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Resident Evil 4 Review

Resident Evil 4 Review

Resident Evil 4 surprised me. When I picked it up on recommendation from some friends, I was expecting the typical survival horror gameplay of the previous installments. Well, Resident Evil 4 totally reinvents the series and this is why it stands out as a classic.

The franchise was in danger of going stale after the first 5 games had more or less reused the same tried and tested formula. The clunky controls could make gameplay annoying and when Code Veronica X came out for the PS2 the visuals were next generation but the gameplay wasn't. Resident Evil 4 addresses the issue and updates the gameplay and controls to make it something special.

The game itself continues the series and sees Resident Evil 2's Leon Kennedy investigating the disappearance of the US President's daughter in rural Spain. No sooner has he arrived then an axe wielding deranged peasant is attacking him and he has to fight for his life. Gone are the shambling zombies, razor clawed Hunters and the Tyrants, instead replaced by 28 Days Later style fast opponents.

Due to the radical changes in setting and plot, the gameplay itself has had a complete overhaul. In the past ammo conservation and avoiding combat where the main features, now these aren't options. You will frequently face large numbers of enemies and the best way past is normally a good offensive. Thankfully the controls are intuitive and effective, with a new tighter over the shoulder camera view and responsive aiming making the game a joy to play.

A laser sight on the end of your weapon allows for easy targeting and whilst a little difficult at first becomes second nature soon enough. Weapons are now purchased from one of gaming's greatest side characters, The Merchant. Highly quotable this shadowy character has a trench coat full of guns and ammunition and offers upgrades for many of your weapons. This raises a new question as you have to choose your arsenal along with how to upgrade it, giving satisfying depth to the system.

Ammunition is now plentiful, collected from around the levels or picked up from fallen foes. The enemies themselves are also brilliantly designed, ranging from an insane collection of scythe wielding monks to acid spitting gigantic insects. Blasting them has never been so enjoyable.

The graphics and sound are top notch too, with visuals crisp and lighting effects being effective. Voice acting is also good; having a horde of Spanish-speaking madmen cursing you in raspy voices is chilling and sets a good atmosphere. Boss battles are also memorable and intimidating with an impressively different range on offer.

The game's story is engaging and the characters are easy to get to grips with and likeable. The plot is refreshing and takes the series in a new direction rather than retreading old ground, offering some interesting story developments. When I was playing the game it offered the kind of addictive play style, where you kept receiving tantalizing information, encouraging you to play on which made a quick 20 minute play session turn into a 2 hour marathon.

Amazingly, the game also adds several features to really increase the replayability. The game includes two impressive extra scenarios featuring one of the side characters. Whilst one is a short addition normally taking an hour or so to play (or 8minutes in one memorable speed run) whereas the second is almost a game in itself offering 5 reasonably long levels which total around 3 hours. These are impressive and offer the same high quality that the main game provides whilst offering new snippets of story and an alternate perspective.

Also included is a superb bonus mini-game, The Mercenaries which returns from Resident Evil 3. However the faster paced action suits the game mode much better and it is really addictive and enjoyable. The game is difficult and with 4 characters really extends the lifespan, as when completed unlocks some new weapons for the main game.

Criticism of Resident Evil 4 is fairly hollow as it is beautifully crafted, yet the difficulty can be punishing at times in later stages, especially if you are running low on ammunition and money. Yet even this is addressed with an adaptive difficulty, which helps to challenge you but never makes the game impossible.

The game does contain some graphic violence, which is to be expected, so it isn't one for children. Although if you are expecting survival horror, the game is more action orientated and never manages to be frightening due to having a huge array of weaponry at your disposal. The inclusion of the one hit kill rocket launcher can make boss battles a joke and unbalances the game.

Yet, if you want a well made game, with plenty of action and a good story then Resident Evil 4 is a perfect fit. Even if it isn't the sort of game you would normally play, it can be picked up cheaply and is well worth experiencing.

9.00/10 9

Resident Evil 4 (Reviewed on Windows)

Excellent. Look out for this one.

Resident Evil 4 surprised me. When I picked it up on recommendation from some friends, I was expecting the typical survival horror gameplay of the previous installments. Well, Resident Evil 4 totally reinvents the series and this is why it stands out as a classic.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Christopher Wakefield

Christopher Wakefield


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