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"Resident Evil 5"

10/20/09

I did love "Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition" and in general, I have loved the other games in the famous, classic survival horror franchise.  But, with "Resident Evil 5", the franchise derails.

Moment when I knew this would be my last "RE" game: around chapter 5 (of six overall chapters and about 20 stages), when zombies under the command of series stalwart Albert Wesker--he of the superhuman strength, ability to displace himself to dodge bullets, and the constant use of mirrored sunglasses, even while indoors--began taking military flanking positions to assault my character with machine gun and RPG fire.

That's right--those were the fucking ZOMBIES.

For some reason, the zombie craze of the last 15 years was okay to me when the zombies were the slow-moving, undead, bad makeup types.  Even when the "28 Days/Weeks Later" franchise reinvented zombies as fast-moving, undead, bad makeup types, I was still cool with what was happening.  But zombies that can move really fast, perform superhuman jumps, get hit by multiple explosive grenades (oh, yeah, those zombies are still made of flesh and blood, but don't mind me), and take cover while popping out to fire bursts from MP5 machine guns just...doesn't...feel...right.

"Resident Evil 5" suffers from one major problem as a sequel in an established franchise--it throws out the franchise's core elements of scary, patient, shock-driven set pieces, very limited weapons/supplies, and cool puzzles and goes instead with a nearly-all-action approach, which didn't really drive me wild.  Worse, the game sticks you with an AI partner named Sheva who goes out of her way to not be helpful.  The game's camera, and then Sheva, are always too close to you, so your field of vision and your ability to freely move around are always a problem.  Sheva is supposed to be some kind of African special agent/cop but when given weapons, she is totally useless...multiple hint sites I checked recommended the "purse" approach, where basically she is used as a weapons, meds and ammo handbag to carry around the items you can't fit in your pack.  Naturally, this makes the game tough later when you need Sheva to occasionally kill zombies...and, she can't, because you took her pistol away earlier since she kept wasting all of the damned ammo.

The game is beautiful, though.  Graphics in "RE5" are amazing and, while not nearly as great as some of the looks on stock games on the PS3, make you wonder how many hours were logged on making some of the nondescript items in the game look so good.  The soundtrack is great and the voice acting is solid, even if the lines being read are occasionally silly.

As a production, "Resident Evil 5" really shines and even I can admit that a couple of the boss battles are pretty cool.  But, after the stellar mix of action, puzzles and legit scares that the fourth game in the series had, this sequel is a letdown and it closes the final chapter (for me) in this otherwise great series.

Rating:  eBay

 

Feedback?  Comments?  Salma Hayek's digits?  justin@bellviewmovies.com

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  Buy this game right away, and don't ask me any questions as to why that's a good move.  A game experience that will almost guarantee repeated controller abuse, lots of ManScreaming and high resale value, you will assuredly play this bad boy for months on end. 

"$40":  Usually after games have been out for a while, they drop in price slightly, or can be bought for slightly cheaper in combination with other new games.  Usually, that's about $40.  You'll feel good getting the game for this price, since it isn't quite run-out-and-get-it-right-now good, but it has enough game in the box for a few weeks' worth of enjoyment.

"eBay":  This game is not too bad, but you'd be better off buying it used from either half.com or eBay.  You also might let a friend buy this game, let s/he beat it, and then try to buy it from them to make them feel better.  Yes, this does tend to feel like "Sloppy Seconds."

"Rental":  Like my cousin Ron, you should always rent games that you aren't sure about first, to make sure that your $50 is going towards something worthwhile.  For games in this category, this is the maximum amount of money ($5) and/or time (3-5 days) you'll need to either gain satisfaction from the game, or beat the game in its entirety.  Rental-rated games are also sometimes perfect for a weekend when you are going to be at home on your ass, with some time to kill.

"Dogshit":  Games like this should have never been released.  If you play this game for any reason, you will regret every second of the experience.  Further, if you can get this game for free, don't do it, because even for FREE, it will still be a negative experience for you!

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 11/05/09