Completely new to the series is a real-time inventory system, although with it comes an inability to upgrade your inventory's size. Sheva and Chris each have nine slots (every item takes up one slot, so there's no accounting for big weapons taking up more space), which means you can't simply take everything you see. It's key to leave any unnecessary items in storage at the end of each act (the game is split into six chapters, each comprised of two or three acts), leaving you room to carry ammo for your weapons and pick up herbs and other weapons you'll find. The PC versions gives you instant access to most of these items by using the 1-9 buttons on the keyboard, which removes some of the inventory management frustration found in the console releases.
Gladly you can carry over your items from one game to the next once you finish the campaign, allowing you to start again (perhaps at a higher difficulty) with your tuned up guns. This has always been a great part of the series, and it's just as much fun here, replaying previously tricky sections with a maxed out head-shot, 100 bullet capacity hand gun and a fast reloading death-dealing shotgun and laughing at the ensuing carnage.
Any PC gamers who bought Resident Evil 4 to find a game that lacked key graphical features seen in the GameCube game had reason to be concerned about this console to PC port, but gladly Capcom hasn't made the same mistake twice: Resi 5 is visually stunning. Some of the animations are a little clunky and we've seen far better physics, but the environments, bosses and general atmosphere on offer here is worthy of a tremendous amount of praise. The PC game runs well on modest hardware, and the improved texture quality and support for higher resolutions makes this by far the best looking version of the game you can buy. There's even support for Nvidia's 3D Vision technology, although we weren't able to test this feature.
If there's a criticism to be levelled at the game it's that it doesn't feel all that Resident Evilee, with much of the game taking place in broad daylight. That doesn't mean it's lacking creepiness, as there are moments here that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up (the many infected come in some rather disgusting forms, including the hideous split-head dogs), but Resi 5 definitely feels different to the games that have gone before it.
Puzzles, which have been a staple part of the series, occur infrequently and of those only one needed a bit of out of the box thinking. Resi 5 feels more like an action game than any game in the series, with a lot of cover-based shooting, loads of machine gun carrying enemies and a definite industrial feel. As spectacular as this action packed gameplay is, there's no doubt that Resi 5 is missing something that made the previous game so special. Whether it was the relationship between lead man Leon and the hopeless Ashley, the forever amusing tradesman or the outrageous boss encounters, Capcom's latest just can't quite match it.
Once you're done with the main game there's the superb Mercenaries mode (playable cooperatively online) to tackle, in which you face off against hordes of the infected in closed levels as you try to score as many points as possible. There's enough content in this mode to keep you playing for hours, and if you've got a PC powerful enough an exclusive mode throws up to three times as many enemies at you at once - it's real Dawn of the Dead stuff and looks brilliant.
Don't let that rather disappointing comparison to Resident Evil 4 fool you. Coming second to one of the best games of our generation is nothing to be sniffed at, and Resident Evil 5 is still a game that does the series proud. With a whole heap of content to unlock, a campaign that begs to be replayed and top of the line production values there's very little to be disappointed with. If you've read all that and the first thing in your mind is "but you can't move and shoot?" this isn't for you, but everyone else should grab a friend and enter the world of not quite so much survival horror.