Review by ZeonAce0079
"Evil Evolved with no Darwin Theories Required"
When a major series takes a complete turn around this worries many of its avid fans. This setup however will have no one worried of the future the Resident Evil series has in front of it. This game is full of fast paced survival action with a dash of horror here and there. Get ready because this game will keep your eyes locked on your TV screen for days to come.
One of the easiest decisions I've ever had to make is the score on the graphics. It becomes clear in the first twenty or so minutes of this game that this is state of the art .art. Character designs are absolutely mind blowing with realism that has only been seen in a handful of games. Environments are stunning in that individual blades of grass can be seen blowing in the wind, and the fog will only add to the mystery which is shrouded in this game. Night time storm scenes are jaw dropping with rain blowing at high speeds and waves crashing out from the sea. Although I can't hope to fill all the good parts about the graphics in this review I will however give you some of the minor downsides. First and foremost is the fact that the game is not in true widescreen format. You may be asking yourself just what this means, well it means that even if you own a widescreen TV you will not get the full picture (black bars will still appear). Next, I found that the villager character models are over used in that you are constantly fight the same type of villager. Like I said before these small mishaps cannot even make me rethink the ten I gave in this category the graphics are just really good.
Hope this is not Chris's blood after hearing this in the first game RE veterans became used to the awful voice acting that followed onto the sequels. This however has top of the line voice acting with no out of line lines. Next, the background music of the game is good, but I think it could have been much better. Not only could it have been much better, but they should have made more tracks as well (attack music becomes well over played). Sound FX are well executed now though. No more moaning zombies, yes they have been replaced by screaming villagers and mumbling monks. One major new sound fx advantage is that after receiving a new type of the same weapon (lets say a handgun) the guns will sound of different pitch. I for one can say that the sound of a head imploding is quite pleasing to the ears.
This has a somewhat classic RE setup up with a twist. The main difference here is you have actual control of the camera angle you view from, yes that's right no more funny angles that make you wonder which direction is forward and backward. There is no more auto-aim feature you must shoot like a real man taking aim at your enemy. Leon has a shaky arm though so you must compensate this, although this is annoying it does add to the realism of the game. The 180 degree turn made popular in RE3 returns as it is almost essential to survival in some situations. One of the major new additions to the control system is the pressure sensitive buttons, scenes which require a quick escape may require you to jam on the A button at high speed. Or a quick dodge may require you to jam on R+L or perhaps A+B. However the game still has minor problems in this area, for instance the lack of any sort of strafing feature in the aiming mode. Although you have good control over the camera you still can't look around corners very effectively. The defensive moves such as the kick and suplex are sometimes not applicable, but thankfully this is a rare occurrence. All in all the switch in control setup won't just make RE vets proud it would make any gamer play with ease.
So what are the good points of this game? This question is hard to answer since there are simply so many of them. First off, a common complaint I receive about this game is that it is no longer scary and more of a fast paced action shooter. The game still retains many of the quick scares made popular of earlier games of the series. Another thing people must remember this is Survival Horror, as in survival first horror second. Capcom has said no zombies exist in the game which make people slightly upset, I assure these people don't worry a certain enemy called the Regenerator has very similar zombie qualities (including flesh eating). From the second the game starts you are constantly on the run from dangerous enemies who are out for you. This fast paced combat always keeps you on your feet. Another major difference between this and pretty much any other game that features cut-scenes is that you must pay attention to cut-scenes. The pressure sensitive buttons commonly come into play during a cut-scene which would decide between life and death. This may be annoying to some, but it keeps you well involved in the story. Something else that most be said is the extreme level of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.). Enemies will no longer stop at a door or minor obstacle, they will slam through doors, climb up ladders, crash through windows, and chase you house to house. Later on in the game the enemies will even begin to come at you in flanking positions, which commonly works ending in your demise. One of the best showings of this level of A.I. is the enemy known as the wolverine a blind dual claw wielding beast. He may be blind but his hearing is just fine which plays right into the A.I. For instance slow footsteps won't catch his attention, but running from his attack will lead him directly at you. Shooting bells in the room will cause him to charge at them, and he can also tell where you gunfire comes from. The difficulty of the game is at a perfect level as well. Sure you will die many times, but the continue spots are very convenient. The ammo supply is quite high in this game but that is easily balanced by the high amount of enemies you will take on. It's just really hard to stat all of the positive remarks on this game as there are simply too many. However I will say the few things that could have been better in the game. First, the cut-scene sensative button actions sometimes appear before your quick enough to act and hit the dodge button thus leading to your death. The merchant is nice way to get new more powerful weapons for your money, but he doesn't sell any ammo despite showing some in his pockets. The treasure combination system which enables you to combine treasures to increase their value is nice, but it's hard to tell what can be used in this way and keeps you from selling items that cannot be combined or vice versa. In the end there is no reason why this game doesn't deserve a ten out of ten in gameplay. This game is just really fun to play.
Replay Value 9/10
Most Resident Evil games can be beaten easily under five hours during your first play through. Resident Evil 4 on the other hand will take you an average of twenty hours to complete the first time through. Easily the longest survival horror game on the market, and even those that consider this an action game could say it's quite a long game. After finishing the game you will be met by two different mini-games and a small amount of buyable super weapons during the regular game. The mini-game Mercenaries is very addictive as your constantly trying to improve your scores. Playing through the game again is an almost must just to test out your new super weapons against the well armed enemies of the game. All in all I can see an average person dropping forty plus hours in all on this game, and for a non-rpg type game is amazing.
Final Score 10/10 (not an average)
In the end this game is easily the most satisfying game I've played since Ninja Gaiden was released early last year on the Xbox. If this game were released a month sooner it could have easily went toe to toe with the major hits of 2004 such as Halo 2, GTA: San Andreas, Metal Gear Solid 3, Half-Life 2, Ninja Gaiden, and Metroid Prime 2 as a contender for game of the year. Although it is simply to early in the year to be calling this game of the year, I will however say that if the year is filled with games of this quality then we have a good year ahead of us. So is this a buy a rent or a pass? The answer is simple buy the game or at least rent it. Fans of the old Resident Evil games will not be upset with the major changes that have occurred, and people who hated the RE series thus far should reconsider on this game. This game has fun for all so go now and play this masterpiece. Oh yeah, and it is easily the best game in the RE series.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 01/21/05
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