Glistening sun, burning flames
After ten minutes Resident Evil 5 is really gathering speed: a nerve-splitting hunt starts that will only let you rest once the end credits appear, almost 18 hours later. It's obvious: the fifth episode is much more tightly directed, the scenes change faster than they did in part four. There is no large main area (comparable to the castle from the last episode) this time. The game is divided into six main chapters, each divided into three to four acts each. After each act the game will be saved, there are additional reset points in each level and typewriters are gone for good. Your journey starts in Kijuju: In glistening sunlight you'll make your way through the streets of the village, rummaging and hiding in puny huts and checking out musty basements. Then you'll visit the surrounding area, search swampy marshlands and clean up an oil refinery. Afterwards, the game takes a decisive turn, away from the glistening African sun, towards darkness. A huge underground pyramid with nasty traps and cult-followers with animal-like speed is waiting for you, until you'll finally infiltrate a research facility and fight through two more areas to prepare for the grandiose showdown.
Saddle the chickens!
Not only the venues are changed very often: the gameplay offers some exciting twists, too. Most of the time you're on foot, but there are also some vehicles to use: you'll clear the road from hostile motorcyclists while standing on a truck's loading platform. While they hurl dynamite at you and try to push you into a river, you're firing a machine gun, trying to hit the tanks of the motorcycles, and enemies and their vehicles end up in smoke. In a later chapter you'll check out small settlements in the marshes using an airboat. But beware: huge crocodiles are lurking there, just waiting to push you from your vehicle and to crush both heroes in their massive jaws! Right here, the developers' skills to strain your nerves are very noticeable: Did something move in the grass or was it just the wind?
Resident Evil 5 is all about action. Fans of riddles could easily be disappointed - There is just one (apart from some search tasks). Otherwise, the game focuses mainly on co-op tasks: For example. in a dark tunnel, one player must use a torch to lead the way, while the other uses the weak beam of light to target enemies. If the route divides, there's usually a door to open, an object to be pushed out of the way or a key to be found. These are the strongest moments of Resident Evil 5 - there are a lots of scenes in which you wish Chris or Sheva to come back to you as fast as possible! For example, when Chris needs to push a huge boulder aside and you're hammering on a button like crazy, the blockade only moves away slowly. Suddenly, a group of creepy mutants appears, slowly crawling in your direction. It is now up to Sheva to get rid of this threat from a safe position.
Although some may sniff at the consequent abandonment of riddles - it makes sense regarding cooperative play: The game is based on cooperation which requires working together instead of having both participants thinking about the solution to a problem. If you're in the enemy's clutches at some point, you can bet on being helped by your companion. While you are wildly moving the left stick, your friend receives a message telling him that you're in trouble - he can see your location on the screen and quickly track you down. With good timing you only need to press one key to push away an attacker with a punch, use an uppercut to send him wavering off or to knock him out. It's worth being fast because it will save ammunition, too.