Resident Evil 4 came out in January 2005, and has since then been called the best entry of the franchise since then. An entry that I admit I hadn’t played till its re-release on the PSN. Yes, while I played through Resident Evils 1-3 and even RE5, Resident Evil 4 escaped my grasp. So does RE4 hold up to expectation? Does it stand up to the test of time?
Resident Evil 4 is actually the first game of the series to actually take place at a different setting then the first three. (Believe it or not, technically all three games took place on the same night and at the same city) The story takes place six years after the events of Raccoon City, and you play once again as Leon Kennedy (one of the protagonists from RE2). Leon now works personally for the President and has been dispatched to rescue his daughter who was kidnapped by a mysterious cult. Its up to you to infiltrate this cult and return with the President’s daughter before it’s too late.
While RE5 was a departure from the typical formula of a Resident Evil survival horror, this formula is alive and well in this one. Don’t expect to last too long if your strategy is to shoot every enemy you see. Bullets are few and far between, and you’ll need to conserve your ammo while navigating through entire towns of “zombies”. (More on that in a second) At times, you’ll end up fleeing from the monsters in order to get to higher ground. No joke, I found myself fleeing, and trying to find a more strategic position. The game did a great job in making me feel the panic of the situation on more than one occasion.
RE4 saw a great upgrade in enemies. Gone are the classic Romero Zombies, and in their place smarter enemies, capable of attacking in groups, flanking you, and even getting out of line of sight if they sense you aiming at them. The explanation as to why they are “zombies” also adds to the whole horror factor as well. The enemies are also fantastic as far as adding to the overall creepy atmosphere as well, as they all look like they want to kill you. Other enemies (including the bosses) continue the franchise’s long-standing tradition of presenting some of the most unique and grotesque enemies in the industry.
The music, while nothing you’re going to download on your iPod, does its job in adding tension to the overall horror experience. So the gameplay, story, and music are all homeruns, but does the game stumble anywhere?
The full title of this game is Resident Evil 4 HD, and in the HD part is where the game ultimately fumbles. The game doesn’t look terrible, but the graphics are more on par with an up scaled Game Cube than a PS3. Thanks to this, this pretty much kills any reason to get this title if you already have the game. With the exception of the “HD” this is still very much the same game that you bought back in 2005.
One other small complaint is that the camera tends to be very jerky and can be very erratic, especially when you are getting used to the controls. There was a point that I actually had to stop playing thanks to a pretty bad headache from all the rapid movement on the screen. So for those new to the game, I’d recommended starting to play a few hours at a time to get your feet wet.
I never played RE4 before now, but it more than lived up to the hype. The game is the definition of a survival horror, and the strategy needed to overcome the challenge had me coming back for more again and again. For those who’ve never had a chance to play this one, it’s definitely worth the price at PSN. But once again, that’s to people who never played the game. If you own a copy of this one on another console, you’re better off saving your money. Also for those who have motion sickness, take care with this one. Other than that, this is an excellent game to pick up.
FINAL GRADE: A-