It's rare you get to look back at a game that not only changed a franchise but also, as some would say, birthed a genre.
I’m not sure I’ve ever had a game divide me in such a way that Resident Evil 4 has. Having now played through Resident Evil 1, 2, 3 and 4 in the past two weeks I am, oddly enough, left without much to say. The initial three games in my eyes aged incredibly well and still feel unique to this day. I think it speaks strongly of those three games that someone like me could play through them for the first time and have as much fun as I did. The first three games are part of a very small list in which I feel comfortable saying “we just dont get games like that anymore”.
Enter Resident Evil 4. While most of the core mechanics and ideas remain in tact I couldn’t help but feel as if I wasn’t playing the Resident Evil I’d experienced in the week prior. Something felt off. The game now featured a third-person behind the back camera view and leaned much more towards the action side of things this time around. Puzzles were few and far between and for the most part didn’t feel all that challenging. The absense of ink ribbons resulted in the loss of any sense of urgency within the game and honestly left me a little disappointed.
That being said I’d be lying if I said I didn’t really like Resident Evil 4. The change in camera angle and gameplay was a much needed shift for the series and the action still feels great. Aiming with the left analog stick takes some time to get used to but after an hour or so I found myself getting head shots without much problem. (Of course when the las plagas came around all of that changed.) The tetris-like change to the inventory system was nothing short of genius. It retained the need to constantly manage inventory space in a progressive way that made sense for the game.
The more pressing matter, especially for those of you who’ve played through this game multiple times, is how the HD version of this game holds up. Unless you’re expecting some major improvement to the graphics and a handful of new features I think it’s safe to say you’ll be happy with what we get here. Resident Evil 4 looks great. There’s a few blurry textures every once in a while but for the most part I was pleasantly surprised with how great things looked. (Especially the character models.) Sound quality however is a different story. While the sound during cutscenes seemed fine for the most part I couldn’t help but feel like the lines Leon would say in-game as well as the Merchant’s voice felt off. These voices in particular sounded like someone was muffling them. It’s not something that ruined the game per se but at the same time it just seems inexcusible to me. Also of note is that the game includes the bonus content Separate Ways, Assignment Ada and The Mercenaries as well as all of the unlockable costumes.
While it might not retain certain aspects that I loved about the original games I can’t ignore the fact that Resident Evil 4 is a brilliant game. It’s rare you get to look back at a game that not only changed a franchise but also, as some would say, birthed a genre. Fans of the game should feel comfortable picking up this version if you deem it necessary. Those who haven’t played it should absolutely pick up this game knowing that it’s a perfectly competent version of what many call a ‘classic’ and something that you should absolutely play.
A copy of this game was purchased for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
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