Resident Evil 5 isn’t actually a bad game … wait should I go back and change my mind? It’s certainly no Ride to Hell: Retribution is it? It’s just … at the risk of sounding like an entitled gamer, just not quite as good as I thought it would be. Or in other words, not good and a bit crap.
Following the huge success of Resident Evil 4, a game which came out to critical acclaim, scores in the 90s, and most importantly changed up this wacky series slowly getting a bit old, gamers waited with bated breath for what new innovative ways the series was going to be changed up. We all knew that Capcom was unlikely to consider the possibility of hiring competent dialogue writers, but no-one can be buying Resident Evil for the charming wit by now. We were waiting for Capcom instead to play to it’s strengths. What new gameplay will we be treated to? How pretty will the graphics be? And then we ended up with this.
Almost everything I thought was terrible about Resident Evil 5 comes down to just how downright awful your sidekick Sheva plays. She both simultaneously sucks out all tension in the game and replaces it with inane annoyances. As a feminist, you might think now would be the time that I would decry the sexualisation of this female character, who we should remember is meant to be a security operative and yet seemingly can’t even secure the safety of her own mammaries. While I don’t really care too much for character design, I guess above all I don’t really think I can complain about the impracticalities of a female character when her male counterpart literally has biceps as big as his head. Actually the kind of ridiculous demonstrated in the appearance of these characters actually adds to Capcom’s self-awareness, and I have to kind of pat them on the back for that. No my problem lies entirely in gameplay.
Perhaps because of the success of Resident Evil 4, Capcom basically tried to make Resident Evil 5 an exact copy. They say don’t mess with success, and that certainly has worked well for the Pokemon series. But when your audience is mostly over the age of 10, you have to do more to move things forward and change things up, and yet Resident Evil 5 seemed to only be moving backwards. The intense, survival-horror aspect of the Resident Evil series, where the anticipation of a single enemy could easily leave you with brown trousers has been replaced with Gears of War style hoards who do little to stand in your way. And who can blame Capcom? The formula sells, it just doesn’t make great games. Then there is Sheva …
The co-op mode of Resident Evil 5 is actually pretty fun to play, but if like me you prefer playing games to be a solitary activity waiting out the time between social interactions, Sheva’s AI makes this title almost unplayable in her idiocy. Humans are luckily smarter than computers, but is it too much to ask for Capcom to program Sheva so that she will use the strongest weapon for boss battles? Yet no matter how many machine guns and ammo you load her up with Sheva seems unnaturally attached to her pistol, to the extent where you wonder whether she actually was given formal weapons training. She will literally go around breaking crates for more ammo before even considering something a little stronger, and yet if you contract even the slightest of boo-boos she will chase you around the map with the largest and most precious medicine available trying desperately to shove it down your throat. The only suspense in Resident Evil 5 is the tension created when you frantically try to use the small herb out of your fiddly inventory system before Sheva comes along and suffocates you with a large one.
While she is absolutely awful at combat, she works annoyingly too well as her second purpose, human defibrillator. If there was any tension left in Resident Evil 5, this was all removed when you found out that the moment you come close to death Sheva will happily come along to stab you back to life, effectively removing all sense of survival or horror.
So that’s why I thought Resident Evil 5 was the most disappointing game of generation 7. Capcom did something right though, the graphics are still pretty.
What did you think of Resident Evil 5?