Resident Evil 5 Remastered - Review

Next in line for Capcom's remasters of the last three main Resident Evil games, the Resident Evil 5 Remaster is getting released.
Yet considering how much dislike the initially well received fifth main entry in the Resident Evil story gained over the years, does this latest remaster of the game actually make it better or does it only sugarcoat an ultimately dated game?...     

The Original Game

Back in 2009, Resident Evil 5 was undoubtedly one of the most anticipated games since it got announced.
Mostly due to the success of the game-changing Resident Evil 4, expectedly fans of the franchise and horror games as a whole hoped for yet another similarily fantastic entry in the long running Resident Evil franchise.
And even though Resident Evil 5 actually got received very positively from most of the big gaming outlets, many gamers over the years now consider Resident Evil 5 one of the weakest entries in the entire franchise.
And while it is true that Resident Evil 5 is guilty of going a more action oriented route than its better balanced predecessor, I actually have to disagree with today's rather negative consensus towards the game and instead have to say that Resident Evil 5 actually is not only a very worthy successor to the fantastic RE4, but it also would have been a great way to end the entire franchise in one big bang (if Resident Evil 6 wouldn't have happened).

Nevermind the naysayers. Resident Evil 5 is awesome!

Sure enough though, yes, Resident Evil 5 actually in many parts presents itself more as an action game with some horror elements than a horror game with action elements. And while this was mostly due to the game being set in brightly lit locations in Africa, Resident Evil 5 nevertheless conveyed the raw, partially really disgusting, primitive and mysterious atmosphere in the Oroboros and Plagas infected towns and other locals with stunning precision.
The atmosphere additionally fit very well into the game's story and themes which brought up many classic characters and happenings from the first RE games to ultimately tie up all loose ends neatly in a very well round up story. Especially the thematical back to the roots story as well as the bond between Chris, Jill and Sheva is neatly put into place, while Albert Wesker, the big RE mastermind, fittingly represents the main villain in the game and puts Chris' bond to his partners to the test (along with of course having his own new plan for world domination/destruction).
And while Resident Evil 5 surely won't win any awards for its story, the game nevertheless manages to tell its story in a very satisfying pace all the while letting you journey through very varied locations and levels.
This is all only topped up by a hands down one of the most ludacrious yet awesome final battle between Chris, Sheva and Wesker, that does great in serving as an intense final battle but also nice homage to the final Tyrant battle from the first Resident Evil game - tying the entire RE storyline up neatly (until RE6 came along).

Despite a big focus on action, RE5 thematically is about going back to the roots.

And while the story, pacing and the levels remain great in Resident Evil 5, what might arguably be something a little on the disappointing side, might be that Resident Evil 5 never seems to have improved the introduced third-person gameplay from Resident Evil 4 into any new territories.
With that said, while this means that the great mechanics that combine survival mechanics with third-person-shooter mechanics are still just as awesome in RE5 as they were in RE4, this sadly also means that the occasional shortcomings of the gameplay also are once again present and weren't ironed out.
Thus, the fact that your character can't move and shoot at the same time, or that managing your inventory with so little slots remains somewhat cumbersome, can create some occasionally very annoying situations into an otherwise stellar game. And while those issues weren't as big of a deal back in 2005 for RE4, they especially are when seeing that they haven't been simply improved in the slightest in the RE5 in 2009 - four years after RE4. Unfortunately it's those small nitpicks in the game's mechanics that can make Resident Evil 5 feel more dated now in 2016 than it should.

Some annoyances in the mechanics make RE5 sometimes feel a bit dated.

The Remaster Updates

Yet, in Capcom's announced line of remasters of RE6, RE5 and RE4, Resident Evil 5 now got released with a fresh new layer of paint to breathe some new life into this 2009 classic.

While the term "remaster" might actually be quite of a stretch for Resident Evil 5 on PS4 and Xbox One, Resident Evil 5 actually does look quite a bit better than its original PS3 and Xbox 360 versions. With that being said, the Resident Evil 5 remaster visually though only really offers very expected improvements and not too much else. Thus, the framerate got expectedly bumped up to rock solid 60fps, textures have been amped up to higher resolutions and most notably shadows are now much more detailed.
This doesn't mean though that Resident Evil 5 looks bad in 2016, but actually the exact opposite: Even today, the game looks really good, with especially very detailed character/monster models and animations stealing the show. Resident Evil 5 surely doesn't hold a candle to current-gen titles, yet doesn't really need to shy away either.

The new camera angle finally offers a much better view.

What's a far more interesting addition to the new remastered version of the game though, is that Resident Evil 5 Remastered now offers players a very welcome new camera angle that distances itself more from your character, giving you a much bigger field of view as a result (a much desired upgrade that fans have been asking for for years).

Last but not least, the DLCs Lost Nightmare and Desperate Escape are of course also included in the remaster and give the game nicely added levels with Jill's perspective on the story.
Also the Mercenaries United mode is also packed in with full gear, meaning that you can immediately play the mode with all characters, levels, costumes and modes unlocked from the start.

Of course, all released DLC is also present in the remaster.

The Verdict

All in all, despite the bad reputation that the more action oriented Resident Evil 5 has gained over the years, at least in my point of view, Resident Evil 5 remains one of the strongest entries in the entire franchise and to this day stands strong as a great successor to RE4 and a fantastic "would've-been"-ending to the franchise.
With themes, atmosphere and story blended and working together so smoothly, even the now a bit dated controls, occasional misshaps in the story and bigger focus on action are easily forgiven.
The 2016 remaster of Resident Evil 5 now finally delivers the essential way of experiencing the game. While the PC version of the game even now still stands strong in comparison, especially the smoother 60fps, slightly better and more prominent use of particle effects and sharper textures make the Resident Evil 5 Remaster not a colossal remaster but definitely a nice notable upgrade on the PS4 and Xbox One.
Additionally, the inclusion of all existing story- and mercenary mode DLCs as well as the much asked for second camera mode, which gives a much bigger field of view, make the Resident Evil 5 Remaster the full package of the game.

While honestly not really an absolute must-have upgrade for anyone who already owns the Gold Edition with all DLCs, the Resident Evil 5 Remaster is not really a giant standout upgrade to the game, yet doesn't distract or diminish the fact in any way that Resident Evil 5 still remains one hell of a great entry in the RE franchise (nevermind the naysayers).
Gamers who never experienced Resident Evil 5 before should definitely pick it up for PS4 or Xbox One right away, while fans who loved the game already back in 2009 or at least still have a soft spot for it, can rightfully once again dive into a nicely enough upgraded breeze of nostalgia with this remaster.


 Final Verdict: 8 out of 10 
(Original Game: 9/10, Remaster Treatment: 7/10)

Status: Great

Big thanks goes out to Capcom for providing us with a review code of the game.

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