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Resident Evil 5 is a pure action game with only minimal atmosphere and puzzles to distract you from killing and blowing up stuff. Its predecessor garnered near universal praise for shaking up the survival horror formula -- it replaced the horror of a seemingly unstoppable zombie shambling towards you with the horror of dozens of crazed villagers running up to you with pitchforks. Few people balked at the change of direction, but now that Capcom chose to follow that direction even further, more people seem to balk.
Resident Evil used to be a series with a B movie tone since its inception, and in part four it even became aware of it. All this is gone in Resident Evil 5 -- this one is in full big budget blockbuster sequel-mode, complete with sweeping soundtrack, more explosions, a hot female and cartoonish muscles that wouldn't look out of place in Street Fighter. The fun nonsense has mostly been excised in favor of regular nonsense with a sprinkle of wannabe relevant-to-our-times terrorism and eugenics talk. By trying to be smarter and more mature, the game turned out to be dumber and teenager-friendlier. The story picks up on mad scientist-esque megalomania in the last act, but it's too little too late -- it's action with a little crazy, not crazy with a little action, and the same goes for the gameplay.
The inventory screen is gone, items must now be selected while fighting. It's a small wonder the developers even bothered to include mixing green and red herbs, an out of a place remnant in this interpretation of the franchise. Puzzles and exploration are nearly non-existent. The individual set pieces are still impressive, but they suffer not only from comparison to Resident Evil 4 (especially since many feel pretty familiar) but also from bad pacing that just strings action scenes together without any regard for rhythm. It's a rollercoaster ride constantly heading downward.
Despite all this, Resident Evil 5 still manages to be a worthwile experience -- it's gorgeous to look at, the thump of close combat is as satisfying as ever, and, as unfortunate as it may be for atmosphere, co-op gameplay is actually fun. So while it's hardly going to go down in history as fan favorite, it's still solid action gaming. As long as Resident Evil 6 isn't going to get rid of stop-to-shoot mechanics, this will likely be remembered as a lesser, but still worthwile footnote in the series.
Game Traits applied to Resident Evil 5 (PC) by pierben