Review by Megaman1981

Reviewed: 01/12/05 | Updated: 02/07/05

Leon S. Kennedy, reporting for duty, sir!

The Resident Evil series has a single purpose. To scare you, and make you feel like you are actually in a horror movie. After five successful games spanning no less than six platforms, Resident Evil 4 is unleashed upon us. It’s also safe to say that not only is this the best Resident Evil ever, but it may be one of the best games ever created. This game was in development for quite a long time. In fact, I thought that I read an article in a British made magazine called 64 way back in 2000. It stated that Resident Evil 4 would be released on all consoles. That of course was before Capcom signed an exclusive deal with Nintendo, but that wasn’t the point. The point was that this game was thought of in 2000. Most people would hate to wait five years for a game but, with Resident Evil 4, the wait was well rewarded.

The one problem with previous Resident Evil games is the controls. Basically your character controls like a tank. The producers have never tried to do a true 3D game in the series until Resident Evil: Code Veronica. However they kept the same controls for that game. With Resident Evil 4, the controls are fixed. Now your character has full 3D movement. Leon now has a third person view, basically having the camera behind him. At first, I thought that this movement was kind of weird, but after a while Leon's movement is flawless. It's wonderful how well they have done the controls, although I always thought that the previous controls in Resident Evil games were fine as well.

Another welcome change is your inventory. Gone are the item boxes, much like Resident Evil Zero. However this time the producers took it to a whole new level. Any puzzle solving items, such as keys, emblems, or any other item object, no longer take up inventory space. All items are now stored separately, and can be accessed easily. Also, those pesky ink ribbons are also gone. Now when you get to a typewriter, just save your game, plan and simple. There is also no limit to the amount of saves that you can use, so feel free to save anytime. Also at the end of each chapter, the game will also automatically save for you. You can also collect gold, or pestas from enemies. You can then buy products from a traveling merchant, although you can't buy ammo, and you can upgrade your weapons. Also when you die, you continue at the load area, which is actually the last time you entered a door, and the screen became blurry. One final inventory change to point out is the fact that you can buy a rocket launcher anytime, although you can use it only once. A nice thing to remember when preparing to fight one of the games many bosses.

Thanks to the new controls, and item management, it would seem as if the game is easy. Not the case as the enemies are not the same stupid zombies that we are used to. Apparently instead of zombies, we have a tribe of crazed villagers called the Ganado. These enemies are very smart. For instance, if in the game you climb a ladder to the roof of a house, they will climb the ladder and follow you. They also use chainsaws and pitch forks as well. Yes the game is harder than the average game, but any Resident Evil fan can manage.

The story is totally different from the usual Resident Evil storyline. The Umbrella Corporation is gone, as are its trademark zombies. Now we have a crazed group of villagers that have kidnapped the president's daughter, Ashley. Former Resident Evil 2 hero Leon S. Kennedy is called into action to save her. He's clearly changed since we last saw him. Whenever he does find Ashley, it's his job to protect her. The strangest thing that we learn from the storyline is the fact that after the villagers kidnap Ashley, they then want to return her to her father. Of course, the great question is why would they kidnap her and then return her? While this doesn’t make much sense, the reason becomes quite clear in the second chapter. Also in this particular chapter, Leon will find out exactly why the villagers are acting so crazy. Leon also comes across a man named Luis Sera. He will help you fight in certain situations, but is he a friend or foe? The final piece of the story is actually a continuation of what happened at the end of Resident Evil 2. Yes, Ada Wong is alive, and is as sexy as ever. But what is she doing in a small village in the middle of Europe?

The graphics will clearly wow you. If you thought that the Remake had excellent graphics, then just wait until you see this game. Between the environments, character models, and the weapons the villagers use, I must say that this is the best looking game ever created. The sound is also important. What you hear can tip you off to what enemy is nearby. Let me say that when you first hear a chainsaw, you better be ready to run and create a plan to survive. The best sound is actually the noises that the villagers say to each other. It’s in Spanish, and it sound very scary.

This game is fairly long. It could take as long as 25 hours to complete. It actually took me about 18 hours on my first run threw. Plus, since it is so different from the regular Resident Evil game, it will feel like a whole new experience to you. But believe me, you'll want to play it more that once. There is also some extra bonus features after you beat the game. The first is the ability to buy some new weapons for the main quest, such as the standard rocket launcher and a powered up magnum gun. There is also a professional mode offered, which is basically a hard mode for the main quest. Now for the bonus games. The first is called “Assignment Ada”. The basic idea in this game is to have Ada steal five virus samples from the village. The other bonus game is a basic mercenary game much like the one seen in Resident Evil 3. You choose from five different characters, and destroy as many enemies as you can in a certain amount of time. If you do well as Leon, you can unlock Ada, Krauser, Hunk, and Wesker. One nice feature after you complete the game is small, but nice anyway. The title screen changes and can now be rotated using the controller.

In conclusion, this is the Resident Evil game that gamers have been dying to play since the series was created. The producers have finally listened to everyone and fixed the controls and inventory problems. Still, the enemies are tougher and smarter. The game is probably the hardest in the series, but is still a gamers dream. Before I advise for anyone to buy it, I must as a simple question. Is this the first Resident Evil that you have ever played? If it is, you might want to play Resident Evil the Remake first. While that game was indeed hard, Resident Evil 4 is much harder. Plus dealing with the nasty Crimson Head zombies from the Remake will definitely help you when you are dealing with the speedy, fast paced enemies from Resident Evil 4. If you have played previous Resident Evil games, then I highly advise you to buy this game. Not rent, buy! These are the type of games that make the Gamecube worth owning. Plus if you only have a PS2, then you must ask yourself a quick and simple question. Do you really want to wait nine months for the PS2 version to come out? I didn’t think so. Resident Evil 4 is the type of game that will sell Gamecube systems, and will take its place among the greatest games of all time.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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