Resident Evil 5

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Resident Evil 5 Game Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Controversial horror game has sparked racial debate.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 27 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 52 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

You play as Chris Redfield, a white man, who must kill a huge number of black zombies. This situation comes about because the game is set in a fictional poor Western African country that has been infected with deadly zombie-transforming virus. Chris must also kill Arab zombies. Accompanying Chris is his partner, Sheva Alomar, a light-skinned African Amercian woman, who you can eventually control.

Positive Role Models & Representations

While you are trying to control a zombie invasion, you are a tremendously vicious killer.

Ease of Play

Resident Evil 5 is an extremely violent, gory, and bloody video game in which players must kill infected humans using guns, swords, and chainsaws. Players can decapitate and dismember enemies and red blood sprawls out of body cavities. Because the graphics are high-definition, the game is realistic but keep in mind the enemies are undead "zombies." Some game modes reward the number of kills that you make. This game earns its "Mature" rating.


Players will hear strong language including "f--k," "sh-t," "Damn," "hell" and "bitch."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this zombie killing game is most definitely not for kids because it's very violent and gory, and unlike past games in the series, more realistic-looking thanks to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3's graphical horsepower. It's possible to hack and slash or shoot down oncoming enemies using guns and melee weapons, such as a sword or chainsaw, all of which results in copious amounts of blood, as well as some dismembering of body parts and decapitation. Limbs can grow back on these mutated people. Some players might find the location of the game in a rural African village to be objectionable because it feeds into damaging stereotypes, where the white hero (accompanied by a light-skinned African American) has to kill predominately black victims infected by the zombie-causing virus. This game has garnered some press attention on this issue.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byXanadu84 December 8, 2009
The age inappropriateness of Resident Evil is clear: However, I feel the need to establish that Resident Evil is not, in any way, racist, and the very fact that... Continue reading
Adult Written byJohnty81 May 15, 2020
Teen, 13 years old Written bygameman675 May 13, 2009


what? if it was a black guy killing a bunch of white zombies, would anybody really care?
and other things, like violence and langauge, you should have your kid... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byHoxton786 January 28, 2020

Its amazing if your kid isnt scared of these enemies

I Used to play this game when i was 7 with my dad it was really fun however i did get kinda frightened on some parts of the game if your kid isnt scared of thes... Continue reading

What's it about?

As with past Resident Evil games -- one of the most successful video game franchises in history and one that has spawned many popular Hollywood movies -- the story involves a deadly virus that can infect humans and turn them into a kind of undead zombie out for blood. Ridiculous? Sure. Over the top? You bet. In RESIDENT EVIL 5, players take on the role of Chris Redfield, a hero charged with tracing the virus to a fictional poor nation of Kijuju, in Africa, where the majority of the infected are people who live in these villages. This biological agent is turning these once peaceful people into blood-thirsty savages and it is up to Chris to eliminate all those infected.

Players roam around a detailed world with terrifying enemies and must use brains and brawn to get out of situations alive, while unraveling more of the story. Players are joined by a female agent, Sheva Alomar, to help ward off the creatures and stop the virus at its core. Players start the game as Chris but will eventually control Alomar, as well.

Is it any good?

Previous games in this series were campy in a Night of the Living Dead kind of way, but the setting of this game has made some people uncomfortable because Chris is white and most of the African zombies are black. While the setting is consistent with the story, the images of Chris killing the zombies can be disturbing because some of the zombies still look human. For those that can get past the setting, Resident Evil 5 provides a very good and polished adventure -- for mature players who love these kinds of "survival horror" games. It fuses immersive third-person gun-play and melee weapon action with some exploration and puzzle-solving. And it builds on it predecessors' fame with much better graphics, multiple control schemes, an improved inventory system, and the piece de resistance, optional co-op mode for two players to tackle the adventure together (even online).

As with previous Resident Evil titles, this sequel includes an all-new unlockable The Mercenaries mini-game, where players can tackle modified levels from the story mode, with a never-ending stream of fiercer enemies and timed challenges. The African setting controversy notwithstanding, Resident Evil 5 is an well-crafted game, but be sure to take heed to the "Mature" rating.

Online interaction: Coop online play is available, but because of the ability to chat, the language you will hear is unpredictable.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about if the controversy surrounding this game is justified. If Capcom had picked another country for the backdrop to this game, would the reaction have been the same? What if the game makers had set the game in America, Asia, or Europe? Is the setting and race of these people all in context or is there a deeper, disturbing societal message, here?

Game details

  • Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
  • Price: $59.99
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release date: March 13, 2009
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
  • Last updated: June 19, 2019

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fast-paced games

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