Review by InuYashaYoukai
"My honest opinion"
Introduction - My name is Zero. I am 21 years old. I have played every major Resident Evil game. (minus Survivor and Gaiden.) I own/have owned multiple platforms so I am not a fanboy of any one of them. I had been waiting for RE4 ever since Code Veronica. I followed the news very closely as I eagerly awaited this game. First off I must start by saying that as most people know, the RE4 that was released is very different than the original RE4 that was shown in the past few years.. The reason I bring this up is because I am HIGHLY DISAPPOINTED that they didn't stick with the first idea they had. The first concept was Leon infiltrating Umbrella headquarters and encountering black smoke-like enemies in traditional RE-style perspective. The 2nd concept I liked 2nd best. It was Leon with a behind-the-shoulder perspective in long hallways of an old building with zombies that carried giant hooks. Out of the 3 concept ideas for RE4, the one that actually came out is the one I LIKED THE LEAST. This doesn't mean I don't like it, it just means I liked the previous ideas better. That being said, let's see how I ended up feeling.
The graphics in this game are simply amazing. Everything from Leon's hair swinging as he moves his head, to highly detailed backgrounds. Every leaf, every spec of dust... flawless. Some of the effects are really astonishing. Explosions, smoke, rain... It's all top-notch. There's some minor clipping issues with weapons once in a while, but nothing to care about. This is by far one of the greatest titles graphically for the Gamecube.
The controls are set up pretty much like the old RE games. Up moves you forward, down moves you back, and left and right spin you. You hold the right trigger to aim your weapon. This is the first RE game that gives you full control over where you aim your gun. In past RE games, you could tap up or down to shoot a zombie in the head or legs. Now you can aim for anything, even a finger. This isn't merely for show either. If you want to disable an enemy to stall for time, you can shoot them in the knee and they'll fall. I'll talk more about that later. The old "action button" from RE3 is back during some moments of the game. Instead of it being a designated button, the screen will prompt you to press a randomized button during situations. It might say "hold l and r" or "tap B repeatedly" to have Leon perform a special action. This is nothing really special but it adds to the variety of the game. You can also hold L instead of R to use your knife at any point. Except for the slow turning and lack of a strafe ability, the controls are great.
Story - 7/10
Well Umbrella has been reduced to nothing as the game's prologue states. So those looking for a continuation of the Umbrella story are in for a let-down. The story is distantly connected in a way, but it's not what we're used to. It's still fun, however, and playing it for the first time will be cool if you haven't already had the plot spoiled. You'll run into strange monk-like men who pace and chant and do other spooky things. You'll also run into villagers who seem to be extremely angry and not quite human, but they're not zombies. This makes you wonder what's going on, and slowly learning the details for the first time is fun.
Gameplay - 10/10
Talk about fun. This game offers everything. It seems to mix multiple genres. At times the close camera and the assortment of varied weapons made me feel like I was playing a first person shooter. When I was pushing objects around and writing down numbers I felt like I was playing a puzzle game. And as I ran around shooting enemies and watching the story progress, I felt like I was playing an action game. The game does many things, and it's good at what it does. The menu system is much better than past RE titles. Now you use an actual physical briefcase with limited space in it. You can actually rotate your items and reorganize them to allow the most room. You can also customize a great deal at the merchant shops. Each weapon has a certain firepower, reload speed, and capacity. Each of these things can be tweaked to improve your weapons as you move along. You can also save at any of the well-placed typewriters WITHOUT needing an ink ribbon. Fighting enemies has been improved the most, however. They're smarter. You aim your gun at their head and they slide out of the way. If you climb up high in a tower, they'll start to shake it, or climb it, or toss grenades up in it. This is made even better by the real-time environmental interaction. Wooden objects like doors and shields can be damaged by your weapons. You can also shoot at a projectile being shot at you in order to deflect it out of your way. As I mentioned before, you can shoot an enemy in the legs to bring him to his knees. Or shoot at the head for an explosive headshot. Shooting the arms causes them to drop their weapon. The list goes on. You can even kick down ladders that enemies are climbing up. Knocking down an enemy who's holding an explosive will give you enough time to watch the fuse go down and the enemy to explode along with any of his fellow enemies who were near. And if you think fighting regular enemies is great, wait till you get to the bosses. No run, shoot, run, shoot tactics here. These are big bad bosses with alot of strength and few but vital weaknesses. Studying the bosses and using trial and error to discover their weaknesses is alot more fun than the old shower of bullets solution. Every boss fight is different, and defeating them is like solving a puzzle in itself. Speaking of which, the game is mostly acting and fighting, but there are still some old RE puzzles here and there. All in all, there's alot to do here.
Sound - 9/10
There's not much music in the game, and the music that is there is pretty much ambient. There seems to be alot more sound when enemies are around, and the sudden silence lets you know you've killed the last one in that area. Sound on the other hand is very abundant. Everything sounds great. Walking on grass, walking on wood, walking on metal. The sounds of shooting a gun, or reloading it. The voice-acting is pretty high quality as well. Leon's is nice, but the best part is the Spanish-speaking enemies in the game. Their angry Spanish commands they yell at eachother sound forceful and sincere. And the chanting of the monks? Don't even get me started. Walking around a corner to here them pacing and whispering "cojelo, cojelo, cojelo...." It gives me the willies.
Other - 10/10
There are so many little things that add up to make this game something you can tell they put time into. The addition of mini games once you beat the main game mode is nice. But even the little things that don't actually effect the gameplay can be treasures in themselves. My favorite example is the reloading of your guns. I'm sorry, but I have never seen more accurate and beautiful reloading in any other game. Each weapon gets realoaded how it would in real life. And it doesn't take half a second like in most games. He actually opens it up, puts the bullets in, pumps it... It can take a few seconds. The first few weapons seem pretty plain. But I have two words for you. B-r-o-k-e-n B-u-t-t-e-r-f-l-y. This weapon has the coolest reloading sequence ever in the history of gaming. Even the description of the gun states "Its not just about shootin, its about reloading. You'll see what I mean." This, along with little details make the game stand out over others.
Final Score - 9/10
This is an excellent game. However, it's just not like the previous RE games. I'm not quite sure how to feel about this. I can easily say I like this game and would recommend it, but at the same time I don't feel like it belongs in a category with the past RE titles. It's more of a new branch. As welcome as the new change is, if all upcoming RE games are going to be this way, I will definitely be replaying the old RE games to keep them alive. As for whether you should buy or rent it, it's pretty borderline. The game takes about 15-20 hours to beat. You could do it on a weekend if you had the time. It's a good game so it's worth a 2nd run through, plus there's mini games and unlockables. The choice is yours.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/21/05
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