Upgrading your weapons is key to how you'll be able to take on the increasingly hard enemies as you move through the game. As is traditional, almost everything you kill drops something, be it some money, ammo, jewel or health item. Collect money and sell jewels (sadly there's no combining jewels to make more valuable pieces) and you'll be able to upgrade your weapons in key stats, like chance of single shot headshot kill, reload time and capacity. Sadly the travelling salesmen from Resi 4 didn't get on the plane to Africa, and there's no direct replacement, leaving you to do all your buying and selling with a lifeless menu screen.
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, and four of these correspond to a direction on the d-pad for quick selection), 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.
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.
Multi-platform games tend to be less technically impressive than exclusives, but 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. 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.
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, including the brilliant Mercenaries mode (playable cooperatively off and online), 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.
VideoGamer.com Score9 Score out of 10
- Looks staggeringly good at times
- Loads of replay value
- Incredible variety
- Doesn't quite have the magic of Resi 4