When we dive into to old games we are oft guilty of claiming they havn’t aged well. As if one person can lay down the law on what is and isn’t timely. This is the part where I would say Resident Evil 4 hasn’t aged well. In truth, aging has nothing to do with it. It’s an unpleasant experience no matter the when.
I should clarify this is my first experience with Resident Evil as a series. However, it’s not the first game of this vein. Several months ago I jumped into The Evil Within. I now have a better understanding of the influences preventing me from enjoying that game. Granted, Evil Within is less clunky, which keeps me from using the tired “hasn’t aged well,” line, but it too suffers from many of the same issues.
Resident Evil 4 isn’t smart horror. I’m not using smart in the sense of its writing, more so of how the player can and cannot interact with the game. Where modern horror titles scare through limiting the player’s offensive abilities, Resident Evil 4 cripples controls. It essentially breaks all of your arms and legs and pretends to be clever.
It’s one thing to make the argument for tank controls when your character is some untrained *** who’s never shot a gun before. It’s another when you’re some special agent hired by the President of the United States. When the button prompt for a kick appears, I don’t feel that power or swiftness. I just stare at Leon, wishing I wasn’t merely pressing a button to watch him do a cool thing.
To feel so incapable isn’t as much fear inducing as it is frustrating. Yes, I’ve tried multiple controls styles from the Pro Controller to the Wiimote and nunchuck combo. The latter has its advantage but I still find myself frustrated.
I wish I could invest more than an hour or two, but on a fundamental level I’m unable to get into Resident Evil 4. I’m all for horror and third person action, just not horrific controls and a camera which has an unhealthy fondness of Leon’s backside.
Here's the original Backlog Challenge post, for those interested.