Review by TearsofBlood179
"Here's what I think."
I've been playing RE4 for a few years now... Not constantly, thank goodness. However, I have had my fair share of experience with the game and I think I am more than qualified to write a review for it.
First off, let me say that this game is amazing. It's not perfect, in fact, few games are. It's got far more good than bad, however. I have seen many people get angry with this game for not being like the other Resident Evil games. While I understand the disappointment, I don't necessarily agree with it 100%. I'll detail this at the end. Here's the breakdown
Still, even after the release of Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii, I am amazed by the graphics in this game. Top notch for it's time and completely pleasurable for this era as well. I think this game will still look good at the end of 2008. The textures are smooth, the character design, while repetitive, is incredibly detailed and they pay attention to many small aspects of one character's design. Environments are dark and engrossing. You rarely see glitched or otherwise unintended graphical aspects. Blood effects are my favorite part. Realistic and believable. You don't question any of the physics or anything of the sort.
You know, I can't find any problems with the sound, but it didn't always engage me in the game. There were a few times when the music started and it helped delve me into the game, but other than that the effects and music was good. Just good. I liked the music, enemy sounds sounded like they should. Nothing wrong there. Grenades, well, they sounded a bit odd, but you get over it. The sound was repetitive, however, I didn't mind it personally. Mostly because I don't understand Spanish, and I have a feeling that anyone that did would get really tired of hearing someone say the same broken dialogue over and over again. But like I said, I don't understand it so it was fine for me. Just as inaudible as a zombie moan.
Voice acting was very good. I loved the voice acting. They picked good, cliched voices for their characters. People don't seem to like that for some reason. Let me ask you this, would Saddler be as believable of a character if he talked like a gangster? No? Then quit complaining! They picked voices that fit their characters. Good job. 'Nuff said.
Gameplay and Controls
Ahh, now we get down to the nitty-gritty! This is what games are about. You may not be able to play a game if it's graphics are horrible, or it's sound gives you a headache, or even if the story is completely disengaging. However, as long as the aspects are mediocre, and the gameplay rocks, the game deserves a good score. It's a -game- not a movie.
That said, the gameplay IS pretty good. They kept the running controls from past Resident Evil games, but that's pretty much the only similarity. Now, you can aim wherever you want, shoot what you want, and even miss your target if you're not so coordinated. To me, this is good. It adds more depth to the game than what there once was previously in the RE series. The only problem I had is, I'm an ammo conservationist. What does this mean for me? This means I have no room in my attache case for my items... Great. But, this is only a personal issue and may not be one for all gamers. In fact, you may find that you have plenty of room all of the time if you can't seem to hit your targets and love to watch enemies fly when you throw grenades at them.
Controls are very responsive and intuitive. I had a large learning curve, only because I am not inclided toward this sort of aiming style. This was totally new to me when I went to my friend's house and tried the game out. I have vastly improved over the years and now, I can't find anything wrong with the controls.
So, the aiming adds depth. Now we're talking pretty deep. Let's go deeper. Let's add in interactive cutscenes and boss fights... Wow. The first time it prompts you to press the A button while relaxing and watching a cutscene, at that moment you go "WTF?!" and it's a great experience. Especially if you don't manage to die because of it. It isn't clunky, and it's just what the game needed to keep gamers immersed for days on end without sleep.
Alright, so you can't aim your gun. You're having a hard time hitting the enemy that's about to slash you with his axe. You're mad. Good. All the more reason to learn and accomplish something. That's why they make it difficult in the beginning. It's the only aspect of the game that really makes this survival horror. You can't aim for crap, but you have a laser sight on your gun. That is scary, knowing you're horrible, and you can't hit the guy in front of you because you suck too bad.
Story and Characters
Okay, so now we've gone completely off track from the rest of the series and decided to scrap zombies, scrap viruses, and scrap various other ideas instead of staying true. Okay, I understand this, but we'll talk about this later! Let's just focus on the game as a separate entity for a moment.
You are Leon S. Kennedy. A secret agent working for the government who has already seen his share of horrors. The president's daughter is kidnapped and shipped off to some rural part of Spain. How they got her there, you don't know, I don't know, I bet the developers don't even know. BUT SHE'S THERE, and it's your job to rescue her. What a dumb excuse for a plot device, but oh well. The rest of the story is engaging and, while not usually surprising, is still very fun and very immersing. After you get over the stupidity of what you are doing, you'll come to warm up to the story and it's characters.
I love the characters of this game. They are amazing. Leon is a badass, Ashley is an annoying school girl, and the rest of the cast is just great. People don't think the characters are deep. I disagree, these characters are incredibly deep. You don't see characters like Salazar in many other games. It just doesn't happen. Good job, Capcom, for redeeming the game's story during the latter part of the game.
Comparison to Past Games of the Series
Now for the final part of the review. Viewing the series as a whole. Resident Evil 4 veers heavily off of the path of it's predecessors. It's completely and totally different in very many respects. However, it is still Resident Evil. Good. Capcom has been itching, I mean positively ITCHING to change up the Resident Evil series. I bet you they didn't enjoy creating Resident Evil 2 and 3. I bet they didn't plan for the game to make it to the level it did. But fans loved it. I did too. You know the games Devil May Cry and Dino Crisis? They were originally meant to be Resident Evil games. So, as you can see, Capcom is tired of the typical Resident Evil game. That's okay, but I do want to see this come back someday, I don't want to see the horrible, clunky controls die. Resident Evil 5 won't be this way, but that's still okay.
In my review, you probably didn't see too much about the horror aspect. That's because it's distilled and does not compare in any way, shape, or form to past Resident Evil games. Those games scared the crap out of me. Resident Evil 4 did not. It was more about action than trying to scare you. That's not to say there were no scary moments in the game. In fact, I lied a bit when I said I wasn't scared... I was, but the thing is, it was only because I didn't pick up a particular very important item that you desperately need to play through the game. So, I played through the final part of the game going "Oh god, don't let me fight a Regenerator... PLEASE!" If you got the item, though, killing one of said monsters is not a problem usually and really isn't that scary. Now, I do not excuse the lack of horror in this game. It was completely uncalled for that they left horror out of the game on the level they did. There was so much potential! And they let it all go to waste. Pathetic.
However, this game improves on past games in the control scheme. It improves on it heavily. Now you can aim, you can dodge lasers, you can hit key target zones, and you can see where you're going! This is great! If you hated past RE games for the controls, do not let that stop you from playing this game. They completely fixed this issue and I'm satisfied.
Overall impression and Rent/Buy
Let me say that even though I drilled the game for some certain aspects, this is an overall amazing game that should not be missed by any gamers. I love this game and it is one of my favorite ones that I have ever played. I do not regret purchasing it, because I have spent what is most likely the equivalent of months playing this game alone. I only wish that the PS2's graphics were better so that I would have no complaints about purchasing the PS2 version of it. That said, it is definitely a buy, even to people who have never played it. If you are reading this, and you have been considering this game, you owe it to yourself to go get this game, or at least rent it and give it a shot. I guarantee you won't regret it.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/11/08
Game Release: Resident Evil 4 (US, 01/11/05)
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