In Resident Evil 5, most of the gameplay revolves around this feature, as Chris and Sheva must act together in order to progress through the game. It's featured on both single player and multiplayer modes, including The Mercenaries mini-game, Lost in Nightmares and Desperate Escape.
The player uses a single button (B on the Xbox and Circle on PlayStation) combined with the directional pad to issue orders to the partner (whether it's the AI or another player). It can also be used to ask for help, to express gratitude or even to make a compliment, depending on the context and given situation. In the multiplayer mode this feature is further expanded, allowing the players to minor-communicate with each other in-game without requiring any real voice communication.
The player and partner need to work together in some parts, and the Partner Action Button is required for those combined efforts, such as kicking down a heavy metal door, pulling switches, or freeing the partner from the enemy's grasp before they are killed. It's also used to give items in possession to the other character.
Commands and Voice Emotes
The most common actions, such as giving the player an item, entering another zone or rescue/save the partner will be displayed on-screen. Others are more subtelty and will only happen in specific contexts.
- Cover Mode (AI partner always stay close to the player): Partner Action Button.
- Attack Mode (AI partner is more aggressive and picks up items more often): Partner Action Button + Up.
- Call (Multiplayer only): Partner Action Button.
- Send Out (Multiplayer only): Partner Action Button + Up.
- Wait (Multiplayer only): Partner Action Button + Down.
- Thank (Multiplayer only): Partner Action Button + Left.
- Give: Holding non-weapon item (partner must have a free inventory slot).
- Help/Assist Partner: Partner is being held by an enemy.
- Rescue/Heal Partner: Partner in is DYING state ("Heal Partner" requires a Herb/First Aid Spray in possession)
- Open/Pull/Push/Turn/Operate/Kick Door/Assist Jump: When using objects that requires both characters to operate (such as heavy doors and pulling switches) or when Chris helps Sheva to climb or jump through obstacles.
- Ask for Help: Being held by an enemy.
- Dying: Being in DYING state.
- Impatient: Waiting for the partner in a context that requires both characters (refer to Open/Pull/Push Action).
- Worried: Partner is in DYING state.
- Thank: After being freed from an enemy or receiving item from the partner.
- Confirm: After being issued any order.
- Compliment: After a performing Chain Melee Reaction Command or witnessing partner scoring a perfect/critical headshot.
Resident Evil 6
In addition to the above, Resident Evil 6 has a few new mechanics related to the parter action button:
- Fall back (called "Follow" in-game): Partner Action Button + Right
- Tagging enemies: When aiming at an enemy and pressing the partner action button, a red icon will appear above their heads, in single-player the AI will prioritize the tagged enemy, and in multiplayer the red icon can be seen by both players.
- When holding the partner action button while waiting for either the AI or an ally player to come to you to open a door or interact with an object, the camera will change to that of the other player, showing you exactly what they are doing and where they are. However their camera perspective is only updated when their character sprints.
- If the button is used enough times while in a door or waiting for the partner to interact with something, the character will start shouting, unlike Resident Evil 5 where the same voice lines are use no matter how many times it's used.
- The player is able to say "Yes" or "No" after their partner has used a command.
- Additionally, sharing items can now only be done via split-screen play.
Resident Evil: Revelations
- Main article: Raid Mode (Revelations)
In Resident Evil: Revelations, the partner action button is partly available in Raid Mode, only the use of commands and reviving a partner are available. The only instance a partner action occurs within the campaign is when both characters need to interact with a door to get to the next area.
Resident Evil: Revelations 2
The partner action button returns in Resident Evil: Revelations 2 but in a different style than its predecessors, for instance, in single-player, there are only two options the player can use to command to their AI partner: either follow or wait. If the AI is in wait mode, they will stay put no matter how much distance the player is from them, unlike Resident Evil 6 where the AI will eventually come to the player even when told to wait. In this scenario, if the AI is too far away from the player, they will not be able to proceed to another area until the AI is called upon.
The voice line from the partner action button command will also change depending on the situation the characters are present on:
- If there are no enemies around and both characters are next to each other, they will speak normally.
- If there are no enemies around and both characters are far away to each other, they will shout.
- If there are enemies around but the player wasn't spotted, they will whisper.
- If there are enemies around and the player was spotted, they will yell.
Additionally, there is no co-op action Resident Evil: Revelations 2, even if one character is grabbed, the second player cannot help them via the partner action button, however, in single-player mode, the AI can push the enemy off the player, indicating that the feature is in the game, but not doable by the player themselves.
A mechanic exclusive to Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is how the supporting character have a downed state but the main characters don't. Moira and Natalia can both get downed if they take too much damage but Claire and Barry will immediately die if so. When downed, the game will automatically change to the main character (single-player) and the partner action button (now Y on Xbox and triangle on PlayStation) must be held near the downed character in order to revive them.
- In Resident Evil 6, the commands can be issued at any time (shooting, climbing, using melee) without triggering animations.
- The use of commands in the multiplayer modes is somewhat considered part of the player etiquette, as the misuse of this button (such as spamming the "Call" Button) is often considered trolling or disrespect.
- The AI will always use the "Thank" reaction and the "Compliment" reaction in their respective contexts. He/she also have a unique reaction of denial, mostly used when the AI is requested during another action. For example, in Resident Evil 5, in the Ship Deck section, where the Partner gets stuck in the cage, if the player either use the "Cover" or "Attack", the Partner will reply with "Out of question!" (if Chris) or "No way!" (if Sheva). This kind of Reaction is exclusive to the AI and cannot be used by players in none of the Multiplayer Modes or Story Mode.
- However, the ability to deny a command is given to players in Resident Evil 6.
- In the Extra Content and Raid mode, characters like Wesker, Excella, Carla, Raymond and Alex have various voice emotes for the Partner Action Button that express somewhat disdain and sarcasm, such as saying "I suppose I should thank you." when using the "Thank" Reaction.
- Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is the only game where a "Sorry" command is available.