Game review: Resident Evil 4 Remake

Resident Evil 4 is widely recognised as one of the greatest survival/shooter horror games ever created, making it prime video game real estate for remastering, particularly with every other title seeming to be a remake, a remaster and so on. But will this game retain its character from two generations of consoles past or simply a shameless cash grab at the expense of nostalgia?

It’s worth mentioning that my reticence for this comes from seeing nearly every game, movie, adaptation etc being offered up to the masses of my generation (hello millennials) in what feels like an attempt to distract us from… well everything going on currently. A new Harry Potter game, a new TV series, The Rings of Power for Lord of the Rings fans, Metroid getting (by all accounts good at least) a new lease of life on the Nintendo Switch, and now the game that made me fear chainsaws when I played by Gamecube in the dark, dumb as it was.

Resident Evil 4 was the game that set the Resident Evil series on its departure from what I always felt was janky camera angles, strange sluggish controls and weird save mechanics involving typewriters and ink ribbons (‘ink… what?’ I hear the much younger me ask – presuming they read blogs at all). It was also the game that I got hold of and played solo in the dark against all warning and better judgement. Playing as Leon Kennedy, first seen in Resident Evil 2, you’re tasked with (sigh) rescuing the President’s daughter – yes a Kennedy rescuing a presidential family member…no relation.

As you arrive in an unnamed area of rural Spain, the area that the cult who have kidnapped Ashley Graham, the aforementioned daughter, it becomes quickly apparent that there are… no zombies, at least not the type any previous games made us familiar with. This brief intro aside, I’ll be focussing purely on the remake aspects from here on in. Resi 4/2 Electric Boogaloo, as I prefer to call it, has not aimed to re-write the story, but nor has it simply aimed to shade in some pixels and remaster it for the current generation.

And so, to the area that became immediately more clear to me where some work had occurred, and the core of the game – combat. Dear reader, I prepped for this game by dredging out the ol’ Gamecube and practicing to ready myself for this new version, not wanting to be caught short. I was not ready… I died a LOT.

Resident Evil is typically known for shambling, slow zombies, with extra challenges and difficulties showing up later. You know, some run of the mill stuff like erupting parasites or regenerating limbs – normal stuff. The new iterations of the ‘baddies’ aka the Ganados who worship the Los Illuminados cult are tougher, meaner, arguably smarter and more dangerous.

As familiar with the story and enemies as I might be from several play-throughs, these were different beasts and required some new tactics and thoughts, from adapting to THEIR new adaptations to really considering the environment, such as exploding barrels and escape routes as I fought. This breathes some serious new life into the game making for what almost classifies as a brand new experience.

As just mentioned above, the story is largely unchanged, but the way in which the player interacts with Ashley, as well as what seems to be some additional dialogue and lore helps to flesh out some of the weaker elements from the original version of the game. One unfortunate issue that was sadly never addressed is the initial feeling you get from entering the first real ‘act’ of the game… the village.

The feeling of creeping unease, dread and fear were still spine-tinglingly present this time round, perhaps more so. However, just like the original, it’s a gradual creep downhill from here, never quite managing to reach the same height again.

As you’ve hopefully guessed from the above, despite my reluctance, this particular remake offering from Capcom does manage to stand on its own. It’s an impressive game for newcomers and those wanting to relive the fear they felt in 2005. It may have some of the same faltering flaws, but there is more than enough to warrant this enhanced experience – and that’s without me even managing to sink my teeth into the Mercenaries expansion area yet!







Author: Tom, Cardiff Store