• Resident Evil 5 took the series in a bold new direction with a focus on action and cooperative gameplay.
  • Fans were divided by its departure from traditional survival horror elements in favor of campy action, but the game’s impact on the franchise’s modern resurgence is undeniable, with moments like Chris’ section from Village feeling like a result of RE5’s efforts.
  • With Resident Evil 5 celebrating its 15th anniversary in America and Europe today, and a remake rumored, it is worth looking at all the game did right and judging it more fairly.

March 13, 2024, marks the 15th anniversary of Resident Evil 5 in North America and Europe, one of the most unique and underappreciated titles in developer Capcom’s acclaimed survival horror series. Released at a time when the gaming landscape was shifting away from tradition, the title faced the monumental task of following up Capcom’s groundbreaking hit, Resident Evil 4. Rather than follow in its predecessor’s footsteps, Resident Evil 5 veered the series in a bold and then-revolutionary direction, featuring heavy action themes and innovative cooperative gameplay. The Resident Evil franchise is as popular as ever, thanks to highly successful modern titles and incredibly effective remakes of its best titles. While Resident Evil 5 is remembered by many as one of the classic series’ most divisive outliers, 15 years later its impact on the modern series proves it has more than earned its place in the franchise.

Resident Evil 5 was released 15 years ago today for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles, with a September release on PC happening after. The title featured the continued adventures of veteran protagonist Chris Redfield, as he investigated a mysterious outbreak in Kijuju, an area of West Africa. Aiding him on his journey was newcomer Sheva Alomar, a local BSAA Agent, whom a second player could control for the full duration of the title’s campaign. While Resident Evil 5 featured many recurring elements from its predecessors, including characters, plot points, and lore, its overall tone was a major departure, leading to a divisive initial reception.


There Needs to Be More Co-Op Resident Evil Games Like Resident Evil 5

Co-op has always been a fun gameplay approach in Resident Evil titles, and a Resident Evil 5 remake could reintroduce it to the franchise.

Resident Evil 5’s Unique Elements Divided Fans in 2009

Resident Evil 5 was emblematic of 2009’s gaming landscape, as titles across most major genres injected their worlds with gritty, action-heavy set pieces. Ironically, this was its predecessor’s greatest strength, as Resident Evil 4 delivered a masterful balance between campy action and gruesome horror. Resident Evil 5 took everything to the next level, handing players ample ammo and tasking them with overcoming wave upon wave of hostile enemies across Kijuju’s villages, facilities, and secret labs. While this provided a new and unique experience for Resident Evil fans, the dive into action-adventure, of a particularly campy variety, left some unsatisfied.

Still, Resident Evil 5 excelled in creating a new and unique take on the classic survival horror formula. Its cooperative gameplay opened the door to unique combat scenarios and quick-time set pieces beyond what the series had previously seen. These elements paved the way for new and unique enemy types, which tasked players with exploiting specific weaknesses while managing hordes of infected civilians that threatened to overrun Chris and Sheva at every turn. Lastly, the title’s tonal shift created some of the series’ most memorable and audacious moments, including the now-legendary showdown between Chris and Albert Wesker inside a volcano, during which the former unloads his full might on an obstructive boulder.

Taken alone, Resident Evil 5 was a strong, albeit strange, stand-alone entry to the franchise. However, the release of Resident Evil 6, which diverged even further into action-adventure, led many at the time to view Resident Evil 5 as the first step in an overall decline for the series – a decline that threatened to stop the series dead in its tracks. However, the franchise’s resurgence following the release of Resident Evil 7 has given fans the space to assess Resident Evil 5 more fairly. Today, many fans view Resident Evil 5 as a bold and undervalued gem of its era.


Why Playing as Chris Redfield Would Feel Better Than Ever in a Resident Evil 5 Remake

Players would once again get to fill the shoes of Chris Redfield in a Resident Evil 5 remake, and the character could feel better than ever.

Resident Evil 5’s Legacy Shaped The Series’ Modern Comeback

Resident Evil 5 imbued the series, its characters, and mythology with a new sense of scope. Following Resident Evil 4‘s introduction of Valdalobos, Resident Evil 5 introduced a narrative in which outbreaks are occurring across the planet. At the heart of these events was a now superhuman Albert Wesker, with a brainwashed Jill Valentine in tow. To overcome the massive burst in scope, Resident Evil 5‘s players were teamed up, handed plenty of ammo, and thrown into the fire.

Additionally, Resident Evil 5 reinvented the character of Chris Redfield, who was now a formidably large and capable army of one. This transformation allowed the title to tangent into action-adventure spectacle, while maintaining an overarching survival horror narrative. Today, Resident Evil 5 stands as the first mainline entry in which Capcom attempted to create a modern blockbuster narrative. While it ultimately led the series in the wrong direction, its impact on the franchise’s modern resurgence is undeniable.

In January 2017, the Resident Evil franchise re-emerged at the top of the survival horror genre with the first-person megahit Resident Evil 7. Unlike its predecessor, Resident Evil 7 doubled down on the franchise’s survival horror aesthetic, introducing a new protagonist, Ethan Winters, trapped on a strange family’s estate. While ammo and saves were once again limited, the massive action set-pieces perfected in Resident Evil 5 returned, as players faced and ultimately defeated each family member while uncovering the truth behind the estate’s twisted horrors. Eventually, the plot was intricately connected to the franchise’s classic legacy, featuring B.O.W’s, Umbrella, and a new contagion, the Mold. Most significantly, the title’s final moments reintroduced Resident Evil 5‘s Chris Redfield as the Alpha Leader of an elite BSAA squad. The character was further fleshed out in his own RE7 DLC, Not a Hero.

Resident Evil 7‘s release propelled the franchise back into the mainstream, and it has since released another acclaimed mainline entry, Resident Evil Village, which heavily features Chris Redfield as a mysterious anti-hero. While Chris appears at various points throughout the Village, the final act allows fans to play as Chris, in a sequence that heavily mirrors the combat scenarios of Resident Evil 5. As players mow down hordes of enemies, they slowly make their way to the heart of the Village to end the infection. Providing a near-perfect balance of survival horror and thrilling action, Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil Village have re-established the franchise as the pinnacle of survival horror, and much of that is thanks to the ideas pioneered by Resident Evil 5.

15 years following its release, Resident Evil 5 has more than earned its place in the franchise’s lasting legacy. While its bold new take on the series was hard for some to accept in 2009, the title’s experimental elements and attempts to balance horror and action provided the foundation on which the modern iteration is built. Today, Resident Evil 5 is once again in the headlines, as a modern remake is rumored to be announced very soon. With its essential role within the larger franchise now established, the Resident Evil 5 remake can draw fresh attention to the original’s strengths and re-establish the surrounding narrative for one of Capcom’s most unique games.


Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5 is the fifth installment in the mainline franchise and follows Chris Redfield, as well as his partner Sheva Alomar as they investigate some mysterious and deadly incidents in Kijuju, an area of West Africa.


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