As we said earlier, the good news is that the PC version of Resident Evil 5 is pretty much just the same as the console version. The bad news for both of them though is that they’ve arguably drifted too far from the original roots of the series. Put bluntly, Resident Evil 5 just isn’t very scary and doesn’t feel very evil.

Part of it is to do with the characters, obviously. They’re all so familiar and old-hat by this point that when the usual cast start rearing their heads to give the story a surprise twist you’ll be tempted to ring up Capcom’s hint line and ask them if you were honestly supposed to gasp at that point.

At the same time though, the lack of chills also arises from the new direction that the series has attempted to take – edging further and further down the path to being an all-out shooter than ever before. True, Resident Evil 4 used the same camera angle and had a lot of gunplay too, but the pacing was entirely different and the dark recesses of those old castles felt genuinely unnerving.

*Resident Evil 5 PC Review Resident Evil 5 PC Conclusions
Same Resident Evil, same cumbersome inventory

Resident Evil 5 isn’t like that. Almost straightaway the game throws you into a large fight with a mini-boss and a respawning field of enemies, so you fight your way through all that and suddenly realise how capable and easily you can dispatch foes, taking away any of the suspense of the combat. Only boss fights are truly challenging – and gruellingly so!

It’s especially telling how many ideas have been recycled since Resident Evil 4 too, like the chainsaw-wielding-mask-man. He cropped up suddenly and inexplicably in Resident Evil 4, offering you a particularly brutal death that left such an impression that meant he was interesting to fight again later even though little had changed. Resident Evil 5 though, unable to come up with a new version of him, just dumps the exact same character back in the game even though he has no reason to exist there. It reeks of a lack of originality, as do the turret sequences and the endless scouring for a gem of a certain colour or a key of a certain metal.

The story is the main draw here though, combined with the visceral splendour of the combat. The game certainly delivers when it comes to both of these as, even though the rote of characters and agendas is transparent from the offset, it is exactly what fans are interested in – and on that front Capcom doesn’t disappoint. They even throw in the craziest fight scenes we’ve seen outside of Ninja Gaiden to help keep it feeling modern, even if it is a little out of place.

*Resident Evil 5 PC Review Resident Evil 5 PC Conclusions
It's what you do with it that counts

Maybe we’re just being a bit sullen because we pine for the time when Resident Evil really pushed the envelope in terms of tension and cinematography, rather than just stepping through the same old tropes. Maybe we’re just annoyed that, having finally landed on the PC after months of waiting, Resident Evil 5 doesn’t anything wholly new to justify the wait. The improved mercenaries mode, which *Resident Evil 5 PC Review Resident Evil 5 PC Conclusionsclusters more enemies on to the screen, and the online and local co-op are nice (though it’d be nicer without Games For Windows), but they’re also nothing to really write home about. Especially since the actual moment-to-moment gameplay feels clunky and stunted.

The crux of it is that Resident Evil 5 seems to want to be an all-out third person shooter, rather than the more adventure-orientated genre the franchise started off as – but it can’t quite pull it off as the developers haven’t moved far enough away from the roots of the series. Thus, you can’t move and shoot at the same time and the gameplay becomes an endless attempt to keep enough distance between yourself and the enemies to let you get a few shots off, the levels interspersed with awkward throw backs to how it used to be as you roam the swamps and shanties looking for gems.

That was the problem we had with the console version of Resident Evil 5 and it’s a problem we still have with the PC version too, compounded by the fact that Capcom has focused almost solely on improving the graphics rather than expanding the content or balancing the combat for the new control system. It’s as we said to start with – exactly the same as the console version, right down to the flaws.

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October 14 2021 | 15:04