Xbox 360
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Resident Evil 5
Published by Capcom
Developed by Capcom

ESRB Rating: M

The latest installment in the Resident Evil series, the player playes the role of Chris Redfield once again as he attempts to prevent a worldwide catastrophe based on the latest Umbrella Corp. experiments. Unlike earlier installments in the series, this game is not based on fixed camera perspectives as the character is moved from place to place, but is now a full fledged over the shoulder shooter. It retains the 2 charcter team approach of earlier Resident Evil titles as well as the shared backstory.

Game Play

This game is basically an over the shoulder shooter with a linear plot. The game is divided into chapters and sub-chapters, each must be completed in order as the story unfolds. There are a few subchapters in which the characters are riding in vehicles and must fire at enemies using mounted weapons, and at the end of every chapter is a boss fight. The main character (Chris Refield) is accompanied by Sheva Alomar, his female partner following the pattern of other Resident Evil titles. Sheva is controlled by the computer AI but another player can join the game at any point and plays as Sheva.

The controls are relatively easy to get used to, although they feel awkward at first. One stick moves the character while the other changes their facing, and the two are tied together. The buttons each have basic functions like reload, inventory and call to parnter, but are also context driven in some cases and can be used to open doors, jump, operate machinery, etc.

The inventory system is probably the weakest part of the game, with only 9 inventory slots available during missions, although items can be stored or recovered between missions. This extra inventory is not accessible during the game. To make matters worse, body armor takes up an inventory slot even when in use, reducing the player to 8. The placement of items within the inventory boxes correspond to the directions on the D-pad, making quick weapons change very easy, but this too can only be set between missions. Making matters worse still, ammunition does not stack indefinitely, so if you really want to bring plenty along, you will need multiple inventory slots. To add a dash of extra complexity, each ammo type stacks to a different total maximum size.

Between missions the player has access to the store, where weapons can be purchased, along with some additional items like armor, healing spray and ammo for the grenade launcher. Weapons become available as they are unlocked in the game, although it is not necessary for the player to actually find the weapon within the mission. It simply becomes unlocked once the mission is completed. The most glaring problem with the store is that the player can not purchase ammo for any of the other weapons. All ammunition has to be gained during missions either by finding it in destructible containers or as loot drops from dead enemies. This is the same way much of the in game money is gained. Additional cash can be gained by selling valuable treasure objects or gems between missions. Treasure items tend to be found in containers the player can open, while gems are hidden like easter eggs around the maps.

Weapon upgrades can also be purchased between missions, allowing the player to improve attributes like damage, reload time, magazine capacity and penetration. There is a nice variety of weapons in the game but weapons of the same class aren\'t different enough from each other to justify using every single one. A fully upgraded shotgun is more effective than a basic co mbat shotgun, even though the combat shotgun can be upgraded even further. The player has to decide whether it\'s worth it to scrap a fully upgraded weapon to start all over. Fortunately, if a player sells back an upgraded weapon then decides they want it back, when they purchase it again it retains all upgrades. This is especially hand if the player wants Sheva and Chris to have the same weapon upgrades as there\'s no need to upgrade them separately. Simply upgrade one, and purchasing a new copy of that weapon retains the upgrades. (Although one must keep in mind that upgrading Chris\' shotgun won\'t upgrade Sheva\'s... A new one has to be purchased.) Each weapon does have a maximum limit to the upgrades.

The story is linear, with no decision points. The plot is interesting, but does assume the player is generally familiar with the resident Evil backstory, and draws heavily from it. Some details are filled in from the past as the story goes, but only barely enough to understand what\'s happening, with none of the flavor of the history of Resident Evil.

Sheva\'s AI is passable, but could definitely have used a little more tuning. She insists on using her pistol no matter what other weapons she\'s carrying until she exhausts her pistol ammunition, and then will proceed to burn through whatever other ammo she has for her other weapons. This is almost an advantage since handgun ammo is found everywhere in the game while other types are more precious, so by giving Sheva the pistol one can keep the other ammo types and use them carefully. Sheva also tends to use healing items liberally, so it\'s not unheard of for a slightly wounded Chris to run away from her to keep her from using a healing item too soon.

The game can be played at different levels of difficulty.

Multiplayer

Having a human control Sheva makes the duo a far more effective team, as it eliminates the AI problems. Additionally, items in the inventory on the new player\'s profile are available to them in multiplayer, so if you have a sniper rifle you\'ve upgraded and a stack of 100 rounds for it, you can bring it with you when you log in to assist a friend in their game. This is true of local multiplayer or online. Ammunition, healing items, and healing sprays can be traded between players, but not weapons or armor or anything else that has to be unlocked. This is true even if the intended recipient has unlocked them as well. Another nice feature is if you play through a mission that you haven\'t yet finished in your campaign, you receive credit for it anyway. Be aware, you only get credit for the mission at the level of difficulty of the player you\'re helping. In other words, whoever is controlling Chris is the main player, and the difficulty setting of that player\'s campaign will be the one at which the game will run.

Graphics

The graphics are good, on par with expectations for this generation of games. No graphical glitches were noticed on the XBox 360 version, and everything flowed smoothly and there was no lag when there were a large number of enemies onscreen. Characters\' lips match the words they\'re saying reasonably well although we\'re still not at the point where a person could read their lips. While the quality of the graphics are good, very seldom are they used to show anything really interesting. No one will watch this game and be awed by the look of it.

Sound

The sound is crisp and does the job, although there is nothing new to be found here. The game does retain the style and effects of previous Resident Evil titles.

Stability

Overall the game played smoothly with very few issues. In one occasion, after getting help from a second player in local multiplayer, reloading the game glitched and the campaign had to be restarted. In another instance, a continuing glitch caused the player controlling Sheva to die over and over (The system was not recognizing a button being pressed at the right moment,) and ultimately the mission had to be played on single player to get past it, at which point player 2 could rejoin as Sheva and continue normally.

Controls/Interface


The basic interface shows which weapon the player is currently equipped with and how much ammo remains in the weapon and in inventory, as well as what Sheva has. The life bar is a green circle that encircles the weapon display but at full health only goes 3/4 of the way around. The remaining quarter is filled in with red if a player loses all their health. That red section represents the character\'s being mortally wounded, and runs down in a matter of seconds. During this time, the other player can come and resuscitate the injured player and stabilize them, but healing is still needed. Using or receiving a heal effect also will stabilize and restore health. A bird\'s eye view map can be turned off and on and the current mission objective is highlited on it.

The most annoying aspect of the game controls is the fact that one cannot move and shoot, or move and reload at the same time. Essentially this means making a fighting retreat or blitz attack impossible. Not being able to reload while running is especially problematic because it leaves the character completely vulnerable for a few seconds. This makes the reload time upgrade surprisingly important.

Appropriateness

This is a survival horror game, and like all Resident Evil games is bloody, violent and at times suspenseful. In this game however, the enemy zombies aren\'t actually reanimated dead, but rather are afflicted with a parasitical disease that causes them to act like zombies. Gouts of blood and gore accompany most hits, and the player can even curb stomp a fallen enemy that sometimes results in a violent decapitation. Player character death can come in the form of being eaten alive, burned to death or being flung into liquid lava. None are pleasant to watch.

On the upside, there is at least one instance where the player must take heroic measures to defeat an enemy without killing. The main characters are people of good character and operate under the authority of the BSAA, a sort of paramilitary group that operates worldwide to curb the unethical practices of corporations like Umbrella.

While there is no overt sexuality or nudity in the game, female characters tend to be dressed suggestively, especially a particular villainess who appears in several cut scenes. Sheva is fully clothed but wears a very low cut vest, and another female character is shown wearing a skin tight outfit.

The language is strong, with characters regularly using PG-13 level words, and the \'F\' bomb is dropped at least once during a cut scene.

There are no occult references in the game, as the monsters and zombies exist as the result of scientific tinkering as opposed to magic.

Conclusion


This is not a game for children, but if you\'re a fan of the Resident Evil series or survival horror in general you won\'t be disappointed.

Game Play 14/20
Graphics 9/10
Sound 9/10
Stability 4/5
Controls 4/5
Appropriateness 38/50

Total: 78/100

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ArcticFox

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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