Despite these conveniences, there are some frustrating hurdles that need to be leaped over before a partner can begin playing. Co-op isn't drop-in, so if someone joins, gameplay is interrupted and immersion is broken to some degree because the player who joined has to sit on the sidelines until the host either restarts or continues on to the next checkpoint. Another major problem is that players' main inventories are isolated from one another, and though you can trade healing items and ammunition, weapons are off-limits for exchange, making some battles more difficult if you're playing with a partner who is not as well equipped as you.
That's it for today. Be sure to read the chapter on gun maintenance--you WILL be tested!
Resident Evil 5 isn't a survival horror game, but that doesn't mean it hasn't learned a great deal from the genre. Tension is the central element of survival horror games, and in the past, tension has been conveyed by the gloomy settings, the sense of isolation, and the frustratingly clunky camera angles and controls. All RE5 does differently is convey this feeling through other outlets. Having a partner introduces new types of tension, because you're forced to rely on each other's support, find ways to manage both of your inventories during battles, and cover larger areas since enemies can appear from almost anywhere. Waves of enemies wax and wane with just the right frequency, and while the brightly lit environments make them less scary, they can be tough to deal with because they attack in large numbers and are smarter, faster, and stronger than their counterparts in previous games. Major encounters and boss fights are doled out with excellent pacing, and since you're never sure what to expect around the corner, you have to remain vigilant.
RE5 is one of the most visually stunning games available, and its huge variety of environments is meticulously detailed in every way. There are lots of large, open areas, and you'll constantly be on the move through them since there are usually so many enemies. In-game cutscenes are top-notch (though sometimes a bit over-the-top), and Chris and Sheva are incredibly well animated, especially their faces. If you happen to have the right collection of equipment, you can also take advantage of Nvidia's 3D Vision technology to experience Resident Evil 5 in stereoscopic 3D. The dialogue is often full of the trademark goofiness found in the series. The voice acting is competent, and when paired with the excellent facial expressions, it breathes a great deal of realism into the characters. Likewise, the fantastic orchestral soundtrack heightens the gameplay with everything from the low-key, ambient tracks that play during downtimes to the frantic, upbeat songs that accompany the massive boss battles.
On the first play-through, Resident Evil 5 lasts about 12 hours, which is considerably shorter than its predecessor. Once you're finished, though, there's still plenty to see and do. There are hidden B.S.A.A. badges scattered throughout most levels to find; you can strive to get better scores or times in each chapter to show off on the online leaderboards; and there are three initial difficulties available with a fourth unlockable. In-game points can be spent on collectible trophies of various characters and enemies, on additional costumes and graphics filters, and on special infinite-ammo versions of guns that you've fully upgraded. The Mercenaries minigame also returns in a format that is very similar to its last incarnation but with support for co-op. While it's disappointing that the Versus multiplayer mode available as downloadable content on the console releases is nowhere to be seen, a new PC-exclusive mode called No-Limit is included. No-Limit pits you against ridiculously huge mobs of enemies but is otherwise identical to the standard Mercenaries mode.
Having a partner to watch your back can save your life.
Resident Evil 5 successfully builds on the foundation of its predecessor while taking a drastically different direction. Having a partner introduces new degrees of gameplay depth and dramatic tension that make the game much more exciting to play. Though the slower, more deliberate movement and shooting may not appeal to everyone, this sequel's frequent large-scale battles and co-op play still offer a fun and exciting adventure.