Best of 2009 #9: Resident Evil 5

Alas, adding co-op to the framework for one of the best action-adventure games ever made wasn’t enough to blow minds as the same formula managed to do in 2005, but Resident Evil 5 still deserves recognition. As far as I’m concerned, the only thing you could accuse its developer of – besides being staffed by massive racists, obviously – is only making minor improvements to the game that netted dozens of game of the year awards not too long ago. They must be mad.

Some of that was simply down to how things have moved on since Resident Evil 4, as shooters with the same perspective and arguably more friendly mechanics are ten a penny these days. Some of it was also down to the fact that, unless you had more dedicated friends than me, you had to spend the whole game reliant on an AI partner, and you’re a lot less willing to forgive the mistakes of that than you are a real person. The notion of this being survival horror went out the window with the last game and it’s even less so now, and the proliferation of this style has, perversely, left what was groundbreaking only a few years ago feeling aged.

As always seems to the the way, I’ve ended up sounding really down on this game, and I’m not at all, because it’s still an excellent adventure that just has flaws that you need to be willing to look past, which, people tend to forget, has always been the way with Resident Evil. To change it too much, to bow to the pressure of its predecessor’s pretenders, would stop it being Resident Evil, and that’s what I still want from this series; if I want to play Gears of War, I’ll play Gears of War. This felt like a member of the series, helped by the reappearance of series tropes that had gone walkabout recently.

There’s big pressure on the next one, and if it’s as good as this one I’ll be at the front of the line. We’ve got Umbrella back, so how about some zombies?

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