Resident Evil 4 remains a modern classic, justifying its plethora of ports and remasters.
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It’s hard to overstate the significance Resident Evil 4 had on the Video Game Industry at the time. Despite being (very obviously) inspired by Metal Gear Solid 1 & 2, Resident Evil 4 would go on to become a flagship game for the console, despite originally being a GameCube exclusive. Also, just like the original, RE4 would serve as a pioneer into uncharted waters, launching the Survival Horror genre to brand new terrifying heights.
Some things we should address right away. Prior to the release of Resident Evil 4 – Capcom had an exclusive deal with Nintendo to :
- Remaster the first Resident Evil game on the Nintendo GameCube
- Port both RE2 and RE3 to the GameCube
- Develop an original title exclusively for the GameCube (Resident Evil 0)
- Release Resident Evil 4 only for the Nintendo GameCube
But only seventy five percent of those things would hold true. Nintendo and it’s GameCube was getting handed its lunch by both Sony’s PlayStation 2 and Microsoft’s XBOX. Once initial sales reports came in for RE4 on the GameCube, Capcom panicked. The sales were much lower than originally projected. So they broke the deal and released it on the Xbox and PS2 as well. What’s even more insulting to GameCube owners? The PlayStation and Xbox versions would come equipped with “Separate Ways” – Ada Wong’s side missions as well as fun uniforms for both Leon and Ashley. GC fans got screwed and it wouldn’t be the first or last time.
With that out of the way, Resident Evil 4 starts at a 200,000 on a 10 Scale. Since surviving the Raccoon City incident Leon Kennedy has been skyrocketing up the ranks of law enforcement. Taking place six years after Leon’s last title in the franchise, Resident Evil 2, Leon has went from rookie police offer to Secret Service detail for the President of the United States.
The daughter of the President of the United States is kidnapped by some weirdos in rural Spain and the President himself handpicks you to go pick up his daughter which makes absolutely no sense.
I’m not entirely sure why, given the fact we are allies with Spain, why the two governments wouldn’t execute a joint operation to extract Ashley Graham safely. Why you would send only one guy in with no special ops training to rescue your daughter is bizarre to me.
Unless… the President didn’t actually want his daughter back? Because as you’ll find out over the next twenty five or so hours – she’s annoying as fuck.
Ashley lacks even the basic Fight-or-Flight response all normal human beings possess. She is absolutely helpless and completely incapable of not being a massive liability. It’s the end of the world and the girl can’t even climb down a ladder. Meanwhile you have killed over 800 mutated people just to keep her alive. Also now that I’m thinking about her kidnapping – it doesn’t even make sense she wouldn’t have any security detail prior to her kidnapping, especially considering this girl could get up by a plastic bag blowing in the wind.
All of that aside, the game starts out very strong. Capcom makes it obvious very early on that this is going to be a considerably different Resident Evil affair. As you show up to the rural Spanish town, things don’t seem right. The locals are immediately hostile upon your arrival and they make quick work of your Policía escort leaving you on your own within ninety seconds into the game.
The atmosphere in the village is perfect. Traveling long narrow paths through the woods, running into occasional villagers who scream at you in (Mexican) Spanish while trying to kill you with pitchforks, axes and chainsaws. With its brand new over-the-shoulder look you feel more immersed into the nightmare than ever before. Gone are the days of praying for a good camera angle and masterful control of your character. You have to face creatures face to face and if you suck well you die quickly. Which I did – like forty times.
You meet a plethora of baddies, all not really linked to Umbrella Corporation at all. The real antagonist throughout this game, acting as a departure from from the first three games is a cult called Los Illuminados. Who happen to all be controlled by a hive-mind parasite, basically. They plan to infiltrate the United States by implanting the parasite inside the president’s daughter and then ship her home so she can fuck shit up. Kind of what like Moscow did to Trump (😂)
But Leon starts smashing some zombie Spaniards – leading to some epic boss fights and intense stand offs between the living and the plagued.
As always the beautiful and deadly Ada Wong looks on mostly from the shadows, lending a hand to Leon when he needs it and teasing the shit out of the man. Also there is ex Spanish police officer Luis Sera, a ladies man with a mysterious past that you team up with. He is overall pretty entertaining.
The game is exciting and action oriented. The obsolete controls will have you hesitate but only for a moment. There are three main areas you up through which are The Village, The Castle and The Island. By the time you reach the Island the game will feel as though it’s dragging.
Seemingly out of no where the game introduces another completely new henchmen for no apparent reason. A plot arc that extends the game significantly. All that aside from being the most frustrating boss in the game left me feeling a little vexed.
Altogether with the ushering in or a new action oriented era of Resident Evil the title feels both blessed and cursed. Blessed because Capcom refused to sit on their hands and let one of their most celebrated franchise go stale but cursed because even without hindsight it was easy to see that the series was already beginning to lose its soul (and charm) in a more modern action oriented gaming landscape.
Overall: 91% (GOLD)
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