The highly anticipated remake of Capcom’s Resident Evil 4 hit current-gen consoles & PC just over a week ago. It sold over 3 million units in its first 2 days of release and has received high bouts of praise from both critics & general audiences. It went from being one of the highest-achieving entries in the mainline of Resident Evil games, to one of the most anticipated video game re-imaginings in recent years – even surpassing the remakes of Resident Evil 2 & 3 which came out only a few years ago.
A very quick synopsis for those of you unfamiliar with the story: You play as Leon Kennedy, who was one of the protagonists (the rookie cop) in RE2. Years after surviving the events of that game, you are intensely trained and sought after to work for the president of the US who sends you on a very personal mission – to locate and rescue his kidnapped daughter, Ashley. Their intelligence suggests that she has been smuggled to a remote mountainous region of Spain and is being held captive by a cult with an unknown set of demands. It is your job to locate her, safely transport her to an evacuation crew, and bring her home. The game is broken into 3 main sections which prolong this mission: The Village, the Castle, & the Island.
The good news is that fans of the original 2004 release of this game are going to have an absolute blast. It is completely faithful to the original template and story while incorporating some quality-of-life improvements & re-working some specific sections. For example, we now have a more refined & tighter control scheme that allows us to maneuver around obstacles and enemies better, a better combat system for up-close fights, state-of-the-art graphics and soundscapes, and so much more. Imagine the beauty and handling of the recently released ‘Village’ but add in the nostalgia and an even stronger storyline. The map has been updated in a beautiful way where the overall layout is very familiar, but the areas have more life and purpose than previously. The story itself benefits by letting each section of the map feel far more important and contributive instead of just feeling like set pieces that only serve to give you things to do. Some enemies are different, some puzzles are completely re-worked, and every boss fight handles differently – but I feel there are far more upgrades than there are negatives. For example, the Village Chief still operates the same as he did in the original with a showdown inside the barn where he transforms and swings from the rafters, but he now speaks and he feels like more of a threat – both of which were things the original seemed to lack. Some enemies are even scarier than they previously were and pose much bigger threats.
Speaking of scares, this game is now loaded with them! The 2004 RE4 was notorious for mostly losing the survival-horror that the series was known for and basically innovating the over-the-shoulder 3rd-person action that every game carried over since then. But in this version, there’s much more horror to be had. There are parts where you are in pitch black and can only see with your flashlight, there’s more jump scares (including one with a mini-boss that legit made me yell), and a darker color tone that makes everything feel more haunting. There’s even a section where you play as Ashley, and the only thing you have is a lantern in a very dark room, and off in the distance you just hear a heavy shuffling sound.. and it just gets louder and louder.. shivers..
If you played the recently released ‘Dead Space’ remake back in January that I also covered, then you will understand what I mean with all of this. It was completely faithful to the original experience while updating and refreshing it for a contemporary audience – this is the exact same situation, only I’d argue that the material is stronger. This game was amazing to play through, it’s so much fun, and I couldn’t stop smiling at the cheesy dialogue that still stands strong. Oh! And our humble merchant – he’s back for sure. While his new voice actor takes some getting used to (because the original was just SO iconic), he has lots to offer in terms of new weapons, upgrades, repairs for items such as your knife and body armor (which are game-changing updates), more jewelry customization and increased values, and so much more. There’s treasure to be found, missions to complete for extra spinels (which are purple jewels which are now used exclusively to trade for special items), customization options for your inventory briefcase which literally changes how the world around you interacts, and so much more.
It plays so beautifully and naturally; it really is the definition of an ‘experience’ when talking about video games. This is the new benchmark for every video game remake going forward.
I could honestly go on and on, but you really should just play it for yourself. Just like all other Resident Evil games, it’s equally as fun to watch as it is to play. So get yourself a copy, huddle up on the couch with someone you enjoy spending time with, and dive into this dazzling experience. If this is an indication of what we can expect with their next game in the series then we are in for one hell of a future with Capcom.
A strong 5/5
“Resident Evil 4 Remake” is now available on PC, Xbox Series X/S, PS5 & PS4
‘Til Next Time,
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