Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5 Preview for Xbox 360

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9Out of 10
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Chris and Sheva make a great partnership
Chris and Sheva make a great partnership

Chris and Sheva make a great partnership

After spending a few hours replaying the recently released demo of Resident Evil 5 we were happy, but ever so slightly concerned. A demo isn't really the best way to get a feel for a game like this, with two small sections failing to really give an impression of the bigger picture. With that in mind we settled in for a few days of the real deal: the first three chapters of Capcom's guaranteed survival horror smash hit. But is it still a survival horror game? And is it the kind of game we want in this day and age?

What came through loud and clear from the first three chapters (a sizeable chunk of the game we should add) is that it really does feel like Resi 4, except with a definite extra helping of action. We won't say that the series debut on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 isn't survival horror any more, but it's walking that thin line between an action packed third-person shooter and a full-on, nerve-racking horror title.

For some the action won't be to their taste, with the stop and pop shooting mechanic often proving to be difficult as enemies come at you from all directions. Yes, you can now strafe (and at points even take cover behind objects), but by forcing you to stop and take aim every time you want to pop a cap in an infected guy's head, you feel like you're in more danger, panic sets in and you get scared. This is how a more action packed Resident Evil still manages to feel like the classic series many gamers grew up playing - despite not being old enough to buy the games from stores. If you can't get your head around not being able to run and gun, we can tell you now that you're not going to enjoy the game.

With that out of the way, we're happy to report that the opening three chapters, which each contain at least two acts, feature plenty of the jaw dropping moments that made Resi 4 so memorable. One early boss encounter saw our heroes Chris and Sheva taking on a nasty leech monster (that's what we're calling it anyway) - a fight which coincidentally took place just outside a rather large blast chamber. Some classic Benny Hill-style 'you can't catch me' running around ensued, and, well, you can probably work out what happened next. We'll say that the fire effects is Resi 5 look very nice indeed.

Another boss fight saw the two of us going up against what can only be described as a giant flying armoured beetle wasp thing. Taking place on the edge of a cliff, the flying beast chases you around until you're able to stop it in its tracks (hand grenades and proximity mines work well), allowing you to get up close and personal with its fleshy stomach. Rinse and repeat a few times and the bug is no more. Not only does this battle look great (complete with collapsing shacks if you hide in them for too long), but it also demonstrates how the controls make for a more intense encounter. If you were able to move around like Master Chief there'd be no threat, no real danger, and the result would be less fun.

It's certainly less survival horror, but not short on horrific moments.

It's certainly less survival horror, but not short on horrific moments.

Since starting this preview we've had to edit out details of other encounters, simply because we don't want to reveal them all and spoil the first portion of the game for you. Even three chapters in there have been some incredible moments, including the return of an old, not so small foe (if you really want to know what it is, spoilerific screens are out there, but we recommend you try to avoid them), and some rather nasty infected dogs - not so pretty when their faces split open. We've even played a few on-rails sections that look stunning, completed some brief QTEs (hopefully they'll remain fleeting affairs throughout) and much, much more.

Resident Evil has always been about the special moments, like the dogs jumping through the window in the original, the first time you encounter a licker in 2 and the lake monster in 4 - or simply having your head cut clean off by the mad guy with the chainsaw and watching in despair as Mike's chopper crashed and burned. Resident Evil 5 certainly looks like it's not going to disappoint in this area. With more than half the game still to see we'd wager it might have even more jaw to the floor moments than the stupendous GameCube game, and that's really saying something.

Chris and Sheva really don't know how to stay in one place, so your adventure (which we're estimating will last well in excess of ten hours on your first run) will take you to places very different to the dusty, desert-like location seen in most the released screens and videos. From what we've played they all look stunning too, more than living up to level of expectation placed on the series' next-gen console debut. Resi 4 dazzled with its lighting effects (an area of the game that still impresses today), but 5 takes it to a new level. During one section Sheva carries a lantern while Chris dispatches enemies in an underground tunnel system. The real-time shadows being cast here look amazing, and the whole section is incredibly atmospheric.

Sections like this hammer home how core co-op play is to Resident Evil 5, even more so than we thought it would be. Having played through portions of the preview build alone (with AI Sheva) and with a real-life friend, there's no question that it's more enjoyable when played with a mate. Certain sections seem quite contrived (doors that need two people to open or objects too heavy for one person to push), but these are countered with clever co-op set-pieces and fights in which you have an advantage when working together.

The on-rails sections look brilliant

The on-rails sections look brilliant

If there's a downside to the co-op, and the game in general, it's the inventory system. Gone is the trusty briefcase of previous games, usually accessed from a paused menu screen; in comes a real-time inventory management system and quick selection shortcuts. The d-pad allows you to assign four items to be selected instantly, but it's really not enough. It might just be us being sticklers for what we've used before, but we don't like being made to swap items and combine things in real-time, and there's no way to simply offer a portion of your ammo to your partner. There's also a big question mark over whether you'll be able to upgrade weapons and how item buying will work - the current store, presented at the end of each act and when you die, doesn't let you buy ammo, which we hope is simply a work in progress.

There's more we want to say, a lot more, including loads of things from Chapter 3 that we haven't really mentioned, story details that would put us on Capcom's most wanted list and character info that would probably cause the website to explode the moment the names were written. We had concerns about Resident Evil 5, concerns that the demo only partially assuaged, but the considerable amount of time we've spent with a more complete build of the game has made us much happier. It might very well be Resident Evil 4 with shiny new clothes and co-op play, but that's a game we'd gladly give an arm, a leg and a brain to play.

Resident Evil 5 is due for release on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on March 13. A demo for both consoles is available now from Xbox LIVE Marketplace and the PlayStation Store.

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User Comments

safc's Avatar


resident evil 5 is the game im gunna get in march for ps3. it looks awsome. cant w8 to try the new co-op missions too the new online features are gunna be different to the other RE games
Posted 09:32 on 11 February 2009
clangod's Avatar


RE5 - Nothing but a huge dissapointment. Shame on them for ruining what was once one of the most respected titles the Playstation ever had...
Posted 04:43 on 10 February 2009
GamaAnalyser's Avatar
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Public assembly episode is a cake walk while the shanty town portion gets tough if u don't get a good player on co-op mode
Posted 15:50 on 06 February 2009
GamaAnalyser's Avatar
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i keep playing the co-op mode since the demo was installed on ps3.
Posted 15:47 on 06 February 2009
CrustyJockStrap's Avatar

CrustyJockStrap@ Bloodstorm

Originally Posted by Bloodstorm
"....character info that would probably cause the website to explode the moment the names were written"

IT'S SHERRY BIRKIN!!!!! It has to be!
I agree.

I don't think we will see Rebecca for a while, Thats even if she survived the Raccoon City incident as we don't here anything about here after Resi 1 and with the Nemesis hunting and killing S.T.A.R.S. down in Resi 3 we can't yet be sure if he got her or not.
Posted 23:41 on 05 February 2009
Michael's Avatar
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Still disappointed by the demo. RE4 was genre defining. However, upping the action ante without changing the controls and reducing puzzle content, and plain spookyness has changed Resident Evil from survival horror to 3rd person action shooter. Unfortunately, the majority of gamers will judge this on it's action shooter merits and unfavourablely compare it with Uncharted: drakes fortune and Gears of War.
Also, I would have prefered the single player to be exactly that. The co-op looks fun with another 'real' person, but a Sheva 'bot' is gonna annoy the hell out of me for a full game.
Capcom had gold with RE4. RE5 is looking like a big fail. Here's waiting for a patch or for it to be delayed so these things can be fixed.
Posted 21:55 on 05 February 2009
lluwellyn's Avatar
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i would like to get this game because it is very interesting to play
Posted 11:00 on 05 February 2009
dav2612's Avatar


This sounds a bit more promising but I think the demo has completely put me off.
Posted 09:35 on 05 February 2009
Triggerhappytel's Avatar

Triggerhappytel@ Wido

I did enjoy the demo and frankly online co-op is excellent, but I really hope they alter the system for accepting invites. It's just horrible at the moment, and takes far too long.

I will probably pick this up, although not at launch and I may wait a few months. In which case, I need to do my best to avoid plot and gameplay spoilers in that time :)
Posted 09:32 on 05 February 2009
Wido's Avatar


Totally agree.

Played the demo of Resi-Evil 5 and enjoyed it. All I heard was a lot of negative comments about it, and its only a demo so they still have over month to improve it were it went wrong I guess.

The demo gives you two cracking levels and two mini-bosses on what I think the second level (Shanty town?) the chainsaw dude prove to be difficult as of the zombies as well.

Very good game shall be picking it up after launch day as of other games to finish.
Posted 09:17 on 05 February 2009
Triggerhappytel's Avatar

Triggerhappytel@ Bloodstorm

I agree that Sherry is probably the most likely candidate for another appearance, however I also feel Rebecca Chambers is overdue another big role in the series.
Posted 09:14 on 05 February 2009
Bloodstorm's Avatar


"....character info that would probably cause the website to explode the moment the names were written"

IT'S SHERRY BIRKIN!!!!! It has to be!
Posted 01:57 on 05 February 2009

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Release Date: 13/03/2009
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Genre: Survival Horror
No. Players: 1-2
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 1,636 15
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