Coming back to Resident Evil 4 has been a unique journey for me. When I usually think of a game that so defined my childhood and early teen years, I usually try to leave those feelings of nostalgia and awe where they lie.
However, when I heard that yet another re-release of Resident Evil 4 was coming to current gen consoles I finally swallowed my fear and bought the game. When I first put the game in my console and started it up, I was filled with dread as I looked at the boring, bland, and weirdly stretched main menu.
However, the moment the game actually started, my feelings about the game completely changed.
While the pre-rendered cutscenes still suffer from being dated and upscaled (a common flaw for pre-rendered material), both the gameplay and in-game cutscenes look amazing. This is even better than the HD re-release for Resident Evil 5. Make no mistake though, this isn’t much more than a cash grab.
Resident Evil 4 has been re-released more times and on more consoles than any other game in recent memory to me. As far as I see it, Capcom has a long way to go to win back their fans after their terrible business practices dominated the last console generation.
Giving fans what they want in terms of HD releases of their favorite games is a good start. Who knows, this may be the beginning of a good run which may even culminate in a new release in the Devil May Cry franchise.
The only way I know how to review this game is to travel back in time to when I was a young boy who loved Guitar Hero and professional wrestling (I still do, but that’s beside the point). Around that time I sat down and played the game on my Gamecube for the first time.
The story of Resident Evil 4 follows US Agent Leon S. Kennedy, the rookie cop-turned hero who survived the infamous Raccoon City incident.
Leon is then sent on a mission to rural Spain to rescue Ashley Graham, the daughter of the President of the United States. In the beginning of the game, Leon is unaware of the reality of his situation, assuming that Ashley may have gotten abducted by a low rate gang of thugs. He quickly realizes that the situation is much worse.
The people who kidnapped her aren’t thugs, but instead some kind of weird religious cult, and everyone in town is seemingly involved. Leon must fight his way through villages, castle ruins, and military bunkers filled to the brim with religious fanatics, many of whom have been infected by a parasite they have dubbed Las Plagas… The Plague.
The parasite is injected as an egg and hatches within it’s host. Once hatched, the leader of the cult, a hooded man by the name of Saddler, gains complete control of the host. During his hunt for Ashley, Leon is knocked unconscious and injected with the parasite.
Soon after, Leon is able to rescue Ashley from one of the churches the cult has set up, but not before being told by Saddler that she too has been injected with the parasite egg. From there on the game moves through many different and exotic locations for Leon to fight to save both Ashley and himself from certain death.
The one major fear that I have when it comes to playing older games is that the gameplay itself may not hold up over time. For example, Megaman Legends was one of my most played games on PlayStation 1. Upon going back to that game, I found those controls were horrible. Luckily, unlike Megaman Legends, Resident Evil 4 has aged like fine wine.
The game looks fantastic running at 1080p and 60FPS, with no single piece of the game aging poorly.
While it’s true that Resident Evil 4 is one of the games that popularized quick time events, I felt that they were used sparsely enough so as to not get on the player’s nerves. This is barring the few QTE-heavy cutscene fights later on into the game, of course.
Honestly, the only negative thing I can think of is that Resident Evil 4 was the beginning of the end for survival horror being a main part of the franchise. While the game itself has plenty of spooky or unsettling moments, the action sequences were mostly taken from and copied for Resident Evil 5.
As far as Resident Evil 6 is concerned, most of you know how that turned out, and how it was received. Luckily, with Resident Evil 7‘s announcement and subsequent gameplay, it would appear that Capcom knows what the fans want and have gone back to their horror roots.
I know it may be my bias speaking for me, but Resident Evil 4 is a great game, and I’m not the only person to say that.
The overwhelming majority of people who played the game over the years and across all available platforms have made their praise of the game well known. Therefore, I feel comfortable giving this game a high review score. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got ballistics to secure.
Resident Evil 4 HD was reviewed on PlayStation 4 using a retail copy purchased by Niche Gamer. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.
The Verdict: 9.5
- Updated graphics make the game look almost as good as a current generation game, even better than Resident Evil 5
- The gameplay still feels as good as it did all those years ago
- Leon S. Kennedy is probably the most well known of the Resident Evil protagonists, and by far one of my favorites (second only to Rebecca Chambers)
- The environments and atmosphere are fantastic and unique.
- The voice acting and characters leave a lasting impression on the player
It was the beginning of the end for Japanese horror games, not just Resident Evil – in it’s own way, Resident Evil 4 helped kill Silent Hill as well