Posted by: Matt Wells
Published and Developed by Capcom, 2009
It has been about four years since the near-masterpiece RESIDENT EVIL 4 hit shelves and changed the series and the entire survival horror genre (for better or worse). Leaps and bounds were made in terms of combat and pacing, replacing most of the puzzles and backtracking with faster paced gameplay and action. RESIDENT EVIL 5 has a lot to accomplish; not only does the game have to be as good, it has to reset the bar of standards in the horror genre. At the very least it succeeds with the former.
In order to properly look at this, I feel I have to look at it from two angles: The relationship to RESIDENT EVIL 4 and then the relationship to the rest of the series. In order to first view RE4 I had to put aside my biased perception of it regarding the lack of the RE universe “feel” and judge the game for what it was. I must now put aside my favoritism of RE5 regarding the return of the “feel” and look at RE5 for what it is. RE4’s visual style and graphics can’t hold a candle to today’s, but after four years they are still easy to look at. In the next four years the same will be said of this new entry. The environment and aesthetics are not only some of the best of the series; RE5 is one of the best games around in terms of creating an aura of immersion.
That being said, even though the series has certainly deviated from the first four entries (the fourth being Code Veronica), RESIDENT EVIL 5 definitely has the “feel” of a Resident Evil game (my main complaint of RE4). Also, several key plot points from those first four entries are discussed and Capcom has done a moderately good job of continuity linking the entire series up to this point. As I am sure I am one of the few people who cares about the mystique and conspiracy theories of Umbrella and the T-Virus, it was certainly welcome to be playing an actual RESIDENT EVIL game once again.