Customer Review

42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hit and Miss Sequel, 27 Mar 2009
By 
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Resident Evil 5 (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
It has enough postives to be a good game, and worth playing, but also enough negatives to keep it far from being a classic.

If you have played RE4, you will find the gameplay very familiar. The controls (stand still whilst shooting, run away, turn around, repeat) remain pretty much the same. While this doesn't stop it being fun, it does make it feel very dated and clumsy compared to games like Dead Space, which showed that you can have fluid shooting-while-moving controls in a survival horror game.

A lot of the game design feels shamelessy recycled from RE4 - enemies, settings, gas cylinders against a wall to push over and shoot when an ememy is following you etc. etc. , even a lot of the music - you really feel like you're just playing RE4 with upgraded graphics but weaker gameplay and design a lot of the time.

The single worst feature of the game is the inventory system - it is an absolute nightmare - easily the worst inventory system in the RE series - possible the worst in any modern game I can think of - it's bad enough having such a badly designed clumsy inventory system - but to also not allow you to pause the game while you access it, is just a recipe for making you want to throw your controller at the screen - you will frequently die because you are surrounded by enemies & accidentally select the wrong item, or can't pick up some ammo for your empty weapon cos your inventory is full so you have to clumsily pass items to your partner to free up a slot - all using a terrible interface while enemies are still attacking you - I'd estimate that during my 1st playthrough of the game, more than 1/2 of my deaths were caused by the inventory system.
I really can't emphasise strongly enough how much enjoyment the appalling inventory system saps from the game - I can't imagine why they ever released it without fixing that one huge issue.

The addition of a partner throughout the entire game is a mixed blessing - it makes the combat more varied - but it takes away the atmosphere of feeling alone trapped in a scary environment - and her AI is patchy at best.

In RE4, the ememies felt a bit like zombies (even though they weren't technically) - but here the enemies are more human than ever, firing guns at you, riding motorbikes. Apart from the parastites bursting out of them, most of the time you might as well be fighting ordinary humans. Although despite the fact that they can run, jump, drive, use complex machinery - as soon as they get within 10 feet of you, they helpfully return to shambling slowly around so you can shoot them.

One particular annoyance I have - is the guys with chainsaws - there are far more of them in this game than RE4 - but unfortunately, fighting them is really tedious - unlike RE4 where battling a chainsaw guy was quite scary but challenging and enjoyable - here it's just not the same - they seem to be able to take a ridiculous amount of damage before going into "stunned" mode where you can melee them or take time to reload or move to a safe distance, plus the badly designed inventory can make switching to grenades or other weapons mid-fight a nightmare - but worst of all, you might be carefully keeping a safe distance, only for your AI partner to go too close and get decapitated and make you have to do the whole section all over again - in RE4 the sound of a revving chainsaw was the signal of a tense and exciting battle - in RE5 the sound makes your heart sink with a feeling of "Oh god not another one."
Combine that with the lazy level design - eg. in the oil-refinery - turn a switch, and a chainsaw guy appears and attacks - go through the hassle of beating him, try to go through the gate to the next area, and another chainsaw guy appears - beat him, carry on and within a couple of minutes, a 3rd chainsaw guy attacks, this time with the added annoyance of 2 friendly characters in the room who can get killed and force you to redo the section - depressing when the designers were so short of ideas they make you fight the same unenjoyable boss 3 times within a few minutes.

Another major criticism, is simply that the level designs aren't very good - it's just nowhere near as much fun to play as it would have been with more effort put into the level design. This is especially true of the boss-fights - they loook spectactular, but gampeplay-wise they are all long-winded and repetitive - none of them come close to being as much fun as any of the RE4 boss fights.

The online co-op play works well, and the replay value is very much like RE4 - being able to go through it again with upgraded weapons, things to collect - in fact it's probably a lot more fun on the 2nd play through - with upgraded weapons and once you've had time to get used to the inventory system from hell.

There is a distinct feeling that this was developed as a 2-player co-op game, with the single player mode being an extra mode thrown in at the last minute without time to fully playtest and fine-tune it. It's as if they knew the controls and abysmal inventory system would make it impossible to get through so much intense combat on your own, but instead of fixing those issues, they just threw in an AI assistant to give you extra some firepower, but sadly didn't have time to give her very good AI.

I don't think anybody could call this a terrible game - people giving it 1 star on here are being over the top (probably out of anger - an emotion that you will experience often playing this game - so I can understand how they feel) - but it is a real anti-climax after the brilliant RE4 - such weak level and boss-fight design, no real attempt to improve the game-engine and controls beyond improved graphics, sub-standard AI for a partner who accompanies you throughout the entire game, and then having what stands out as maybe the worst inventory system of the last decade of gaming, and then taking the inexplicable decision to make you battle against the inventory system in real-time while enemies still attack you.

If someone had never played RE4 (especially the Wii version with it's enhanced controls) and RE5 - I think I'd have to recommend RE4 to them as the vastly better single player game - that's not nostalgia talking, I've been playing through both games simultaneously to compare them.

If they are going to do a RE6, I hope they have a total re-think - this game is really pushing the boundaries of how far they can get away with it using unnecessarily dated contols & recycling old ideas - plus just too much lazy and downright bad design.

Capcom have already announced that the 2 producers who were brought in to create this game, have been dropped and won't be working any possible sequel - it's easy to understand that decision.
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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Apr 2009 18:15:07 BDT
*claps*

Great review, you have all the views on the game as i have.

I personally didn't enjoy this game as much as RE4, i found RE5 levels to be very dull and not very exciting.

But 5 stars on your review.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Apr 2009 23:34:34 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 12 Apr 2009 18:30:21 BDT]

Posted on 28 May 2009 13:40:53 BDT
J. Martins says:
Excellent review, my thoughts exactly!

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Jun 2009 20:27:17 BDT
The same could be said of MGS4. That game was basically a rehash of MGS3: Subsistence (same basic camera) but with a new over the shoulder camera when aiming the gun and advancing the camo. Same stuff all over again.

Posted on 12 Jul 2009 18:28:33 BDT
T. Neale says:
Excellent review

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Aug 2009 14:57:51 BDT
A. Russ says:
Except MGS4 is basically nothing like MSG3. GotP involved Octocamo, run-and-gun shooting, etc. It didn't introduce anything groundbreaking, but it was still much more developed than Subsistience.

Posted on 16 Jan 2010 21:28:33 GMT
Last edited by the author on 16 Jan 2010 21:31:25 GMT
I agree with the majority of your views however one thing that isnt made clear about the inventory system during the course of the game is how the top bottom and sides of your inventory correspond to up, down, left, and right on the D-pad. (for 360 anyway) Once i discovered this the hasstle of the inventory became much more managable. I had up and down as my two most used guns, left as healing items and right for grenades. all in all nice review but i can help feel you are one of the many people who didnt realise this (i dont mean that to be insulting, admitedly i didnt realise until about halfway throught the game when i stumbled upon it. SO basicly i agree with your review but i would give it four stars since the inventory isnt half as invasive once you begin using the Dpad so letting you enjoy the game.

(Also left trigger and 'A' is reload took a while to discover this too rather embarrassingly, until then i was either running dry or reloading in the inventory screen between battles)

Posted on 2 Mar 2010 05:00:11 GMT
This sort of sums up my thoughts on the game. The inventory system is indeed a pain and being unable to select the correct equipment on time can mean life or death, but despite how dated it obviously is, I think this, together with the stop and shoot mechanic, enhance the sense of dread.

My real gripe with the game is the oppressive, mind-numbing repetition. Shoot zombies, shoot some special zombies, collect items, go to the door, rinse repeat with no opportunity for any real build-up of suspense. I think you've hit the nail on the head there. Puzzle solving moments are few and far between and wind up being either simplistic or making no sense. *spoiler warning* Here's an example. How do you beat Wesker on his ship? Duh, you hit him with a rocket launcher and hope he catches it, stupid. This is done as if no one would end up mindlessly running around like a headless chicken for two hours wondering what the Hell to do.

And don't get me started on the story. Predictable and dull from beginning to end even by videogame standards, not to mention culturally insensitive.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Mar 2010 23:01:42 GMT
Last edited by the author on 10 Mar 2010 23:06:40 GMT
NP says:
I knew from the start about using the dpad as a short-cut for 4 items in your inventory (I found it out by accidentally pressing the d-pad whilst playing the demo, before I had even bought the full game) but I still don't believe that stops it from being the worst inventory system I can think of in a game (combined with being one of the few that you have to grapple with in real-time during combat).

Things like eg. running out of ammo for your Uzi, in the midst of a fight, and you luckily find some Uzi ammo inside a smashable barrel - should be problem solved - but you can't pick it up because all your inventory slots are full, and the game won't let you pick up the ammo to put straight into your empty weapon - so you have to open a dreadfully designed inventory, try to get your AI partner to come close enough to enable item swapping, hope she has an empty slot - give her an item in order to free up a slot in your inventory, just so you can pick up the ammo, then reload your weapon (maybe then getting her to transfer back the item you gave her if you need it) - all with a really badly designed interface that is hard to use at speed - and all taking place in real-time with enemies attacking you, with the transfers becoming impossible if you or your partner move and go out of item-transfer range while trying to avoid being killed...

That's just one example - I'm not saying RE5 is a terrible game, it isn't (though it's certainly not a masterpiece and certainly not a patch on RE4) - but the inventory system, even with the useful d-pad shortcuts, is still absolutely dreadful, and it still amazes me that they released a game with such an awful inventory system that at times makes the game unbearable to play.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Apr 2010 02:11:15 BDT
Last edited by the author on 12 Apr 2010 02:16:03 BDT
Amen to this review. The inventory system is unbelievably frustrating; you can't use an item (ammo, herb) on the spot, having first to put it in the inventory?! Didn't they have test players to point out a problem which takes all the fun out of the game? I mean, really.
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