2005's Resident Evil 4 represented a major departure for the classic survival horror franchise. All the same, it was universally celebrated upon release. Resident Evil 5, which released in 2009, strays even further away from the series' roots and was a little more divisive. However, it is still a fantastic adventure to play.
But the question remains: which game is better? Both titles have their unique strengths. Read on below to see five ways Resident Evil 4 is better, and five ways the sequel takes the cake. At the end of the day, horror fans cannot go wrong with either of them. Both games hold up excellently, even more than a decade later.10 Story - Resident Evil 5
As great as Resident Evil 4 is, the narrative is largely forgettable and barely connects to the rest of the overarching story. Resident Evil 5, on the other hand, is the culmination of over a decade of storytelling that started with the 1996 debut entry.
Chris Redfield returns along with his arch nemesis and series villain, Albert Wesker. For those who stayed with the series since the beginning, the game wraps up a rivalry between these two iconic characters. If it was the last game in the series, it would have been a satisfying ending.9 Playtime Length - Resident Evil 4
On a first playthrough, Resident Evil 4 takes about 16 hours. Resident Evil 5, on the other hand, is a little shorter, coming in at about 12 hours.
Bigger is not always better, but in this case the fourth mainline entry benefits from the longer runtime. It helps Resident Evil 4 feel like an epic journey through three distinct areas. Fortunately, 12 hours is still decent for a campaign in Resident Evil 5.8 Graphics - Resident Evil 5
Resident Evil 5 is objectively better looking, and not just by virtue of coming out later and on more powerful hardware. The visuals hold up better than its predecessor, the environments are more varied, and there are more enemies.
The fifth installment sees Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar take on not only those infected with Uroboros; the two also fight classic enemies like Lickers. Though Resident Evil 4 was also on the visual cutting edge at the time, the fifth game has a finer aesthetic.7 Scarier - Resident Evil 4
Even though Resident Evil 4 relies more on action than the prior entries, it is still scary. The tension is constantly ramped up and there are some extremely effective jump scares, most notably the enemy stuck in the oven.
Resident Evil 5 turns full tilt into action, leaving behind any semblance of terror. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but many veteran fans might be put off by the complete lack of frights in Resident Evil 5.6 Co-Op - Resident Evil 5
Resident Evil 5 is the first mainline Resident Evil with co-op, and it is absolutely glorious. Co-op makes everything better, and while the campaign can be played alone, it is significantly better with a partner controlling Sheva.
Several moments see the two splitting up, but for the most part, Chris and Sheva are side be side throughout the whole adventure. It is not the easiest co-op game, though, so be sure both partners are at least halfway decent gamers.5 Innovation - Resident Evil 4
While some fans may not have liked the turn Resident Evil 4 took with the series, its impact on the gaming world is undeniable. It influenced action games for years to come.
The controls, enemy AI, and the way Leon Kennedy interacts with the environment all deserve commendation. Maybe Resident Evil 5 is a smoother experience, but it builds upon the strong foundation established by the fourth game.4 Mercenaries - Resident Evil 5
Mercenaries mode in Resident Evil 4 is something special, but there is little to do beyond achieving five stars in every stage with every character. Resident Evil 5 goes a little further with its version of the classic minigame with more stages, characters, and even additional modes.
Players can drop in with a buddy, and there are even some competitive offerings. It is a little easier than Resident Evil 4's mode, but offers significantly more replay value.3 Bonus Single-Player Content - Resident Evil 4
Like pretty much every entry in the franchise, Resident Evil 4 was re-released several times after the initial GameCube launch. Starting with the PlayStation 2 port, players unlocked the Separate Ways campaign after completing the main story.
This additional storyline expands upon the narrative and gives a different perspective of the events. Resident Evil 5 has two DLCs, but they are pretty short and uneventful. Separate Ways takes a few hours to play, and is essential to a complete Resident Evil 4 experience.2 No Ashley Graham- Resident Evil 5
While this sounds like a joke, most fans consider Ashley Graham to be the worst part of Resident Evil 4. Even though players only have to escort her through a small portion of the adventure, these segments are loathed by many. It is nothing personal against Ashley, though the way she yells Leon's name easily gets on players' nerves.
In Resident Evil 5, Chris fights alongside Sheva, who is fully independent in combat. Sometimes the player has to snipe and defend the second player controlling Sheva, but these are some of the strongest parts of Resident Evil 5.1 Progression System - Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 5 borrows a similar economy from its predecessor, but it feels more comprehensive in Resident Evil 4. The fifth title really encourages players to think about how they will spend their money and what weapons they will use throughout a playthrough.
Weapon choice is largely dependent on personal preference in Resident Evil 4. Resident Evil 5's limited inventory is also a downgrade from Resident Evil 4's attache case. Players love organizing Leon's inventory.
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