Resident Evil 5 had a bit of a negativity swirling around it after release, for failing to live up to the previous entry, but I personally found it just as enjoyable to play (if still not very Resident Evil-y) but with the added fun to tying up the Chris-Wesker storyline. Ah well, at least 6 came along to take the heat off of it a few years later! So let’s take a look at Resi 5, on the same day we’re cover a film featuring Jill with her look and storyline from this game in it! Fitting!
Every country has their own chainsaw wielding mascot, don’t you know?
Resident Evil 5 received a worldwide release in March 2009, on both XBOX360 and PS3, with a PC release September the same year. It was later ported to the PS4 and XBOX One on June 28th 2016, and later to the Switch on October 29th 2019.
The game received mixed reviews from the gaming audience, though high praise from critics. Weirdly this is often pointed at as when the series became more about action than horror, despite it sharing so much in common with RE4. *shrugs* Either way, RE6 was actually disliked by critics and audience alike, so… hooray? Not hooray though was accusations of racism thanks to the main setting being Africa, and therefore the game involves a lot of killing of black people from small villages (who have turned into mutated killing machines, for the record). It thankfully never got very far, and frankly setting the game in Africa and then featuring a mostly while populace would be even more racist!
Okay, maybe this segment was a little bit racist.
Resident Evil 5 features the same over-the-shoulder 3rd person view and laser-pointer aiming with the many guns on offer, with the same free movement and camera (which should be obvious by now, but after so many tank controlled and fixed camera games, I felt the need to reaffirm what a 3rd Person action game actually controls like…) There are still bosses to take down, ammo and other items able to be picked up or upgraded (more on that in a bit), and, sadly, QTEs to get through (though none of them are long cutscenes where you have to put a bunch in a row or redo the whole thing, so there’s that at least…)
A key new feature is that elements of Resident Evil Zero have leaked into the game, as you’re constantly going through the game as a pair, in this case Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar, although unlike Zero you just play as one, with the other A.I. controlled, or controlled by a second player either offline or online. You can share items between you, and some QTE sequences like opening doors with two handles, requires… well, both characters to be present (obviously!) and if you’re knocked down close to death, your partner can revive you.
Another new addition is that you can set four items to be accessed in real time with a tap of the D-Pad, being able to use a herb or first aid spray without going to the pause menu. The inventory screen has reverted back to classic Resi, so instead of having to figure out and manoeuvre your items in a grid, everything just takes up one square of a far smaller block of squares.
That’s the main crux of the game, anyway. The addition of quickset items and a constant partner around able to revive you do rob a lot of the tension from the game, giving it a greater feeling of action than 4, though as I said above it was definitely 4 that started all this! It still plays smoothly and is a fun time, I always find anyway…
When you complete the game you get the chance to play as Sheva instead of Chris, and more importantly, you can play the returning Mercenaries mode. Once again you have to kill enemies to extend your time in hopes of reaching the end with a high score. It’s a fun little challenge, and there are a few bonus characters you can play as with different weapon loadouts.
Graphics and Sound:
She’s fine… she’s just… tired, is all.
The graphics are a noticeable upgrade from RE4, but obviously using the same engine. The lighting is better, the models more detailed, and it generally looked great at the time, and still looks good now.
As I’ve said a lot in these Resident Evil reviews, the soundtrack is good, but not memorable… though thanks to a remix appearing in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, the theme that plays when you face Wesker is easily stuck in my head. The music is certainly more cinematic and action orientated than tense, which I guess is another reason people tend to associate RE5 with the more action side of things. Voice acting is fine, nothing super cheesy or uncharismatic… well, Wesker is probably super cheesy now I think about it, but I do love a good cheesy villain anyway, and a cheesy villain with a smooth voice? Perfection.
*Gasp!* It’s Jill! … *Gasp!* She’s dyed her hair blonde!
Chris is a member of the BSAA, or Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance, and is still reeling from the apparent death of his close friend and partner Jill Valentine from when the two faced off with their old foe Wesker. He arrives in Africa with a local BSAA agent named Sheva Alomar as a guide and partner, and together they uncover experiments and mind-controlling parasites all designed by the Tricell company, a new pharmaceutical company, and also find Wesker as the project’s head… with a mind-controlled Jill by his side!
As you’d imagine, there is a lot of fighting, but eventually Chris frees Jill from her mind control and he and Sheva stop Wesker from unleashing a plague across the globe where “only the strong will survive”, before killing him. They literally blow him to bits (with some bad one-liners) while he’s sinking into the lava-filled pool of a volcano, so… pretty sure is properly dead this time. It’s a fun little story, though only because I love Wesker as a villain, and the smirk and sarcasm he has when he says “Chris”.
I also have to say that in a flashback we see Jill’s fate, but more importantly we see Oswell E. Spencer, he who founded Umbrella and owned the mansion from the first game, though sadly he’s just an old man in wheelchair who Wesker kills in a cutscene. You’d think he’d at least have turned into a mutated creature like every other Umbrella higher up, but there you go. Maybe he was actually the smart one, waiting for a perfected serum before injecting himself with anything!
Chris and Jill as lead playable characters, a.k.a. what everyone wanted in the main game…
Alongside some multiplayer stuff, there were two DLC scenarios: “Lost in Nightmares”, which sees Jill and Chris’s run through the Spencer estate, the end of which we see in a flashback during the main game, and “Desperate Escape”, which sees Jill and a survivor desperately escape concurrently with the latter half of the main campaign. The former is actually a bit of a throwback, with more puzzles to solve and a creepy mansion setting, while the latter is more action-heavy.
Spencer of Spencer Mansion in the flesh at last! … Shame he doesn’t do anything.
When it first came out I loved it, especially the zany cutscene fights between Chris and Wesker. The gameplay was fun too, and I didn’t even mind the partner system. A couple of playthroughs later and I stopped until a few weeks before 6 came out, so I guess there wasn’t much replay value. I was never that into the Mercenaries mini-game, so…
Now? Again, it’s still a solid game to play, as action heavy as it is, and the QTEs aren’t quite as aggravating as RE4, or downright awful like RE6, plus my love of Wesker gets me through so I can see more fun cutscenes. It’s a quick run though, and there isn’t much replay value, so… I guess the score is the same, which makes sense given it was only released 10 years ago…