I'm on my big "review a lot of shit this week" initiative and I figured I'd knock out a second review today by doing Resident Evil 5. Yay. Tom? (sorry, inside joke) Resident Evil has been making a lot of big leaps recently, namely Resident Evil 4's switch to action. But hey, Resident Evil 4 paid off, and it went down as one of the greatest games of the decade (and one of my favorite games). Capcom decided to pursue the changes with Resident Evil 5, which introduced co-op play in a main Resident Evil game as well as some other big things like a versus mode. Did it all pay off? Well, I wouldn't say that, but it's still a fun game. Resident Evil 4 is definitely a superior and better game in every aspect. Resident Evil 5 follows the first Resident Evil's protagonist, Chris Redfield, years after the events of the first game. Chris now works for BSAA, an organization developed to apprehend biological weapons in the wake of the fall of the Umbrella Corporation. Chris is sent to Africa to hunt down a weapon and meets up with his guide, Sheva, as they go to stop the biological threat. But soon, they realize the whole thing is larger than they could've ever imagined. Fans of Resident Evil will love the return of classic characters like Chris as well as the long awaited return of Wesker as well as an, erm, other very important character in the first game. No spoilers here, sorry. The story itself is a good Resident Evil outing, and will be a pleasing story to fans of the past as well as newer fans. The gameplay is basically a tweaked version of Resident Evil 4. You control your character, either Chris or Sheva, from a third person, over-the-shoulder perspective. You can stop to aim your gun and shoot, using the red laser dot or a scope to aim. You'll get a variety of weapons, from standard pistols to submachine guns to shotguns to magnums. Like in Resident Evil 4, the game isnt' exactly run and gun. You can't even run and shoot, or even walk. And the aiming isn't exactly quick aiming and on-the-fly. It's slow paced. Right off the back some people will hate it, but if you played Resident Evil 4 on the Gamecube, PS2, or Wii, this is basically the same system. And I love it. The game also uses timing-based commands as a major part of the game, whether it be kicking a wounded enemy or dodging motorcycles in a cutscene. That's basically Resident Evil 4/5 in a nutshell. But I'm sure you all knew that anyway, so let's take a look at the new things in Resident Evil 5. First, sometihng less noticeable, you can now strafe sideways. Not while aiming your gun, but you can while doing regular movement. It's small, but it makes movement a lot easier compared to RE4. Now to stop beating around the bush, the main thing here is the introduction of co-op. The game is built around a two person system and it does pull it off quite well, to an extent. I'll say this right now: if you don't have a friend to play the game with, don't buy the game. It's harsh, but it's true. The single player is plain drab without a friend by your side. The game is built around coordinating with a teammate. You'll be healing each other, sharing ammo, working together to open doors, and saving each other when a zombie pounces your ass. The computer AI just doesn't cut it here. I myself had a friend to play with and we've beaten the game multiple times and enjoyed it each time, but when I was playing alone, I was incredibly disappointed. Which draws to my main criticism: a lack of a single player only campaign. Resident Evil 4 was awesome. Why can't they just either make A) two separate campaigns (probably a bad comparison, but if anyone played 007 Everything or Nothing on the last gen consoles, it had a separate co-op campaign), one for co-op and one for single player or B) make one campaign that can work with both one or two players. The campaign itself though is a blast and a good Resident Evil outing, if you have a friend to play with. There's also the inclusion of The Mercenaries, a series of multiplayer games. The original Mercenaries is basically seeing how many zombies you can kill in the time limit (or until you die). This mode is solid enough and there's several in-game moments where you have to fend off zombies until your evac comes that draw parallels to this. As for the other DLC modes, you should skip them. They're basically just versus modes where you can shoot each other, but lets' face it, who the hell would want to use these mechanics in a versus game? Seriously. My other big complaint is the lack of button pressing commands compared to say Resident Evil 4. There's only a few cutscenes with these quick time commands, compared to the amount in Resident Evil 4. And they're not nearly as satisfying. There's plenty of quick time commands in-game though. So, if you've got a friend to play with and loved RE4, you'll enjoy RE5's mechanics. Now the game really excels in audio and graphics. I can honestly say this is the best looking game I've ever played. I know this is one of my first Xbox 360 and "current gen graphic quality" games, but even for this gen it's largely impressive. Character models are incredibly realistic, animated well and with tons of detail. Environments are full of wonderful lighting effects and great attention to detail. Even better, all of the game runs at a silky smooth 60fps. Hoorah. The audio is what you'd expect from RE5: top-notch. Voice acting is some of the best, the soundtrack is fitting to the moods, becoming increasingly tense as danger approaches, and sound effects are perfect. In both these categories it can easily be marked as the best game so far. Overall, Resident Evil 5 is not as good as Resident Evil 4, but is still a fun outing for fans of 4, provided if they have a friend. Not much else to say except for that. Presentation: A good Resident Evil storyline with the return of classic characters. Very cinematic. Menu navigation, particularly swapping weapons, is greatly improved from 4. 9/10 Graphics: Quite possibly one of the best looking games made, only challenged by some top-notch titles like Metal Gear Solid 4. Everything is incredibly detailed, animations are great, and the lighting effects are perfect. And it all runs at a constant 60fps. 10/10 Audio: Great voice over work is complimented by a fitting soundtrack and great sound effects. Some of the soundtracks tunes may get a little repetitive, though. 9/10 Gameplay: The whole "stopping and shooting" mechanics aren't for everyone and may seem a little dated (even when it originated from a game that was released only a couple years ago), but they still work well for the game. The co-op works well if you've got a friend, but with the AI the game is just not worth it. The Mercenaries Mode is alright, but it's easy to miss and the DLC for it is just plain bad. 7.5/10 Lasting Appeal: You can easily beat the game in under 3 hours if you've got a decent enough friend (you'll actually get a reward for doing it in under, what is it, 3 or 3 and a half hours), but you'll playing it over and over again to farm treasure, collect unlockables, and beat it on harder difficulties. The Mercenaries mode makes for decent fun, but the versus expansions are definitely not worth your time. DLC is alright but not required, although owners of the Gold Edition will already have it. 8.5/10 Overall: 8.9/10 Didn't want to give it a 9/10. WHAT NOW BITCH.