Review by HighOnPhazon

Reviewed: 04/04/07

An edge of your seat gaming experience

I really don’t know why I didn’t get around to reviewing this game sooner. I guess because I was too busy playing the hell out of it. This game without a doubt is one of the few games I can honestly say I could play again and again, and I have, multiple times. Its one of the most action packed, engaging and just plain awesome games ever created and one of the best I have had the joy of playing.

Most people will tell you about Resident Evil. The series has been out for years. I won’t go into too much detail but I’ll just say that I’ve been a fan since the day Resident Evil 2 was released on the Playstation. Resident Evil 4, a game that features one of the main characters from RE2, Leon Kennedy, isn’t a direct sequel but more of a side story, and really, the game deviates so much from the classic resident evil game play that it can arguably not even be called a Resident Evil. However, I felt that while playing it, it had just enough RE quality and plenty of its own unique traits to allow it to bear the name proudly. While playing this game, especially for hardcore RE purists, sit back and enjoy, don’t try to critique it to the older games and let the action speak for itself. This is one hell of a ride.

This is the first game I’ve played that I can honestly say I was at the edge of my seat the entire length of the game. There are so many moments where you will be suddenly jumped by a sequence where you have to press buttons to avoid death, even during a cutscene, or a swarm of hideous creatures rushes your position and you frantically try to shoot your way out of the situation alive. You will be driving boats across lakes, getting attacked by large mutated salamanders, (yes, I said salamander) getting swarmed by insane cultist villagers with pick axes, shovels and knives, to gigantic mutants with tree trunk legs that can literally, rip a tree out of a ground and swing it at you. Yes, Resident Evil 4 is crazy, and crazy is the best thing I can describe it. You will be running, shooting (lots of shooting) sweating, cursing, shaking and laughing your way through this enormous game, and loving every minute of it.

We start our trip to Spain via a car trip though some secluded woods. Enter Leon S. Kennedy. He’s come a long way from being a rookie cop for Raccoon City P.D. He’s now a government trained special operative and his mission is to track down the missing president’s daughter. You may be thinking that this story sounds somewhat dull and uninspired. You are right, the story isn’t the best thing that Resident Evil 4 has going for it. The beauty of this game is that the story really doesn’t matter. I used to be a real stickler for a good story, especially since over 60% of the games I play are RPG’s. Well this is one of the first games that the story didn’t really matter to me, and what story it did have was good enough for me, as the next death defying shoot out or escape sequence was enough reward to sit through what dialogue and cutscenes I had to. In actuality this story is pretty much on par with most of the other Resident Evil games, only it really doesn’t follow the typical Resident Evil mythos. It’s self contained with only small hints of certain events from the main storyline. This shouldn’t detract even the most hardcore fans from enjoying this game. While the story isn’t the best, it’s good enough for an action movie, and that is what this game is, an action movie in game form.

An action game, with the title Resident Evil. Yes, Resident Evil was built around the “Survival Horror” aspect. Don’t worry, you will be horrified here. You will try to survive, and if I may say, this entry in the series to me is more about survival than any other game in the series. Enemies aren’t going to lumber aimlessly around, they will curse at you in hideous Spanish as their buddies all form up to gang up on you from all sides, throwing hatches and Molotov cocktails at you, as you blow their heads off with a well placed shot from your rifle, a parasite creature with tentacles and razors erupts from their head, causing you to run in terror as you turn around and see them starting to run after you. Get a new position and whip out a shotgun inside your menu screen, where in it you can arrange, to your liking, any number of weapons, healing items or ammo any way you want. Close your briefcase and get ready to shoot. Take aim, fire. This game reeks of tense. It controls wonderfully. Taking aim is a snap, just hold down the shoulder button. A will cause Leon to shoot his desired weapon, and A also acts as an action button whilst not aiming. Y brings up your inventory where you can store your hard earned weaponry and treasures. Actually, the only buttons you will use for most of the game are the L and R buttons and A and B. You will be alternating between those four buttons quite a bit for context sensitive scenes involving quick presses to avoid an attack or certain death.

While you are traveling around this twisted version of the Spanish country side, you will visit a battered village full of parasite infused cultist villagers, travel into a Spanish castle headed by an insane Napoleon look alike with two elite creatures as bodyguards. In it, you will face crazed monks and priests with rocket launchers, shields, flails and arrow guns. Wait, its not over, you still have a mine complete with a mine cart ride ala Indiana Jones and an Island filled with viscous mercenaries. Wow. What a trip. I don’t think Leon will ever want to visit Spain again after this. This game is huge. It will last you a dozen plus hours as you blow the crap out of enemies, use gold you find at a slightly delirious Australian merchant to buy new briefcases to hold new weapons, buy yourself some sniper rifles, shot guns, grenade guns, scopes or healing aides. This guy is a mini mart, who oddly enough happens to be everywhere you are, seemingly before you get there! This game is crazy and I love it.

Graphically this game blows tons of game right out of the water. For a Gamecube game it’s arguably the best looking game on the console. It’s impressive and detailed. The environments are huge, atmospheric and filled with crazy (there is that word again) enemies who are all richly animated, detailed and deadly. Leon himself is animated impeccably, reloads fluidly, shoots his gun like a champ, runs, and jumps, swings his knife and dodges boulders like an action hero. Every second this game is in motion it is a feast for the eyes. I thought it would be hard for a game to pass Metroid Prime and its sequel in graphics, but Capcom really showed what they can do here. While the environments may not be as massive as in Metroid, they are excellent in their own right with plenty of jaw dropping moments. They did a bang up job at Capcom with this one, and I applaud them for making it so excellent.

What action game would be good without a bunch of enemies to slaughter? Resident Evil 4 has a large variety of enemies to destroy that will please just about anyone. They range from deranged yet somewhat creepy villagers, to hideous acid puking demon bugs that can fly and cloak, to giant mutants, rabid dogs with tentacles popping out of their back and more. What a cast! There are more freaks here than in a circus and you will love facing off with each and every one of them. Thankfully the weapons you get in the game are upgradeable, because enemies get more powerful as you travel deeper into the game, so more slaughter is required. Use currency at the merchant to upgrade range, reload speed, power and ammo capacity. There are even secret guns which kick major butt to unlock, and are totally worth playing through the game multiple times to unlock.

Sound is an important factor in games now days and Capcom doesn’t disappoint here either. From the intense boom of your shotgun to the crack of your pistol, the groan of a villager to the hideous hissing of the cloaking insect creatures you fight, every thing in this game sounds so excellent. The enemies sound dreadful, in a good way. Every time you hear them shout out their Spanish with that creepy voice, you will feel a chill go up your spine. The music is also very good for a game of this type. I found that a lot of it fit the atmosphere perfectly, adding tension, fear and excitement to every scene it’s in. Just thinking about it brings back fond memories of certain parts of the game.

You would be silly to pass up an attempt to play Resident Evil 4. It’s really a classic gaming masterpiece. The beauty of this game is that it’s totally playable. If you are just in it for a quick jolt of action, no problem, just load up a file and play through at your own pace. Those of us who got hooked the first time won’t have any problem tromping through the game a second or even third time. With a side mission after beating the game, a mini game where you kill enemies in a time limit, and new weapons to buy after clearing the secrets, this game has some of the best replayability of any current action game. There are just so many cool moments in this game that it’s almost worth it to play it a couple times to use different weapons or just challenge yourself. Hell, start up a new file with all your old stuff and lay waste to the enemies with your infinite rocket launcher. This game is top notch in fun factor. While RE4 may not have a novel worthy, thought provoking story, nor have very good voice acting either, (but passable) what it does have it some of the most intense action, atmosphere and gaming moments in history and it’s a can recommend to anyone that loves games. You will not be disappointed.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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