Review by Dkg
"Simply put, the Best Survival Horror game ever"
Synopsis : Tired of the same old RE formula, Capcom and Shinji Mikami (creator of the RE series) have totally revamped the RE series, and have once again proven why RE is king of survival horror......and action/adventure...?
Gameplay : 10 - When Capcom announced that they were going to totally change the RE formula, and that they were going to take away Umbrella and Zombies, two of the franchises most defining symbols, many gamers doubted the game would be able to maintain that resident evil feel. Fortunately for Capcom their crazy ideas have paid off, very well I might add. The game is much more fast paced since the replacement of zombies are now Crazed and intelligent towns people who are very fast, vicious, and although aren't zombies, are pretty damn creepy and just as scary. Since they're intelligent and fast they'll be a lot harder to kill than the slow moving dim witted zombies and this only adds to the tension and emphasis of survival. To make matters worse, most of the time they attack in huge mobs which even further adds to the tension. It's a very tense game and the fact that you cannot see behind you adds to the creepiness of not knowing whether someone is about to attack from behind. This is especially true in the huge mob fights you'll find yourself in. The shooting is made a lot easier and harder because now it's fully analog and you can choose where to hit an enemy, which causes them to have different reactions depending on where you shoot and what they were doing. That is if you can hit them, because occasionally they'll actually attempt to dodge your shots....although they won't have much luck when using a shotgun :) After shooting them, if they stumble a bit, you can follow up with a powerful and very useful kick.
There are also a few puzzles scattered around and while not as mind bending as previous puzzles they still do a good job at making your brain figure out more than just where to aim your laser sights. It's a nice break from the continuous tension filled situations. The boss battles are really excellent as well and are some of the best boss fights in the RE series. Plus there's lots of variety to them other than just shooting at the Boss like previous REs. Later in the game you'll also come to parts where you can control a second character or they'll just tag along and you'll have to protect them. This can get very hard when surrounded by those creepy mobs. Trying to properly defend for yourself, while looking out for the safety of someone else is not the easiest task in RE4.
Then there's the new item inventory system that works very well. You have a case that has a certain amount of squares (which represent space), like 7x11 and some items may take up 2x3 squares, some only 1x1. Its just a matter of figuring out how to make the most space out of all the items you'll have to carry. This includes weapons. Some of which are very big. There's also a "shop" element where you have to buy, yes, that's right, buy new weapons, weapon upgrades, health, and most importantly, a bigger case to hold your stuff in. I actually like this feature because it feels as though you are making progress and becoming stronger and better. It's a nice rewards system. Did I mention the game plays in chapters? Yep, chapters. As you can tell by now, this is nothing like your typical RE game. Because every new system works so well and compliments each other, this new type of gameplay will probably be copied by other companies in the future. RE4 is a new breed, a new genre. It's action/adventure and survival horror all rolled up into one.
Graphics: 10 - What can I say about the graphics? They are amazing, astonishing, and absolutely beautiful. This games is a true testament to what the GC is graphically capable of. People constantly say how Xbox has the better graphics while GameCube keeps pumping out some of the best looking games ever....go figure. The character models and numerous environments are very detailed, with great texture work. The environments are extremely atmospheric and almost photo realistic. I could swear that some of the places look so real almost as if they actually exist somewhere in the world. The game takes place at all times of the day with all kinds of weather, e.g. cloudy skies, clear skies, heavy/light rain, thunder and lightning. Speaking of lightning, when it strikes, the background appropriately lights up everything for a quick moment and it looks awesome. The lighting period is the best ever used in a RE game and is best showcased during these storms. Everything from the various animals in the game, to the extremely huge Bosses look wonderfully, textured, detailed and downright perfect and some een have an definite CG quality to them. Actually the entire games runs in real-time but looks better than some CG I've seen. The Animations are of top quality. I especially like the Boss Animations and some of the reload animations. very natural and realistic. It's obvious a lot of detail, talent, and hard work has been put into this games graphical presentation and it's easily one of, if not the best looking game in this generation of console games.
Sound: 10 - Complementing the wonderful graphics is the equally wonderful (or rather creepy) sound ambience. The scariest sounds you'll hear in this game are the voices of the villagers. The fact that they're speaking a language most of us don't understand and that they sound deranged makes them a very creepy bunch when they open their mouths. It's even worse (in the good way) when running away from them because you can sometimes hear them right behind you. This should be a real treat for those with Dolby. The music, like most of the game, can be very intense. Especially during boss battles or mob fights. It's really some of the best used in a RE game and it shows. Each area has it's own creepy/eerie track that fits in very well, but it's sometimes the areas that are completely quiet that are the scariest. The voice acting isn't yet on the level of MGS but it is the best voice acting for a RE game so far. A couple of times Leon will say things that are kinda funny, or kinda corny, but still funny. On the down side the merchant's sayings, even though sounding good, might get on your nerves after awhile.
Replayability: 8 - After beating the game you can unlock a few new weapons and other goodies. This is one of the RE's with some of the better unlockables and extras. The story's great and deserves to be played through at least twice to take it all in. Besides, the gameplay is great and it's fun just trying to clear a chapter with better results.
Final Score: 9.5
Since Gamefaqs has no .5's I'll round up to 10
Buy/Rent If you own a GameCube and have even the slightest interest in Survival Horror, or Action/Adventure then you should bu this game. Renting should not be an option on this one folks.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 01/12/05
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