Resident Evil 5 Remaster Review
- Graphically Impressive
- Satisfying Combat
- Gun upgrading
- Improved Matchmaking
- The Mercenaries United
- Plenty of reasons to come back.
- The game can get repetitive
- The cover system
- Vs mode is awfully balanced
- QTE Cutscenes are a strain on the eyes
Review Copy purchased by the Reviewer.
Version Tested: PS4
Resident Evil 5 is the latest in the Resident Evil franchise to be remastered by Capcom in the lead up to Resident Evil 7 next year. But is there any reason to return to Kijuju or should you give this 2nd dip a miss?
Resident Evil 5 takes place in Africa with series veteran Chris Redfield and his newcomer partner; Sheva Alomar. They are thrust together to stop an arms deal of the good old fashioned Biological Weapon variety. However, upon starting their mission they are greeted by (Who Knew it?!) an outbreak. The games story sees Chris and Sheva through various locations from shanty town to ancient ruins as they work together to uncover who is behind this latest Biohazard.
It’s all very tried and tested Resident Evil story-telling however as you proceed to the finale of the game the story unravels and characters end up going full comic book mode, from Chris Redfield punching a boulder to death to Albert Wesker going full super villain. It feels as though whoever penned the story had little understanding of the motivations of the series characters.
Graphically Resident Evil 5 is just as impressive as ever, which is helped by the remaster taking the resolution to 1080p and having the game run at an incredibly smooth 60fps. Everything has a distinct level of polish when the game is running in game cutscenes, however the opening pre-rendered cutscene, is very obviously not gotten the same treatment. It is a small gripe and may be personal to myself but the QTE cutscenes also seem to be poorly optimized.
When uploading one of these cutscenes from my PS4 I found that the cutscene did not look as bad as it did when playing it, this leads me to believe it is because the PS4 export is in 30fps. It is difficult to explain but whenever the game goes for a QTE cutscene it feels very janky and can be strain on the eyes, thankfully these cutscenes are few and far between.
The game feels very dated in terms of controls, especially coming from Resident Evil 6 as the mobility options are greatly decreased. You cannot move and reload, you must remain stationary to fire your weapon and overall it takes some time to get used to the controls but once you do, you can enjoy some of the more satisfying gameplay Resident Evil has ever offered.
Although the game is almost comical in its departure from the series there is no denying that they doubled down on making the action satisfying. You start with a handgun and the ability to stagger enemies to deliver powerful melee attacks ranging from straight punches, kicks, hooks and the almighty Haymaker punch that will destroy the face of enemy it touches, as you progress you can purchase and find new guns that are good fun to experiment with.
All weapons also have an upgrade system that allows you to upgrade; Firepower, Reload Speed, Capacity and a special stat that not all guns have, some may allow you to improve your chances of scoring a critical headshot, while others may allow you to improve the bullet piercing. This encourages players to explore to find treasure to sell for money so you can upgrade your weaponry as there are various treasures hidden throughout the game in clever locations.
There are incentives to this feature outside of making weapons stronger, as fully upgrading a weapon unlocks options to use Infinite Ammo and in some cases unlocks a super weapon from that weapon class for purchase; these beastly weapons are tons of fun to take into New Game+ and wreck shop with.
However, for all of its satisfying action and dumb fun, Resident Evil 5 struggles to keep the action fun throughout. The opening ¼ of the game is entertaining however repetition forms toward the middle point of the game. Perhaps in an attempt to rejuvenate the game toward the end Capcom decided to add in enemies with guns. Forcing a horribly half done cover system which heightens the game from slightly repetitive to downright frustrating. What makes this cover system so enraging is that you cannot move in cover, you can only change the direction of which your character is facing and you cannot reload in cover. You must pop out to initiate the reload.
On top of this, the biggest complaint from the original version has not been addressed. Sheva’s AI in single player is still awful. She blasts through ammo, makes managing inventory a pain when she continually gives you handgun bullets that you don’t need or want and more importantly she will burn any and every healing item as soon as your health dips below a certain point which can be frustrating especially when you need that healing item for later.
Surprisingly the online component appears to have seen quite a big push, I personally haven’t experienced any real issue, from Co-Op Story to Versus the online in general appears to have seen an overhaul. This is quite a big change and is perplexing that they spent more time on this rather than the things fans had major issues with.
The extra modes do benefit from the improved matchmaking and among them is The Mercenaries United. The Mercenaries is one of the best extra modes ever implemented into the series and in Resident Evil 5 the same is true. For the remaster, Capcom have compiled every character into the same mode rather than dividing them between Original and Reunion, this mode also comes with a new setting called “No Mercy” that has far more enemies on screen and ramps up the excitement. You can sink hours into this mode especially if you have a Co-op partner and still comes back for more, and with all 8 of the new DLC characters in with the 10 original characters you have plenty of choice.
Also included is the Versus mode, which is completely broken. The online functions and matches can allow for some guilty pleasure fun; however, the mode is awfully balanced. If you are not using S.T.A.R.S Wesker you will lose. It makes the mode tiresome when you constantly run into the same character and get steam rolled.
In with this HD Remaster are the DLC Side-Stories; Lost In Nightmares and Desperate Escape. Both are very mixed in terms of offering. Desperate Escape fills in a question some fans had upon seeing the ending, however in terms of gameplay quality Desperate Escape is a balls to the wall action affair, throwing large amounts of enemies your way which can get tiresome quickly. Lost In Nightmares is the polar opposite its story offers nothing to the main cannon of the story and appears to more set up future entries in the series, however is a refreshing change of pace for gameplay, trading action for suspense and is a bitter reminder of what this game could have been had it had the right mind-set from the get go.
There are plenty of reasons to return to the game, as mentioned there are the super weapons which you unlock via the upgrade system, there are also hidden BSAA emblems in the world that unlock figurines to view in the library and new costumes for Chris and Sheva to use in the story.
Overall the game is essentially the same release from 2009, the remastered graphics are a nice touch but the same issues pop up from the original release, if you missed the original or a big fan of the series it might be worth a purchase but if you hated the original release there is nothing here that will change your mind.