(Image via blog.playstation.com)
Photography Manager: Brendan Flaherty
On March 24th, Japanese video game company CAPCOM released their remake of the classic and beloved game Resident Evil 4.
After playing it, I can say with complete certainty that this is one of their greatest games yet.
This article is going to be divided into two parts: the first part being spoiler free for those who want a fresh perspective when playing the game, and the second part going in-depth on the story and gameplay.
Part 1: Trailers Only
This section is based on the current information that has been shown in the trailers for the game. The only information in this section is information that you would have already gotten from the trailers.
As the trailers have shown, you play as a lone soldier going into a remote area of Spain, encountering loads of devilish creatures.
Players are given an arsenal of different weapons to defend themselves, and each weapon is meant to deal with enemies in new and devastating ways.
The enemies that the player goes up against vary from simple grunts to horrific, nightmarish creatures.
The game has plenty of boss fights and difficult encounters to keep the game engaging and intense.
Seeing as this game has been built with new and updated engines, the Resident Evil 4 reboot has the ability to really transport the viewer into the world with its stunning and impressive visuals.
The swaying of the trees in the wind, the sounds of bugs scurrying across the floor, and the enhanced lighting shaders all work to completely immerse players in the game.
The game hosts a variety of graphics settings that allow the player to take in both the beauty and the horror that the game has to offer.
Within the game, players travel to various locations set in Spain, ranging from simple countryside villages to a large and luxurious castle.
Resident Evil 4 has a lot to offer for gamers of all types, allowing anyone to really enjoy playing. The only demographic it does not serve is those who are not a fan of horror games, as it is not a game for the faint of heart.
Regardless of if you care about this style of game or the story in general, I still believe that if you enjoy playing video games, the Resident Evil 4 remake is a great new addition to the third-person shooter/horror genre.
Personally, I was not a real fan of the previous Resident Evil games, nor was I a fan of the plethora of not-so-good shows and movies that are based on the franchise.
But after being introduced to the Resident Evil 2 remake, released in 2019, I was quickly transformed into an excited fan who was hyped for the release of the rest of the games and remakes.
In fact, I would highly recommend playing the Resident Evil 2 remake. It is an amazing game that I have personally played over six times (which is impressive for a single-player story-based game).
The Resident Evil 4 remake is actually in the same kind of style as the Resident Evil 2 and 3 remakes, which makes sense based on the overall positive reception from the fans of the past two games.
Resident Evil 2 is a great introduction to the story and world of Resident Evil and to the main character of both the second and the fourth game, Leon Kennedy.
Part 2: The Story (Spoilers Ahead)
As for the story aspect of the game, you play as the heroic, strong, and brave ex-cop turned soldier named Leon Kennedy. Leon has been thoroughly trained in combat to defend himself in any situation.
Leon has been sent to a remote village in Spain to rescue the American president’s daughter, named Ashley, who is being held hostage by a cult called Los Illuminados, or “The Enlightened Ones.”
From the very get-go of the game, the threat of Los Illuminados is no joke, as you quickly see the horrible acts of this cult-adapted community.
Of course, in classic Resident Evil fashion, the people of this place were all infected with a new virus called Las Plagas (or “The Plagues” in Spanish).
This virus makes the people behave like zombies and allows them to be controlled by one person.
Osmund Saddler takes over as their leader, although the people consistently refer to him as “Lord Saddler.”
The remake is littered with plenty of collectible notes that are relevant to the story at hand; they help create the terrifying world you have been transported into.
It is through these notes and cutscenes that you slowly come to realize how exactly the Las Plagas spread through the people, discovering more of the story as you play.
Of course, Leon and Ashley are not the only sane ones on the island. On Leon’s trip, he comes across Luis Serra Navarro, a Spanish biologist who was an agent for Umbrella.
Another person that Leon runs across is Ada Wong, an old friend who was previously seen in Resident Evil 2 as a double agent who only works for her own personal gain.
As the player progresses through the game, they encounter more henchmen and lackeys, all working for their leader, Lord Saddler, who is the person responsible for the spreading and infecting of hundreds of innocent people.
Fairly early on in the game, both Leon and Ashley are infected with the Las Plagas parasite and are stuck on the island, looking for a way to cure themselves.
This is a problem that continuously comes up and hinders the progression of their escape, as the Las Plagas parasite has the capability to completely take over the functions of the host.
They eventually find help through Luis and an American helicopter pilot sent to help retrieve Leon.
In the finale of the game, Leon is given no choice but to fight Lord Saddler in an effort to protect the ones he truly cares about and to put an end to Saddler’s reign of terror.
I’ll leave the ending of this adventure a mystery because it is truly worth the wait. The immense build-up to the conclusion of this game is well-scripted and has a big payoff for the player.
Compared to the original version of RE4, released all the way back in 2005, the game shows immediate improvement.
According to CAPCOM, “Resident Evil 4 preserves the essence of the original game, while introducing modernized gameplay, a reimagined storyline, and vividly detailed graphics.”
Whether it’s through the quality of the graphics or the consistency of the story, the remake is an overall improvement in many aspects. Fans of the original game will likely be pleased with this faithful and brilliant recreation.
The game introduces the idea of parrying and melee attacks, two fun and unique ways to take on enemies.
Parrying allows the player to block incoming attacks using Leon’s knife. The melee attacks are available when an enemy is disabled in some way, such as through the use of flashbangs.
Melee attacks alone are always an extremely fun way to dispose of enemies. Leon has the ability to perform spinning kicks and suplexes on his enemies, effectively knocking them down.
One aspect of the original Resident Evil 4 game that has been carried over to the remake is the number of enemies and the clear and present danger that they constantly provide.
The classic chainsaw-wielding enemy has made a return, along with plenty of other enemies of all sorts.
This includes the normal villagers, insects of varying sizes, a gigantic salamander, and some huge trolls– all hell-bent on killing Leon.
One of the scariest parts of the game is when Leon is separated from Ashley, and Ashley is forced to fight armored creatures that are almost impervious to bullets.
During this part of the game, Ashley has nothing to defend herself but a small lantern that makes the knight creatures freeze up. It’s like Boo from Mario; it only moves when you’re not looking at it.
This part is so effective at making the player scared because it takes away all the weapons that they typically use to defend themselves, creating a sense of vulnerability.
Another enemy that has made its return is the beast known as the Regenerador, who has the ability to completely heal from any sort of attack that Leon throws at it.
This enemy, in particular, is one that doesn’t show up until much later in the game, when the player will be much more prepared to take it on in a fight.
This enemy, in my opinion, is one of the most terrifying creatures that the player will encounter during the gameplay. With its soulless eyes and fanged smile, it is nothing short of a complete nightmare-inducing beast.
Alongside the large variety of enemies, there are plenty of boss fights for the player to take on.
Some of the boss fights that happen early in the game are battles against priests who work for Lord Saddler, a local lord of the land, and Leon’s old mentor, who has gone insane.
All of this, of course, leads up to the final boss fight– Lord Saddler himself.
To deal with all of these threats, the game gives you the helpful man known as the Merchant.
The merchant allows the player to buy and sell items collected during their travels to upgrade their current equipment and weapons.
One aspect that I thought was interesting is just how much the Merchant offers in exchange for the cash that the player collects throughout their gameplay.
I was constantly stuck trying to determine what exactly I wanted to do with my money and deciding whether I should upgrade the weapons I had or buy new ones entirely.
One great thing about this game is that it allows you to play however you like.
In fact, the game gives the player the option to buy a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) after the first third of the game. So, if you really wanted, you could sell everything you own and pick up the one-shot RPG to quickly dispose of any enemy you might encounter with extreme ease.
The game gives you a starter pistol, but if that’s not your style, you can just simply sell that pistol and go for another weapon.
There are no boundaries as to what you can do with your loot and weapons in this game.
The Resident Evil 4 remake switches up the progression of acquiring new weapons, which the franchise has usually done in the past.
For example, in Resident Evil Village, RE 2, and RE 3, the game allows the player to gradually add new weapons to their arsenal, usually going in the order of pistol, shotgun, sniper, submachine gun (SMG), and then some sort of powerful weapon like the RPG.
But in this remake, the game gives players the pistol and the shotgun fairly quickly and then allows them to buy the rest of the weapons whenever they want.
Of course, you could get different variations of those weapons later on, but you can always have access to various weapons to play the game however you like.
Final Notes and Things I Liked:
Each location that you visit in the game will have a different feeling to it.
Whether you’re in the basement of the castle or the highest point of the island, there is always a sense of fear that leaves the player wondering what might be around every corner.
The music in this game is brilliant, giving the player an additional sense of intensity and magnificence.
In fact, the music that plays when the player visits the Merchant is very eerie and doesn’t let the player be at complete ease even when making purchases. It left me feeling on edge and ready for an attack, even though you can’t be attacked around the Merchant.
All the weapons that the player has access to feel and sound amazing and are another really satisfying addition to the game’s overall feel.
The game also has options for players to customize the case that holds all of their items, giving it different perks like dropping more ammo, more heals, and more materials.
This goes along with the few key chains that you can win doing little mini-games for the Merchant. The key chains give small but useful boosts to your character, like having a better chance to craft more ammo for a specific weapon.
The mini-game for the Merchant is a fun addition to the gameplay loop.
I personally did not spend much time playing it because it was essentially just a shooting range, but it was still fun and useful regardless.
From IGN, the game received a whopping 10/10, calling the game a “Masterpiece.” It’s a review that I couldn’t agree with more.
Most other reviews for the game are near perfect, like the GamesRadar+ review, which gives it 4.5/5 stars, which I think is a fair enough score.
I thoroughly enjoyed this game and fully intend to play it all over again sometime soon. It was an amazing experience, and I wish I could play for the first time again.
I would give this remake a 10/10 for its amazing gameplay, visuals, and overall story.