Resident Evil 5 is the next instalment in the hugely successful Resident Evil series, and also, perhaps more importantly, the sequel to 2005’s GameCube masterpiece Resident Evil 4 – the highest rated game ever to appear in Electronic Theatre’s In-depth Review Archives.
Much in the way of news snippets and rumours have been flowing through the grapevine since the title’s original announcement some two years ago, but nothing has been as concrete as what is available at E3 2008 – playable code.
Expecting to find a Current-Generation Resident Evil 4, we were proved right. The Control System, movement and aiming speeds, and Camera have been lifted directly from Resident Evil 4 – although the ability to aim using the Right Analogue Stick is promised at a later date. The big change, however, comes in the form of Co-Operative play.
Two players may play through the title side-by-side. Should you be short of friends, an Artificial Intelligence partner will fill the gap, as was the case with the version playable. The B Button acts as a context-sensitive command for you partner, who, when pressed, can perform actions ranging from giving you a boost over a wall to re-supplying your ammo. Players can also swap items – in a feature that seems to have been borrowed wholesale form the PlayStation2’s online Resident Evil title that never actually was playable online in Europe til it’s second outing, Resident Evil: Outbreak – between the two characters, and at present it seems that there are nine slots available for doing so.
Close-quarter-combat has also received a small amount of a spit-shine thanks to the Co-Operative gameplay element. Updating Leon Kennedy’s abilities to kick, stomp and knife foes, the two-players can now execute context-sensitive Team Attacks when one partner is low on health.
The enemy Artificial Intelligence doesn’t seem to have advanced too much since Resident Evil 4, but still act as some of the most believable enemies on the Current-Generation. Attacking in packs and often unsure of themselves when alone, ducking and weaving through bullet-fire and attempting to flank you at every opportunity, one mistake can quickly turn-the-tide. Predominate foes – such as Baghead, the chainsaw-wielding maniac in Resident Evil 4 – return, with reanimated attributes, and destructible environments – although somewhat limited – finally find a home in the series.
The title looks fantastic, with flame effects that easily parallel Alone in the Dark and Call of Duty: World at War – two titles in which the flame is a dominating principle – and some of the most lifelike dead people you’re likely to have seen in a videogame, Resident Evil 5 is one of the tastiest looking games on the show floor. March 2009 can’t come soon enough.