Resident Evil 5 is probably the most divisive entry in the franchise. It is not universally loved as Resident Evil 4 but nor is it as panned as Resident Evil 6. While 4 is where the series walked a fine line between action and horror, 5 is where it tips over into the action edge. No longer is the player just one person mostly isolated and having to do things alone for the most part. Now the player has a constant other character by their side. This is where the series introduced cooperative gameplay into the franchise. All of this might sound like a knock against the game. It is far from it though. It is not a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination. Is it fun and highly replayable and also one of the most important games in the franchise? Yes it is.
The game is set after the fourth entry and players are once again playing as Chris Redfield. Chris was one of the original two players in the first game and he is now working for an agency that specializes in taking down "bio threats" which have sprung up in great numbers since 4. Jill Valentine, the other of the original two players, is now dead and Chris has a new partner, Sheva Alomar. Their mission is to investigate another incident in Africa. This is where the series comes full circle as we learn what exactly started all of this and not only does Chris return, but so does his original enemy, Albert Wesker. If the series were to end after this entry, it would have been a fitting finale to the franchise.
As stated earlier, this entry is where the series shifted into more action territory. There were still horror elements to be found as there are bizarre and terrifying creatures to be fought. But the player is never really scrambling for ammo and other than towards the beginning, there is no terror or suspense. It does get to the point where towards the end where the player is forced to fight waves of enemies who are not only infected by also commandos at that. While the game does deviate from its horror roots, it is still a solid game to be played.
The controls are the same as they were in the fourth entry. Why mess with something that isn't broken. There is no real deviation from that game. The major change is the addition of the second player. If playing with a real life person, then there is not much to worry about. However the AI for the second player is something of another concern. The AI is sketchy at best as the player will waste ammo and heal the player character when it is not necessary and thus wasting another item. There are tricks to work around this but it is best to find someone to play with.
The game has been re-released on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with updated graphics. It also brings with it all of the downloadable content that was released after. That includes two story packs that are a prequel to the game and one that takes place during the main game as well. The popular Mercenaries minigame is also included and this is always a fun play. Resident Evil 5 is certainly a divisive game. Does that make it a bad game? No it does not. If one has been following the franchise from the beginning, then this is a necessary game. If checking out the series for the first time, it is well worth the price of $20.