The Resident Evil 4 gameplay tweaked to perfection (with one caveat - see The Bad Stuff).
The Bad stuff
Sheva is easily one of the biggest mistakes in video game history.
Not heaps to appeal to series newcomers.
Stop and shoot is a difficult concept for some people to understand.
The puzzles puzzle nobody. They're better described as "ineffective distractions".
Remember Resident Evil 4? Remember how it was an amazing, atmospheric game with addictive gameplay and days of replayability? Remember how it was almost the only reason to own a Gamecube, it was just that good? Do you remember the worst part of the game? It was the escort segment of the game - the part featuring Ashley where she'd run around slowing you down. It was the single black mark on an otherwise flawless experience.
Did you ever sit there and think to yourself "Gee Resident Evil 4 could be perfect if they gave Ashley a gun"? I didn't. That train of thought never even approached my brain station. I did think to myself "I wonder if I can shoot Ashley in the god damned face and go back to the US pretending she was already dead when I got there". Ashley's superpower is that she can only be injured by unwell Spanish villagers though, so shooting doesn't help.
Apparently in the Capcom offices the cranial conductor was having an off-day, because they not only decided to make EVERY SINGLE SECOND of Resident Evil 5 an escort mission - they decided the person you're escorting should actually waste what little ammo you have.
Sheva Alomar, your BSAA (Think SWAT for Zombies) team mate and the token black chick (when the game was first announced the thought of Chris shooting Africans was regarded as "racism". A black woman should keep the Polically Correct Police at bay!) is the brand new Ashley in Resident Evil 5 - and she's present the entire game. You share ammo and weapons with her, you share health with her and you share her deaths. If she gets her dumb self killed it's game over for you too. She is in fact the worst thing about Resident Evil 5... And she's also the best.
Because when you replace the dumb as nails, waste your ammo and default to pistol AI with a human player you're left with one of the best action shooters in recent history. It's tense - the decision to stick to inventory management and stop-and-shoot as core game mechanics ensures this. It's graphically pleasing - the gore, the physics and the animations are top notch. Well, it wouldn't be a Resident Evil title if it didn't have appalling facial animations, but characters run and interact well.
In fact RE 5 trumps RE 4 in many ways. The mini-boss fights with the chainsaw guys and the new, just as deadly guys are still just as freaky. The storyline makes more sense - as much sense as a bio-engineered weapon which turns people into semi-sentient zombies with giant whipping, exploding heads can - and it features cameos from some old favourites. It delivers a more detailed background, the pacing is better and the characters are all-around more interesting.
It's shorter, which isn't great, and the replayability is limited (because the odds of you getting a partner to play through the entire game a second time are slim and you're not going to do it with the AI) and the puzzles - already dumbed down for RE4 - are even more obvious in RE5, but it's a better game.
Newcomers to the series might have issues with the almost Metal Gear Solid-esque combination of buttons you need to press to either melee attack or fire a weapon, but you'll pick it up quick enough. The game is well-balanced - easy enough on low difficulties to still provide a challenge while maintaining a certain sense of strategy when you start to hit veteran. There are a few things which go regrettably unexplained in the game, like the shop system, what you're supposed to do with extra guns and how to properly "combine" items.
Really at the end of the day the question you have to ask yourself before you purchase Resident Evil 5 is this - are you on your way down to pick up RE5 alongside a friend or has a friend of yours already picked up a copy of the game? Can the two of you make time to play together the 17 hours from the beginning to the end of this game? Do you and your friend get along well? Do the two of you own the same console?
If you answered "No" to any of these questions, skip Resident Evil 5. The teammate AI is painfully bad and it will go down as one of the biggest mistakes in video gaming history. To take you back to the annoying train analogy from before, Resident Evil 5 is a train where the engineer is retarded and steals all your god damned ammo. Replace that engineer with a human and you'll have fun with the game.
A lot of reviews have said this game has bad AI, well I can tell you that this games AI is some of the best I have seen. Sheve is verry smart,and she is verry helpfull. I don't think I could have done it without her.
Also people say the story is bad, well the story is actually good, becuase it has some great history that have been anticipating this story.
And the gameplay is awesome, trust me it is fast paced and ultimately SWEET. And with the best multiplayer I have seen in a game in my whole life I don't know why people don't like as much as they should.
When I read reviews that say Sheva is the worst AI in history then turning around and saying that 17 hours later the game is done, I find myself thinking why when my first time through Resident Evil 5 did I finish it in under 10 hours? The Answer? Because a person who takes that long to play is not particularly good and thus puts the AI in situations where it is vulnerable.I personally think the AI is both intuitive and accurate. That said it's still no Skynet but whenever Sheva started to use the ammo to liberally i would confiscate her weapon, after a while she became my pack-mule that would carry my stuff, pull levers, and auto-heal me. My only complaint is an almost non-existent story line, that Britney Spears infantile mind would understand, it may just be the after effects of the ultra-in-depth story of MG:S 4 and its predecessors or the high mystery and anticipation of the original Resident Evil games but I remember reading each staff journal or letter home from the Raccoon City R&D facility and having a little more of the puzzle fit together until eventually it all comes together in a culmination of greed and betrayal. Fortunately Resident Evil 5 has sacrificed only an intricate story and has gained game play mechanics that are crisp and fast paced, an impressive array of weapons for the killing of thine enemy, rich world environments that immerse you in a brutal world filled with people that want nothing more than to mess you up, and great multi player that ensures that even after the game is good and done there is still some fight left in it. All in all the guys at Capcom have taken a great formula and made only improvements. Well done guys 9.6...
between the ai partner holding your hand through some bosses and overly easy puzzles the problem solving aspect from other resident evils is pretty much zilch. while other bossfights have sheva constantly getting in your way or not out of the enemies way when your supposed to be running.
Sheva isnt bad, ive played other games that have made the character with you feel either generic or a constant burden. Sheva often shows you/tells you how to approach boss fights cutting down on potential frustration.
the new inventory system removes the comfort of planning your gear, and makes you think quick. inbetween missions you can carefully plan your loadout, but when the zombies are walking at you gone are the days of "PAUSE" reload weapons,use herb ,equip new weapon "UNPAUSE" this makes for great tension and action moments where you and your partner are back to back shooting enemies and handing ammo to each other.
the game has definately turned more towards casual gaming and action as its priorites. you can start any level whenever you like, picking chapters like a dvd menu. your gear carries over when you back and forth, allowing you to go to easier areas and collect ammo to help you through harder bits.
the co-op isnt some tacked-on feature like the multiplayer on some games, RE5 has been built from the ground up with it in mind and it shows. the only gripe i have with co-op is the damn split screen, they have put the windows on the screen assymetrically and with large black borders (almost 1/3 the total viewable area of your tv) this is all done to retain the aspect ratio. i personally would prefer the screens to be positioned more symetrically, but what really would have been nice would be to increase your viewable area by moving your healh,map and ammo displays to the totally unused area.
the game took about 10 hours for me and my girlfriend to finish, and since then ive spent several times that replaying and playing mercs both single and online.