You may ask what the point of reviewing Resident Evil 4 may be. It's a game which generally stands up there with Super Marrio Brothers, The Legend of Zelda, Streetfighter II, Halo, and a handful of others for "you know, that was really-really good." It's actually almost unheard of for people to have much in the way of criticisms about it. While hardcore survival horror fans may hate on the game for 'ruining' the series, generally people tend to think of it as the best of the RE series. So why should I bother making a review? Well, it's my blog so I can review whatever the hell I want.
|Angry villagers are not dissuaded by guns.|
Actually, that last bit is mostly me. When I discussed my playstyle with other gamers, they were stunned since the vast majority of them had elaborate strategies for eliminating every single enemy they encountered. They talked about shooting the legs to slow down opponents, making use of environmental weapons like exploding barrels, and maximizing the use of your knife after kicking. Indeed, I have it on good authority I made it one third of the game playing the game completely wrong. I didn't even pick up the shotgun in the village, which makes me a complete idiot and made later levels staggeringly difficult.
|Kicks in the face will work, though.|
Every level in the game is memorable and there's nothing boring so you're always looking at something interesting. It all hangs together too so even when you're facing giants in an arena, monsters in a lake, or a giant mechanical stone statue--you're feeling like this could plausibly all have been done by the same cult. Well, sort of. The rest, however, you can chalk up to Rule of CoolTM.
The premise, for those few unfamiliar with the game, is the President's daughter has been kidnapped and Leon Kennedy is the only dude bad enough to get her back. Actually, it's because there's a traitor in the Secret Service with Leon the only trustworthy one the President can rely on. Sending him with some local backup to a Spanish village for reconnaissance, they soon find themselves with a reception reflecting the locals at Lovecraft's Innsmouth. In fact, the game is a decent adaptation of The Shadow over Innsmouth as it's about how a cult of alien parasite worshipers have taken over the area as well as converted everyone to their evil religion.
|The quiet moments in the game are some of the scariest.|
The characters' likability is a major draw for the game with Leon, Hunnigan, Ashley, Luis, and Ada all being characters you enjoy spending time with. Even the villains all have an amusing quality about them with Mendez, Salazar, and Saddler being scary as well as funny in different ways. Okay, Salazar is just annoying as hell but he's a character you enjoy stabbing versus one you just want gone. It's the difference between a villain you love to hate and a villain you just hate period
|Ada is the Master of Showing Upping.|
Gameplay wise, what was revolutionary a decade ago isn't quite the same as it is today. Moving Leon's perception around and his targeting laser is harder than it appears, at least for a beginner and his movement can take awhile to get used to. The game introduced the principles of "quick time events for action sequences" which is both a blessing as well as a curse. Likewise, you are forced to stand still during combat as Leon cannot shoot or stab while moving. Finally, your partner, Ashley, is less than useless for much of the game.
|The fact much of the game is an escort mission is a drag.|
There's some neat little additions to the game itself if you do manage to complete it. Ada Wong has her own set of stories, showing what she was doing the entire time you were fumbling about. There's also additional costumes, characters, and items that can allow you to tear through the game after a frustrating survival horror experience. Honestly, this strikes me as a game which would benefit from adding DLC to it even a decade later.
In conclusion, Resident Evil 4 is a game which is well worth picking up the re-mastering for. It's funny, challenging, and enjoyable all the way through. The camera angles and movement can be somewhat challenging but is something it's still possible to master. Just, whatever you do, remember it is a combat game since you'll get spanked hard if you play it like I did until you can't run away anymore.