Review by wolverinefan
"As a Resident Evil fan, I'm disappointed"
I remember when the Resident Evil series first came out. I was in middle school and I was talking to a friend on the phone and after a few minutes he said he couldn't talk because he was playing Resident Evil and he needed to be able to hear because the sounds told him where the zombies would be. Soon after I went out and rented the game and really enjoyed it. I've actually played all of the main titles in this series and the horrible Game Boy one that took place on a boat, I forget it's name but it was terrible. I felt that each game, with the exception of Resident Evil 2, really added something to the series. Now, almost 10 years later, we have Resident Evil 4 and it has changed the series for good. Sadly, it isn't for the best. We now have better controls but we've lost the entire plot. While this one does add something, it also takes away too much. What a shame.
The plot is so simple that it isn't even funny. Leon is sent to a "mysterious place" aka Spain, but it's never called that. He has been sent to find the President's daughter. However, he becomes infected and is sort of stuck on this island where the villagers seem to be part of some sick cult and there is some really bad experiments happening. As you play through you meets some interesting characters. No back stories and they are constantly just written off, and some have three lines of dialog. Why even have them in the game? it feels so useless and the character development is not even there. I also didn't care for Leon when he was in Resident Evil 2 but it's slightly cooler now but there is no substance to these characters.
The graphics look pretty good. Everything is 3D so the 2D backdrops are now gone. It's a shame too because now the game looks worse than Resident Evil Zero, which looked really good. Now characters have little flittering lines around them, lots of blurry textures, ect. No real cut-scenes. The game uses nothing but in game graphics. This is another step backwards for the series, since it was one of the games that looked better and better per new game. I just think the more detailed CGI stuff from REMake and Zero was better then these sub-par, in comparison, graphics which feel a bit grainy and there is seriously some sort of outline jaggy type thing that I wasn't expecting.
The voice acting is what you expect but I wish they provided subtitles for the Spanish speaking characters but oh well, we can't have everything... But if you've played a Resident Evil game before you know it has the slightly cheesy dialog but at least it's something they actually kept from the other games. The sound effects are good, everything sounds nice and it's slightly creepy hearing the enemies muttering random stuff, even if you can't understand it unless you know Spanish. The music is what you'd expect. It's moody and really fits the game well. No "Wow, I want to buy that soundtrack" type of music though.
The control is much easier now. The camera follows behind you so you never need to move it. Leon controls with the analog stick smoothly. After playing the game for over 5 hours, I still haven't figured out if you can actually reload your weapon without it being empty. The controls work really well, no real complaints.
Ah, the game play. The game plays like a 3rd person perspective Time Crisis game. Run around and kill guys. Go from point A to point B and don't worry about anything else. The game areas are fairly large and full of enemies. There are a few settings, a village and a castle and one other. They look good enough but it really feels very linear. You can buy new weapons from a merchant but not ammo which makes no sense but whatever. You can now save however many times as you would like, no more ink ribbons. The life bar is now present on the screen which is a plus but now you can find yellow herbs and when mixed with a green herb you get a little extra life added to the bar, find them all to have max life. As you get further in the game you get another character who joins you and you need to take care of them because they are useless except for some rather weak puzzles. Oh, and while the puzzles in the other games may have required some thought, these don't. It tells you to go to this spot and get a item that can let you go to this new spot. Most of the time you can only go to one area, go there get item and then return to where you can use it. It's just boring. The secondary character is in fact just lame, it stands around, you have it tell it to hide, it can't attack unless you're playing as it but that's inn just one chapter. Oh, and the game is split up into chapters, 5 main chapters with sub ones within it. And it just feels stupid to do the game like that because there is no chapter select and you get nothing but stats which aren't even that in depth. Also, when you beat the game, you no longer get the state page like in previous Resident Evil games. Sure, the game does offer a few entertaining moments like the cabin siege but other then that I found that I was getting bored more often then being entertained. The action is fast but where's the fun when the guys just keep coming and coming and the ammo and herbs are very little. And while you do get a wide selection of guns, what's the point of 4 different handguns? Sure, one can go through 2 enemies but that really isn't needed. You also get money in the game, which is used to buy healing sprays, new guns, more room in your inventory (since you no longer have boxes to store stuff in), and gun upgrades. You will have problems if you try and beat the game without either buying the new guns or upgrading. By the end of the first disk you should have the original handgun and shotgun maxed out which is very useful but you should also invest in the rifle since there are a few sniper moments. Another thing I didn't care for is the fact that add ons for your weapons take up more room which makes no sense since you have them put on the gun... The enemies are rather generic models, overly used and all that jazz. Some enemies are rather tough but as soon as you find their weakness, which isn't hard they crumble like pieces of paper. There are also action moments ala Shenmue where you must press specific button at specific moment. Very easy but it does get annoying because there were a number of times where I wasn't paying attention, sort of just watching a cut-scene when suddenly I was suppose to be pressing buttons and while it does keep you on your toes it is annoying. The bosses are all large but once you learn their patterns then they are a synch to beat. I actually had a lot of trouble early in the game but then I guess the game felt bad because I was continuing so much that it lowered itself for me because now it's much easier and I have plenty of ammo and herbs so I don't know what's up with that but it's a nice perk so those who aren't all that great at the game. The game play isn't THAT bad but it just got old to me and I just wanted the same ole game play type but with the new control and camera perspective and Capcom has failed to deliver that.
The replay value is actually high. Once you beat the game you unlock 3 things. Pro mode which is just a harder setting but it lets you use all of the stuff you had at the end of your normal game. There's a special mini game which is a side story to this one, I won't tell you the name to save you from spoilers. There's also another mini game called Mercs which is fun and beating it with 5 star ratings unlocks some secret guns in the game. I can maybe see myself playing through the game one more time on normal (I'm not a fan of super hard modes) and using the new items but not for a long while because the game just wasn't all that fun to me.
All in all the game is a worthy addition to the Gamecube lineup but it really is far from a masterpiece and if you're expecting classic Resident Evil story and game play, look else where because this game doesn't deliver that. If you want a good action game, look no further because this is the game to get for that. I still feel that the best Resident Evil game is Code Veronica X which had a few new game play elements and offered one of the best stories in the series and had the better characters from the series as well. I just feel that Resident Evil 4 offers faster game play, less story and poorer graphics then the last game. I personally feel that this game doesn't offer anything to the actual over all plot of the series and that it actually weakens it.
Story - 3
Graphics - 7
sound - 8
control - 9
game play - 7
replay value - 7
Final Score - 7/10
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 04/07/05
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