Review by andymancan1

"One of the best games that I've ever played"

PROS: Great story; awesome graphics; smooth control; no more awful camera; interactive cutscenes; brutal action; wonderful AI: amazing boss battles; good voice acting; makes you use logical thinking; fun enough to make you go through again; in other words… pretty much everything

CONS: Gun swap isn't very good; on the short side; controls take a little while to get used to

I was thinking: what the hell am I going to review next? I thought about it for quite a while and determined to write a long review about one of the best games that I've ever played. It is clearly the best game on Nintendo's ‘purple lunchbox'.

In Resident Evil 4 for the GameCube, you play as Leon Scott Kennedy, the Raccoon City cop from Resident Evil 2 who had to deal with the viral outbreak. Since the city is no more, Leon finds himself working for the Secret Service. As luck would have it, his first day as being bodyguard for President Graham and his family, the First Daughter, Ashley, is kidnapped mysteriously in the middle of the night as she drove home from a college party. The investigation of her disappearance takes Leon to a village in Spain, where the locals don't take too kind to him. They're possessed by a virus of sorts that puts parasites in their blood and makes them walk like zombies. At least Capcom decided to put something zombie in them, because the majority of the Resident Evil games have featured zombies, even in the recent deployment to the DS, and we all know how atrociously awful that game was. Capcom decided on a new look here, and the game itself feels fresh. Leon finds a friend in Luis Sera, a former Madrid cop trying to destroy the possessed terrorists. I'm not spoiling anything here, because the story involves well-developed villains, an ingenious terrorist plot, and all kinds of twists and turns. The cutscenes do a very good job of explaining, but keep your controller ready because you can die in the cutscenes if you're not careful. There will be button combos that you need to press or else in the middle of a cutscene, and if you miss these, it isn't pretty. In fact, one entire cutscene is a knife battle that involves you pressing several combos in a row. That's as hard as hell (I died like 10 times there alone), but I've never seen anything like it anywhere else.

Yes, you will eventually get Ashley away from these bad guys, but they're not letting her get up and go very easily. They'll snatch her back again at any chance they can get. And trust me, they'll get that chance. And they'll take it. Basically, I'm saying that these guys know what their boss wants them to do. So overall, the AI is very good. These guys will have plenty of traps to trip you up, too, including boulders. They'll use any chance they get to kill you and take the girl back. Even though they don't use many guns, you wouldn't expect these Spanish villagers and monks to even have a gun. They still manage to be quite a threat, even though they don't look the part. Also, Ashley is pretty smart herself. When a thug picks her up, she'll start kicking and screaming, trying to get loose. She can get scared at times, too, but she knows when to duck, dodge, and hide behind Leon. But nothing is going to stop these bad guys from trying to recapture her.

Another good thing to speak of is that the writing and the voice acting are much better than the atrocity that Capcom put on the DS, that remake of the original Resident Evil that sucked so much. They failed to update that garbage while they made this story as involving as possible a year before- the actual scenes are well-scripted and nothing feels out of place. The voice acting is good enough to win awards here. Everyone sounds believable enough to be taken seriously. Sadly, there are no Jill sandwiches in this game, but honestly, who cares?

The rest of the game runs smoothly, too. The controls take a little while to get used to but they're very good once you get the hang of them. You need to hold R to aim and press A to fire (while holding R). If you're not used to this, you'll be playing smoothly in 10-20 minutes. The aiming works well- your guns have a laser sight so you can see exactly where you're aiming, and the analog stick works smoothly for it. Other RE games lacked this- that's what did Resident Evil: DS in, along with those horrible camera angles. Those are gone here. The standard Resident Evil controls are here, pressing up to move forward, but that's pretty much standard for a shooter like this. Since those annoying camera angles are gone, Leon moves really well and you won't be throwing your controller at the wall.

The action here is brutal. Some of the sequences have been unimaginable in past games. A fight in a speeding mine cart? That's awesome! The battles with the standard line of thugs, called “Ganados”, are really cool because these thugs are really smart. They know when to throw their weapons. And the boss battles are amazing. They all feel like a sub-boss or final boss at the end of another game. You never know what this game will throw at you next, putting you on the edge of your seat. This game isn't very easy at all- you have to use your head in order to figure out exactly what you need to do next. There are plenty of things to help you along the way, and searching for those isn't at all painful. The game is far from easy, but still manages to flow quickly enough to keep you entertained.

Your guns are customizable by a mysterious merchant who appears all over the place. For a reasonable price, you can increase firepower, reloading speed, clip size, and firing speed. This makes you use your head even more. And since there's quite a selection of guns, you have to decide what guns to carry in your attache case in the first place. The downside of this is the gun swap, which you have to access through the case, but so what? It pauses the game, allowing you to take all the time you want. This case fills up fast, so you'll have to reorganize it to make everything fit. There are herbs for which you can use to heal yourself, or Ashley when she's with you. You can also increase Ashley's health, because it doesn't take that much for her to die. Once a psycho with a chainsaw attacks her, she's dead pretty quickly. Luckily, you can tell her to hide or stay behind while you dispatch the enemy. The chainsaw guys (and gals) will drive you nuts. Trust me, they made mad.

Like in reality, different guns use different ammo, and you can't carry absolutely everything that you want to. Throw in three different types of grenades- impact, flashbang, and flame-, and add those herbs and other health items and your attache case will have plenty of options for you in any given situation. These grenades work well to take out multiple enemies. Organizing this case can cause problems, because it's very small at first. The mysterious merchant will sell you larger cases, so he comes in handy a lot. You'll see him often, and you'll need to- you can even sell all of the artifacts you find to this guy and get good money off of him that you'll just pay back to him, buying gun upgrades.

This game, however, doesn't last forever. You'll have it beaten the first time in about 20 hours or so, but the game does have replay value. You can take your same character with the same inventory you had at the end of the game and go through it again with your cool guns. Since this game is brutal and involving, you'll want to play it over and over again. Trust me, you will. You'll play through it at least twice before becoming bored, and then go back to play again a couple months later because this game is so magnificent.

This game is as close to perfect as you can get. It's intense, it's fun, and it's beautifully done. The Resident Evil series needed a makeover in order to succeed once again, and Capcom provided us with the game that everyone was looking for. This game is amazing in almost every way. No wonder it was last year's Game of the Year. It's also the best game on the GameCube, and definitely one of the best games that I've ever played. And since it's only $20 now, there's absolutely no reason that anyone over 14 who owns a GameCube should not have this masterpiece in their possession. I give Resident Evil 4 a perfect 10 out of 10.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 08/04/06

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