Resident Evil 5 was the first Resident Evil game to come out on the XBOX360 and the PS3. After the big success of Resident Evil 4 naturally expectations were pretty high and despite the heavy criticism I think it has met these expectations. Many had hoped for the franchise to return to its roots where the focus would lie on horror instead of action. Unfortunately this has not happened. Instead it's more similar to Resident Evil 4 where the visuals and gameplay have been tweaked somewhat.
The control scheme is almost identical to that of Resident Evil 5 which is a curious decision because surely you could expect a change for the better on a newer system, right? I don't know like being able to shoot and move at the same for example? In a game where you constantly get mobbed by many enemies you would think they would give the player a little more mobility. Or at least the option to dodge whenever you want instead of the game telling you when you can. And if that is not enough the inventory is opened in real time. Meaning if you access it during gameplay the game won't pause.
This lead to a lot of frustration early on in the game where it is very easy to get overwhelmed by the first mob you encounter. They keep coming and coming and you have to fend them off with aid of your new partner Sheva. In the beginning she is not that useful until you upgrade your items and weapons.
There is this neat item management system where you can buy, organize and upgrade weapons and items. This is highly recommended since you won't make it beyond the first two without proper gear. What you aren't told but what really is useful is the fact that you can replay the levels you have already finished. You can then hunt for secret items you have missed the first time around plus collect whatever you can collect to stock up or sell for money. After you have found the items you were searching for you can quit the level and go back to where you left of with the new items you have collected. I can't tell you what a lifesaver this mechanic is and almost makes up for not being able to shoot while moving. Have I mentioned that this game has co-op gameplay? Sheva can be controlled by a second player and just to have that option is awesome. I think more games should consider this.
Clearly the focus in this game lies on the action and you rarely will get scared but that this does not mean you won't encounter some creepy and freaky monsters. There are quite a few and most of them are pretty lethal so you do have to be very careful and tread lightly. I rarely had moments where I was bored with the enemies although some of the level and mission design was pretty predictable. You just know the minute you press an important looking button you will be attacked by all kinds of enemies. My game came with some DLC of which I only played Lost in Nightmares. In this mission you will return to the mansion in the first Resident Evil where the old and new style gameplay have been blended. I found myself enjoying this thoroughly until the finale where you meet the one and only Wesker who simply is too fast and overpowered. Guess what. You are required to fight him or avoid getting killed. It is in this little boss fight where you truly get confronted how unresponsive the controls are. I get it, the quick time events more thrilling and challenging but if I press a button I expect it to respond immediately. Not a million years later. Unfortunately the game has more of these super cool and stylish quicktime events but they won't get on your nerve apart from the ones in the encounters with Wesker. They felt cheap to me.
I do think that the story in this game is lacking. It's very lazy and predictable. Throughout the game you will come across documents and journals giving you more story and background but honestly I did not pay that much attention to these unless I really felt like it. The lack of story is compensated by slick and stylish visuals and seems to be fitting to the style of the game.
It took me a little while to get into this game (which is odd since I had very little trouble getting used to Resident Evil 4). But once I got used to the mechanics and was able to upgrade my weapons the game became so much fun. The game is pretty challenging the first time you play it. But in new game plus you get to keep all weapons and upgrades to make it a little easier the second or third time. I almost feel motivated to play Resident Evil 6. Almost since I think I have had enough of Resident Evil for a while. That last boss fight with Wesker was so infuriating. Although it is very tempting to go back because of the new content I have unlocked.