Team work is crucial throughout the game as ammo is limited. Your best bet is picking a few weapon types for each character and sticking with it, this way you can spread the wealth of ammo pickups between each other as you find them. Some areas you'll simply find yourself so over run it's best just to sit back and try to pick off the enemy while your partner covers you, but keep an eye on the interface for clues when they'll need assistance. Others you'll be thick in the mix of a zombie swarm and frantically calling out for your teammate to heal you both. Speaking of the interface the game makes it easy to see what weapon your partner is using, how much ammo they have in the clip, how much in reserve and their health. After seeing it I've begun to wonder why we haven't seen more co-op games do something similar.
There are a few issues with the interface though, namely item management is more of a chore than it needs to be. In the heat of a battle with a partner it's annoying to say, "Cover me, I need to move some stuff around in my inventory."
One thing that stood out to me was the nice mix of levels and pacing the game offers. While the game starts out a little more traditional with tight corridors, and infected dropping in from god knows where - you soon find yourself in an open swamp controlling a boat and collecting artifact pieces. There's even some on rail vehicle sequences where you and a partner will be using mounted guns to take out infected on motorcycles. Near the end you'll swear you are playing a scene from Uncharted. And yes, there's even co-op quick time events, but thankfully they are few and far between.
Finally the game added an arcade style Mercenaries Mode that adds fast paced score style gameplay. Think of it as Horde mode but with limited time. The rounds typically last 4 to 5 minutes and are an absolute blast to play. Of course - this mode is completely playable in co-op.
By the time you make it to the end of the game with your co-op partner, you'll both be masters at communication and zombie survival strategy. Resident Evil 5's story completely engrossed me, and the gorgeous cut scenes moved things along at a hollywood-esque pace. I don't care what the internet says; cooperative gameplay was the best thing that could have happened to the series. It has moved the series into the next generation of games, and laid the groundwork for further and greater cooperative experience. While the journey may not be perfect, it's one I'd gladly play through again.
The Co-Op Experience: The entire Resident Evil 5 campaign supports two player, drop-in/drop-out co-op either locally (i.e., couch co-op), via system link or online. Co-op is also supported in the story DLC, "Lost in Nightmares" and "Desperate Escape." Additionally, two player local or online co-op is supported in the "Mercenaries United" mode.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.