It’s a fairly agreeable fact that Resident Evil 4 revolutionized both the action horror and 3rd person shooter genres. While not necessarily always for the greater good, the lingering effects of Resident Evil 4 can still be seen in games released today. Capcom, our beloved love/hate developer, has been on a recent upconverting spree, polishing Resident Evil 5 and 6 and releasing them on current consoles. And, after playing Resident Evil 5 again after approximately ten years, not only do I still curse the game, but I have begun to regret the existence of Resident Evil 4.
Resident Evil 5 focuses around Chris Redfield and his newly acquired partner Sheva. With 5, Capcom added a co-operative play mode to the Resident Evil 4 formula. Gamers were already familiar with Capcom’s Outbreak series, so co-op to Resident Evil wasn’t particularly innovative. In this context, however, having a buddy to roll through the Las Plagas with certainly added some much needed value. Continuing the action trend of Resident Evil 4, 5 chucks you, Chris, and Sheva knee-deep into the action packed African deserts.
Gameplay in Resident Evil 5 is a personal killer for me. I’ve never understood the point of standing still and shooting. In order to combat the Plagas, you’ll have to aim with R2 and shoot; unfortunately, you can’t move during this process outside of aiming. There’s almost no defense to a highly trained operative standing still and allowing himself to be mauled by zombie dogs or tentacle heads. For as mediocre/average as Resident Evil 6 was, at least Capcom enabled its operatives to move and shoot.
The major game-killing factor of this particular element becomes abundantly clear from nearly the get-go. While aiming, Chris’ vision is pretty limited; behind and to his sides are unable to be seen. On top of this, if an enemy rushes or somehow stumbles too close to Chris (or Sheva, depending on who you’re playing as), and you’re aiming, good luck attempting to get out of the way. Often, I’d try to escape by sidestepping and shooting, but I quickly learned (to my dismay and pain) that I couldn’t move and shoot.
Should you be able to gather yourself and get past these flaws, the HD remaster offers numerous multiplayer modes. Returning is everyone’s favorite Mercenary mode, complete with the entire cast. Other modes exist, too, which pit you and maybe some friends against hordes of Plagas. Not only does the HD remaster come with these multiplayer modes, but the game allows players to earn an additional three pages of trophies for the DLC content.
Visuals in Resident Evil 5, for its time, were average. In the recent upconversion, Capcom glossed the visuals in order to add shine but left the character models untouched. Sure, everything was sparkly, but the bones of the visuals remained the same. This isn’t an unpleasant sight, as I mentioned that the game looked pretty average. If Resident Evil 5 excelled visually anywhere, it would be in its boss monster models/fights. Resident Evil 5 was filled with memorable boss battles, if anything. Hell, one of my band’s songs, Ngdsu, was inspired by one of the most absurd Professional difficulty boss fights (with Ndesu) ever.
When I consider Resident Evil 5, I find myself perplexed. I know that I dislike the experience; in my opinion, 5 is the weakest title in the long-lived franchise. Still, it’s a pretty addictive system that pulls you back in for more. There’s something about the gunplay in a Resident Evil game that feels right. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of neither Chris nor Sheva, so any enjoyment suffered from bad characterization.
For $19.99, the HD Remaster of Resident Evil 5 is probably worth your money. The game comes with all released DLC and game modes, so the value of gameplay per dollar is pretty nice. Resident Evil 5 isn’t a terrible game by any stretch, but time could be spent doing any number of other things, including purchasing/playing a game that you actually enjoy. If you don’t know how the story of Resident Evil 5 ends, then perhaps this is the right time to figure out that narrative. If you’re not an action/horror, 3PS fan, or if you’re on the fence with considerations, do yourself a favor and look elsewhere.