Resident Evil 4 Review


Video game remakes are continuing to become more and more frequent in the current landscape and for the most part I’m all for them. They are often earned, especially if the original game was iconic and/or critically acclaimed, and typically allow a new generation of gamers to experience something that they may not have had the chance to originally play, or no longer have the ability to play if said game was released on a platform that’s not easily accessible. Just in the past year we’ve received remakes of both The Last of Us and Dead Space. Two games that are considered some of the best of their generation, but were both inspired by, and likely exist in the way they do thanks to the game I’m reviewing right here. 

Resident Evil 4 is widely considered one of the greatest third person action games of all time, and now close to 20 years on from when it originally released, Capcom have given the game the remake treatment and have not just given the base game a nice new coat of paint and some modern features, they’ve reimagined the game, allowing it to feel fresh once again while also preserving everything that made the original so fantastic. Capcom have had some great success with Resident Evil remakes in recent years, and they’ve hit another home run here with Resident Evil 4.

Resident Evil 4 Review

Resident Evil 4 picks up 6 years after the events of Resident Evil 2 and once again follows protagonist Leon S. Kennedy. The game’s setting sees Leon in a rural Spanish village where he’s been sent to retrieve Ashely Graham, the abducted daughter of the US President. It’s not long before things start to become really weird and dangerous and Leon finds himself once again facing hordes of enemies, this time infected by a supernatural parasite. So what starts as a rescue mission quickly evolves into Leon needing to uncover the mysteries of this parasitic cult and when links to the umbrella corporation begin to form, it once again brings to memory the events of Raccoon City from 6 years ago. 

Like the original, the Resident Evil 4 remake is a third person, over the shoulder action adventure title. It was one of the titles that was instrumental in creating the over the shoulder trend that continues to be incredibly popular still to this day and provides a view that simultaneously lets you view both Leon, the surrounding stage and enemies but is also capable of pulling in and providing a sense of claustrophobic dread when in tight areas or indoor corridors. 

Resident Evil 4 Review

But while encounters can get very intense and downright spooky at times, the game never fails to be fun. Efficiently clearing a room of foes, finally discovering the solution to a puzzle and gaining access to a new area or landing a headshot on an enemy from a distance never fails to feel increasingly fun and rewarding. 

If you’ve played the Resident Evil 2 remake you’ll be primed for what to expect with Resident Evil 4 when it comes to gameplay. The game retains its focus on third person shooting/combat, resource management and exploration puzzle solving in almost equal parts. While you may have a slight leg up if you’ve played a Resident Evil game previously, especially when it comes to managing resources and the design of puzzles, I wouldn’t say it’s absolutely critical to have played previous entries to be able to follow the events of the game or have a great time playing it. But the additional context for character backstories, world concepts and links to other entries may be missed for series newcomers.

Resident Evil 4 Review

The resource management component of the game is one of the things I love most about the series. Not only does it limit the amount of gear Leon can carry around at any one time, it forces you to prioritise what might be required most in the current moment. Taking gear that takes up room in your carry case that isn’t being utilised can quickly lead to you running out of space for the things you really do need and can be the fastest way to fail an encounter. It has an underlying risk/reward aspect and is one of the core systems that puts the survival into this survival horror game. One of the new introductions with this remake is the ability to customise your attaché case with the ability to purchase different styles and to also attach charms, with both granting various passive perks to Leon.

The changes to the attaché case aren’t the only new additions that have been included within this remake, far from it. Despite it being a remake of a game that came out back in 2005, this is more than a visual fresh coat of paint and re-release. The game has been rebuilt from the ground up, as well as reimagined. Things don’t play out 1:1 like they did in the original game. I was actually quite surprised by how much was tweaked and changed, and came to appreciate all of it because it allows even the most hardcore of fans of the original to experience a story they love but with plenty of new twists and turns that provides surprises even for them.

Resident Evil 4 Review

The game is packed full of smaller tweaks and quality of life changes that enhance the experience of the original, but also features a number of more notable additions. Leon is now able to parry and stagger enemies using his trusty knife, at the cost of some of it’s durability. There are a number of new side quests and objectives to complete, often obtained by the game’s merchant, these additional tasks give you reasons to explore the world and see what lies beyond the game’s golden progression path and allows you to see how masterfully the world has been crafted, with many areas linking together in clever ways to make the world feel deep, yet interconnected. Ashley’s AI has also seen some tweaks, allowing you to control she follows behind Leon, giving her the option to stay back or stick close to Leon, an option that helps keep her safe in the heat of battle and control how easily she can be abducted by
foes. These are just a few of the many changes that really help Resident Evil 4 feel like a fresh and modern title.

The biggest of which of course though are it’s visuals. Resident Evil 4 is another showcase of Capcom’s fantastic RE Engine. It’s capable of rendering incredible detail and textures as well as realistic weather effects while maintaining a consistent framerate. Special note needs to be given to the lighting which helps the game look stunning while also making it realistically creepy. The all round visual fidelity and the grimy wetness makes the world feel equal parts alive as well as disgusting and grim.

Resident Evil 4 Review

Final Thoughts

Capcom have another masterpiece on their hands with the release of this remake. It preserves everything that made the original game so iconic but has also expanded on aspects and removed others to create a new, well paced masterpiece that honours the original game and has plenty of surprises for new or old fans. It’s certainly not going to be the last remake of a popular game we see that’s for sure, but it sets a new benchmark for how video game remakes should be treated.

A PS5 review code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.

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Played On: PS5

  • + A fantastic reimagining of an absolute classic
  • + Well paced story full of twists for old and new players
  • + Plenty of quality of life changes that helps the game feel fresh and modern
  • + Visual fidelity of the RE Engine continues to be one of the industries best

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