Review by ShadouKuraido
"Your right hand comes off?"
Resident Evil always has been a love it or hate it series. Some people love it for the creepy locales, realistic characters and zombies. Others hate the tank controls, fixed camera angles and convoluted story. When the Resident Evil series was going stale and people were losing interest in it, Capcom released Resident Evil 4. A change from previous games in the series, RE4 is a Third Person Shooter with a behind the back camera angle. Rather than Surviving a zombie outbreak and solving puzzles, gameplay is focused on shooting your way through a variety of areas, collecting treasure and buying/ upgrading weapons. It's a drastic change from the original games but how does it perform?
Just from looking at one of the screenshots, you can see that Resident Evil 4 is one of the best looking games on the Gamecube. It's even better in motion, with character models displaying life-like animation and the game runs at a smooth frame rate. The static backgrounds are gone, replaced with detailed environments rendered in real time. The only problem is that some of the enemy skins are overused, as you will often find yourself shooting the same head off over and over again.
Leon S. Kennedy, the rookie cop from Resident Evil 2 returns, now a high ranking agent sent to a remote European village to rescue the President's daughter. Big surprise, things don't go as planned, and Leon must uncover a mysterious cult led by the charismatic Osmund Saddler. The biggest change is that the Zombies that have made Resident Evil famous are replaced with the smarter Ganados. Though this will alienate some long time fans of the series, I find it to be a refreshing change. The writing is hilariously bad, in true Capcom fashion. Leon has a massive arsenal of witty catchphrases which he makes use of in just about every cutscene, and he never seems to be fazed by the horrific situation he's in. The villains include a midget and a soldier with a mutated arm. The story doesn't really take itself seriously and feels like an amusing B-Movie.
Music plays whenever danger is in the vicinity. This creates a very tense atmosphere, and the music itself doesn't disappoint. Serenity, the soothing song that plays near Merchants is one of the best themes in the series. The sound effects are perfect, adding to the realism of the game. Every gun sounds life-like and powerful. The enemies all scream unsettling phrases in Spanish, adding to the tension of the atmosphere. Voice acting is fairly cheesy but a massive improvement over the previous games in the series.
The meat of the game, and RE4 does not disappoint. The gameplay has been completely overhauled, as Capcom ditches the fixed camera angles for an over the shoulder view. The tank controls remain, and you cannot move while aiming. Sound bad? Actually it's a very clever system. All weapons have an accurate laser sight, and shooting each body part yields a different effect. A well placed shot to the head can stumble the Ganado, allowing you to follow up with a devastating crowd clearing roundhouse kick. The combat system in RE4 focuses on item management and crowd control, as the Ganados will relentlessly attack in hordes. The Ganados themselves are intelligent, using teamwork to surround Leon from all angles and attack him with a variety of weaponry from simple farmyard tools to maces and stun rods. Managing your weapons is a big part of RE4's gameplay. New to the series, the mysterious Merchant can sell you various weapons and even upgrade your existing ones. Where do you get the money to pay him? Well, enemies in the game drop Pesetas and you can find Treasure hidden in parts of the game. Some Treasure can be combined to create a more valuable treasure that the Merchant will surely buy at a high price. Vital to any action game, we have the games' bosses. How are they? Varied and fun to fight, though the mini-bosses are so good that they outshine the actual bosses. Mini-bosses include a crazed villager wielding a Chainsaw, and a blind monster with knives strapped to his arms that you must carefully maneuverer around.The latter was so great, that Epic ripped off the concept in Gears of War!
There is a lot of replay value in RE4. Your weapons carry over to a new game, and the game is so fun to play that you will want to play through the game several times. Extra game modes are present, including The Mercenaries mode which lets you select a character and try to get as many points as possible fighting hordes of Ganados.
Overall Resident Evil 4 is the best third person shooter ever made, and one of the best games I've played.
Graphics - 10/10
Story - 8/10
Sound - 10/10
Gameplay - 10/10
Overall - 9.5/10
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 04/11/11
Game Release: Resident Evil 4 (EU, 03/18/05)
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