When I first heard that Capcom was remaking Resident Evil 4, I was excited to see if they could maintain the original game’s charm and stay true to its roots while offering a compelling experience.
After spending some time with Resident Evil 4 on PlayStation 5, I am happy to say that the game’s modernized controls, updated graphics, and revised story make this the best remake in the series to date!
Resident Evil 4 Details
Platform(s): PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4 and PC
Reviewed on: PlayStation 5
Genre: Survival Horror
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
A rescue mission filled with visceral combat and a dire tone
Resident Evil 4 continues the story after the events of Resident Evil 2, following the journey of Leon S. Kennedy, who is recruited by the government to rescue Ashley Graham, the kidnapped daughter of the US President. After receiving information of her whereabouts in a rural Spanish village, Leon embarks on a mission to bring Ashley back to safety.
Taking place in a peaceful Spanish countryside, Leon responds to a report of Ashley’s sighting, and finds himself facing one of his most horrific challenges yet. Within moments of his arrival, his team is brutally attacked, leaving him alone to fight for survival. Soon after, Leon encounters the first Ganado, a group of infected villagers, as he is assaulted by a crazed man wielding an axe in the small village.
Many aspects that impressed me in the original game remain unchanged in the remake, but now benefit from nearly two decades of game development. The RE Engine brings a breath of life to the game. This is evident in the world as you cautiously push forward through bushes and past branches into the opening segment, which sets the tone for the rest of the harrowing rescue mission.
Gameplay that stays true to its roots and offers updated mechanics
When Resident Evil 4 originally released in 2005, it was a particularly gory game, more so than the first 3 games. I was curious whether the remake would follow suit and it does. While the first several hours of the game may not be as frightening as the latter half, the hordes of enemies make things feel more intense. With Leon’s training and battle skills, you can take down the possessed villagers in a variety of savage ways.
Usually, firing several ammo rounds is sufficient to take down a group of enemies. As you venture deeper into the countryside, exploring caves and castles, the true form of the enemies becomes more prevalent. These infected villagers can easily overpower you, as their sheer numbers make it difficult to escape.
Some may try to snap your neck, while others may impale you with pitchforks. In any case, these enemies are formidable and can turn the tide of battle in an instant if their tentacles get too close.
Modernized gameplay mechanics
Resident Evil 4 successfully balances action-packed sequences with a deep reverence for the original game, while modernizing the mechanics for 2023. To enhance combat, the developers have included new weapons, which give you more options to take out your enemies. For example, the Bolt Thrower, which seamlessly integrates into the existing gameplay. This weapon serves two purposes, it can be used for crowd control by attaching explosives to the end of the bolt. Or, it can be used as a ranged weapon to silently take down enemies from a distance.
Despite maintaining the core essence of Resident Evil 4’s gameplay, additional enhancements and tweaks to gameplay have been made. For example, stealth mechanics to bypass enemies is a much-welcomed change and a crucial one in my opinion. With the ability to crouch, you now gain access to a new world of options to engage with the environment and enemies.
Another significant change to Resident Evil 4’s gameplay is how Leon’s knife functions. It now has a durability level. As a result, this really makes you think and plan when to use it to gain the most benefit from it. Additionally, Leon can now parry incoming attacks at the cost of some durability. The durability system is tied not only to combat but also to stealth sections. You can sneak up on enemies and take them down instantly but at the risk of depleting your durability meter.
The Merchant makes a welcome return
The fan favourite character, The Merchant, makes a welcome return in Resident Evil 4. Throughout the game, he pops up at different intervals and offers you a range of new weapons and upgrades for your guns and knife. Additionally, The Merchant’s shop serves as an essential upgrade location. This allows you to customize your inventory and unlock the ability to upgrade your case to carry more items and weapons.
In Resident Evil 4 you can attach up to three charms at a time to your case, each providing unique bonuses. For example, one charm may increase the amount of health restored when consuming eggs, while another may provide additional ammo when crafting. Crafting is another new gameplay addition and allows you to create a variety of ammo and herb recipes using Gunpowder and Resources scattered throughout the environment.
Proper ammo and inventory management, much like other games in the series, is crucial to survival in Resident Evil 4. Though you may feel confident with a full inventory, a sudden attack from a group of enemies can leave you scrambling to conserve resources. Managing a crowd of enemies can quickly deplete your ammo reserves, leading to potentially deadly consequences.
The RE engine shines and provides an impressive amount of detail
The level of detail in the animations of Resident Evil 4 is impressive. And, it’s noticeable in every section of the game. Initially, it’s the small nuances that catch your attention, like seeing an enemy get caught in a bear trap and then watching their leg break away. Seeing enemies retreat when exposed to sunlight, and the characters’ reactions are realistic, showcasing the attention to detail that has been added to this already great game.
Long-time fans will be happy to hear that Resident Evil 4’s humour and horror are still included. Leon’s iconic lines, such as “Where’s everyone going? Bingo?” and “I guess this is their idea of a warm welcome,” bridge the gap between the original and remake’s humour.
The game mechanics are phenomenal, and controlling Leon is highly responsive. DualSense implementation on the PlayStation 5 is noteworthy, with each of Leon’s footsteps being felt through the controller, along with weapon feedback.
Resident Evil 4 is a stunning remake that should not be missed
Resident Evil 4 is a stunning remake of the iconic Gamecube horror game. It successfully retains the original game’s intense action and frightening atmosphere while incorporating updated visuals and modernized gameplay mechanics. The stunning graphics take full advantage of the RE Engine, and combat is both visceral and fast-paced.
The controls have been enhanced to allow those new to the series to pick up and play with ease. And, at the same time, offers a challenge to veterans who can switch off the auto-aim function. The excellent audio design and soundtrack contribute to creating a creepy ambiance that elevates every enemy encounter.
If you’re searching for a chilling horror experience, I highly recommend this amazing remake of Resident Evil 4.
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF RESIDENT EVIL 4
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5
Overall Rating 4.5/5 (90%)
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