Resident Evil 5 is Resident Evil 4's True Successor, Not Village

The grandaddy of survival horror games, Resident Evil has certainly seen its share of ups and downs over the years. Nowhere is that more evident than when players look at the series' releases in the '00s. Many fans of the series see Resident Evil 5 as the start of the series decline while hailing Resident Evil 4 as a masterpiece. It's certainly hard to argue the success of the fourth game given how many times it has been re-released, but Resident Evil 5 is a masterful successor to that game.

While it may be true that Resident Evil 4 contains more tense moments and horror, Resident Evil 5 takes the more action-horror style of 4 and runs with it. The game certainly has more action going on than previous games, but scenes like the opening where Chris and his new partner Sheva first encounter the new Las Plagas parasite show that producers definitely had the story of the last game in mind when making this title.  The Las Plagas link and the types of creatures that Chris and Sheva encounter make a good case that this and the previous game are linked and that plot elements that started in Resident Evil 4 are still here.

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The gameplay helps show how masterful a successor the game is as well. When Resident Evil 4 released, the control was much more fluid and featured a behind-the-shoulder camera, deviating from the zoomed-out camera and tank controls of older titles. Resident Evil 5 continues this trend, allowing the most control the games offered at that time. The game also improved other concepts from the last game, such as being able to upgrade weapons with no merchant or the ability to equip weapons or items during play instead of from a menu. Resident Evil 5 too what its predecessor did and absolutely improved what was there.

When looking at the gameplay, another way it proves itself is the addition of co-op mode.  Unlike the last game where Leon was accompanied by Ashley Graham, a character who served mostly as a glorified escort mission and was unable to fight back, this game brings us African BSAA agent Sheva Alomar, who serves as Chris' partner and is able to help out either as an AI or as a second player. This is the game that saw co-op become a thing for the series. Aside from moments where the AI doesn't work as well as it could, it really helps the game out by making it a more filled-out experience. The last game introduced the idea of partners through Ashley and Luis Sera, but here is where the concept was ironed out and fully realized.

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Players are treated to the end of two storylines in the game on top of all the improvements. Resident Evil 5 serves not only to bring a sort of finale to the Las Plagas debacle started in the previous game, but it also serves to bring players to the conclusion of another story. Throughout the game, Chris is not only haunted by visions of former partner Jill Valentine, but also by the still looming threat of Albert Wesker. This game brings the fight against Wesker to a close in an explosive way, letting the series move on to new villains. It's a game with multiple conclusions, and it's one that serves as probably the best continuation in the whole series because it both continues and ends the story started in the fourth game but also manages to tell a story that reaches back to other series plotlines.

Given all the improvements, connections, and story elements in the game, it's hard to see why some would mark the game as the start of a decline. The game may focus a bit more on action than previous entries did, but along the way, the elements of gameplay introduced previously were made even better. Along with a story that ties up old and new plots, several narrative links and refining the control scheme, Resident Evil 5 really did a lot for the series moving forward. When all this is taken into account, Resident Evil 5 truly is a masterful successor to Resident Evil 4.

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