Our eminent guest reviewer Alexander has spent some time with the remake of Resident Evil 4 and below you can read his thoughts, spoiler, he liked it a lot.
Resident Evil 4 is not just any game. It’s a game I’ve played through on at least five different consoles. I have no idea how many playthroughs I’ve done in total, but I still remember staying up half the night in 2005 to get the best rank in the Mercenaries game mode. If I were to make a top list, Resident Evil 4 could be in the top three games ever. Not too bad considering I’ve been playing for almost forty years. While the hype was huge for me when I learned that a remake was in the works, there was also some concern that the game would turn out to be something different from what it originally was.
Of course, there is a lot that is different with this remake, a lot. Both minor and major cosmetic and game mechanic changes have been implemented. The graphics are clear as night and day. It’s easy to imagine that the original was nice if you just go by the memory image. But when I finished this time and fired up the Playstation 4 version (a simple HD remaster), my daughter half-jokingly, half-seriously said it looked like Roblox. If you have to be picky, other remakes are a bit nicer, for example the current Dead Space. But I find it hard to believe that anyone would get hung up on how the Resident Evil 4 remake looks.
Any changes beyond the graphics could fill an entire review on their own. But some of the biggest ones are that you can now parry the majority of attacks with your knife (as well as even sneak up on enemies for a stealth kill). It is possible to move while aiming. Some sections of the game have been removed entirely and others added. Quick time moments are conspicuous by their absence. Fortunately, the changes have been compensated by other balancing. Among other things, it costs money to repair your knife and the enemies have become both faster and more mobile. The only thing I ever think I miss is the QTE moments, as they meant I could never relax during e.g. cutscenes in the original game. For those who miss the Mercenaries game mode here, it’s coming soon as free DLC.
Lots of other additions made are either quality of life improvements or simply something to fill out the experience. I’ve always liked sorting the weapon bag, but now it can be done automatically for those who can’t bear to spend energy on it. The amount of challenges, unlockable weapons, and replay incentives are at least as numerous here as in the two previous remakes of the series. Those who want a platinum can settle for around four to six playthroughs, so it’s hard to say it’s not value for money. Even getting through the game the first time can easily take thirty hours if you take the time to explore the environments (and die over and over again).
But to the most important question, how is the overall experience after all the changes? No matter how many modifications have been made, the panic is damn it exactly the same as the one I felt almost twenty years ago. The game tricked me into choosing the hardcore difficulty by recommending it to someone who completed RE4 before. Happy with the rush, I set off and walked into what felt like a wall. Those of you who have played before know what the first confrontation in the village entails, and despite my habit, it took me at least ten tries to survive and progress. I had forgotten how many times the game sends an entire mob against one, and it was just as much of a challenge every single time. For those who want a more light-hearted experience, it is possible to choose significantly easier difficulty levels with auto-aim, but then I also think you miss out on a large part of the experience and this game’s well-balanced balance between b-horror, action and panic.
Speaking of balance, I have a hard time understanding how you can program the availability of healing items and ammunition in relation to the player’s success with such high accuracy. Never before in the game series have I experienced time and time again being on the verge of running out of everything, having to refill, encountering a mob, using up all my resources and then starting over. Resident Evil 4 manages to maintain this balance until the very end, which is impressive.
If it wasn’t already apparent, this remake does the original game justice and gives it a facelift that has the potential to last another twenty years. It is both warming and chilling to have exactly the same fantastic experience as those late evenings and nights long, long ago. And yes, Resident Evil 4 is still one of the absolute best games I’ve played.
Resident Evil 4 Remake,