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January 19 2009
Resident Evil 5 - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
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Visuals in Resident Evil 5 impress.
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Giving Sheva a boost.

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Chris and Sheva in Resident Evil 5.
With Capcom's Resident Evil series (or Biohazard as it's known in Japan) amassing game sales of around 35 million units since launching on PSOne 1996, and with four successful movies including the recent CG movie Resident Evil Degeneration which was direct to Blu-Ray, there was little doubt that this fifth (main) game in the franchise would be highly anticipated.

Since being first announced in July 2005 gamers the world over have been devouring every scrap of information. Now, over three and half years since being announced, the game is finally here. We've played some of the game, and give you some impressions...

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Now that's one big-assed weapon.
The biohazard threat has not ended: Just when it seemed that the menace of Resident Evil had been destroyed, along comes a new terror. Chris Redfield has followed the path of the evil around the globe. After joining a new organization, Chris heads to Africa where the latest bioterrorism threat is transforming the people and animals of the city into mindless, maddened creatures. He is joined by a new partner, Sheva Alomar, who lends her strength, intelligence and sharp-shooting skills to the mission. In order to survive, Chris and Sheva must work together to take on the challenges of discovering the truth behind this evil plot.

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Shooting at the enemies from a vehicle.
If you've played any of the previous games in the Resident Evil franchise, but in particular Resident Evil 4 then you should have no trouble picking up a controller and getting to grips with this game. This is very much the same gameplay and controls that have been a fixture of the series for many years now. The game is played from an over-the-shoulder perspective so you have an idea of what is ahead, as well as slightly to the side of you. You can carry several items and weapons, but are limited in quantity making management important.

Unfortunately the old saying that 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' seems to have applied a little too much to this game for our liking. The franchise has never allowed you to 'run and gun' or, in other words, move around while shooting. You'll be stuck frozen to the ground which may have been fine a decade ago, or even a few years ago, but really makes the game feel a little old school. But don't let that put you off. From our couple of hours playing this game this was really the only major annoyance - brilliant graphics, often around a dozen enemies on screen at once, great voiceovers and music (composed by Kota Suzuki and performed by the 103-piece Hollywood Studio Symphony) makes Resident Evil 5 one of the most impressive games we've tested prior to release.

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Spot the red exploding barrel!
Where this game does vary from previous Resident Evil titles is the focus on co-op gameplay. Be it online or offline the game allows you to control Chris, who appeared in the original Resident Evil and/or Sheva, an African special agent tasked with investigating the epidemic, throughout the game, and their reliance on each other is critical to the games storyline and completion. If one of the characters gets attacked by an enemy, their partners can jump in and help rescue them by shooting the enemies, or also entering hand-to-hand combat.

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Chris has a pistol, Sheva a shotgun.
Multi-player is also being supported in the game with online 2-player co-op being provided so you can work through the game with a friend. In fact, as we have already mentioned the co-op gameplay is essential to the overall game. Let's hope this is a lag-free experience. If you're not online never fear as Capcom will be including 2-player split-screen gameplay as well.

It must be mentioned that Resident Evil 5 has already come under some criticism of 'racial undertones' due to the number of dark skinned people being shot at. As far as we can see it's all utter bullshit. I mean you're in Africa, a lot of people are dark skinned there, just like in Asia you see a lot of Asians, and in England a lot of white fellas. Don't let this media crap put you off this game at all.

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What the hell is that?!
Visually Resident Evil 5 looks fantastic with some wonderful animation on the characters, both fried and foe. From what we have seen and played of the game there are some wonderful locations on offer which look wonderful with plenty of attention to detail and fine texturing. Animation in particular looks remarkably smooth with a wide range of characters and enemies seen within the demo, and certainly quite a few more in the full game.

With only a couple of weeks until this game hits the shelves we're pretty confident that this will be an essential purchase. Despite the lack of movement while aiming and shooting your weapon - which is our biggest complaint we can level at the game to date - everything else seems to be perfectly in place. With a release date now set for March 13th around the globe there is little doubt you should be heading to the shops on this day. If you can't wait for then, you can download a demo of the game on the Playstation Store right now.

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Chris uses some hand-to-hand combat.
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Now that's an explosion!?