There are few things in this world that will stop a horde of ravenous zombies. A well-placed headshot, decapitation, Ving Rhames, an angry shark—over the years, all of these have proven their zombie-stopping effectiveness. Though Resident Evil 5 instantly loses points for not including any shark-on-zombie combat, Capcom's latest boldly adds one more item to the list of undead anathema: friendship.
If you played Resident Evil 4, the basic gameplay in its sequel will be instantly familiar. The same slightly ponderous control scheme reappears here, with the same flaws. Unintuitively though, RE5's less-than-perfect controls actually add to the tension of the setting—battling shambling corpses is only made more intense when your character's actions are more akin to a real human than to a well-armed frog on speed.
Back to my bizarre friendship segue, though: Resident Evil 5 finally adds cooperative gameplay to the series. Even if you're playing by yourself, the game grants you a computer-controlled ally. Most gamers would be happy just to have an extra gun arm to ward off the lumbering corpses, but Capcom actually makes the two characters' interactions meaningful. They never shack up on the roof of a mall and hump like bunnies, but you can't go more than a few feet without having to help each other over a wall or cover your partner's advance with a well-aimed blanket of sniper fire.
Co-op is not a new gimmick, but more so than any other game we've seen in the recent past (Army of Two, I'm looking in your direction), Capcom makes both characters unique. Since each experiences the story from slightly different perspectives, replaying the game as each individual is the only way to get the entirety of the game's content.
It may be a tedious way to extend a relatively short game, but I get an unwholesome amount of pleasure killing zombies. Any reason to splatter gorgeously rendered undead is cool by me.