Review by amekage19
"Resident Evil 4 blazes new trails in the name of survival horror gaming, leaps and bounds ahead of the pack"
Like many other games/series, Resident Evil was always the kind of game that you either loved or hated. This usually had nothing to do with the games themselves, it's just the way the genre works. Like RPGs, some people cant stand survival horror games, and others can't live without them. I can tell you right now, however, that Resident Evil 4 has broken that standard in the world of gaming, skipping ever-so-easily ahead of the other games, while still taking time to look back, point, and laugh.
I was hoping to save the best (or very nearly, at least) for last, but I can't wait, so here it goes. Resident Evil 4 sponsors a very new way of battle when compared to the past games in the series. Using a laser sighter and behind-the-back camera view Resi 4 enables aiming in every and all directions. Remember those zombies you couldn't hit in the head if your life depended on it because you couldnt aim up without hitting the ceiling? Well I have news my friends; unless you are a really bad shot, those days are long expired. Every part of the zombie/villager/animal/you-name-it anatomy is hittable for different effects and different amounts of damage. Though this may seem like it makes the game too easy, it is counter-acted with much tougher enemies. Headshots have gone from a nice but rare commodity to a necessary habit. Though damage is not really increased a whole lot by shots to the face, there is a random possibility that it will inflict critical damage, aka, one-shot-kill. Another new and extremely fun little feature is the kick. When enemies are stumbling you can run up to them and tap A to kick them to the ground. Also, since there is no more auto-aim, the L button is now free, and the folks at Capcom took advantage of this. Since the knife was so oftenly whipped out from the equipment menu to hit a zombie when he was down, only to reequip the previous weapon when he got back up, could get really annoying. Now all you hafta do is hit L and boom, out comes your knife. Shoot them, get in a quick slash, then kick them to the ground. From there you can do whatever evil things you feel like doing. Though all of these new things are nice, one might be asking oneself "is this game still resi 4, or is it the next generation third-person shooter?" I can assure you, pretty much all of the old features in the Resi series that we have come to know and love are still in the game (except the creepy and annoying camera angles). This means that there is still the creepy music, the creepy details, the creepy monsters, and every other creepy thing you can name about the Resi series. You could, hwever, say that some of the potency of the things just named was a little drained is Resi 4 because of the heavy emphasis on action rather than just plain horror. I, for one, like the trade-off, because both elements are still there, just at better levels. To an extent the behind-the-back camera view can be a little scarier than the ones in, say, the original Resi for GC. After-all, it makes it a lot harder to see what's behind you without actually looking there. The next new and really cool feature is the merchant- throughout the game you will encounter a merchant (who always seems to be in eighty places at once, it all just adds to the mystery) who will sell you weapons, healing items, and other such things, and will also upgrade your weapons (all for a fee, of course). Aside from that, you can sell treasures acquired during the game there. This actually requires you to be fairly smart with your spending habits, you can't go nuts with it, the game just isn't that easy/forgiving. Strategy and thoughtful assessments of your current needs are recquired to make full use of your money and what you can do with it.
Resi doesn't suffer from lack of difficulty, and neither is it so insanely hard that you end up paying $100 for a new gamecube (that should explain itself). There are multiple difficulty levels, and the game defaults on normal. Normal is good to start out on-it provides good ground to tread while you play through the game and get every little combat trick down, and then, with some new items to tempt you into it, replaying the game on a harder difficulty isn't a bad idea. Which leads me on to....
Replay Value and Game Length-
You can play Resi 4 over and over again. This is the kind of game that you just need to buy- it's too long to rent and beat in a weekend, and because of new guns and such things, the replay value is too high for you to get rid of it once you beat it. Resi 4 is the kind of game you want to have just so, in twenty years, when the GC5 is out, you have your old GC and that old game, what was it again? Oh yes, Resident Evil 4, crappy graphics and all, just because it's a classic that should be passed down through the generations of video gamers for as long as possible. Wait, crappy graphics? Oh HELL no.
Resident Evil 4 shows you what the gamecube can really do. In every cutscene you notice the smallest details. The moving eyes, light reflections, blades of grass bending to the will of the wind... blood splattering everywhere? Yes, it's all there, my friends. Resi 4 is a game that, though it may only be one-player, can be played with friends. Not only will this make the horror essence much more enjoyable (especially if your girlfriends over, I hope you got that... *sigh* you know, shes scared so she clings to you, that whole deal?), but the people watching will have a fun time as well. Another thing also contributes to this, can anyone say...
Surprisingly enough, considering games seem to be lacking in the story department lately, Resi 4 provides us with a juicy, mysterious, and interesting plot to chew on. Though it isn't exactly realistic (zombies don't really exist... yeah...) it's not like it should be anyway. After all, Resi wouldn't be Resi without zombies now would it? The game does give solutions to why the zombies/villagers are the way they are, along with explaining any other strange phenomena that you happen across (though it all really only needs one solution, which is given). Religion, disease, power in the hands of the wrong people, it all makes for a very nice story. It also reminds me of a book involving just those elements (*erm* THE DA VINCI CODE *erm*). "But what about the characters?" you ask. My answer is "the characters fulfill the duty Capcom wished them to fulfill in a manner that adds to the enjoyment of the game." For example, the evil guys are... well, evil. And not just that, they are evil in a believable way. That goes for the good characters too, before the end of the first chapter I was already feeling like if I were to meet Leon in real life, he would be the type of guy I could be friends with. Maybe he wouldn't like me a whole lot, but still. Since I can't really say a whole lot more without giving anything away, I'm afraid I must let this one be.
This little thing I call satisfaction-
There have always been those games (CS is a big one here) where you just get so much satisfaction out of killing someone. I know that sounds really evil, but cmon, it's a video game and, well, LOOK AT THE TITLE! When a zombies/villagers head explodes because you blew his face in with a .45, you just can't help but feel good about yourself. You feel like you've actually DONE something that matters in the game. If you just shot him and he just fell over without making any sounds or doing anything like that (which can happen, rarely), it just doesn't feel the same. A very similar subject, but something I think deserves it's own title is...
The childish glee you get from playing it-
When you play through Resi and obtain new guns that surpass the older ones in noise, power, and speed, you get that sense of childish glee. It's like having new toys to play with. It's just fun to know that every enemy you encounter leaves you with the choice of, "Hmm, how does this one die? Will it be the Magnum, to watch his head explode, the pistol, for the same effect, only quiter, the shotgun, for lots of noise and watching him fly back twenty feet, the rocket launcher... what do you think I'm thinking? And then there's the automatic, to watch his body convulse horribly as I fill him full of lead... ah the glory" Do I need to continue?
To sum it all up-Resident Evil 4 breaks the barriers that formerly barred the progression of survival horror gaming, treading on new ground that gamers, familiar or not to the series, can quickly adapt to. Horror+Action+Thick Plot=A succesful and enjoyable survival horror experience, a formula that Capcom will, hopefully, continue to use in the Resident Evil series. Lookin' forward to Resi 5 yall!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 01/29/05
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