Resident Evil 5 Review
Xbox 360 | PS3
Resident Evil 5 box art
System: X360, PS3 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Capcom 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Capcom 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: March 13, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Unfortunately, it’s the only extra nugget packed into the retail disc. It was announced by Capcom on Thursday, March 12, 2009 that an additional multiplayer mode called Versus will be available post-launch in the form of DLC. Considering the game doesn’t launch till the 13th, I can’t help but feel players are getting a screw job by Capcom’s marketing department. We’re already paying $60+ for the title, so why should we have to shell out an additional 400 MS points ($4.99 through PSN) for content that should’ve already been included? What’s more, if the recent Trophy update is any indication, further modes, including Slayers and Survivors, will be hawked to players at a later date. I guess gamers look like a big fat teet in need of being milked!

Resident Evil 5 screenshot

Anyway... enough ranting. Graphically, this is one of the best-looking games I've ever played. The lighting used is absolutely superb; many companies focus on making their games dark to produce an ominous feel, but Capcom has succeeded in making blinding light every bit as creepy. Of course, dark tunnels and ominous shadows are still present and accounted for. The attention to detail is phenomenal, textures are incredibly realistic, and the African setting is believably brought to life. This game truly looks like one long cutscene, thanks to Capcom's proprietary MT Framework (which is now at its 2.0 phase and is currently being used to develop Lost Planet 2).

Occasionally, players will notice screen-tearing, and explosions - though absolutely beautiful to behold - that make zombie bodies and even industrial trucks scatter in strange ways. Nevertheless, players will be hard-pressed to find a game on home consoles that can truly match RE5's quality. On the aural front, Capcom has also done a great job. The ambient noises are second to none, and the voice acting is about as good as it gets. All in all, the sonic presentation does a great job of inspiring the cinematic feel the devs wanted to convey. The overall presentation in Resident Evil 5 passes with flying colors.


On the downside, this game has a clunky control scheme that doesn't fit with the rest of the title's quality. RE5 uses essentially the same controls found in Resident Evil 4. While this setup was interesting when it was implemented four years ago, it is decidedly dated and wonky now. The subtle changes the devs have made to the controls simply aren't enough to engage new players, and old hands may simply prefer using the straight RE4 control layout option. Unfortunately, the problems don't end there. Capcom also gives new meaning to the term "stop-and-pop." In fact, I'd like to coin the term "stop-and-plop," because you'll be crapping yourself out of frustration. Players are only able to dole out damage by engaging their weapon's sights or activating their bowie knife, which roots them to their place. Not being able to strafe away from oncoming danger is extremely exasperating and slows the game down to a crawl. The developers obviously used this mechanic to instill anxiety and a sense of urgency in the player, but the design choice simply clashes with what otherwise should be a run-and-gun experience.

On the bright side, players will be treated to some great boss battles and even on-rails / turret shooting sequences that are quite fun. It's a shame, however, that there are only a handful of mundane enemy character models used throughout the game - why do I have to keep shooting the same five zombies? Consequently, wading your way through the levels feels fairly formulaic until you reach the unique challenges the cool boss battles represent. Thankfully, Resident Evil 5 is highly accessible for players of every skill level due to the multiple levels of difficulty. Depending on which setting you select, you can waltz your way through the vibrant world and engaging story, or have your gaming ability thoroughly tested.

Resident Evil 5 screenshot

It may seem like I was disappointed with Resident Evil 5. On the contrary, this is my favorite entry in the series to date; that being said, I'm more of an action-shooter fan than a survival horror purist. In that light, fans of the series may have a bone to pick with Capcom. However, I've got a feeling this title will have a much broader appeal to gamers at large. Resident Evil 5 is a very fun game that pays fan service to the faithful through its engaging, answer-filled story, and it modernizes the series through an amazing, cinematic presentation. Where the game seems to get bogged down is in its attempt to appeal to everyone. The hybridization of survival horror mechanics with action-shooter gameplay doesn't work out very well - making it suffer from the jack-of-all-trades syndrome.

By Jonathan Marx
CCC Editor / News Director

Other than occasional screen-tearing and some odd physics, the visual presentation is simply fantastic! The game looks like one long cutscene punctuated by bursting heads and killer explosions.
Subtle touches to the controls originally presented in RE4 are not enough, especially when compared to other action titles out there. Considering this series is now part of that genre, the game is decidedly clunky.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The ambient effects and voice over work are top-notch. Why weren't the Resident Evil movies this good?
Play Value
The single-player is fun, but wasting zombies with a buddy is what will keep you coming back. Add to that the intense Mercenaries mode, and you've got a lot of solid gaming on your hands… if not quite what fans were expecting.
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Two Playable Characters: Chris Redfield, protagonist of the original Resident Evil and Resident Evil: Code Veronica, returns and is joined by new playable character Sheva Alomar, an African BSAA agent tasked with investigating the epidemic.
  • Two-Player Online Co-op: New cooperatively-focused gameplay revolutionizes the way that Resident Evil is played. Chris and Sheva must work together to survive new challenges and fight dangerous hordes of enemies.
  • Next Generation of Fear: Features groundbreaking graphics that utilize an advanced version of Capcom's proprietary game engine, MT Framework, which powered the hit titles Devil May Cry 4, Lost Planet, and Dead Rising.
  • "Quick-Select" Inventory System: Improved inventory system allows items to be traded between characters. To add to the intensity, all inventory management is done in real time; items can even be assigned to the directional pad for instant access.
  • New Control Schemes: Features new modernized third-person action game control variations as well as the return of the traditional Resident Evil 4 control schemes.
  • New Enemies Bring New Challenges: Enemies boast increased speed and intelligence, making them as dangerous alone as they are in groups.
  • Powerful New Weapons: The number of weapon variations has been greatly increased providing new ways to keep enemies at bay.
  • Fear Light as much as Shadow: Lighting effects provide a new level of suspense as players attempt to survive in both harsh sunlight and extreme darkness.
  • Screen Resolution: Up to 1080p (Full HDTV).

  • Screenshots / Images
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