Time Played: 107 Minutes
Sponsored By: Farley3K
What if I told you that they made a Resident Evil game with lots of ammunition and a knife that’s good for more than one use?
You’d probably say something like “Where’ve you been since 2005?”
And I’d say, “Jeez, you don’t need to be, like, mean about it.”
Resident Evil and I haven’t been on speaking terms since, well, ever. I bought the one Capcom released on the GameCube, and I don’t have good memories. There were a lot of slow-moving zombies that would have been easy to avoid if the controls weren’t so terrible, and my knife broke the first time I used it.
But I’d heard rumblings over the years of a mythical version of Resident Evil where ammunition was plentiful and saving didn’t require spending one of a limited number of typewriter ribbons in one of three specific locations. In other words, a Resident Evil game without Resident Evil in it.
So when Farley3K offered me the chance to try it, I jumped at it like one of those fast zombies the kids like these days. After a bit more than an hour, I can, with some qualifications, say that I’m glad I did. Resident Evil 5 is a nice little zombie-themed action shooter.
You play as Chris Redfield, and you’re accompanied by his new partner Sheva Alomar. She’s intended to be played by another player in something called "cooperative mode," but fortunately the game has an AI stand-in that will play as her so you can get your zombie-murder on without asking anyone else for permission. As companion AIs go, she’s not bad. Sheva is a good shot, and she’s helpful for solving puzzles. Sadly, she has terrible fire discipline, which wouldn’t be a problem except that she’s such a good shot that she can kill zombies while they’re in places where you can’t recover the ammunition they drop. The result is a highly competent partner that chews through ammo like a gatling gun and makes it artificially difficult to reload your weapon.
My solution is to just give her crap weapons and tell her she can burn through as many rounds as she wants, but that she won’t be getting more when she runs out, so don’t ask.
The shooting is interestingly limited. Unlike a lot of action shooters, where you can trade weapon accuracy for movement, Resident Evil 5 doesn’t let you shoot unless you’re aiming down sights and holding the gun with both hands. It’s like Chris had a particularly brutal range instructor back at the academy and is completely incapable of shooting unless he’s in the perfect Weaver stance. It’s an admirable trait in someone you’re sharing an afternoon at the range with, but when you’re beset by hordes screaming zombies with flowers blooming out of their mouths, it feels a little too prim.
Then again, range etiquette is something that differentiates people from punks and idiots, so I guess I can’t begrudge Chris a little inflexibility when it comes to firearms. He certainly knows how to handle them. Headshots are almost pathetically easy with the standard pistol, and the shotgun tears standard enemies asunder with stomach-churning ease.
To counter Chris’ extraordinary fire discipline and stopping power, the game will occasionally throw superzombies at you that can’t be killed with conventional weapons. Sometimes they can’t be killed at all, and the most you can do is hide on a rooftop and wait for reinforcements with missile launchers.
Of course they don’t give you a missile launcher. Chris wouldn’t even ask. He hasn’t been trained for that kind of ordinance. You have been trained to use industrial blast furnaces, though, and if you drop some ammo in there so your trigger-happy partner can be used as bait, one of those works almost as well as a LAWS rocket launcher.
Not that I would do anything like that to my partner. That would be awful.
Effective, but awful.
I think I’ll give this one some more of my time. The graphics hold up well, and considering that it’s a PC port of a console game, it plays remarkably well with a mouse and keyboard. Also, it answers the age-old question of how to make a Resident Evil game fun.
Make it as little like Resident Evil as possible.
Is it the Dark Souls of RE games?
Having played the original remake of Resident Evil on the Gamecube, I can honestly and emphatically state that Resident Evil 5 is nowhere near being the Dark Souls of Resident Evil games. That honor probably rests with the original. The best (or the worst, depending on your perspective) this game can hope for is to be the Bloodborne of Resident Evil games, in that it’s faster paced than its siblings, but still very much the same family.
Three out of Seven Green Herbs.