Review by Achwyn
"An incredible game, there's no other way to put it."
I went into the EB shortly after supper and got my copy, headed home and threw it in my Game Cube. One of the most highly anticipated sequels taking a back seat only to the LoZ game slated on the Cube, this game has been getting nothing but shining reviews. Game Rankings shows nothing lower than an 80%. Tonight I had dished out 60 bucks for Resident Evil 4.
Let it be known right now, I am not a fan of Resident Evil games. I owned RE2 for a short time and didn't get far because I didn't care for it. Capcom has boasted RE4 taking the genre in a new direction. No more fixed perspectives or zombies. Yes, even the zombies are gone. In their place is a horde of unpleasant, intelligent villagers. These guys dodge, flank and think. Don't worry, Leon Kennedy, one of the main characters from RE2, is more than equipped to handle a bunch of pissed off Villagers. The camera angle is set to behind him and over his shoulder, and zooms in a little when you haul out your gun. The screen is shot in a sort of wide screen format. Black covers a bit of the top and bottom giving it a movie feel to it. I don't find the lack of screen space constricting at all. RE4 also breathes new life into the Horror Survival genre. Gone are random monsters jumping out of windows, replaced by people, people who cooperate and work together. Your also given a good sense that your alone, that there's a lot of them and that puts emphasis on survival. The horror? Well, I did get scared at one point. I smashed open a crate and looked at the contents not knowing what it was. It was a coiled up snake. It jumped out at Leon and I felt my gut clench, like it was coming at me.
Aiming is easy and smooth. One thing I love about the combat is the aiming. You can shoot people in the legs till they drop, where you can give them a good kick, or shoot them in the face. You can shoot their arms and they'll drop any weapons they were holding and you can shoot them in the face. Your not guaranteed blowing their head off, but it does hurt. There is so much you can do with this. One tactic I love is with the shotgun. You can blow a villager's legs out from underneath him so he slams into the ground, then give him a blast to the back of his head. Satisfying. You can kick or blast people into groups to buy yourself some time to deal with others, etc. Some enemies throw dynamite at you. Problem? Shoot their arm before they throw dynamite at you and they'll drop it and blow them and nearby people away. Other people throw axes at you. You can shoot the axes midair. You'll hear a metallic clang, see sparks and the axe will fall. Don't think your safe, however. That was one axe, they have more. However, like I said, these guys are smart and they'll eventually learn to dodge or block shots. That and with later enemies, head shots don't matter too much. Why? Well....it's one hell of a surprise.
There is some difficulty as well. Near the very beginning of the game I died three times while trying to take on a large group of villagers. The game wants you to run, thus giving one of the games greatest moments involving Leon running into a house and pushing a shelf over the door. The villagers put a ladder up to the second story window which you can knock over. Thats when they send in a chainsaw wielding maniac. Anyways, I wound up staying my ground and fighting two groups coming from the front and rear, and thats when my "Shoot them in the kneecaps and blast them in the back of the head" strategy was created. Also, body shots don't really do a lot of damage so most of your time in the beginning is spent aiming for legs, heads and arms. If they manage to hit you....it hurts, a lot. It's easy to die if your careless because it will only take 3-4 jabs with a pitchfork or hacks with an axe and your toast.
The story? There's actually a story in this game aside from "Corporation unleashed zombies! Kill!". Six years after Raccoon City was destroyed (The happenings of RE2) Leon Kennedy, now working as the President's bodyguard and protector, is in a remote village in Europe tracking the kidnapped daughter of the President, Ashley. While heading to a village he finds that the locals aren't exactly friendly.....soon he finds himself up the creek. No way out and only one way to go. Towards villagers, cultists, gigantic fish, guys with chainsaws and bags over their head and other ugly monstrosities and his objective, Ashley.
The one part that doesn't make much sense realism wise, but is a great addition to the game is the store. Yes, there's a guy who appears every now and then who will sell you weapons, a bigger carrying case and other things for money you find. He can also 'tune up' existing weapons, in other words, upgrade them. Their fire power, ammo capacity, firing speed, etc. You can also sell anything you have aside from treasure, for more money. I've taken preference to selling grenades to upgrade my shotgun, pistol and machine pistol. Your selections and possible upgrades go up as you move along in the game. The weapons you will carry and the weapons someone else will carry will be completely different. Customization is available, easy and great. Right off the bat you have a pistol, shotgun, rifle, machine gun and rocket launcher available to you.
The graphics are incredible, smooth, realistic and bloody. Water ripples, splashes and alters your view. Blasted a villager into some water and took too long looking at him in wonder and wound up taking an axe to the side of the skull. It hurt. A lot.
I suggest any fan of action, adventure or survival games to pick this up. You won't be disappointed.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 01/18/05
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