Capcom has been on such a good run of form, ever since they released Devil May Cry 5 and Resident Evil 2 back at the start of 2019. And in keeping with this trend, I’m happy to report that their latest remake of Resident Evil 4 is an absolute blast to play. Megafans and first-timers have a lot to be excited about. Fresh gameplay mechanics, improved writing/voice-acting and a visually darker tone all make for a superb remake of a legendary game that’s played on almost every device known to man. Maybe even a toaster next?
Ready For More?
Best boy, Leon S. Kennedy has acquired a few new moves, sharp controls and tools under his slick sherpa jacket, as the more action-oriented elements like traps, knife parries and melee kicks really get the adrenaline pumping. Sharing a similar DNA to the remakes of Resi 2 & 3 in terms of structure and map functionality, Leon feels exponentially more combat-ready compared to his RPD days; almost always having a solution that quick-thinking players can adapt to any situation. If he’s backed into a corner without an explosive, Leon can quickly rapid-fire an enemy’s head or knees for them to stumble back and be walloped by a giant boot of justice, knocking any nearby foes down in the process. And before you ask—Leon’s epic suplex is back and better than ever with a “no thanks, bro!” level of vengeance.
The variety of enemies you’ll encounter makes the already exciting action even more enjoyable. Parrying an enemy’s attacks in quick succession feels so satisfying, whilst dodging certain blows with the ‘evade’ button usually results in Leon doing a flashy flip or manoeuvre out of the way. If Mr. Chainsaw Man gets too close, players can choose to expend a knife and save themselves, or witness Leon getting chopped up in all manners of violence—take your pick. I haven’t even mentioned the revamped bosses, the blind, berserker-style enemies or the creepy-crawly parasitic types, which all require different extermination strategies. But I won’t spoil any more than that. Rest assured, they’re all a ball to take down.
Being able to walk and shoot in the Resident Evil 4 remake removes the ‘static’ nature of Leon’s original movement. While crouching to avoid overhead assaults or dropping down from certain heights for cheeky invincibility frames further increases the game’s tactical depth. Players can also upgrade their favourite weapons’ rate of fire, reload speed and power, alongside a new ‘weapon charm’ mechanic that offers many useful perks. The enigmatic, yet comical merchant will even offer Leon discounts depending on the current chapter, and he can be traded with for all sorts of treasures (which can also be combined) to obtain some sweet, sweet pesetas. That would be ‘money’ for all you non-worldly types.
Keeping Resi 4’s Vision Intact
By and large, Capcom has cleverly altered and expanded upon the original’s content in several exciting ways, without straying too far from the original formula. Exploring select parts of the map via boat or taking part in side quests and a shooting range to earn nifty weapon charms and extra treasures are just some of the game’s many great inclusions. It’s all paced out really well too, as the remake funnels the player down specific routes, but also lets them backtrack and run free to collect any missed treasures or side quest objectives at certain points.
That all being said, looking after the US President’s daughter, Ashley Graham is still a resident pain in the posterior. Even though she’s less clumsy and easier to command, with a ‘nearby’ and ‘roam’ type of option available, she often gets caught in the dumbest of situations. This can (and will) force the player to run awkwardly into danger before she’s taken away or result in Leon being straight-up murdered by the villagers. It’s hard enough as is to keep Leon in tip-top shape, especially on Hardcore difficulty. So, do yourself a favour and throw her into a nearby locker ASAP.
The writing and atmosphere have certainly been given a much darker tone; ravenous crows fly in the distance, neglected animals and filth litter the rain-soaked streets, and the ‘European’, definitely-not-Spanish villagers will aggressively stab Leon like a skewer if given the chance. This gives the remake a more gothic, Castlevania type of vibe more fitting of the campy, yet relatively serious story. The devs have also removed or changed a couple of corny-sounding lines and gags but still retained a good selection of the classics. Veterans might grab their pitchforks in anger, but they definitely won’t over the PS5 version’s stunning textures, high frame rates and crisp character models; aspects that the PS4 version leaves wanting.
For a game that almost has as many different versions as Skyrim, this remake of the revered Resident Evil 4 has absolutely smashed it. Featuring a multitude of content updates and revisions in the gameplay, story, music and presentation that fans and first-timers will thoroughly enjoy. Escorting Ashley around the map was, and still is a major inconvenience, regardless of how they’ve updated her mechanics. However, everything else that’s offered in this remake, from knife parries to grenade blasts and WWE suplex takedowns is so, so satisfying to experience. As the “hero boy” Leon would say: hasta luego.
By Anthony Culinas – Reviewed on PlayStation 4
The Resident Evil 4 remake is just as awesome as the original. Even though protecting Ashley can lead to extreme moments of frustration, the rest of the package is still one hell of a good time. Leon’s combat prowess and battle-hardened skills are a joy to wield, while the darker presentation and writing strike a brilliant balance between seriousness and camp—exactly what the Resident Evil brand represents.
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