The fifth numbered instalment in the Resident Evil series has been re-released once again, this time for Nintendo Switch.
Despite many holding Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 2 above the other major instalments in the series, the Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar-headlined, African village-set fifth instalment still stands as the most successful entry across the many platforms it's been available on (and gets close in the race for most successful Capcom entry). This number is most likely going to get yet another boost when the sales numbers for the latest platform release drop as Resident Evil 5 and 6 were just recently added to the Switch library, bringing some 18+ action to the format.
Resident Evil 5 offers both single-player and co-op in its campaign, DLC, and multiplayer. The Switch version specifically includes all of the DLC packs and modes. Lost in Nightmares and Desperate Escape lets players hop on into a separate timeline from that of the main campaign as Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine, while the campaign stars Chris and Sheva Alomar. The main game and the DLC's are story-based, meaning you'll follow a set narrative, all surrounding the classic Resident Evil story frame - something has gone wrong, people are eating each other, mutants are appearing, and it's up to you to put a stop to these grotesque beings and set things right.
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The fifth instalment sees iconic Resident Evil protagonist Chris Redfield partner up with series first-timer Sheva Alomar, who, for some reason, hasn't been seen again since. The pair team up in Kijuju, Africa and are instantly launched into the action as infected humans, or 'Majini', rush them in the alleys of a small village. The enemies successively get more advanced as you go through the game and boss fights turn the tide in an even grander way, as per usual in Resident Evil games.
We mentioned the game is playable in both solo and in co-op, however, it's very much focused around the co-op aspect which brings with it a problem for those seeking a single-player experience, perhaps the biggest of them all: the AI. As in the previous releases of the game, Sheva (or Chris, depending on who you opt to play as) is the same item-grabbing, thieving AI companion she always was, dashing straight for that ammunition you desperately need upon spotting it. She's also forgetful, stands in harm's way without doing anything at all, steps in front of your bullets, and she's wasteful, healing you when you've taken a kick to your big toe rather than waiting for the right time, like when you've taken a chainsaw to the cranium.
As is the case with most Switch ports of older games, Resident Evil 5 doesn't look great. It looks like what it is, a 10-year-old (yes, it's really been that long) game once released on last generation hardware, and as we're nearing the dawn of a new console generation, this is particularly noticeable. As for this fact, the Switch is hardly at fault, you can only do so much to make a 10-year-old game look good, however, playing the game in portable mode does make it look a lot better. This is, of course, due to the fact that the resolution isn't blown out onto a massive 4K screen. When it is, however, Resident Evil 5 looks horrendous.
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The controls both positives and negatives. Resident Evil 5 never had great, responsive, satisfying controls as they always felt a little bit stiff. When playing with the Joy-cons in their slots, however, the game feels clunkier than ever and we found it so uncomfortable we had to rest our hands occasionally. Unexpectedly, the gyro controls are actually the better option when trying to fire some bullets into the brains of your undead foes. That said, however, the gyro controls only work when you're in aiming mode, so running around still feels a bit stiff.
In summary, Resident Evil 5 is still a solid experience at its core. It offers an interesting narrative, great characters, co-operative play and has great motion control integration, but it does fall flat when one looks at the AI, the standard controls, and the visuals. That said, it's still a lot of fun and where the standard Switch controls fail this particular edition, its portability and motion controls keep it standing tall, or at least tall enough to be enjoyable for fans wanting to take Resident Evil on the road with them.
6 / 10
Looks good in portable mode, motion controls work well, great for the road, narrative is silly but intriguing, fun boss fights, co-op available.
Controls feel incredibly stiff, AI is horrendous, graphics aren't great in docked mode, standard aiming is rough.