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T he Resident Evil series is known for being one of the fathers of the survival horror genre. However, Resident Evil 4 marked a departure from those roots, though it still retained some of those elements. In essence, the game became more action oriented and it allowed players to purchase weapons and upgrade them.
Resident Evil 5 builds on the foundations laid by Resident Evil 4, but for me personally, it contains practically zero horror elements now (in terms of scares). One key difference though is the ability to replay previous parts of the game and you have a partner at all times, who can be controlled by a friend or the computer.
During the Resident Evil 5 review, you'll find out whether it's still worth trying even though it is more action oriented.
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The Story in Resident Evil 5
I don't remember the details of the story in the other games, but for people who do, some characters make a return and plot threads are picked up from previous games. Chief among returning characters is Chris Redfield, who you control when playing the game alone (the computer controls the other character). Chris is assigned a new mission while also getting a new partner called Sheva and naturally, they run into problems. They need to deal with a Las Plagas infection in Africa. The Las Plagas were of course featured in Resident Evil 4 and they're basically parasites that take over a person's body. It's important to note that the infected in this go by a different name than they went by in Resident Evil 4, but for all intents and purposes, they're the same.
I don't want to give away any of the plot really, but it does involve a bad guy from past games and there are of course new villains and characters. Needless to say, the plot's decent but it's never going to win any awards. Same with the script. Fans may dig the returning characters etc. though and the fact that one or two plot threads are resolved.
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The Gameplay in Resident Evil 5
So, the story is decent but nothing earth-shattering. This leaves the gameplay. Does Resident Evil 5 feature good gameplay? The answer is both yes and no. Before moving on though, the game plays a lot like Resident Evil 4, with the main difference being that you have a partner with you at all times as previously mentioned.
So first, how is the A.I of the computer when controlling Sheva, Chris' partner? It's actually pretty good, though it's a bit odd that you can't tell her to equip a particular weapon. Regardless, the computer is largely fine controlling her, though it's obviously better when a human is playing with you as Sheva.
Next, you move around like in Resident Evil 4 by using the left analog stick while the right analog stick controls where you look and aim your weapon. Hold down L1 to aim and press R1 to fire. This is all pretty simple and people who've played shooting games before will be familiar with the control scheme. However, what holds the game back is the fact that unlike in Dead Space, you cannot move aim/fire at the same time. This is the main reason the gameplay gets a rating of three out of five instead of a four, because aside from that, the game plays well and the action is good. Do note though that Capcom have tried to place a cover system in the game during the later levels/chapters, similar to the one found in Gears of War.
Apart from the above, the game makes sure that you never run out of ammo and can always upgrade whichever weapons you want, due to the ability to replay earlier levels for money, with your inventory etc. intact during and after replaying a level. This makes the game a bit easier than Resident Evil 4. This is another reason for the score.
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The Graphics and Sound in Resident Evil 5
There are absolutely no complaints here. The graphics are good, like the the sound work. The one aspect that brings the sound down a bit though is the rather bland script. It's typical of action games and films, but that shouldn't really influence the sound rating because it's the voice-acting quality that should matter most when the sound itself is rated. In that respect, the voice-acting is fine.
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General Playability and Presentation
There are no complaints here either. The presentation is good and the playability is also fine. However, as mentioned above in the gameplay section, it perhaps doesn't control as well as it could thanks to the fact that you cannot aim and shoot while moving. With Dead Space being released where you can do those things while moving, it sort of shows Resident Evil 5 up in that respect. Perhaps if Dead Space hadn't been released, it would make the game play better.
If the 'not being able to move while aiming/shooting' bit doesn't bother you though, you can add an extra point to the rating. The game is also pretty polished.
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So, is Resident Evil 5 Any Good?
As for the answer to 'is Resident Evil 5 good?' The answer is a yes, but it could have also been better. It lacks the horror elements of earlier installments in terms of possible frights and the game leans more towards being an action game, rather than a survival horror game like Silent Hill and Dead Space. If the action was up there with the likes of Uncharted and Gears of War (even though they are different types of games), then the game would score better and be recommended more easily. The fact is though that the inability to move while aiming and shooting brings the score down when it's trying to be an action game.
If you can look past that though, then it's worth taking a look at. The average score for me personally would be a 3.5, but you could perhaps add an extra .5 or 1 onto the score if you're a fan of Resident Evil 4 and the series in general, while not minding the 'not being able to move and shoot/aim' aspect.