Resident Evil 5
|Resident Evil 5|
Resident Evil 5, known in Japan as Biohazard 5 (バイオハザード5 Baiohazādo 5?), is an action video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the fifth main installment in the Resident Evil series. It was released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles in March 2009 and for Microsoft Windows in September. 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 that its predecessor Resident Evil 4 was released. Several staff members from the original Resident Evil worked on Resident Evil 5. Motion capture was used to film the game's cutscenes, and Resident Evil 5 was the first video game to use virtual camera technology. 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 received mostly positive critical reception, though it was frequently criticised for issues with its controls, and initially also received complaints of racism. It outsold its predecessor and became the best-selling single game of the franchise. A sequel to the game, Resident Evil 6, was released in 2012.
Resident Evil 5 is an action game played from an over the shoulder perspective. Players can use several weapons, including handguns, shotguns, automatic rifles, sniper rifles and grenade launchers, and can also use melee attacks against enemies. Wounding an enemy with a firearm will often cause the enemy to stagger. If the player is in close range when this occurs, an icon will appear on the screen giving the option to perform a melee attack, such as an uppercut or somersault kick. Players can perform a quick 180 degree turn to evade enemies. Many of the game's cutscenes and boss-battles involve quick time events.
Like its predecessor Resident Evil 4, players cannot run and shoot at the same time, but have the ability to upgrade weapons using money and treasures found throughout the game, and heal themselves with herbs. New features include some infected enemies using firearms and grenades, the ability to upgrade weapons at any time from the inventory screen (as opposed to having to locate a merchant) and the fact that weapons and items can only be equipped in the midst of gameplay (the game still runs real-time as the player manipulates the inventory). Each player can now store nine items (unlike the previous games the size of items is irrelevant; a herb will take up one of the nine spaces, as will a grenade launcher) and four items can be assigned to the D-pad.
Resident Evil 5 supports two-player co-operative gameplay. The first player controls Chris Redfield, and a second player can control Sheva Alomar. If playing alone, Sheva is controlled by the game's artificial intelligence. After the game has been completed once, the option is given to control Sheva as the primary character. Two player mode is available in either online or split-screen with a local player. A second player joining a split-screen game already in progress will cause the game to reload the last checkpoint; a second player joining an online game will either have to wait until the first player reaches the next checkpoint, or restarts the previous one, in order to play. Split-screen mode presents the game in two windows with the same wide-screen proportions as one-player mode, rather than splitting the screen in two halves. This results in the entire screen not being utilized. Players are separated at points during the gameplay. However, if one player has critical health, only their partner can resuscitate them. Players can trade items during gameplay, though weapons cannot be traded with online players.
A version of the Mercenaries minigame, which debuted in Resident Evil 3, is present in Resident Evil 5. At launch, the multiplayer mode in the minigame was offline only, but a launch day patch gave the game online multiplayer modes as well. Mercenaries unlocks once the game's story mode has been completed. This minigame places the player in an enclosed environment with a time-limit. Customised weapons cannot be used, and players must continuously search for weapons, ammunition and extra time bonuses while fighting an endless flood of enemies; the objective being to score as many points as possible in the limited time.
Five years after the events of Resident Evil 4, Chris Redfield, a former STARS member and now part of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA), is dispatched to Kijuju, Africa to help his new partner Sheva Alomar apprehend Ricardo Irving before he can sell a bio-organic weapon (BOW) on the black market. Upon arriving, they discover the locals have been infected and taken over by parasites (the infected people are termed "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 he directs the pair to a nearby cave to learn more. The cave 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, 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.
Resident Evil 5 was developed by Capcom and produced by Jun Takeuchi, who had previously directed Onimusha and produced Lost Planet: Extreme Condition. 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. In February 2007, members of Capcom's Clover Studio were also called upon to help develop the game. However, many developers from the studio instead went to work on the Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, which debuted for the Wii. 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. Takeuchi announced the game would utilize the same gameplay model introduced in Resident Evil 4, while implementing thematics from the original Resident Evil. Tsukasa Takenaka provided additional story background and created the in-game files.
Takeuchi stated that about three years were spent on "actual development time" of the game, with an additional year prior to that spent on concept and planning. At its peak, about 110 people were working on the project. The decision for co-operative gameplay was made "part-way" through the development, in order to give an entirely new experience in a Resident Evil game. While there were initial concerns that a second player would reduce the game's tension and horror, it was later realized that this could actually increase tension by presenting opportunities in which one player had to be rescued. Takeuchi also stated the decision to have split-screen mode present both screens in their original 16:9 ratio and was influenced by the desire to not have the player's screens right on top of each other, as this could be distracting, also stating the restriction on moving and shooting at the same time was retained to increase player tension due to the inability to move freely. Takeuchi cited the film Black Hawk Down and his experience working on Lost Planet: Extreme Condition as major influences for Resident Evil 5.
While previous Resident Evil games are mainly set at night, the events of Resident Evil 5 occur almost entirely during the day. In July 2008, director Yasuhiro Anpo stated that the daytime setting was due to the advanced graphics capabilities, which gave them greater options with lighting. Takeuchi stated the film 28 Days Later, which mainly took place in the daytime and in outdoor locations, served as inspiration for them by showing horror can be created without darkness. Anpo also stated that as Resident Evil 4 was "a very long game" and uninteresting at points, they would try to make Resident Evil 5 "a little shorter" and more exciting than its predecessor. Resident Evil 5 runs on version 1.4 of Capcom's internally developed MT Framework engine. Motion capture was used to record scenes in Resident Evil 5. It was the first video game to use virtual cameras. This technology allowed developers to view the characters movements in real time as the motion capture actors were recording; Actors Reuben Langdon, Karen Dyer and Ken Lally portrayed Chris Redfield, Sheva Alomar and Albert Wesker respectively. Some animation in the game could not be recorded with motion capture and was instead hand-keyed, and motion capture scenes were often retouched by hand to make them appear more realistic or vivid.
Kota Suzuki served as the game's lead composer, with additional compositions provided by Hideki Okugawa, Akihiko Narita and Seiko Kobuchi. Suzuki stated that the daytime setting of Resident Evil 5 did not change much in terms of the game's music score, though it did require them to have a better balance between the sound effects and what was happening on screen, due to more details being visible. 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. 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 composed by Kota Suzuki and sung by Oulimata Niang.
Marketing and release
Resident Evil 5 was officially announced by Capcom on July 20, 2005. Capcom revealed a brief trailer for Resident Evil 5 at E3 2007. The full E3 trailer for the game became available on the Xbox Live Marketplace and the PlayStation Store on July 26, 2007. 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 website. A playable demo of the game was released in Japan on December 5, 2008 for the Xbox 360. 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. Downloads of the demo exceeded 4 million worldwide across the two consoles, with over 1.8 million of these downloads taking place in the first three days.
On January 21, 2009 D+PAD Magazine reported that Resident Evil 5 would be released with Limited Edition Xbox 360 box art; pictures of the Limited Edition box claimed it would allow 2–16 players to play offline via system link. Capcom initially responded stating that their "box art isn't lying", but refused to give any more details. 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. 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.
Resident Evil 5 was released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in March 2009. Capcom released a dedicated Game Space for the PlayStation 3's online community-based service, PlayStation Home. The space was called the Resident Evil 5 "Studio Lot" (or Biohazard 5 "Film Studio" for Japan) and was themed around the in-game opening location of Kijuju. The lounge offered Resident Evil 5-related items, a variety of events, a full game launching support feature, and was the first Home space to offer an in-lounge shop. Some areas in the space were only available to users who own Resident Evil 5. The space was released on 5 March 2009 on all regions of PlayStation Home. The space was retired in 2012. A Microsoft Windows version was released in September 2009. This version takes advantage of Nvidia's 3D Vision technology and includes extra content like additional costumes and a new mode in the Mercenaries minigame.
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. Versus became available to download in Europe and North America on April 7, 2009 on both the Xbox Live Marketplace and the PlayStation Store. The Versus content contains two different online game types: "Slayers", a point-based game that challenges players to kill Majini, and "Survivors", where players must hunt each other while dodging and attacking Majini. Both modes can also be played online in teams of two players. The Microsoft Windows version of Resident Evil 5 does not support downloadable content (DLC).
During Sony's press conference at the Tokyo Game Show 2009, Capcom announced that a special edition of the game, known as Biohazard 5: Alternative Edition, would be released in Japan in Spring 2010 exclusively for the PlayStation 3. This edition supports the PlayStation Move accessory and includes a new scenario titled "Lost in Nightmares", where protagonists Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine infiltrate one of Oswell E. Spencer's estates in 2006. Another special edition of the game, known as Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition, was released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in North America and Europe. The Gold Edition includes the "Lost in Nightmares" scenario and another campaign expansion episode, "Desperate Escape", where players control Josh Stone and Jill Valentine as they journey to assist Chris and Sheva. The edition also includes the previously released Versus mode, four new costumes, and an alternate Mercenaries mode with eight new playable characters, new items and maps. Like the Alternative Edition, The Gold Edition supports the PlayStation Move accessory, with a patch released on September 14, 2010.
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 because 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. The disc was released in the United States on March 9, 2010, and in Europe on March 12. "Lost in Nightmares" and the first costume pack were available for download on both consoles in February 2011, while "Desperate Escape" and other costume packs were released in March. On November 5, 2012, Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition was put onto PlayStation Network as a free download for PlayStation Plus users for the month of November.
As part of game's conversion to Steamworks, Gold Edition was released for Microsoft Windows on March 26, 2015. Those that already own the game through either Steam or a boxed retail Games For Windows Live, can acquire a free Steamworks copy of the base game and then purchase the new Gold Edition content.
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. 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 in the region. As of December 2014, Resident Evil 5 has sold 6.7 million copies worldwide on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, making it both the highest selling Resident Evil game and the highest selling Capcom game of all time.
Resident Evil 5 has received positive reviews. It was frequently praised for its graphics and gameplay, but drew considerable criticism for issues with its controls. Corey Cohen of Official Xbox Magazine complimented the game's fast pace of action and called the graphics "gorgeous". 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 and voice acting helped make characters come alive. However Juba stated that the inability to move and shoot at the same time seemed "like a cheap and artificial way to increase difficulty than a technique to enhance tension." Chris Hudak from Game Revolution also gave a favorable review. While lamenting the departure of the game from the survival horror genre, he concluded "the gorgeous environs, character models and overall visuals, and the adrenaline-soaked cooperative gameplay (wonky, stodgy Capcom controls and all) cannot be denied."
Adam Sessler of X-Play said that while the game's graphics were exceptional, the single player artificial intelligence was hard to play through, and expressed disappointment for the controls he felt were taken from Resident Evil 4. Edge also praised Resident Evil 5's gameplay as exhilarating and frantic though echoed the criticism of the control system. Writing for IGN, Ryan Geddes stated that the split-screen co-operative mode was very confusing but the game had a surprisingly high replay value. 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." While criticising the departure from survival horror and the inability to not only move and shoot but also move and knife fight, Brian Crecente from Kotaku concluded "From beginning to end, this latest Resident Evil delivers a riveting and intense experience well worth the time spent playing it."
James Mielke of 1UP.com repeatedly compared Resident Evil 5 to Gears of War 2. He criticized several inconsistencies in the game, such as the enemies artificial intelligence, and the ability to interact with objects and use cover. Mielke was also critical of the controls, stating that aiming was too slow and noting the inability to strafe away from or quickly jump back from enemies. However he concluded that "despite the excruciating detail I've poured into describing the problems [Resident Evil 5] creates for itself, this is still a very fun game." Kristan Reed of Eurogamer also criticized aspects of the controls, such as the speed at which 180 degree turns were performed and the difficulty accessing the inventory system. Reed went on to state 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".
Steven Hopper of GameZone gave the "Lost in Nightmares" DLC a rating of 8 out of 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." Samuel Claiborn from IGN gave the "Desperate Escape" DLC a rating of 7 out of 10, concluding "Despite Desperate Escape's well-crafted action sequences, I actually found myself missing the unique vibe of Lost in Nightmares. The dynamic between Jill and Josh isn't particularly thrilling, and the one-liners, banter and endearing kitsch are kept to a minimum." Resident Evil 5 was nominated for "Best Action Game" at the 2009 IGN Game of the Year Awards.
Allegations of racism
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. The second trailer for the game, released on May 31, 2008, revealed a more racially diverse group of enemies, as well as Sheva, a half-African BSAA agent who assists the protagonist. However, Takeuchi denied that complaints about racism had any effect in altering the design of Resident Evil 5, also stating that the game's producers were surprised by the controversy. 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. 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."
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." Chris Hudak called the racism allegations "stupid", stating "If you are aware from the outset that the game takes place in Africa and yet you are still troubled by any skin-tone-related aspects ... there exists the possibility of simple, congenital retardation on your own part."
Wesley Yin-Poole from VideoGamer.com stated that despite the amount of controversy the game was attracting due to racism, no expert opinion had yet been sought for comment. He asked Glenn Bowman, senior lecturer in social anthropology at the University of Kent, whether he thought the game was racist. Bowman said he thought the racism accusations were "silly". He stated that the game presented an anti-colonial theme, and added that people complaining about the game being racist could be considered a form of "inverted racism which says that you can't have scary people who are black." It was reported that one cutscene in the game scene showed "black men" dragging off a screaming white woman; Yin-Poole stated that the allegation was incorrect, as the single man dragging the woman was "not obviously black." The scene was submitted for evaluation to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). Sue Clark, Head of Communications at the BBFC, stated, "there is only one man pulling the blonde woman in from the balcony [and he] is not black either. As the whole game is set in Africa it is hardly surprising that some of the characters are black ... we do take racism very seriously, but in this case there is no issue around racism."
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