In 2001, four years before the original Resident Evil 4 came out, Capcom knew there was a problem. The Resident Evil series was stuck in a cookie cutter mold, producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi said at the time. “The whole concept of RE4 was to reinvent the game,” he said. “We wanted to give players something new.”
The result was a groundbreaking reboot of the series that revisited its survival horror roots, launching Resident Evil 2 co-star Leon S. Kennedy as an international action hero on a mission to save the US President’s daughter from a cult. resident Evil 4 was hailed as a masterpiece, breathing new life into the franchise that would only become more action-driven in subsequent sequels – ultimately prompting another reimagining of the series with the back-to-basics horror game Resident Evil 7 Biohazard.
Capcom’s remake Resident Evil 4 reimagines the series’ most beloved and influential entry in lavish detail, modernizing the game from top to bottom. The developers have reframed Leon’s adventure through the lens of other recent Resident Evil remakes, bringing new levels of beauty and squishy gore to Resident Evil 4 while updating its controls and history. The result is a clear demonstration that the developers understand their source material and want to make it sing by fleshing out every possible detail.
The game also strongly signals that Resident Evil might need to be reinvented once again.
Resident Evil 4The main elements of are present in the remake. Leon S. Kennedy, now a dashing government agent, is sent on a secret solo mission to Spain, where he searches for a target named “Baby Eagle” – real name Ashley Graham, the daughter of US President Graham. A group of cultists kidnapped her in a plot to infect her with a parasite and ultimately make her their puppet. As Leon searches for Ashley, he encounters a remote rural village overrun by the Parasite. Its angry inhabitants – and a series of ultra-powerful men and monsters – stand between Leon and his rescuer.
Leon is no longer the rookie cop from his previous game, nor does he face danger in the form of one or two zombies at a time. Instead, he is well-armed and ready for battle, and faces swarms of armed and infected humans known as Ganados. While resource management and ammo scarcity were central to the gameplay of early Resident Evil games, in 4players are more concerned with crowd control and, especially in the remake, parrying attacks from all sides. Resident Evil 4 presents a new kind of challenge: to survive against overwhelming odds.
In the remake, the dance to avoid death can be daunting. Ganados and burly men wielding chainsaws or giant hammers can quickly surround Leon. But Leon can parry or dodge just about any attack. He can deliver roundhouse kicks or nasty suplexes, before finishing them off with a knife to the skull. Or he can approach encounters with stealth, crawling behind unsuspecting enemies and dispatching them with silent execution. All of these options make every combat encounter exciting and flexible in their requirements; sometimes they can be frustrating, as the game dumps waves of enemies on Leon in set pieces that feel more like an exercise in trial and error than finding a solution.
As in the original, Leon must also protect Ashley from harm in several, albeit brief, segments where the two team up. Ashley is completely vulnerable in these times, and Leon not only has to fight for his own survival, but his own as well. This time it’s a much less complicated babysitting task; its healthcare system has been greatly simplified. Ashley’s presence was a famously divisive element of the original, but she’s less of a hindrance here and can be ordered to stay close to Leon (during chase sequences) or keep her distance (during combat). The two work well together, and it’s fun to watch them flirt.
Between RE4The action-packed settings are a series of puzzles, many of which are inscrutable and ornate in classic Resident Evil style, as well as fetch quests. Those lock and key cheats still take precedence over combat, and after all this time they still feel shallow in the grand scheme of game design – even the remake-specific puzzles feel like an afterthought of the game. from the developers. .
Players will likely spend more time thinking about how best to equip Leon, as a mystical and ubiquitous merchant has a huge range of upgrades, new weapons, armor, repairs, and recipes for Leon to purchase. (The Merchant jokes, as fans would ask him, “What are you buying?” But only sometimes, in a great and rare show of restraint from the designers.) Capcom has added a new layer to bets upgraded Leon in the remake, allowing him to not only increase the size of the briefcase that stores his items, but also the briefcase itself, with variants that provide varied perks and attachable charms that provide even more buffs. Players can earn these charms at the Firing Range mini-game, a fun and highly replayable diversion that spawns in multiple places in the game – I wasted way too much time there trying to unlock the best charms in RE4which are RNG-based.
Resident Evil 4 also diverges from previous games in its linearity. There’s very little backtracking to do here, as the game aggressively pushes Leon into new areas and storylines. Although the same sequence of events is intact from the original, the overall flow and momentum has been both shaken up and smoothed out. Where Capcom has cut, for good reason, is by eliminating or cropping the dumbest components of the original game. The original’s quick events, where Leon would have to outrun rocks or a giant mechanized statue being moved, only to potentially fail within milliseconds before starting all over again, have been re-contextualized. The most striking and welcome example is how Capcom has recast the central character of Ramón Salazar, who looks less like a bleached Chucky doll and more like a genteel but decaying old man.
For all the rough edges it smoothes, RE4 does the same trick as RE2 did so in 2019, giving a groundbreaking but now dated game a novel feel. But after four Resident Evil games in as many years, even the current incarnations of the franchise are starting to feel a little familiar – there are hints of the cookie-cutter mold that Kobayashi decided to ignore a while ago. over 20 years, even in Capcom’s sleek and beautifully produced remakes. The latter is not an anomaly.
Resident Evil 7 Biohazard And Village shown, just like the original RE4, which Capcom can adapt and reinvent. After completing 4 Again, the most obvious question the remake left me with was: Where do they go from here?
Resident Evil 4 will be available on March 24 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, the Windows pc, and Xbox series X. The game was reviewed using a final “retail” PlayStation 5 download code provided by Capcom. You can find additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy here.