Resident Evil 4

Screenshots taken from IGN

Six years have passed since Raccoon City was destroyed and the government has dismantled the Umbrella Corporation from the inside-out. But the terror is not over. Now a U.S. Agent, former Raccoon Police Officer Leon Kennedy has been dispatched on a mission to Europe to save the President’s daughter from a “crazed organization” that bares a striking behavioral resemblance to creatures found in the Arklay Mountains. Is there a connection between these foes and the horrible nightmares from the past?

Resident Evil 4 is a lot different than it’s previous prequels in different aspects throughout the game. No more zombies this time around, as you’ll be fighting off villagers infected by the Las Plagas and other such mutants, some small and some large. Instead of being slow and dumb, the Ganados can also run and will attack you wherever you go as they’ll climb ladders, jump through windows and even bust open doors. They also carry weapons such as pitchforks, dynamite, knifes, even a chainsaw and a few others which get introduced much later in the game. Sometimes you can have the upperhand as they do these things by knocking the ladder back down or making them drop their explosive killing themselfs. The game is split into chapters, with smaller segments inbetween where you will travel from the villages, across a large lake, through a castle and typically like in every Resident Evil title, some high tech area. To help you progress or search areas, the action button key is displayed onscreen at the bottom to indicate if you can interact with something such as an item, switch or door, pretty useful but some exploration is lost unlike the previous titles. During a later part of the game you will have Ashley follow you throughout major parts where she can be taken away by the enemy if you dont keep an eye on her as it can result in a failed mission. This can be easily avoided by shooting the enemy down. Much later you will also take control of Ashley to do some puzzles to get to Leon. Cutscenes and the flow of the game expand and detail the story each time you progress learning more and more each time, which it should, with plenty of twists but a few typical moments.

I’ll start with the puzzles, these aren’t exactly hard at all as they are very obvious what you must do and the items required would be fairly close by anyway which makes this area of the gameplay far too easy unlike the previous titles, they could have added a break from the action into more thinking which was a bit of a shame. No for the fights, it can have some variety and depends on the actual enemy you’re up against. The Ganados and Monks aren’t much trouble at all and can be taken down with a few shots, however the ones with sheilds can be a problem, but getting them from behind isn’t too difficult. The only time things can get hectic is when a horde of them are crowding around either you or Ashley. Other enemies late in the game do however get more harder to fight against and some which can really give you a scare when you’re not expecting them around the corner, these ones however are much later in the game but they all have a weakness to help beat them quickly. I found the boss fights were fairly simple most of the time, since their weakness can get very obvious and all you really have to is avoid it’s attack, take some shots at it’s weak spot and follow that simple pattern. Overall, the difficult can get tough but sometimes simple at other times. Still enjoyable though.

Controls / Battle System
I’ve only played the Gamecube version, however they’re similar to the controls used in Resident Evil also for the Gamecube. Aiming again is the right shoulder button like in all the other titles. Now you don’t have to hold a button to run anymore since Leon will job at a fast enough pace to get to places quickly and avoid running into enemies. And no more camera angles this time round as it is constantly behind Leon and the improvement in the aiming system is a great plus, you can easily take headshots or shoot their leg and give them a good kick with the action button after running up to them before they get up. Another key feature how weapons are obtained, you wont be finding bigger and stronger weapons as you progress since this time you will collect money and valuable items to sell to buy your equipment. There’s a wide selection of stuff to buy from automatics and shotguns, to sniper rifles and scops. But that’s not all you can do, weapons can also be upgraded in many ways through different levels, each time getting more expensive. Reloading speed, capacity, power can all be upgraded, therefore making that starting pistol rather deadly. Not only can weapons be upgrade but by mixing yellow herbs with other ones and using it can increase your maximum health limit and the same with Ashley as well. Grenades and flashbangs are another nice touch to the gameplay and prove rather useful in tight situations as well. Another extra addition to the gameplay are the quick responses where you must press a certain button or two as it shows on the screen. If these are failed you could possible die or risk a lot of health being lost. Some even require you to rapidly press the button as well but clearly indicated onscreen. The knife in the game is a lot more useful and can help conserve your ammunition as you will need it much later in the game, however I will not spoil in this review. The best approach is to get your enemy on the ground by taking a small shot at their leg and knifing them as they lay for a few seconds, best way to save precious supplies.

Design / Music / Sound
A complete three dimensional enviroment without the use of either static backgrounds or camera angles. Everywhere is full of detail making you feel more immersed in the game, as it looks realistic looking too. The village for example have old, poor looking wooden shacks with a lonely, dead looking forest around them. The castle is also another great example, it’s interiors have fantastic and inspiring architecture throughout with a great style to it. Groans and moans from zombies are no more as the Ganados will shout several phrases, while trying to kill you, in spanish which also sets the location more, these can eventually get old though. There’s sound everywhere in the game both ambient and generic, with tension building and great music playing in the background. However, as usual in save rooms, a calm tune is played but this time with a nice, original yet unusual style to it.

Replay Value
I’m not too sure about other versions of the game, however I know after completing the game once can open a few extras for your next game. Unlocked is a new costume and some new weapons to play with and all the items you had when you saved at the end will be carried on over here too. There are also two extra modes which can be quite fun to play but I never got into them much although others may.

Overall Conclusion
Great game, lots of action in a detailed enviroment with lots of twists throughout. However, not as a Resident Evil title, since it could have been a brand new game altogether. And the fact I prefer the classic Resident Evil style, but still a fantastic game.

Developer: Capcom
Console(s): PlayStation 2 / GameCube / PC
Rating: 92%