The Resident Evil series has survived three generations of consoles starting back on the PlayStation 1. In the original game you controlled a STARS squad with Chris Redfield as one of the main characters, and it hasn't truly been until now in Resident Evil 5 that Chris has gotten a proper return. While the original game had Chris partnered with Jill Valentine, Resident Evil 5 has another female sidekick watching Chris's back in Sheva Alamor, a character in which another player can take control in true co-op fashion.
Fans of Resident Evil 4 should feel right at home in the latest iteration of the game. It's a more action oriented game, and even a further departure from the series' survival horror roots. Honestly, this isn't a bad thing, but those of you looking for the game to be more tried and true need look elsewhere. From the moment you and your buddy are dropped into plagued Africa, you realize that defeating everything in your path isn't always the best option. Sometimes you simply need to run, it's a lesson best learned early and remember later. This is where the fear comes in, not in the jump out of your pants because of spooky sounds or monster closets, it's the uncertain. It's the what's around the next corner and how I'm going to approach it.
As you make your way through the game you'll uncover various weapons, gold and treasure littered in boxes, crates and on the fallen. I find it odd that the poverty stricken African villages like to keep stashes of gold and rare herbs in barrels in their living room - but to each their own. The dozen or so weapons are upgradable and purchasable in between chapters, and treasures you collect are can be sold to boost your gold. To add a bit of the persistent spice, you are able to bring your upgraded weapons in and out of co-op games with friends. It can add some imbalance joining a friends game in chapter 1-1 with a completely upgraded shotgun, but damn if it isn't fun watching infected villagers fly! During missions you can trade weapons and ammo between players through the inventory screen - and you can even send a request for items if you need them. One slight but understandable annoyance is the inability to trade upgraded weapons to an friend player.
Making your way through the game with a friend truly is a rewarding experience. I never felt like the co-op was forced upon me, the co-op actions we performed flowed naturally into the game world. Sure a broken ladder here or there might have seemed almost too convenient for a assisted jump, but there's something really satisfying about donkey punching an infected off your partner. I was really impressed with how the boss battles managed to lend them self well to cooperative strategies. For instance one battle had a player leading the boss into a furnace while the other player hit the switch to ignite the flames and (hopefully) not your partner.