Review by Sinister187

"Resident Evil 4 Redefines The Survival-Horror Genre!"

It's been years since an official sequel to the hugely popular 'Resident Evil' series has hit shelves. But here we are now, finally a new addition has been added, with a brand new look and game-play style. But the question is, how is it? The controversial decision to eliminate the zombies in this entry was indeed taking a big risk. Especially when changing the game-play style in this highly anticipated sequel. Will this game ruin the series forever? Or will these changes benefit and provide the fans with something totally new and fun? Well, to put it simply...this game will make you bow down before it, in all it's gory glory. This game came through and exceeded all my expectations and provided some much needed new formula into the franchise. Prepare to be scared all over again, prepare for 'Resident Evil 4'.

The story in this game is pretty interesting, the main character you play as is Leon S. Kennedy. One of the heroes who survived the deadly viral outbreak seen in 'Resident Evil 2'. Leon is now working as a government agent, sent by the President of the United States on a rescue mission. He is to locate the whereabouts of the President's kidnapped daughter, Ashley Graham. His search leads him to many places across the globe, until she was reported to be spotted at some remote European village. Upon arriving, things already seem strange, the villagers appear to be possessed and start brutally attacking you for no reason. Looks like this is the beginning of some truly horrible things to come.

The game-play in this title is nothing short of fantastic, as Leon you can acquire many weapons throughout the game. Much like the games prior, your arsenal consists of pistols, rocket launchers, shotguns, a survival knife and more. In this title, some weapons new to the franchise have also been added, such as sniper rifles and hand grenades. The aiming system has been done to perfection here also, the camera is placed over the shoulder and allows you to target enemies via a red laser. You can also fire at specific hit zones in order to disable the enemy, for example...shooting at a kneecap makes the enemy fall flat on his face in pain. Or the traditional head shot which turns the skull of your enemy into a splattered red mess, great stuff that you are sure to love. Newly implemented as well are Merchants that hide throughout the areas, that buy, sell and tune-up items, a pretty cool feature I might add. Also, gone are the item boxes that are so familiar to 'Resident Evil' fans and the infamous ink ribbon save system. Now, Leon has more storage capacity on him than two item screens of the game's prior combined. And now when you see a typewriter, simply walk up towards it and save. A nice feature that has also been newly added is reminiscent of the Sega Dreamcast title, 'Sword Of The Berserk: Gut's Rage'. In which, when a certain event occurs, you are forced to press the button flashing on screen in order for the outcome to occur. For example, when about to have your neck broken like a twig after being picked up off the floor. You can press the flashing buttons to dodge out of the way of the enemy before this happens, triggering an alternate cinema, sweet stuff. Also you have the ability to kick stunned enemies now and relish in all the head explosions you want again, a feature that's been somewhat toned down in the other titles. As for the boss battles? They're so good you'll contemplate having another play just so you can watch them in action, just wait until you fight 'El Lago', one of the coolest boss battles I've ever played. Replay value comes in the form of unlockable mini-games such as, the 'Mercenaries' mode and 'Assignment Ada'. Upon completing each level of the 'Mercenaries' mode with four stars, you can unlock bonus characters to play as in the mini-game. Characters such as, HUNK, Ada Wong, Jack Krauser and Albert Wesker. After completing each level with five stars, you are able to unlock the 'Handcannon', a very powerful gun for you to use in the story mode. 'Assignment Ada' basically consists of you playing as Ada, infiltrating the island level towards the end of the game and collecting 'Las Plagas' samples. Bonus costumes including Leon's police uniform from, 'Resident Evil 2' are also unlocked upon completion of the story mode.

Control and sound are top-notch, you hold down the R button to target and the A button to fire. While having the R button held, press the B button to reload your current weapon. Holding down the L button unleashes your knife, and the A button also provides the slashing action. Holding B down while moving the thumb-stick allows you to run, and simply moving the thumb-stick makes the character walk as well as aim when your gun is targeting. The C-Stick allows for camera movement and zooming in and out with sniper rifles or binoculars. The Dolby-Digital II is used to great effect here, thunder, gun-fire, screams, explosions and the chainsaw buzz effects are as good as can be. You'll also dig the nice gore sound effects too, the stabbing and head bursting sounds are awesome.

The graphics are downright amazing, one of the best looking games out right now on any system. Capcom has quite the eye for detail and they went all out on this baby. The characters look beautiful, they animate so well, from body motions to facial expressions that it's eerie. Also, like 'Resident Evil: Code Veronica', this one is in full 3-D, so expect some breakable environments and such. The area designs are a sight to behold as are the fire and water effects, when not being engaged in bloody fights you're sure to take some time to marvel at these levels. The gore is also covered nicely, let the chainsaw freaks get close to you and see what they do to poor Leon's head, it's so cool you'll actually thank the psycho's for killing you.

So in the end was this game worth the long wait? You bet it was, this is without a doubt one of the best games of all time. Not just only in the Survival-Horror genre, this breaks the mold and creates a great hybrid of violent action and sheer terror. When the original 'Resident Evil' came out, people were stunned at how scary and good it was, many imitators followed. Now all these years later, 'Resident Evil' comes back in full force and does it again. I expect to see many future Survival-Horror titles to adapt the great style of this one. I doubt they'll ever reach the magic this one has to offer though, if you are a fan of action games, Horror games, or the 'Resident Evil' series. You owe it to yourself as a gamer to play this game, don't even rent it, go to the local game store and buy this. You won't regret it at all, the game is that wonderful!

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 01/13/05, Updated 11/26/07

Game Release: Resident Evil 4 (US, 01/11/05)

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