What’s the worst thing a developer can put in a video game. Escort missions. Bring the mentally challenged, paint-chip eating AI controlled character from point A to point B without letting him/her be killed. These type of missions always end up with said AI character running face first into a storm of swords, wandering off a cliff, or skipping into a hungry horde of zombies. Somehow in Resident Evil 4, Capcom addressed this issue with the escort missions by letting you toss your escortee, Ashley, into a dumpster while you ran around and killed off all the lurking zombies. This method worked to an extent, but was not perfect. There were times I wished I was able to give her a shotgun and have her blow away a zombie when they found her in her comfy little dumpster. Well, I guess I wasn’t the only person to want to be able to do this, because in RE5, Capcom lets you give your “partner” an entire arsenal of weapons.

Enter Sheva, your new escortee, err, “partner”, for the latest entry in the RE series. My good god, surprise, surprise, what a frikin moron!! Unlike RE4, you have to baby-sit this one from start to finish and also rely on her to cover your back in certain situations. I cannot think of any game I have played in recent history that was this frustrating by design.

To cite a specific point of frustration, there’s a situation where  my character needs to enter a narrow corridor and push a big box out of a blocked path while being tailed by a large amount of zombie lizards, but she can’t come with, she has to stay on the ground and provide cover fire. On paper, not a bad idea for a fun situation in a game, in execution, AAARRRRRGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!! First, I put a sniper rifle in her inventory along with a rocket launcher and some grenades for good measure. She proceeds to provide “cover fire” with her under-powered pistol, game over. OK, retry, time to take away the pistol. Now she proceeds to miss almost every shot with the sniper rifle, my character gets overwhelmed with enemies, game over. Next try, I put a highly upgraded sniper rifle in her inventory along with every bit of sniper ammo I have and I take all the grenades so I can keep the zombie lizards off my back. “OK, I got it this time” I say to myself, nope, she missed almost every shot again, game over. Finally, I take everything and leave her with a shotgun to defend herself. “F’ Yeah!!! I got it, you zombie lizards are going down. I don’t need no cover f…….”, “Your Partner Has Died”. She didn’t even fire off one shot in self defense.

Now, I’m aware that a co-op mode was incorporated into this game and is how the developers intended you to play the game. But, they need to realize that most people playing this are fans of the previous game, which were single player, and enjoy single player games. If they must put in a co-op mode, at least make it optional or give the AI some brains.

Onwards to the story, it sucked. Something about bio-weapons, the Umbrella Corp. and terrorists.

In the end, there are some redeeming qualities to this game. The graphics were top notch. The music mixed with some pretty creepy environments surely gave a sense of tension. There were a couple parts where I got to man a chain gun attached to a Jeep and do some on-rail shooter zombie slaughtering, and that was pretty damn fun.

After you finish a play-through of the game the “Mercenaries” mode unlocks. In this mode, you need to kill as many zombies as possible within a set time period. It has a nice arcade scoring system, combos bonuses, head shot bonuses, trick shot bonuses, ect.  And the best part, no partner!   It’s pretty fun for a bonus mode.

All in all, when my delightful partner wasn’t off screwing something up, I certainly had a blast blowing away zombies. The Mercenaries mode adds a bit of replay value to the package. If you can find this game cheap, check it out. Just be sure to bring a friend along.