What are you waiting for, stranger?
Resident Evil 4, 2005’s legendary survival horror, is brought fully up-to-date in this ground-up remake. Six years after the events of Resident Evil 2, Raccoon City survivor Leon Kennedy has been dispatched to a secluded European village to investigate the disappearance of the US president’s daughter. What he discovers there is unlike anything he has faced before. Every aspect of the classic game has been updated for the current generation, from modernized graphics and controls, to a reimagined storyline that may surprise even hardened fans of the original game.
The original Resident Evil 4 is up there as one of my favourite games of all time. I had luckily got my hands on it before its GameCube launch at the now non-existent trade show ECTS in London’s Earls Court and even then, I still imported the demo that came with Japanese magazine Famitsu just so I could play the opening segment over and over until the game finally launched. I have been after a remake for years but I always wondered if they could work their magic with it like they did with Resident Evil 2 and 3’s remakes, or if it was a case of being careful of what you wish for?
Who am I kidding? This is definitively one of the best remakes of this and even the last generation of consoles. It just doesn’t let up with it’s improvements and additions, while preserving what made the original game such a classic. The game follows the same pattern as the original but certain areas are either extended or reimagined in such a way that it almost feels completely new. There are other new additions like side-quests given through notes planted around the world that give you objectives like selling a number of snakes, finding a golden egg and there’s plenty of treasures to find and blue medallions to shoot.
There’s even a shooting gallery which can award you with tokens for attachments for your attaché case of weapons and trinkets. The key moments of the game that most will remember do make their debut, whether it’s fighting your first El Gigante or the lake’s infamous Del Lago boss fight where you are on a boat hurling harpoons at this giant fish monster, each feels authentic to the original but so much more satisfying with the new visuals and feedback from the DualSense controller.
Even the Metal Gear-style Codec sequences from the original are now less cringy, not nearly as long and even just projected on the screen with Leon still able to move around, something that was impossible to do in the original game. Leon’s dialogue is still full of corny lines like “Where’s everyone going, Bingo?” but they’ve definitely reduced that element, as well as not-so-subtle pick-up lines or perving over Ashley. The game is currently missing it’s Mercenaries mode but it should be coming soon, and data miners seem to think that Ada Wong’s Separate Ways story could be coming via DLC, so there’s still a good amount still to come for the game.
My main gripe with the original game was that Leon had to stand perfectly still to aim and shoot, but now this is rectified as he can do this without being glued to the ground. It definitely improves things in combat to your advantage and makes it more accessible to a new audience. There’s even a few changes like if you shoot the bell tower at the beginning village with a sniper rifle, then the sequence of being hunted will end prematurely and now you can’t kill the Merchant anymore.
If you’re not entirely sure if you think the remake is worth a go, I really recommend downloading the free demo which contains the aforementioned first village section. I personally think you need your head examining if don’t think it’s worth playing, but that’s just my opinion.
The visuals have taken a huge leap here from the original thanks to the RE Engine. Resident Evil 4 has never looked so desolate, creepy and unsettling as it has here. It breathes new life into it with its beautifully improved environments, incredible character models and a silky-smooth framerate to boot. The voice-acting is also redone to a decent level, while the soundtrack is superb too.
This is how remakes are done. Resident Evil 4 was already one of my favourite games of all time and now it’s even higher in my estimations with this remake. As far as games go, there aren’t many better than this. I only hope that other Resi games like Code Veronica and maybe even Zero or the original game get the RE Engine remake treatment next.