Resident Evil 4 was so choice that Capcom tried to recreate that same euphoric high twice in the 10 years since RE4’s release, and failed both times. And while Capcom may be trying new things with future RE games, that’s not going to stop them from trying to make money off of convenience and nostalgia. And I’m not knocking that, because sometimes convenience is worth the price. Now I played RE4 for the first time on my Xbox 360 when I was 14 and didn’t even finish it (because I sucked), but with the re-release I figured I’d give it another go. So here friends, are my thoughts on RE4.
This game is fucking daijoubu.
I hate when people say a game is a “must-play”, but guys and gals, this is one of those kinds of games. The gameplay retains everything that was great about the early Resident Evil games in terms of item management and horror and cranks that shit up to 11 by putting the emphasis on combat rather than evasion. In RE1 a big combat encounter involves maybe 2 or 3 zombies, and in RE4 it can be mobs of 15. With this new emphasis on combat you get new moves like the kick, which can conserve your ammo while splash damaging the fuck out of those mobs. How do you kick a zombie, you might ask? By shooting it in the head! Genius! It’s a great setup that encourages players to make their shots count and conserve ammo, something you’ll want to do given how daunting the challenge of managing ammo against mobs of high-health enemies.
The level design is pretty stellar too due to each area having a different combat challenge. Some are timed survival, others require you to be cautious of traps and bombs, or snipe from afar, or protect Ashley on one plane while defending yourself on another. The moment to moment combat feels fresh every time since the level design and combat work are so tightly woven together. Not to mention that this game is riddled with exciting bosses, some being straight up combat challenges, while others require you to navigate a mini sandbox to find items, or to simply survive.
Now, Resident Evils story has never been what I would call smart, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t entertaining. You play as Leon S. Kennedy (AKA: handsome Macaulay Culkin) He’s trying to rescue the president’s daughter from A cult that wants to penetrate the US government and make the entire world crumble through the influence of the US. Huh? He doesn’t smoke or curse but he does kill hundreds of people. Typical. The story is a great display of dumb fun. There are throwbacks to old Resident Evil games but the main story is mostly self-contained and that lends itself well to the wacky nature of this story. The moment to moment dialogue is campy as hell, but you’ll come to care for the main characters in time, and the story, cutscenes, and characters are pretty entertaining throughout and help string you along through the game.
I have to say this though. When I first played this game, I made it right up until the castle. I got inside the castle and got stuck because I didn’t have the rifle, like an idiot. So my main knowledge of this game was that even though the story was dumb, the music, the setting, and the bosses were all scary as hell. I was thoroughly creeped out by this game. Right up until I got into the castle. The games tone takes a nosedive into self-aware camp. And it is glorious. The game started off so tense and terrifying, and… then you’re on a mine cart shooting zombies, and running away from a statue of Napoleon, and picking up zombie with a claw like a damn arcade game. And then- OH JESUS
Yeah I think the developers realized how corny the game was getting and then decided to up the scare factor to 11 with the new enemy, the Regenerators. I just, wow, I fucking hate these things. I’m filled with dread even thinking about it.
So yeah, Resident Evil 4. S’pretty good. Go play it. I’m gonna go play it right…now, I think. I mean, I don’t need to tell you to play it. It’s been out for 12 years. But hey, now it’s on 8th gen consoles running at 60fps. So go play it. Or play the Ultimate Evil edition on PC because that is pretty much what this is.