If you've played Resident Evil 4 you know what to expect. The option to use the Gamecube control system is a good call and within an hour I had the Resi-grin all over my face as I decapped in psuedo-zombies in glorious HD. If you've never played Resi 4 you might wonder what all the fuss is about - and you might be better off getting acquainted with that gaming classic before trying #5.
Resident Evil has never been about run-and-gun gameplay. The control system introduced in #4 was ground-breaking, here is does feel a little dated. You cannot move whilst shooting and the game does not pause while you manage your inventory. It's not broken, unlike Alone In The Dark, but it can be fiddly until you get used to it. When it clicks though you'll understand why it is how it is.
The game is designed for multiple playthroughs so don't expect ultimate weaponry on your first go - you will be rewarded for your perceiverence. If you want 1,000 points and unlock everything you're looking at 3 or 4 playthroughs.
Much has been made of the inclusion of Co-Op. For me Resident Evil has always been all about single player. Being locked in a room in the dark is far scarier on if you're on your own. So in single player mode the additional character is pretty pointless and can detract from the overall effect, but after a couple of hours gaming I learnt to ignore her and just get on with it. If you are going to rely on her for anything you're screwed - she wastes health pick-ups, uses her best ammo on the cheapest of enemies and doesn't know how to throw grenades.
Proper Co-Op is a blast though, especially online. Local mode features the strangest screen-split I've ever seen but still manages to be nothing less than playable. A Versus mode was supposed to included too but obviously wasn't ready for the launch date. Capcom have confirmed that this will be available to download in a couple of weeks - 400 points seems a bit cheeky for something that should have been free, but that's gaming these days!
Overall then, it's good - not quite as good as 4 in terms of actual gameplay - but still good. The presentation oozes quality throughout and it's easily one of the best looking games out at the moment. Capcom are well known for big boss battles and do not disappoint here. Level designs are good and the puzzles aren't too puzzling. I can't help feeling a bit disappointed they didn't try to do anything differently this time around (apart from co-op) but that's my only complaint. This is easily the second best Resident Evil ever - and the second best survival horror on Xbox 360 to the excellent Dead Space.
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