Resident Evil 4 Remake Review
After the success of Resident Evil 7, Capcom made the decision to breathe new life into previous entries in the franchise. Gaping through a contemporary lens, they were able to transform and reimagine iconic titles to deliver some of the greatest horror games to date. While the second and third releases did require a significant overhaul, it is difficult to distinguish how you could improve on what many consider the pinnacle of the series. So this begs the question, is the reanimation of Resident Evil 4 the perfect combination of their prior efforts or a lofty attempt to capture the magic of the original?
Set 6 years after the harrowing events of Racoon City, you play as Leon Kennedy as you make your way to a remote village to rescue the president’s daughter. Quickly, you learn that a new virus has spread and the civilians are under the control of a cult leader. What follows is a strange and sadistic adventure that possesses a variety of intoxicating twists and turns. Even with some goofy dialogue, every single narrative beat lands and offers incredible and memorable moments.
An Incredible Infection
The influence of Resident Evil 4 is palpable in most modern third-person titles. Its iconic over-the-shoulder perspective and combination of melee and ranged combat are now staples in the genre. Rather than reinvent, the remake simply modernizes the formula. Previously you were static when you drew your weapon, however, now you can move freely to line up the perfect headshot. This allows you to find the optimum position so you can seamlessly shift from gunplay to melee.
New features vary combat to give you different methods to eradicate the demonic creatures that stalk the environment. You can now sneak up on foes and violently eliminate them in an instant. Due to this, you begin to survey the area more closely, searching for shadows and objects to duck behind. This creates a number of tense moments as you wait for the opportune time to avoid the enemy’s gaze and scarper across the terrain. Although the stealth mechanics are light, it opens up a number of possibilities and allows you to plan how to tackle areas in a more methodical manner.
Enemies are dangerous and work in packs to overwhelm you. As they lunge toward to hack at your limbs, you can use the new parry system to counter. With a well-timed press of a button, you will deflect their attack which leaves them open for a visceral strike. This is particularly useful when you attempt to manage the horde or get up close in boss battles. The confined nature of these encounters increases the intensity of the melee-based combat and adds to the already nerve-wracking atmosphere.
In the original, sequences with Ashley can get tedious. She would often fall into trouble which meant you would constantly have to juggle between her protection and your objective. Even though this is still the case with the remake, refinements with the AI and the command system make this less frustrating. There are certain areas where you can get Ashley to hide, you can also ask her to remain close which is useful when weaving through enemies, or get her to hang back to allow you to gun down foes. She is also more intelligent and will move to cover without prompting, vastly improving these segments.
More than any other entries in the franchise, the game delves into the bizarre in wonderful and weird ways. Due to this, scenes from the original have burrowed deep into the minds of fans and the very notion of change may even cause alarm. Even though certain characters and their iconic scenes have been given a modern makeover, the odd eccentricities still linger. Boss fights are more nuanced, peppered with details that enhance each encounter. This gives a refreshing twist to particular sequences while ensuring the ethos of the original remains intact.
A Masterful Mutation
Capcom has ripped apart the visual anatomy of the original and reconstructed them to create a delightful, disgusting living nightmare that haunts your every step. Environments possess a foreboding quality that builds to an almost suffocating degree. This leads to trepidation as you creep through vile and moist areas. In addition to locating Blue Medallions, new Blue Requests also fester inside. Completion of these optional objectives rewards you with jewels. Tasks are quite simple, however, their inclusion and benefits, encourage further exploration.
On your travels, you will come across a seedy merchant who will offer you a range of items. New guns are regularly introduced and each of these feels and works differently. Due to this, there is an incentive to collect valuables, sell them to the merchant and upgrade your arsenal. As the size of your attaché is limited, there is an aspect of resource management so you must decide which items to keep and discard. Tweaks to this have also been made as now you can trade particular collectibles for specific items and equip charms that grant boosts.
There’s a captivating and unsettling aura that enshrouds the familiar trek through the claustrophobic European village. Although Resident Evil 4 remains true to its roots with some cringy dialogue, Capcom alters several elements to improve the overall experience. These range from narrative segments to gameplay mechanics and all of which refine the masterpiece to create the definitive version of the game.
*** A PlayStation 5 code provided by the publisher for review**
- Perfectly Paced Adventure
- Everything Looks Beautifully Disgusting
- Gameplay Alterations
- Cheesy Dialogue Remains
- Some May Not Like New Character Models