Less Scares, More Action – Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition Review
Resident Evil has long been known for offering chilling survival horror thrills. They creepy environments, scary monsters, and horrific vibe of the games have all made the series the standard in the genre. With the amazing Resident Evil 4 having raised the bar for the series, you can rest assured that Resident Evil 5 had a lot to live up to. Not surprisingly, Capcom has once again crafted a memorable experience within the Resident Evil universe. And while it may not be as bone-chilling as the entries before it, Resident Evil 5 is still a stellar game for fans of the series, the action-adventure genre, and good games in general. And with the release of Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition, which packs all of the DLC plus Move support into the game, you’d be hard-pressed to find more bang for your buck elsewhere.
Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition Storyline (4 out of 5)
The story in Resident Evil 5 takes the series back to its origins, focusing on the now-defunct Umbrella Corporation and Albert Wesker. It turns out many of Umbrella’s creations are still being utilized by terrorist organizations, so Chris Redfield, Resident Evil hero extraordinaire, begins eliminating the threats as a member of the B.S.A.A., whose sole purpose is to completely obliterate the freakish creations of the vile organization. While on assignment in Africa, Chris meets Sheva Alomar, a local B.S.A.A. employee and African native. The duo set out to eliminate the threat, fulfill their personal agendas, and seek answers.
Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition – Basic Gameplay (5 out of 5)
If you played Resident Evil 4, chances are you’re familiar with the flow of the latest game. You are constantly assaulted by hordes of enemies, restricted to standing in place while shooting, and forced to make do with the limited ammo and health you find scattered throughout the levels. It’s a tense gameplay design that literally backs you into a corner, often making you question whether you have it in you to survive or not. But when you do, you can’t help but get the ultimate feeling of badassery.
Like in previous Resident Evil games, your survival relies on how well you manage the items in your inventory. There’s nothing more thrilling than escaping death by the skin of your teeth, only to realize that potentially bigger danger lies beyond the next corridor. There are also plenty of quick time events that will surprise you throughout the game, and your reaction time will determine whether you progress or start over from a checkpoint. Luckily, checkpoints are spaced out fairly in the game to ensure that you don’t get too frustrated if you have to repeatedly start over.
New Gameplay Elements (4 out of 5)
Despite the fact that Resident Evil 5 relies on the same basic formula of its predecessor, Capcom added several wrinkles to diversify the experience. For starters, Chris is always accompanied by Sheva (or the other way around should you choose to play as Sheva). This adds a nice cooperative element to the game that affects combat as well as exploration. Sometimes, Chris may not be too limber to reach a high area, so he must give Sheva a boost and send her up there to explore. Oftentimes, one character will have to cover the other from a distance, adding even more tension to the gameplay.
Thankfully, the AI-controlled partner isn’t some brain-dead bot. Though your computer partner may suffer from the occasional hitch, you can rest assured that your back is almost always covered. The best thing about Resident Evil 5 featuring two characters: local and online co-op. You can take on the adventure with a friend, which encourages multiple playthroughs and allows for some different strategizing than you may not be used to if you’ve played past Resident Evil games.
Changes Made (4 out of 5)
Unfortunately, if you enjoyed the dark atmosphere of foggy marshlands and creepy mansions, you may find yourself a bit disappointed at the game’s lack of horrific locales. Though there are plenty of situations that make you tense and many environments that are beautiful and a bit dreary to look at, the overall darkness that the series has been known for is gone for the most part. I wouldn’t say this is necessarily a bad thing, but it does take away a bit of that classic Resident Evil appeal that the series became known for throughout the years.
Additionally, Resident Evil 5 plays more like a straight third-person shooter than an action-adventure game, stripping away most of the puzzle-solving and exploration elements that made Resident Evil 4 such an enthralling adventure. If you dig the series or enjoy third-person shooters, however, don’t let the lack of puzzles or light emphasis on exploration deter you from experiencing Resident Evil 5, because this is still a solid game worth visiting and revisiting.
Controls (4 out of 5)
Resident Evil 5 controls just as well as Resident Evil 4 did before it. There are a few issues with the commands in the game; don't be surprised if you press square to get out of a window and avoid an enemy attack, only to instead pick up some dropped ammo or gold right in front of you (an action that is also mapped to the square button), in the process taking the hit you wanted to avoid. This is a minor gripe, but it has the potential to happen to often. And on the higher difficulty settings, this becomes a huge problem. The added PlayStation Move support will encourage gamers with the peripheral to try the game out using the motion-based control scheme. It takes a little getting used to, but the Move controls in Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition definitely pay off in the end, offering a nice level of precision aiming and enjoyable motion-based actions and prompts.
Graphics (5 out of 5)
It may not be the scariest-looking Resident Evil game around, but it certainly does look amazing. Environments are richly detailed, enemies look like true monstrosities, and small details in the atmosphere such as ruined abodes, statues, and details on walls all add a wonderful level of polish. In short, Resident Evil 5 looks great and will make you want to really observe your surroundings due to the sheer quality of the visuals.
Sound (5 out of 5)
There’s no denying that Resident Evil 5 looks as good as it sounds. Gunshots are realistic and loud, enemies sound savage and demented, and music chimes in at the right moment to create even more of a thrilling feeling. The perfect combination of impressive visuals and incredible sound combine to create an adventure that you’ll get lost in due to presentation alone. It’s just that impactful and just that impressive.
Lasting Value (4 out of 5)
You’re bound to get through the main adventure in Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition in about 10 to 12 hours. Luckily, with multiple difficulties and optional co-op, you’ll want to squeeze out more life out of this title. Additionally, this version of the game includes all the DLC of the original, which adds a few extra hours of play time. Admittedly, the extra chapters aren’t as engaging as the main game, but they are still plenty of fun and worth playing through for fans.
Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition Review – Overall Score (4 out of 5)
In the end, Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition is easily the definitive version of the game for obvious reasons. It includes all of the features of the original and throws in all the DLC plus Move support, so you can experience the game in a different way. If you already own the standard version of the game, there’s not much here to justify purchasing the Gold Edition outside of Move compatibility because all of the add-on content is available for practically the same price. You’ll have to really factor whether you need that Move support or not if you’ve already got a copy of the game. With that said, if you have yet to play the latest entry in the series, Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition is an excellent investment. It may not have the same impact that Resident Evil 4 did, but it’s still one heck of a game.