Review by Larcen Tyler
"A new face of evil is upon us, but that's not necessarily a bad thing!"
Ever since the Resident Evil remake back in 2002, everyone had been wondering when the true fourth installment of the series would be making it's debut. Other than some screenshots and movies here and there, nothing seemed to be certain. Then, just last year, survival horror fanatics got the news they had been waiting for: Resident Evil 4 was finally back on track and was being done with some changes to it. A lot of changes, to be exact. Many people thought that this wasn't going to be a true Resident Evil game with all the changes in it, but you should never judge a book by its cover.
Fast forward to now, where the game is finally available, and it goes to show that taking the series in a whole new direction may have actually been for the better.
If the graphics in the Resident Evil remake blew you away, prepare to be floored by the realism here. The animation is silky smooth, with no slowdown or jagged bits whatsoever, and the lighting effects are simply amazing. When you shoot an enemy, you can aim for certain parts of the body, and when you shoot them in different spots, they react realistically depending on where they were hit. When you come upon your first enemy encounter, you're going to be amazed at just how truly realistic this game is. It truly pushes the power of the GameCube to the limits.
The dialogue is very well spoken and recorded with no corny bits whatsoever. When you hear someone speaking, you actually forget that they're just video game characters. The music has a new style to it, not so much like the gothic horror-based themes that we're used to in, but rather a mix of rock and classical music, which sets the stage for whatever's going on perfectly. When you're being swarmed with enemies, the high-tempo music really sets you in the panic mode that the game tries to instill upon you.
Also, when you hear the Ganados calling to one another in Spanish, you get a new sense of terror instilled that you never felt before.
For the most part, the controls remain the same, but the viewpoint has changed. Instead of having fixed camera angles, you are constantly looking over the shoulder of your main character, which gives it kind of like a mix between a first and third person perspective. This actually makes it seem more realistic and makes you feel like you're in the game more. Readying your weapon and aiming it is still the same as in the previous series, but now your weapons have laser pointers so you can see where you're aiming better.
Another notable tidbit is the fact your inventory is divided into squares, with larger items taking up more squares. You can actually rotate and flip items to make room for others, or even throw items away as necessary. The item boxes are gone, but you won't have to worry about backtracking over and over as much. You can also collect money to buy weapons and items from a mysterious merchant who pops up here and there.
After the big incidents in Raccoon City, people finally became suspicious of Umbrella, and then the government became involved. One thing led to another, and before you knew it, they were pretty much a thing of the past. Fast forward to 2004, where Leon Kennedy, the rookie police officer from Resident Evil 2, has undergone special training by the U.S. government and is now an agent working for the President of the United States.
His first assignment is to locate Ashley Graham, the president's daughter, who has gone missing and was last reported in a remote village in Spain. Upon arriving for what should be a simple in-and-out mission, Leon finds himself drawn into a deep and dark sinister secret far worse than what he encountered in Raccoon City.
One notable difference is that the game is divided into chapters, and each chapter is divided into several subchapters, and while this may seem a bit unusual, it actually works for the better in that it makes the storyline flow a bit more smoothly.
As you might have heard, the zombies are no more in this game. Instead, we have Ganados (Spanish meaning 'livestock' literally.) They may not entirely be human, but they're far more advanced than zombies. Instead of simply milling around waiting to grab you as you pass by, they chase after you with weapons, call to their comrades for backup, they surround you and even sneak up on you when you least expect it, and they won't back off that easily. If you hide inside a house and barricade the doors and windows, they'll put up ladders and start climbing in through the higher floors. Try climbing a tower to escape them, and they'll throw molotov cocktails at you to get you out. You never know what to expect next.
You only have one difficulty level to start with, but you can unlock a harder one after finishing the game. And, of course, you have your usual minigames and special weapons to unlock too. While the minigames are a bit lacking in some spots, the storyline really gets you good and doesn't let go, with plenty of twists and surprises with each chapter and subchapter that will have you guessing up untill the very end.
They changed a lot with this new installment of Resident Evil, but one thing they didn't change was the fun factor that always kept the player enjoying the experience. Whether you've never played a Resident Evil game or you've been awaiting this game patiently, this is definitely one face of evil that you'll never forget anytime soon!
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 01/19/05
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