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Resident Evil 4 (2023) Preview

Resident Evil 4 (2023) Preview

Over the past few years, I’ve really come to adore the Resident Evil franchise, despite being a scaredy cat. Some of the biggest contributors to that growing love have certainly been the remakes that have breathed new (un)life into the older titles. Now, while I’m still desperately hoping for Capcom to give Code: Veronica another go so I can play as Claire Redfield again, I’m still incredibly excited to sink my teeth into the reanimated Resident Evil 4, a new version of the 2005 GameCube classic that revolutionised the survival horror genre.

Resi 4 2023 Fat chance Ramon

I was given a chance to view some newly released footage of various important elements of the upcoming remake, though sadly, I was not given a chance to play any of it. However, what I did see certainly piqued my interest! The demo started around Chapter 4, following Leon S. Kennedy — once a rookie cop on the streets of Raccoon City in Resident Evil 2, now a federal agent of the United States of America — as he explored in and around a village in a mountainous region of Spain, and later the nearby Salazar Castle, in search of the U.S. President’s daughter, Ashley Graham.

As Leon walked through the woods, I had a chance to admire the beautifully detailed scenery by the lake. At the same time, there was this constant sound of chanting surrounding him even before anyone came out to attack. However, before long, the man was caught up in a fight that showed off how the combat system would work this time around. Like always, Leon carried a handgun and a shotgun, allowing him to work at disabling shots delivered to his enemies’ heads and legs. This time, however, there was a greater focus on showing off his melee capabilities, with him delivering spinning kicks to disoriented foes, parrying strikes from mutated enemies and thrown objects with his combat knife, and likewise using the stabby instrument to finish off anyone lying on the ground, using up some of the knife’s durability gauge in the process. Certainly, the Resident Evil series is no stranger to knives, but it looks almost as though the humble weapon is smoother to play with than I’ve seen before.

After leaving the bloody scene, our hero entered a cave where there were many interesting symbols, images, ladders, locked doors, special blue request notes that reward the player with Spinels for completing various actions — such as collecting a golden egg — and what appeared to be puzzles. Of course, this cave being connected to the big lake, Leon was also able to drive a boat around, hitting several barrels along the way to net some Pesetas. Then he came across another fight, where he notably took out his sniper rifle to attack a particular weak point in a mutated Ganado and then returned to his side arm to shoot a stick of dynamite that was still in another man’s hand, blowing him and everyone around him sky high.

Resi 4 2023 Merchant wants you to be interested

Following a bit more exploration, Leon made his way to the Merchant, who seemed quite pleased to see him. Leon was able to buy a new weapon — a TMP submachine gun — and get his existing weapons upgraded. He also had the option to sell or trade in his own items, but, like me, he’d rather hoard it all, even including the elegant mask treasure that he took the time to set three gems inside of to increase its sell price.

Then, since he had a chance to take a breath and use the nearby typewriter, Leon made the most of his break. At the typewriter, he was able to not only save his progress, but also access storage (negating any need for a separate storage box) and customise his Attaché Case. He was able to change the backing colour of the case to black (thereby increasing the rate of gaining large resources — unless a capital L means some other kind of resources) from silver (which had been increasing the rate of ammo gain) and he also equipped a chicken charm. There were three slots available for placement, and it appears that each charm will provide a gameplay boost of some kind. In the chicken charm’s case, the player is given a 100% boost to any health recovery that stems from eating an egg. Hooray for eggs!

Soon after that, the demo caught up with Leon once he and Ashley were on their way to enter the castle. While the duo made an effort to be stealthy for the most part with their crouching and staying close together with the Tight command, they eventually got into another fight — this time against enemies with crossbows and catapults! Usually, whenever Leon would go and get in close with a foe, he would direct Ashley to keep her distance with the Loose command, though not always. A few times during the prolonged fight, Ashley wound up getting grabbed and carried away, though Leon was always capable of rushing over and attacking her captors so that they would drop her. Ashley also wound up getting injured enough to be incapacitated at one point, requiring Leon to help her up. Throughout the fight, the sniper rifle proved to be quite effective, though it paled in comparison to the cannon that our heroes were able to, shall we say, commandeer.

Resi 4 2023 Does using a canon count as using ones wits

Using their wits and the power of unmitigated explosive force, the two were able to get inside the castle, where they met Ramón Salazar, the Castellan of the castle. Interestingly, despite seeming to be no taller than his 2005 counterpart, Ramón looked and sounded a lot less like a creepy child, appearing much closer to his actual age of 20 — discounting the sickly aspects of his appearance. However, he was no less ruthless, sending out a cavalcade of scythe- and shield-wielding foes to destroy Leon and capture Ashley. Thankfully, Leon had his trusty Bolt Thrower, which shot out bolts with explosive mines attached in their path, making relatively short work of the bunch.

Leon and Ashley continued to explore, helping each other get through locked doors and the like, until they reached a dungeon-looking area, where Leon had to duke it out with a Garrador. This enemy had a set of lethal claws and a truly aggressive attitude to match, with their one weakness being their lack of sight. Still, even with that advantage, our hero appeared to struggle greatly against this foe, which I can absolutely understand. The guy looked horrifying and ready to slice Leon six ways to Sunday. It certainly did not help that the room was covered in chains hanging from the ceiling, jingling and revealing Leon’s location if he so much as bumped into one.

The demo closed out with the famed knife fight with Jack Krauser, now a fully playable section with only a little bit of quick time event goodness. I joke a little bit, but seriously: the fight looked incredibly engaging, with Leon and Jack trading blows both verbal and physical, testing the player’s knife skills that they may (or may not) have built up over the game. Plus, with the light shining up through the floor beneath them and a variety of objects to put between the two men, the fight seems like it could make for an incredible moment.

Resi 4 2023 Jack with knife

All in all, I was greatly impressed by everything I saw. The environments were beautiful, the sound design was truly haunting — save for the scare chord that played when the Garrador started chasing down Leon, which made me jump in my seat — and the experience just looked darn fun! I honestly can’t wait until Resident Evil 4 (2023) has a chance to scare me even further on the 24th of March, on Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S.

Erin McAllister

Erin McAllister

Staff Writer

Erin is a massive fan of mustard, writes articles that are too long, and is a little bit sorry about the second thing.

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