This is a practice for school and to help me think objectively. This review will be spoiler free. You won't hear anything that will not be divulged in the opening cutscene.
Resident Evil 5 hit shelves a couple of weeks ago and I beat it in two days. So lets break this down.
Story: Honestly, the story is what you've come to expect from the folks at Capcom. I thought it was believable and tied the whole thing together quite nicely. I never found myself wanting for explaination that I couldn't find in a cutscene or document. It's a very good narrative for the game.
Chris Redfield is back (I know everyone knows this but I have to pretend you don't) he's gone Way Down to Africa. If I had to guess somewhere close to Morocco. I can't quite pin down the language. He is assigned to a anti-bioterrorism unit attached to the United Nations. Chris also seems to have worked out a lot. He's a lot more ripped than I remember. His partner for his stint in the Savannah is local Sheva Alomar (Quite honestly the smoking hottest female character I've ever seen.) They're obviously dealing with the fallout from Umbrella's collapse (I promised not to ruin five not four).
Graphics and Presentation: The game delivers it and then some putting you in a diabetic comma from the just phenomenal caliber of it all. The graphics are beautiful the voice acting and motion capture are top-notch. It is the best lip syncing I've seen in a a game from Japan. (I played Infinite Undiscovery to remind myself what bad looked like) the motions are fluid and often dynamic. Chris and his partner move with a real-world weightiness.
The presentation is also spot on. It's realistic and you can feel the heat. I know I did. I'm not going to go into the fear element in great detail because it's subjective. The only thing that scared me about Resident Evil games before four were how I was going to deal with these crappy controls. However, there is a large amount of constant tension in the game. Whether or not you're going to make it, blow your ammo on one guy, or manage to duck around some particular nasty bio-monstrosity.
Sound: I know I shoved a bit of voice over into graphics but lets hit it in earnest. The dialogue is at times predictable but neither stilted or poorly written. I believe many of the voice actors have returned to renew their rolls. (recent games Umbrella Chronicles, RE: 4 etc.) The music is what you've come to expect many scores make a reappearance. If I had one gripe some of the sounds for picking things up sound like the ones from Metal Gear Solid 3.
Game Play: Finally made it to the meat.
If you've played RE: 4 you know what to expect. You still cannot run and gun, adding to the realism of it. (Come on do you think someone can really shoot a sniper rifle while moving without knocking themselves flat on their backsides?)
The main, and most obvious, addition is the emphasis on cooperative game play. The game pushes this and pushes it well. Going so far as to offer a combo melee attack. Your partner's AI is some of the sharpest I've seen ever. They're know substitute for an experienced player but they do better than the new guy. The inventory system is also redone to reflect this emphasis. No longer do you have the merchant offering his ridiculous attache cases. You have nine squares per person and each of the cardinal directions on the D-pad are quick keys. Yep, no more inventory pause-- think fast!
You will often find yourself yelling at your partner to hand me the shotgun or pass me a grenade or ammo. It's quite enjoyable actually usually because you don't have to always babysit your partner. (I've often found myself saved by the computer.) However, they give you an unlimited third inventory. To hold anything you want.
RE: 5 has returned to standard of finding your weapons on the field instead of from a trench coated merchant. You'll instead go to the inventory screen upon death or starting the game back up.
Still attempting not to spoil. Resident Evil 5 has tons, tons of unlockables. Including one of my personal favorite mini-games of all time. It has a very high replay rate.
I would recommend this game to just about anyone. Especially one looking for a good solid game. RE: 5 is not without it's faults but it's so fun you probably won't care.
End my spoiler barrier. Read any other content on this thread at your own risk.