Resident Evil has long been a staple of Capcom's portfolio, demonstrating continuous quality and attention to detail from nearly every release the series has seen, excluding the spin-offs, of course. The series is now ready to enter its third generation of games with a release on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in March 2009. Following the absolutely epic success of Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil 5 has some rather large shoes to fill, but based on our time with the game this past Summer and the additional info we know, it shouldn't have any trouble filling those shoes.
No longer in Raccoon City or Europe, we are taken to Africa. As you know, RE5 stars Chris Redfield, our her from the first Resident Evil and Code Veronica. Chris has allied with a new counter-terrorism group and tracks down a new biohazard threat in Africa. This new threat transforms the citizens and animals of the villages into rabid and mindless beings, and you'll have to figure out where this threat is coming from.
Naturally, because Resident Evil 5 takes place in an all new environment, it will offer the player a number of new features to experience, such as a location with a large environment that boasts a plethora of locations to play through. With a new environment comes a new horde of enemies, on top of all new artificial intelligence where the enemies are smarter and faster, despite being mindless creatures. Enemies that travel in packs will have to be feared, as well as the loners who aren't.
Weapons will continue to be your main source of power, as the game will feature everything from knives, to pistols, to machine guns, to rifles, grenade launchers, and so forth. To borrow my own hands-on impressions of Resident Evil 5, you can rest-assured that the gameplay is superb. When I played RE5, you still had to stop when you opened fire, but Capcom is still working on the aspect, considering how many have complained, so that may change in time for the final release.
If you can look past the shooting mechanics, then Resident Evil 5 looks to deliver a much more solid experience than RE4. Based on what I played, the controls were smooth and easy to get adjusted to no matter which console's controller you'll be playing with. We also loved how powerful the shooting felt, every shot fired came alive through the sound and recoil of the controllers – definitely presenting us with a rewarding quality in the gameplay.
Additionally, as you may also be well aware of, a co-op online mode has now been put together for the game which will allow players to take control of Chris and a new character called Sheva. This co-operative mode marks a first for the main franchise, and will allow gamers to come in and out, at will. During a co-op session, you aren't required to stick to your partner at all times, either, so you're free to run about at any time you wish.
For the curious, side-by-side the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games looked and moved practically identical to one another. The only thing separating them was a very, very marginal difference in color, which is completely normal, considering two different graphics cards are rendering this. Regardless, it's nothing that a quick little tune of your TV's settings couldn't change in five seconds. Now, the first thing that comes to mind when you see RE5 in person is just how flat-out stunning the game looks. Back at E3, it was, without a doubt, one of the best looking games of the show.
Everything about Resident Evil 5 looks superb; the lighting is gorgeous, as everything cast around you looked so perfect it bordered photorealism in some cases. Capcom's use of lighting really is some of the very best this generation has seen, not too much, not too little; and you're not going to see a plethora of glare and bloom.
Because the lighting is so spot-on, the details all around you look that much better, and the fantastic textures are complemented by it all. Furthermore, character detail as a whole gets the same triple-A treatment, as does the rest of the game. Brilliant stuff here. On top of all that, the game runs superbly well, without a single framerate hitch to be spotted. The game engine ran flawlessly at, what appeared to be, 60 frames per second, and considering that this is running on an even more enhanced game engine that powered Devil May Cry 4, expect nothing but great things.
Look for Resident Evil 5 to arrive March 13th, 2009. You will not want to miss one of the first contenders for game of the year 2009.