Resident Evil 5

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Resident Evil 5
Resident Evil 5 Box Artwork.jpg
Developer(s) Capcom
Publisher(s) Capcom
Director(s) Kenichi Ueda
Yasuhiro Anpo
Producer(s) Jun Takeuchi
Writer(s) Haruo Murata
Yoshiaki Hirabayashi
Tsukasa Takenaka
Kenichi Ueda
Composer(s) Kota Suzuki
Hideki Okugawa
Akihiko Narita
Seiko Kobuchi
Wataru Hokoyama
Series Resident Evil
Engine MT Framework v1.4
Havok (physics engine)
Platform(s) PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
Microsoft Windows
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Survival horror, Third-person shooter[3]
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Distribution Optical disc, download

Resident Evil 5, known in Japan as Biohazard 5 (バイオハザード5?), is a survival horror third-person shooter video game developed and published by Capcom. The game, the seventh installment in the Resident Evil series, was released on March 5, 2009 in Japan and on March 13, 2009 in North America and Europe for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and September 2009 for Microsoft Windows.

The plot of Resident Evil 5 revolves around Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar's investigation of a terrorist threat in Kijuju, a fictional region in Africa. Chris soon finds he has to confront his past in the shape of old enemy Albert Wesker.

The game was announced in 2005, the same year as its predecessor Resident Evil 4 was released, with several staff members from that game and the original Resident Evil being involved. Employed in the game for the first time was the use of motion capture for the cutscenes, making the characters' movements more realistic. Its gameplay was kept similar to the previous installment, though the game's producer Jun Takeuchi said that some thematics from the original game were used.

Resident Evil 5 was released on all its platforms in 2009, eventually outselling its predecessor and becoming the best-selling single game of the franchise. On the whole, critical reception was positive, despite allegations of racist attitudes in the trailer shown at the 2007 E3 event.

Gameplay[edit]

Chris and Sheva battling a group of enemies

The player can control Chris Redfield or Sheva Alomar,[4] from an over-the-shoulder perspective.[5] The game's environment plays a significant role.[4] The Mercenaries minigame is present in Resident Evil 5.[6] At launch, the multiplayer mode in the minigame was offline only, but a launch day patch gave the game online multiplayer modes as well.[7]

Instead of zombies, the game's humanoid enemies are called "Majini", meaning "evil spirit" in Swahili.[8] They bear many resemblances to the Ganados of Resident Evil 4, because they speak, run, dodge and wield weapons.[4] There are several varieties of the handgun, shotgun, submachine gun, assault rifle and rifle to choose from.[9] The player can only equip weapons and items in the midst of gameplay (the game still runs real-time as the player manipulates the inventory), as opposed to the game pausing.

The game features some online elements.[10] Resident Evil 5's main story mode can be played with two players, in a co-operative multiplayer online mode. The feature will allow players to enter or leave any time during the game. Players will not always stick together, and can be separated at points during the gameplay.[6] However, if one player were to have critical health, only their partner can resuscitate them. An offline co-op mode is also in the game with the same co-op experience offered by the online co-op mode, only with two local players controlling the action in split screen or by a system link.[11]

Plot[edit]

Setting[edit]

The setting of Resident Evil 5 has a similar feel to the film Black Hawk Down.[12][13] Takeuchi added that the development team is composed of staff members who worked on the original Resident Evil.[12] The game is a direct sequel to the Resident Evil series,[12] and continues chronologically after Resident Evil 4.[14] The player characters and protagonists are Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar,[4] and the game takes place in 2009, eleven years after the events of the original Resident Evil.

During the game's events, Chris is a member of a group known as Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA), and sent to investigate a terrorist bio-organic weapon (BOW) threat in an African desert area in Kijuju, that serves as the game's setting.[4] The antagonists of the game include Albert Wesker, a returning antagonist to the series, and Excella Gionne, a relative of the founder of the Tricell Pharmaceutical Company who operates the company's African branch.[15] Ozwell E. Spencer, the founder of Umbrella Corp. and a key figure in the background story of the series since the original Resident Evil, is also included in a flashback.[16]

Story[edit]

Five years after the events of Resident Evil 4, Chris Redfield, a former S.T.A.R.S member and now part of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA), is dispatched to Kijuju, Africa to work with Sheva Alomar to apprehend Ricardo Irving before he can sell a bio-organic weapon (BOW) on the black market. Upon arriving, they discover the locals have been converted by parasites into Majini, and that the members of the BSAA's Alpha team have been killed. Chris and Sheva are rescued by BSAA's Delta team, whose membership includes Sheva's mentor Josh Stone. In the data provided by Josh, Chris sees a photograph of Jill Valentine, his old partner, presumed dead after a confrontation with Albert Wesker. Chris, Sheva, and Delta team close in on Irving, but he manages to escape with the help of a hooded figure, leaving behind documents that lead Chris and Sheva to oil fields in the marshlands where Irving's deal is to occur. They soon discover this was a diversion created by Irving to allow the deal to take place. Chris and Sheva attempt to regroup with Delta team, but at the rendezvous, find the team slaughtered by a BOW; Sheva cannot find Josh among the bodies. Chris refuses to report to headquarters, revealing his determination to learn if Jill is still alive.

Continuing through the marshlands, they find Josh injured but safe, and with his help track down Irving's boat. Irving injects himself with a variant of the parasite, Las Plagas, and mutates into a colossal octopus-like beast. Chris and Sheva defeat him, and with his dying words, directs the pair to a nearby cave to learn more. The cave, home of the Ndipaya tribe, is the source of the flower used to create the Progenitor virus, which led to the creation of the T- and G-viruses, and has now been used to form a new, incredibly powerful strain called Uroboros. Chris and Sheva find evidence that Tricell, the company funding the BSAA, had taken over a former Umbrella underground laboratory and continued Umbrella's research. In the facility are thousands of capsules holding human test subjects. Chris discovers one of the capsules belongs to Jill, but when they search it, they find the capsule empty. As they leave, they discover Tricell CEO, Excella Gionne has been plotting with Wesker to unleash a number of missiles with the Uroboros virus across the globe (it is eventually revealed that Wesker hopes to sort out a chosen few from the chaos of infection and rule over them, creating his own new breed of humanity). Chris and Sheva pursue Excella, but are stopped by Wesker and the hooded figure, later revealed to be Jill, enslaved by a mind-control device on her chest. Excella and Wesker escape to a Tricell oil tanker while Chris and Sheva fight Jill, eventually subduing her and removing the device from her chest. After a brief reunion, Jill orders Chris to follow Wesker.

As Chris and Sheva make their way aboard the tanker, they come across Excella, who escapes, but drops a case of syringes. Sheva holds on to a number of them. When Chris and Sheva arrive on the main deck of the tanker, Wesker, through the tanker's intercom, reveals he has betrayed and infected Excella with Uroboros. She mutates into a giant monster which Chris and Sheva eventually defeat. Jill radios in and informs Chris and Sheva that Wesker must regularly take precisely measured doses of a virus to maintain his superhuman strength and speed; a larger or smaller dose would act as poison for him. Sheva then realizes the syringes she recovered from Excella are doses of that drug. Chris and Sheva follow Wesker to a bomber aboard the tanker loaded with missiles containing the Uroboros virus. Eventually, the two are able to subdue Wesker long enough to inject him with additional doses. Wesker attempts to escape on the bomber, but is followed by Chris and Sheva who disable the bomber, causing it to crash land in a volcano. An enraged Wesker exposes himself to Uroboros, and pursues Chris and Sheva through the volcano. Chris and Sheva fight and weaken Wesker to the point where he falls into the lava. They are then rescued by a helicopter piloted by Jill and Josh. In his dying breaths, Wesker attempts to drag the helicopter into the volcano, but Chris and Sheva kill him with rocket-propelled grenades,[17] before he is able to do so. In the final cutscene of the game, Chris ponders whether it is truly worth fighting. He looks at Sheva and Jill and decides that it is worth it in order to live in a world without fear.

Development[edit]

Capcom officially announced Resident Evil 5 on July 20, 2005.[18] Jun Takeuchi, the director of Onimusha and producer of Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, took over producer duties from Hiroyuki Kobayashi. Keiji Inafune, who served as promotional producer for Resident Evil 2 and executive producer for the PlayStation 2 version of Resident Evil 4, oversaw the project.[19] In February 2007, members of Capcom's Clover Studio were also called upon to help develop the game. However, many developers from the studio moved on to work on the Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, which debuted for the Wii.[20][21] Several staff members who also worked on the original Resident Evil were involved in development. The game's scenario was written by Haruo Murata and Yoshiaki Hirabayashi, based on a story idea by concept director Kenichi Ueda.[22] Takeuchi announced the game would utilize the same gameplay model introduced in Resident Evil 4, while implementing thematics from the original Resident Evil.[23] Tsukasa Takenaka provided additional story background and created the in-game files.[22]

Resident Evil 5 runs on version 1.4 of Capcom's internally developed MT Framework engine.[24] In a May 2008 interview, Capcom chairman and CEO Kenzo Tsujimoto estimated the game's development costs up to that point at more than 2 billion yen (approx. US$19.3M).[25] Working with Hollywood studios, the game's cutscenes were produced by recording both facial motion capture and Automated Dialogue Replacement (ADR) simultaneously.[26]

On January 21, 2009 D+PAD Magazine reported that Resident Evil 5 would be released with Limited Edition Xbox 360 box art,[27] pictures of the Limited Edition box claiming to allow 2–16 players to play offline via system link.[27] Capcom initially responded stating that their "box art isn't lying", but refused to give any more details.[28] However, soon after, Capcom issued another statement that contradicted their original response stating that the information on the box art was an error and that the correct number of players supported by system link is only two.[29]

Music[edit]

Kota Suzuki served as the game's lead composer, with additional compositions provided by Hideki Okugawa, Akihiko Narita and Seiko Kobuchi.[22] His score was electronic, but includes 15 minutes of orchestral music that was recorded at the Newman Scoring Stage at 20th Century Fox Studios in Los Angeles, with a 103-piece ensemble of the Hollywood Studio Symphony. Additional orchestral music and the orchestral arrangements were created by Wataru Hokoyama, who conducted the orchestra himself.[30] Capcom recorded in Los Angeles because they wanted a Hollywood-style soundtrack that would increase the game's cinematic value and global interest. The game's soundtrack features an original theme song as well as live orchestral music compositions, a first for the game series. The theme song is composed by Kota Suzuki and sung by Oulimata Niang.[31]

Windows version additions[edit]

The Windows version of Resident Evil 5 features online co-operative play like the console versions and also takes advantage of Nvidia's new GeForce 3D Vision technology.[32] The PC version comes with exclusive content, such as additional costumes (which have since been made available on consoles as downloadable content) and a new mode in the Mercenaries minigame, No Mercy. Resident Evil 5 was released on the September 15 and 18 2009 in North America and Europe respectively, to moderate critical praise. This has been preceded by a benchmark tool release for both system performance evaluation as well as to test the new 3D technology which is implemented in all the cutscenes within the game.[33]

Gold Edition and downloadable content[edit]

Shortly before the release of Resident Evil 5, it was announced that a competitive multiplayer mode, titled Versus, would be available for download in the coming weeks.[34] It was later announced that the content would cost less in Japan than in the rest of the world, but that the release date for Japan had been pushed back to April 9, 2009.[35] Versus became available to download in Europe and North America on April 7, 2009 on both the Xbox Live Marketplace and the PlayStation Network.[36] The Versus content contains two different online game types. Slayers is a point-based game that challenges players to kill Majini, while in Survivors players must hunt each other while dodging attacking Majini. Players may also play Team Survivors or Team Slayers in which there are four players, two on each side. Versus is a four player, online only mode.[36]

During Sony's press conference at the Tokyo Game Show 2009, Capcom announced that Biohazard 5: Alternative Edition would be released in Japan in Spring 2010 exclusively for the PlayStation 3. This version includes a new scenario titled "Lost in Nightmares", where protagonists Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine infiltrate one of Spencer's estates in 2006.[37][38][39] Capcom also announced that the new content will be released in downloadable content (DLC) format for Australia, Europe and America.[40]

A western version of Biohazard 5: Alternative Edition was released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in the form of Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition. Gold Edition includes the "Lost in Nightmares" episode. Gold Edition includes another campaign expansion episode, "Desperate Escape", where players control Josh Stone and Jill Valentine as they journey to assist Chris and Sheva.[41] Gold Edition also includes the previously released Versus mode DLC, four new costumes, and an alternate Mercenaries mode, the Mercenaries Reunion, featuring eight new playable characters as well as new item and time placement for the Mercenaries levels.

On December 10, 2009, the first two Mercenaries Reunion mode characters were revealed: Warrior Chris and Fairytale Sheva.[42] On December 16, Famitsu magazine revealed the first screenshots of the "Desperate Escape" episode, as well as three more characters for Mercenaries Reunion: Heavy Metal Chris, Business Suit Sheva and Josh Stone.[43] Excella Gionne is also a playable character in this mode.[44] Rebecca Chambers and Barry Burton are the guest playable characters from the earlier games in the series.[45]

Alternatively, for those who did not purchase the Gold Edition, both episodes as well as both costume packs are available as DLC, with two of the eight new Mercenaries Reunion characters bundled with each downloadable item. This means that by buying all five sets of DLC, players own all of the content on the disc. However, this only applies to the PlayStation 3 version, due to the fact that the Xbox 360 version contains no DLC on the disc. The Xbox 360 version comes with a download token, allowing for a free download of all of the DLC while the PlayStation 3 version has all of the new content on disc.[46]

The disc was released in the United States on March 9, 2010, and in Europe on March 12. The DLC release dates were as follows: "Lost in Nightmares" and the first costume pack were available for download on February 17, 2011, for the Xbox 360 and February 18 for the PlayStation 3, while "Desperate Escape", the second episode, and costume pack were released on March 3 for the Xbox 360 and March 4 for PlayStation 3.[46] On November 7, 2012, Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition was put onto PlayStation Network as a free download for PlayStation Plus users for the month of November.

PlayStation Move support[edit]

During Sony's press conference at Tokyo Game Show 2009, Capcom announced that Biohazard 5: Alternative Edition would be released in Japan in Spring 2010 for the PlayStation 3. During that same press conference it was also announced that this new version would feature support for the PlayStation Move and the game was demoed using the controller. It was confirmed that the original versions of both Biohazard 5 and the western Resident Evil 5 would not feature motion controller support. Only the Gold Edition is Move-compatible, with a patch released September 14, 2010.[46]

Marketing[edit]

Capcom revealed a brief trailer for Resident Evil 5 at E3 2007.[47][47] The full E3 trailer for the game became available on the Xbox Live Marketplace and the PlayStation Network Store on July 26, 2007.[4][48] The April 2008 issue of Famitsu Wave was bundled with a DVD containing a preview of the game. Takeuchi gave new information on the game and showed new gameplay footage. A new trailer shown at Captivate '08 media summit debuted on Spike TV's show Gametrailers TV, on May 31, 2008, as well as the GameTrailers.com website.[49][50] A playable demo of the game was released in Japan on December 5, 2008 for the Xbox 360.[51] The demo was later released in North America and Europe for the Xbox 360 on January 26, 2009, and on February 2, 2009 for the PlayStation 3.[52][53] Microsoft released a limited edition red Xbox 360 Elite console that was sold along with the game. This bundle included a Resident Evil Premium Theme for the Xbox 360 Dashboard and a voucher for Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix over Xbox Live. In the Netherlands the limited edition of the Xbox 360 Elite that was packaged with Resident Evil 5 was black instead of red.

PlayStation Home[edit]

Capcom has released a dedicated Game Space for the PlayStation 3's online community-based service, PlayStation Home. This space is called the Resident Evil 5 "Studio Lot" (or Biohazard 5 "Film Studio" for Japan). This space is themed around the in-game opening location of Kijuju. The lounge offers Resident Evil 5-related items, a variety of events, a full game launching support feature, and is the first Home space to offer an in-lounge shop. Some areas in the space are only available to users who own Resident Evil 5. This space is available to all regions of PlayStation Home and was released on March 5, 2009.[54] Resident Evil 5 also supports Home rewards, such as Chris Redfield, Sheva Alomar, Jill Valentine and Albert Wesker ornaments for achieving certain trophies.

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PS3) 86.62%[55]
(X360) 86.32%[56]
(PC) 86.29%[57]
Metacritic (PC) 86/100[58]
(PS3) 84/100[59]
(X360) 83/100[60]
Review scores
Publication Score
1UP.com B[61]
Edge 7/10[62]
Eurogamer 7/10[64]
Game Informer 9.5/10[65]
GamePro 4.5/5[66]
GameSpot 8.5/10[67][68]
IGN 9.0/10[63]
Official Xbox Magazine 9/10[69]
X-Play 3/5[70]

Downloads and sales[edit]

The downloadable demo of Resident Evil 5 exceeded 4 million downloads worldwide during its release on the PlayStation Store and Xbox Live services, with over 1.8 million of these downloads taking place in the first three days.[71] The PlayStation 3 version of Resident Evil 5 was the top-selling game in Japan in the two weeks following its release, with 319,590 units sold.[72] Resident Evil 5 became the fastest-selling game in the franchise in the United Kingdom, additionally becoming the biggest Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game launch to date in the region.[73] In France, the game sold 110,555 units during its first week, approximately half of the available stock in the country at the time.[74] As of 2013, Resident Evil 5 has sold 6.5 million copies worldwide on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 since launch.[75]

Reviews[edit]

Resident Evil 5 has received generally positive reviews.[55][56][57][58][59][60] Corey Cohen of Official Xbox Magazine complimented the game's fast pace of action and called the graphics "gorgeous".[69] The game was acclaimed by Joe Juba and Mark Miller of Game Informer who stated it had the best graphics of any game to date and that the music too helped make enemies come alive.[65]

Adam Sessler of X-Play noted that while the game's graphics were exceptional, the single player AI was hard to play through, and expressed disappointment for the controls he felt were taken from Resident Evil 4.[70] Edge also praised Resident Evil 5's gameplay as exhilarating and frantic but criticized the control system.[62]

IGN's Ryan Geddes stated in his review that split screen co-op was very confusing but the game had a surprisingly high replay value.[63] GameZone's Louis Bedigian wrote: "The fact that Resident Evil 5 was worth playing through twice in one weekend shows how compelling the gameplay is, and how it's able to rise above a number of disappointing flaws."[76]

James Mielke of 1UP.com repeatedly compared Resident Evil 5 to Gears of War 2 while criticizing the game's new controls.[61] Kristan Reed of Eurogamer noted that Resident Evil 5 felt a lot like past games in the franchise and that it is "just like any other third person action shooter".[64]

Steven Hopper of GameZone gave the "Lost in Nightmares" DLC an 8/10, stating that "even though the episode is pretty short, there is some good replay value here and the added multiplayer elements are a nice touch. All in all, this is a worthy investment for fans of the original game."[77]

Allegations of racism[edit]

A scene from the E3 trailer depicting Chris firing on infected villagers

Resident Evil 5's 2007 E3 trailer was questioned for its depiction of a white protagonist killing black enemies in a small African village. Newsweek editor N'Gai Croal began the criticism, stating, "There was a lot of imagery in that trailer that dovetailed with classic racist imagery." He acknowledged that only the preview had been released.[78][79]

The second trailer for the game, released on May 31, 2008, revealed a more racially diverse group of enemies, as well as Sheva, a BSAA agent[80] who assists the protagonist.[81] However, designer Jun Takeuchi denied that complaints about racism had any effect in altering the design of Resident Evil 5.[82] Takeuchi commented that the game's producers were surprised by the controversy.[83] In an interview with MTV, he explained that Capcom's staff is racially diverse, and acknowledged that various cultures may have had different opinions on the trailer.[83][84] In an interview with Computer and Video Games, producer Masachika Kawata also commented on the issue, stating, "We can't please everyone. We're in the entertainment business – we're not here to state our political opinion or anything like that. It's unfortunate that some people felt that way."[85][86]

In Eurogamer's February 2009 preview of Resident Evil 5, Dan Whitehead expressed concerns about the controversy the game may generate, stating that "it plays so blatantly into the old clichés of the dangerous 'dark continent' and the primitive lust of its inhabitants that you'd swear the game was written in the 1920s" and "there are even more outrageous and outdated images to be found later in the game, stuff that I was honestly surprised to see in 2009." The article also states that the addition of the "light-skinned" Sheva "compounds the problem rather than easing it."[87]

Glenn Bowman, Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Kent, Canterbury,[88] has stated that he does not believe Resident Evil 5 is racist. Bowman added that the game presents an anti-colonial theme.[89] One particular scene in the game, said to show black men dragging off a screaming white woman,[87] was submitted for evaluation to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), which deemed it not to be racist. Sue Clark, Head of Communications at the BBFC, stated, "We do take racism very seriously, but in this case there is no issue around racism."[90][91]

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