Review by TheLastAvatar05

Reviewed: 07/20/07

Flawless? Almost, though I wished it was.

Fans of the Resident Evil series once caught a glimpse of Resident Evil 4 when it was first shown at E3 2003. The demo version contained what appeared to be Resident Evil 2 main character, Leon S. Kennedy, investigating a haunted mansion or laboratory where the Progenitor Virus was first created. There were notable features like the famous Hook Man or fog like creatures that attacked Leon randomly during gameplay. However, this version was later scrapped entirely when Shinji Mikami decided to take over the reigns and revamp Resident Evil 4 from scratch. Though Mikami was highly praised with recreating what he thought a Resident Evil game should be like, other fans disliked the sudden direction that was taken from Resident Evil 4 compared to previous installments.

Story: Resident Evil 4 takes place six years after the Raccoon City incident with survivor Leon Kennedy investigating a bizarre kidnapping. Rather than go into detail of the actual downfall of Umbrella, it is merely thrusted on the player that it has completely fallen apart and shut down for good. You might be asking, "But, what about Wesker and his grand ambitions of supplanting Spencer while taking control of Umbrella permanently?". Oddly enough, that is not explained at all during the narrative so the player is to assume that Wesker has dropped off the face of the earth. Leon receives basic training similar to the style of Secret Service and is assigned to protect the President's family but wouldn't you know that on his first day, the president's daughter is missing and needs to be rescued. His journey takes him to a Spanish speaking village in Europe where it is believed that a cult is responsible for the adduction of the president's daughter. Leon encounters various enemies within the cult while trying to save his own skin and his objective, who's named is Ashley Graham, in order to stay alive.

Review on Plot: I admit, I could accept the fact that Leon Kennedy has worked for some government organization in an effort to bring down Umbrella once and for all. I could even accept the relatively short explanation of why Umbrella fell apart and was lately deemed bankrupt. However, I cannot swallow the idea that Leon's sole purpose was to protect a whiny little teenager from a cult that is later called Los Illuminado. It just doesn't fit in terms of a character that Resident Evil 2 fans were introduced to and than have him radically changed within six years later. The plot seems unbelievable at best because it keeps you guessing of who's side each character is really working for often that ultimately causes complete confusion in th end. However, I praise the bold idea of creating something new in terms of a storyline compared to it's similar counterparts in previous games. I feel that casting Leon as a mere protector/ super secret agent of the president's daughter named Ashley Graham raises serious eyebrows.

Gameplay (9/10): Resident Evil 4 changes the gameplay of the previous games to a whole new level. Revamped is the over the shoulder style camera that drastically improves viability in all directions while controlling Leon. Using the C Stick vastly allows players to change what they can see on screen in most parts of the game. In terms of gameplay, RE 4 adds a new inventory feature that surpasses the dreaded Item boxes found in previous Resident Evil games. Weapons, healing medicine, keys, puzzles, and files, are separated from each other in their respectable categories What is interesting is that the Inventory is a grid that shows you how much you can carry and can be expanded to larger sizes during the game. Items can be arranged in different directions to fit one's personal preference in terms of carrying case. Each weapon, file, puzzle, key, and healing items, look like their respectable counterparts from previous games with an updated detailed appearance. Weapons fire and eject cartridges/shells realistically on screen. There is also a laser pointed guidance point for each weapon that allows targeting to become extremely easy. New to Resident Evil 4 weapons is the ability to buy upgrades through currency called Petas. Petas can be found from fallen enemies and be used to buy better upgrades for most weapons. Finally, the ability to shoot enemies at certain body parts is just plain awesome in an Resident Evil game. Targeting an enemy at it's knees with a few shots will cause it to topple over instantly realistically while shooting at it's arm with a weapon will actually cause the enemy to drop the weapon while being shot at. Bosses have certain weakness that can easily be used for any gamer.

Gameplay Part 2: Enemies are no longer mindless drones that can be easily dispatched with a simple handgun. They actually work together as a team to attack and kill you. Did I mention that they now sported the ability to carry and use weapons also? Yea, not those random zombies that you enjoyed blasting or running away from in previous Resident Evil games. Speaking of enemies, the most common ones that you might encounter are not zombies. Their called "Los Ganados" and are infected with the Las Plagas, which are powerful mind-controlling parasites. Dealing with enemies can be sometime easy after you completed the game once but some new gamers may have difficulty in terms of successfully dispatching them. Your random boss battles occur frequently during the game and are rather difficult to defeat. Each one involves a sense of strategy and logic rather than the typical brute force approach. What I liked the most about battling bosses is that Resident Evil 4 introduces a zap button control feature that appears randomly onscreen. An example would be pressing the A and B together that triggers a dodge roll of Leon when a boss is about to strike him with a near lethal blow during the cut scene. These cut scene button combinations require a steady hand and a keen eye but is relatively easy to get use to after awhile.

Gameplay Part 3: Lastly, Resident Evil 4 introduces a different type of action button that can be used frequently during the game. Leon can prop up ladders, smash through windows, jump off roof tops, doge enemy attacks and counter with his own, or give an lovely assist to Ashley Graham, in order to complete certain objectives during the game. What is interesting is that Leon can even barricade doors and windows with furniture in order to temporarily keep the enemies at bay. These actions are well animated and detailed throughout the game. One has to ask the serious question of how Ashley is able to drive a truck with relatively ease during one part of the game in order to assist Leon though...

Graphics (10/10): Simply jaw dropping of how much detailed the creators and developers were able to muser on a system like the Nintendo Game Cube. Realistic fog rolls in during the beginning of the game, enemies splatter blood on the walls and on items while being shot at, animals like birds and even dogs act like their respectable counterparts in real life. It is just simply aspiring to just stop moving and admire the detail put in this game. Bosses and random enemies are beautifully detailed to their buttons on their shirts to the pupils in their eyes, I have to give credit where credit is due. Never have I seen such detail in a Resident Evil game such as this. My only wish was that they could have added a flashlight on the handgun to use in the darker areas of the game similar to the style that was shown in the Resident Evil games.

Sound (9/10): Enemies react in shock or in anger when they spot you and give chase. Their deathly cries and moans are aspiring to hear after you blast them with the classic shotgun or rocket launcher. Overall, the sound in Resident Evil 4 is extremely detailed from the leaves that fall gracefully on the ground near you to the small trickle of water of stream below, it doesn't get any better to have your speakers on full blast to hear these features. The voice acting for the major characters are well developed and executed. Truly a remarkable talented cast that I enjoyed listening to during the many cut scenes.

Replay Value (9/10: After completing the game once, new weapons are unlocked along with new game modes. The Chicago Typewriter, a tommy gun with unlimited ammo, The Matilda, a sub machine hand gun, and the Unlimited Rocket Launcher that launches an unlimited supply of devastating rockets are but just a few unlockable weapons that can be used in the next game. Weapons and money carries over also so players don't have to worry about losing their upgraded weapons after the game is complete. Assignment Ada allows you to do a special side mission as Ada from Resident Evil 2, for a certain character that I will not mention here to avoid spoilers. Lastly , Mercenaries is unlocked and this is where the real fun begins. Mercenaries allows you to play as one of five major characters such as Hunk, Ada, Wesker, Krauser, and Leon. The objective is to kill as many enemies and sub bosses alike on each level to gain a high score that is later ranked by stars. Each character has special moves or abilities that can create combo effects on large groups of enemies which allows a higher scoring. Pulling off combos is almost required to gain high scores for each level. Once you obtain a five star rating on all levels, a special weapon becomes unlock that makes going through Mercenaries totally worth it in the end.

Closing Comments: Resident Evil 4 is a game that truly took a gamble of pulling the series in a new direction and I applaud the creators for it. My only compliant is that the plot is a bit weak and unexpected in terms of development. I only wished it could have been the opposite otherwise this game would have been ranked a instant 10/10. I personally loved Resident Evil 4 and it remains in my collection to this day. My only final recommendation is to obtain it if you have the money, no question asked because it will last you a long time.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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