Resident Evil (RE), one of the sagas that reinvented horror games and set the bases for a new genre in videogames: survival horror. I played every Resident since 1 in the first Playstation, I really love these games. I will start speaking of other RE’s. Because there’s a lot of reviews out there, maybe I shouldn’t be writing this one, but I think I have some things to say about it, some of them not covered in other reviews. As many of you know, RE4 was the first RE in a new generation, in a time when something weird happened, Nintendo had the exclusivity of RE in the Gamecube (GC), every game released at the time was re-released on the GC, plus a RE1-remake (REREMAKE ;P), a really amazing remake, it has aged really well, they updated the graphics, still prerendered backgrounds and 3D characters; they threw away the horrible-cheesy-terrible-acted-I-don’t-want-to-hear-it dialog and introduced minor tweaks into the gameplay, this one is for me the best RE ever. After that, they released RE Zero, a new RE which was first in development for the Nintendo64, again a mixture between 2D and 3D. Finally appearing in the GC it was the highly anticipated RE4, with later Playstation2 and Wii conversions. Shinji Mikami, the creator of the series was very involved in this new installment, and he changed drastically the formula of RE, this game has 3D graphics for everything, it is the return of beloved Leon S. Kennedy from RE2, takes place in Spain (really funny to play as a Spanish speaker), includes a third person view from the shoulder of the character, weapons customization and a lot of other things, some regard it as one of the greatest videogames ever, it received general praise, good reviews and also sold well. For me it was really a change, but the essence is there, although it’s a lot faster than the previous ones because it is a more action-oriented game; but I regard it as one of my favorites, I played it perhaps more times than the other ones, and I’m replaying it on the Wii just to see this version’s extras. What’s wrong with RE4? The story, for me it went backwards and I could even say that story-wise they wasted one installment, it’s silly, cheesy, it includes Metal Gear Solid-like codec conversations which are terrible, and on top of that, you have to rescue the daughter of the President of the USA, c’mon people, that’s one of the worst common places in the history of storytelling, and when you meet the girl, you’re not going to like her, not a bit.
So, I’ll finally speak about RE5. A lot has happened in Capcom since RE4, series creator Shinji Mikami has left the company, as many other geniuses like the guys of Clover Studio, developers of the masterpiece Okami, they are now Platinum Games. So, some might consider that RE5 could be a bad game or something like that, specially after Mikami’s declaration that he won’t play the game, but is it a bad sequel? Let’s see… altough I have read some mixed and not so good reviews, a new RE is always a must buy for me, I just got it the other day and overall I feel really satisfied with it, the problem I see? Some reviewers also point it out: its length, it’s really, really, really short. I finished it in two seatings, although I’m a hardcore gamer, I think most people can get like 12-15 hours on the first play through. Does it has replay value? You bet.
Starting with the graphics, I haven’t seen Killzone 2, but for me, it’s the best in the PS3 (yes, I’m a PS3 and Wii owner, don’t care about Xbox 360 and/or Microsoft). The most amazing thing is that the game takes place almost entirely in daytime locations and yes, it’s scary despite is more action oriented than RE4. Music and sound, really good, maybe nothing out of this world, but it have a perfect atmosphere, Capcom always excels at this aspect, at least in RE games. Gameplay, and this aspect is deep, I wasn’t very confident in their choice of bringing co-op into RE universe, also two characters always at the same time, one of them controlled by the AI or another human, but I acknowledged that RE Zero experiment went OK. But I have to admit, this is a very interesting piece of gameplay, it also depends on who do you find and play with, In my first playthrough I played the first chapter alone, from 2 to 5 with a guy, and 6 alone. My experience with this player was really satisfying in the sense that it really works if you know how to be a good team and share ammo and health recovery items, so it was a really great experience in this matter, but I think that this is a very random aspect of gameplay as you can find partners over the Internet who are good or bad teammates. As for the AI, I think it’s really well done, Sheva never was stuck in an invisible wall or doing useless stuff (like other AI’s) sometimes she helps, has a very decent accuracy, she can really help you, but just in case, don’t give her too much ammunition or heal herbs or sprays.
Finally, the story, I really like good story in my games, and for some reasons commented above, RE4 was really bad at this. RE5 have a lot darker tone, former STARS member, now BSAA operative Chris Redfield returns in this installment (he’s the main protagonist in the first RE and a secondary one in RE Code Veronica), after pumping up some muscles to be able to pursue and finally to take on Albert Wesker, who is the main villain in the series, and for me one of the baddest badguys in videogames, so only for this confrontation it’s worth to play it, I don’t want to spoil too much of the story, but it is already known that this chapter closes the current story arch and the final showdown between you and Wesker it’s here, and man, it’s really satisfying to fight him and that finally you can take him out, once and for all. So, you arrive to a location in Africa, after now extinct Umbrella Corporation research and secrets are available for terrorists in the black market, something like Metal Gear Solid 2, but anyway better than rescuing the president’s daughter 😄 Then, you meet with Sheva Alomar (African, but Spanish name LOL) who will be your partner in your adventure, you collect your first weapons and the action starts, almost never ending action from the first to the last chapter, I don’t want to say anymore about the story, just a few notes more, Jill Valentine is dead (my dear, beloved Jill) and there will be a plot twist, yes I think just one that for me I kinda expected it, but then again, maybe I’m a little too familiar with the franchise; finally I expected a little more fan service in tying more the argument, but it’s fine.
Final words: RE5 is an excelent game, the only bad thing about it is its really short lenght, it should have had 10 chapters instead of 6, and the cutscenes should have been longer, specially the ending is even shorter than the original Playstation1 ending, the controls are tank-style and clumsy at times, but if you played any other RE’s you’ll get use to them without problems, and there’s even more than one configuration, but I missed classical R1+X button to shoot, and square to run, but at this time, when all the RE’s I have now are played with different controllers, I can forgive this. I highly recommed this game for hardcore gamers and RE fans, but if you prefer Gears of War style game, you’ll probably want to rent it before going to buy it. Would it stay in my library of favorites? Definetly, I give this game 9 STAAARRSSSS out of 10.