Following the astonishing success of Resident Evil 4, Capcom was given the green light to produce yet another sequel. This time the location wasn’t Europe or the United States and Leon Kennedy isn’t the protagonist of this hotly anticipated sequel that dares to ask, was punching a boulder the equivalent to jumping the shark? Let’s find out as we take a look back at a questionable but entertaining Game nonetheless.
Well over six years years ago, Resident Evil 5 debuted for both PS3 and a first foray for the venerable Xbox 360 console. Along with succeeding hardware, you can expect much better graphics and hopefully gameplay. Suffice to say, Capcom got the former and not necessarily the latter right.
The overall premise of RE5: You play as the (returning) original protagonist Chris Redfield formerly of STARS, who now is in the employ of the BSAA (Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance) who is sent to investigate a Bioterrorist threat within Kijuju, a fictional region in Africa. Accompanying Redfield, is Sheva Alomar, (the African liaison of the Counter Bio Terrorist organization). Throughout the game’s setting the Duo encounter the Manji who are villagers that have been contaminated by a new “Las Plagas”- like strain called “Uroboros” .
And to make matters worse, Chris’ old antagonist returns- Albert Wesker ! Not only was Wesker responsible for Kijuju- outbreak, but this time, he has partnered himself with TriCell and a brainwashed Jill Valentine who was presumed dead at the hands of Redfield’s arch nemesis.
I personally liked the concept of the sequel and the setting reminded me of an action film from the early 2000s, Blackhawk Down. It was no coincidence since the producers were influenced by said film.
“I’m no superhero. But together, we can end this.”
The game was very similar to the highly rated Resident Evil 4 with its over the shoulder gameplay Capcom subscribed to that old adage; “If it ain’t broke, don’t fuck with it”! Well, they kinda fucked the gameplay up with the difficulty of switching weapons and health items on the fly. This was somewhat cumbersome in a heavy firefight and boss battle. Then there’s the sometimes unresponsive A.I., there were times that Sheva would get in the way when gunning down BOWs and to make matters worse, you would either have to wait for her to give you health items, ammo or help to solve a puzzle.
It’s obvious that Sheva was designed for co-op which is an absolute first for the series and despite the programming flaws, she is one of my favorite characters of the resident evil universe; strong, beautiful and with a conviction of dispensing justice to Wesker and his conspirators. Unlike the annoying Ashley Green and the cute but naive Rebecca Chambers, Alamor so deserves to be ranked among the likes of both Jill Valentine and Claire Redfiled as “Badass Babes of Resident Evil“.
Re5 delivers impressive action set pieces and environments that are vastly different from each other; underground caverns that are reminiscent of the Indiana Jones films, oil refineries, African villages, volcanoes and a huge carrier just to name a few. And if it wasn’t the graphics, it sure as hell was the impressive soundtrack that rivaled quite a few from Hollywood films. The two that often stood out was Wesker’s incredible theme; Winds of Madness which sounds like something inspired from Don Davis’ from The Matrix soundtrack. And speaking of which, why does Wesk now looks like Neo? Talk about inspired!
The other track is actually a the ending theme called Pray, a beautiful but haunting song whose vocals were performed by an African singer, Oulimata Niang. In my opinion, this song was the best ending theme in any RE Game period.
“War and pestilence wherever you go! Nothing but loathsome humans!”
The voiceover work was also well handled but what’s up Wesker sounding a bit like David Bowie? I can somewhat forgive Capcom’s other flaws like the politically incorrect portrayal of some Africans, although there was an explanation provided in one of the in game files, some would question Capcom’s lack of sensitivity toward a certain ethnicity.
Also, Wesker’s demise wasn’t as epic as I would expect for one who was partly responsible for many viral outbreaks and massacres. What I did like, is that with his newfound powers and the excellent martial arts chorography, he was more of a force to be reckoned with- a total badass! Like its predecessor RE4, this game has its fair share of Quick Time- events from dodging oncoming attacks, sprinting from a slimy BOW to… punching a boulder???
Of course after completing the game, you’re rewarded with the run and gun bonus that is The Mercenaries but it doesn’t end there, there’s also DLC like Versus, another first for the RE Games. In Versus you go up against other payers via online and take out A.I. Manjis to accumulate points that can unlock costumes and more characters from the game’s series like Barry Burton and Rebecca Chambers. Then there’s 2 separate campaign modes; Lost in Nightmares which serves as a prequel to the events of Resident Evil 5 and Desperate Escape that fully details Jill’s escape from the Manji.
Many gamers were quick to critique the game, but all in all, I had a blast playing through what I would deem perhaps the last great game from the RE Series. Unfortunately, the following sequel Resident Evil 6 had fallen far below my expectations. That’s when the studio (Capcom) went completely “Hollywood” via making a poor decision choice in order to appear to more western gamers. The sequel’s gameplay focused on too much action and not enough Horror suspense. I loathed this game and it’s no wonder why they dropped it down to less than twenty dollars soon afterwards.
“More and more I find myself wondering if it’s all worth fighting for. For a future without fear… Yeah, it’s worth it.”
With that being said, Resident Evil 5, you may have been under performing in some ways but you are still underrated.
Speaking of Anniversaries, March 22 of next Year marks the 20th Birthday of the Franchise that was responsible for not only term that is Survival Horror but reintroduced the Zombie phenomenon. I present to you the one and only original RESIDENT EVIIIILLL!