in front of you in a fight acting like a bullet sponge, or just not being helpful. She is shit, and should have been Jill.
Resident Evil 5 isn’t a Resident Evil in the traditional sense, it is following in the path RE4 set. Now RE4 was a great game, but RE5 follows 4 a little too closely.
RE4 had a lot of pretty epic set pieces, and RE5 tries to replicate them for too often. And, they do it worse. For example:
- The El Gigante fight, they made it a boring unlimited ammo chain gun on a jeep section
- The cockroach bosses (I think these are supposed to be Chimeras), are scary, but tedious
- A water boss
- a helicopter bit with random guy helping you
- Mine carts…
- Cable car section…
- Mysterious female ninja/reveal
The only moment that RE5 stole, that is better is the “Trapped in the house fighting off wave after wave of badguys” section. This bit is awesome, and is the hardest section. This happens after 3 minutes of playing the game. Meaning RE5 peaked after 3 minutes in a 6 hour game.
Having said that, RE5 does have some good moments:
- The aforementioned siege in the house, while directly copied from RE4, is awesome
- The waves of Lickers on Act 6
- Shooting Wesker in the face
That isn’t much, but it means they pack a lot into RE5. And, I guess that is the problem. Too many ideas, meaning a lot of them feel forced in, and that they weren’t given the attention they needed.
All the bosses are appropriately epic, they all look good, and are all the size of a house. The issue is that they all require a gimmick to kill them. Other than the final boss, nobody is killed via the age old “shoot them in the face with a magnum”.
It means a boss fight will loop infinitely until you do the thing you aren’t aware you need to do. This usually requires you to run up to them, and trigger a QTE, or use a special item, but it ruins the flow and always feels tacked on.
The leeches return from REZero, but they only appear as some super hard bosses, which can only be beat by contrived methods of setting them on fire. The first Leech thing is the Alien 3 method of “Trapping them in a furnace and burning them“, the second is a recharging flame thrower…
All the bosses rely on some sort of extra gimmick, and it isn’t needed. The joy from Resident Evil came from fighting a super powerful foe, that, you had “to run away from screaming like a little child, taking pot shots at”.
In RE5 you can stand there using QTEs to avoid the attack, and just shooting until a QTE appears. There isn’t a challenge to it. I spent 30 minutes (on veteran difficulty) fighting the Spider lift boss before I realised I had to QTE a bomb in it’s mouth. In 30 minutes, I got hit once, ammo and health constantly respawned around me, and it was just disappointing. More so than the Gears of War Spider Boss.
And Sheva makes her AI presence known on the 1st final boss fight… Jesus… You have to fight Wesker, and Sheva just ruins everything. You need to turn lights off, and distract Wesker while Sheva shoots at him with a rocket. Issues are:
- She misses, all the time
- She has to be fed ammo
- She’ll just stand there and not fire
As I mentioned earlier, the AI is broken, and while this is an easy fight in 2 player mode, with AI it is horrendous, I came very close to rage quitting, as assuming you manage to hit Wesker with the rocket, you still need to then:
- Shoot the rocket (with your gun) so it blows up
- Run up to him
ARRRRHGHGHGHGHGH. I tried being the one with the rocket launcher, but everytime I tried to reload Chris would drop the launcher… It was a pain.
The item management is odd, gone is the (pretty cool) attache case from RE4, and in it’s place, is the item management system from Zero (albeit refined). You each have 9 slots, and you pass items between you. No chests to store items, but also, no key items taking up space in your inventory. It is a little annoying, especially when you need to swap items. But, it is OK.
So yeah, during the build up to release a lot of people were saying “oh your zombies are black, this is racist”, and as usual, the easily offended brigade were out in full force. The game was set in Africa (the fictional Kijuju), so it made sense to have black zombies. No issue here, well done Capcom, you dodged that bullet.
And then… Spear chuckers… You know someone in your design department has goofed. After dodging the racism claims of angry black zombies, they chose to add something that just wasn’t needed for plot, and didn’t provide any story development.
Any good points/Overall
RE5 isn’t a “bad” game, it just isn’t very good. It takes the RE4 formula, and doesn’t try to do anything special, it feels lazy, and a by the numbers sequal.
For me it shows little love for the series, and didn’t attempt to build on the fairly solid foundations laid by RE4, it feels like it was designed by a committee, and doesn’t attempt to innovate or evolve the series.
Pros: A lot of set pieces, shooting Wesker in the face
Cons: isn’t very original, relys too much on recycled content, you punch boulders to win the game…