The Resident Evil series is one of Capcom’s most well known and cherished franchises amongst gamers in the PlayStation era stumbling right into the current generation.
The Resident Evil series is one of Capcom’s most well known and cherished franchises amongst gamers in the PlayStation era stumbling right into the current generation. The original resident evil, released in 1996, was the first video game to get branded with the survival horror name and introduced millions all over to the world of Raccoon City and the great and mighty evil Umbrella corporation and their deadly, deadly T-virus monsters.
Survival horror is a sub-genre of action but usually with certain limitations. such as a lack of ammo, health, or even inventory space. These limitations can effectively heighten the games atmosphere and cause the player to re-consider the ‘go in guns blazing’ option. If you only have one clip left and a corridor of a half-dozen zombies to get past, it’s not ideal to kill every enemy in the game.
Over the years Capcom released five main sequels and a number of spin-offs. Resident evil 2, 3 and Code veronica all followed a similar template as the original in new settings and with various characters with a overlapping story based on Umbrella.
With Resident Evil 4, the series creator tried to re-invent the wheel, not twice, but three times. The initial version of Resident Evil 4 which began development in 1999 strayed so far from the series formula that it became the popular action series: Devil May Cry.
The series took two other turns that were later scrapped for various reasons. The Resident evil 4 being reviewed here was originally released in 2005 for the Nintendo Gamecube but would later get ported to PS2, Wii, PC as well a special version developed for iOS devices.
The fourth entry into the series saw a serious overhaul to the ‘survival horror’ formula the series had used until now with: pre-rendered backgrounds (Code Veronica did ditch this too actually); pre-determined camera angles; very limited inventory spaces; and the majority of enemies being slow and stupid getting the axe and a stronger approach to action and combat. There was also ‘mobs’ of faster and more intelligent enemies introduced. These enemies could wield weapons, climb ladders and into windows, flank the main character. The story also took a significant turn with Umbrella having been taken out since the last Resident Evil game and a new evil cult with mind-controlling parasites playing the new antagonists of the game. This game also introduced the series to quick time events (QTEs) which require the player to quickly react and press the correct button or series of buttons in the short allocated time.
Resident Evil 4 HD doesn’t feature any new content or characters this time round, this is still the same game it was last generation just with a lick of ‘high resolution’ paint.
However it does include the extra PS2/Wii content including the excellent ‘Seperate Ways’ side chapters for Ada.
Many intrigued gamers wondered how this HD remake of Resident Evil 4 was going to stack up graphically, considering the originally was so heavily praised for it’s for-the-time outstanding graphics.
Unfortunately it’s not a true graphical remake it’s still the same graphical engine as used back on the Gamecube and PS2, but the higher resolution does make the game so much clearer and the game’s textures are easier on the eye with the increased detail in this version. It’s quite a standard, and quite frankly lazy HD-port of Resident Evil 4. However by no means is that to say the game is ugly even by modern standards with the likes of Battlefield 3, Crysis and The Witcher 2, but anyone expecting high resolution models and textures or for it to look like Resident Evil 5 is going to be disappointed.
The game play is identical to the countless other versions though Capcom seem to have missed an opportunity with the PS3 version as there is no Move controls, quite a shame as the Wii version of Resident Evil 4 had the best controls of last generation, it was the only version in which I could get a perfect score in the Merchant’s shooting galleries.
The controls are far less clunky and troublesome than the older Resident Evil games were the characters movement could only be described as ‘truck-like’. Though since Resident Evil 4’s original release we’ve been blessed with fluid games like Gears of War, Uncharted and the ultra slick Vanquish (which is by Mikami’s new studio, funnily enough) so for first timers or those revisiting the game for the first time in years the controls may come off as quite stiff and archaic but hold in there! You will get used to them and be pulling off headshots and manoeuvring the crowds of Ganados and other Los Plagas enemies without too much trouble after a few chapters.
Imagine a Call Of Duty multiplayer game where you could only shoot when you stood still, games would be full of campers! Oh wait…-
Resident Evil 4 is a fantastic game for replayability there are three other modes and a higher difficulty unlocked on completion of the game on ‘Normal’ difficulty. As well as several super-guns & a few mercenaries characters, costumes for Leon & Ashley to unlock, there is the fantastic ‘New Game+’ option that lets you start off with your previous game’s inventory of upgraded weapons and ammo making subsequent playthroughs incredibly fun as you plough through previously hard-as-nails areas like a breeze with your highly powered magnum or machine gun with it’s endless supply of ammo.
Resident Evil 4 is still the brilliant and lengthy action/survival horror game many of us fell in love with in 2005 that made us realise Resident Evil could be something other than cheesy voice acting, pre-determined camera angles and clunky controls with an intriguing back story.
The actual port itself though leaves much to be desired, a true HD remake in the framework engine (Resident Evil 5, Lost Planet etc) would have been so much nicer to look at and some online/split screen co-op for the mercenaries mode wouldn’t have gone amiss either.
For newcomers or those that have completed Resident Evil 4 only on the Gamecube it would be worth picking up for the new content they missed from the PS2 and Wii version. However for those of you out there who have completed the game several times on various formats including the Wii/PS2, it may not warrant being purchased at it’s seemingly-high price tag. For PS+ subscribers though the game was only £8.00 in the first few weeks, which is a much fairer price for a lazy port of a six year old game with no new bells or whistles to show for.
It’s a shame because Resident Evil 4 is a utterly fantastic game, it really deserved better than this
Platforms: PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 (Download Only)
Genres: Third-person-shooter, Survival horror
Release Date: September 20th 2011
Price: £15.99/$19.99 or 1840 MS points