Resident Evil 4’s impact is huge; on the survival horror genre, but also on third-person action games in general. The camera angle in which the player looked directly at the main character’s shoulder set a new standard within the genre. The Resident Evil 2 and 3 remakes have made good use of that preliminary work, but now it’s the Founder’s turn for a fresh coat of paint.
Traumatized police officer Leon Scott Kennedy once again in the remake travels to a remote and particularly deprived part of Spain to rescue the missing daughter of the American president. As befits a Resident Evil game, the necessary paranoid intrigue and mutant savagery are involved. As a result, Leon has to constantly fight his way through situations that are as blood-curdling as they are ridiculous – at least, while his lead supply lasts. It is a survival horror game after all…
The original Resident Evil 4 had more action than its limited, claustrophobic predecessors. Not much has changed in the remake. The element of survival is present, but is often secondary to vicious battles with possessed villagers or washed-up monks. Bullets aren’t really scarce, and there are even supplies that can be collected to make extra ammo in an instant if needed. If it gets to the point where you experience disappointment when you pull the trigger, Leon is still very skilled with his knife. This way, he could easily avoid his attackers and even take them out in one go if he could sneak up on them without them seeing them.
However, this new version seems to respond more to a sense of fear and survival. For example, the enemies are a bit faster and more dangerous, which makes counting each bullet more important. Your knife is a great backup to fall back on, but it can only be used to a limited extent. If you use it too much, it will break and you will have to fix it. Although you have more ways to stand up for yourself, you absolutely need them.
In addition, Capcom has also done its best to make the game more dangerous and creepy. Leon regularly has to reach for his flashlight to withstand the darkness and the general atmosphere of the environments are much rougher than in the original game. The Los Illuminados cult has truly sinister practices and faces a threat far more dangerous than the somewhat cartoonish appearance that once characterized them. And we haven’t even talked about the terrifying Regenerators yet, but let’s keep it that way.
The game makes more use of survival elements and clearly has a sharper horror edge, but that doesn’t mean the game is conservative in terms of action. In fact, the pace of the new version may be a bit faster than in the original game. Almost the entire adventure is a series of amazing and exciting scenes that constantly demand your attention. These frequent shots of adrenaline are punctuated by moments of atmospheric relief and even a sweet puzzle here and there, until you have time to catch your breath.
What essentially benefits the pace of the game is that Capcom chooses to bring back the best elements from Resident Evil 4 in full glory, while the more boring parts have been taken care of. Quick time events are no longer so prominent, except for dodging an enemy attack here and there. One of the coolest results of this change involves some hand-to-hand combat. In the new version, you can fight this confrontation on your own and at the forefront.
Other times, the original parts are replaced with completely new (and very cool) parts, but sometimes they are omitted altogether. This is usually the way to go, such as when leaving the pesky cable car ride early in the original game. However, there are also moments that we would have preferred to see over again – so as not to give spoilers, we’ll leave that to your imagination for now.
Incidentally, Leon’s mission isn’t exactly short; It takes much longer to complete his adventure than in previous versions. There are also several optional side missions this time around that can boost your playtime, though their quality varies. After completion, there is also an option to start a new game +, which is definitely worth it. It’s a shame that there are no additional game modes to unlock outside of that. All traces of Ada’s adventures are gone at this point and the addictive Mercenaries mode will be added as a free DLC at a later date. This isn’t an outright disaster, but it’s still a bit unfortunate for a remake of a game that had all of these options eighteen years ago.
In all other areas, Resident Evil 4 is a rock solid and fairly faithful remake with a new twist here and there. For all fans of the original, it’s the perfect way to relive this classic, while treating newcomers to an amazing new survival horror adventure. The experience is comparable to the Resident Evil 2 remake version and also fits with the story. There is still a big difference between the latter and this game. Resident Evil 2 really managed to raise the old classic to new heights. Resident Evil 4 doesn’t actually succeed – Capcom has stayed pretty close to the old formula for that.
It could hardly be otherwise, because the original Resident Evil 4 formed a blueprint for the success of those other remakes. Somehow, this modern sequel to the fourth uses exactly the same strategy, but this time it’s not as innovative as the original. This is somewhat unfortunate. How cool it would be if the step towards horror was bigger, for example using elements from the early Resident Evil 4 beta (the one with Hook Man). So it’s unlikely we’ll still cherish this game in ten years as much as we do the original. Fortunately, that doesn’t make this release any less worthwhile.
Resident Evil 4 will be released on March 24th for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X and S, Xbox One, and PC.
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