Resident Evil 4 stands as an icon in the gaming world. It has an entire history behind it that is enough to create a documentary, which is why we even have the Devil May Cry series today. However, the entry is also among a few titles in the world that have been remastered across every console generation imaginable, even on mobile, and there is a reason why this is so. In our Resident Evil 4 Remake Review, we’ll look at one of the best remakes you will play this year, bar none.
With Resident Evil 4 Remake, there were a lot of high expectations from the developers without most of the original team working on the title.
Same Characters, Same Story, Still Memorable
Whether or not you have played the game, Resident Evil 4 is one of the most memorable stories in gaming. You play as Leon S. Kennedy, sent to a remote village to rescue the president’s daughter from an unknown group. After rescuing her, your mission changes from exfiltrating her to stopping a bigger and more sinister plot. This will take you through meeting old allies turned enemies and a cast of characters that you won’t soon forget.
While this is not a 1:1 remake of the original 2005 title, there are some creative liberties taken with some parts of the story that are for the better, and greatly enriched my experience of it exponentially. While many people had their complaints about how Capcom took too many creative liberties with Resident Evil 2 and 3 Remake, it’s good to see that 4’s changes are much better received and easily helped in making a memorable game even more special, almost 18 years after its original global debut.
Fleshed Out Introductions and Motivations
Leon and Ashely are not the only ones who got new stories and backgrounds, but all of the enemies and bosses too. The game does a great job of fleshing out supporting characters too. Boss fights have been significantly revamped, and overall this feels like a brand new game while keeping true to the source material as best it can. Saddler, Salazar, Luis, and many other characters who were previously very one-dimensional have more depth and are more interesting to interact with throughout the story.
The tie-in with Leon’s backstory from Resident Evil 2 Remake helps with the continuity, too. The previous tie for the game came from seeing Leon on the PlayStation 1, then in 3D on the GameCube, and then on the PlayStation 2. Many people missed this, but with the recent remakes, it has become more accessible to follow than before.
Aside from dialog changes, each character has undergone a significant visual overhaul too. This will be a pleasant surprise for fans when they see familiar faces now with entirely new appearances. This helps keep true to the new direction that Capcom is taking for the series, even with the remakes.
The cheesy dialog has its moments, but the overall one-liners, writing, and story make this a game that deserves your undivided attention.
If It’s Not Broken, Slightly Fix It – The Gameplay
The gameplay is one of the reasons fans love this game all over the world. It was the first Resident Evil game to get rid of the tank controls, but Leon was still a stationary target. However, that was the design philosophy back when the game came out. None of the re-releases did enough to improve upon its design decisions.
Not only is Leon even more nimble than before, but he can now crouch without a QTE prompt. This allows him to sneak up on enemies and do a stealth takedown. Aside from that, he can now move and shoot, which alone is the most significant change that fans loved the most with the demo. The ability to move and shoot allows Leon to go in and out of cover more quickly. This also lets him avoid projectiles more easily, making for better and more fluid gameplay.
Improvements All Around
Arguably one of the biggest changes to the game is the added effort you need to stagger or trigger the state of the enemy that allows you to run up and suplex or melee enemies. The original title allowed you to do it with 1-2 bullets to the leg or head of the enemy, but this is a more deliberate change by the developers to add more challenge to the game. It now takes significantly more bullets to trigger that effect on the enemy. While this could be considered a “con” for the game, you should also appreciate the effort returning players must make. They will have to learn new attacks and patterns of enemies to beat the game.
Leon has some familiar weapons returned to his arsenal, as well as some new ones that help keep the game fun and original. There is a lot to be said about making the game fun for new and returning players alike, as there is very little predictability here. One of the newer features is how Leon’s knife is more versatile than ever. The knife now has a damage meter, but with a well-timed parry can stagger enemies and open them for a melee hit.
In addition, you can even block an entire chainsaw with the knife, given that you didn’t break it before the encounter. Instead of repeatedly stabbing enemies with the knife, Leon now has an animation to deliver a killing blow to enemies with the knife, albeit at the cost of durability.
Ashley, Side Quest and Inventory
In addition, Ashely is less of a burden than before. She is still prone to taking damage and dying; she no longer has a health bar to keep an eye out for. If she takes too much damage, she can get incapacitated and has to be revived in time. She can still be carried away from Leon if she should get too careless or overwhelmed by enemies. This means you can now spend more of your health resources instead of yourself, instead of sharing them with Ashely.
Another favorite addition of mine is the sidequests that the merchant gives you. These can range from shooting blue medallions to killing rats or other objectives that lead to a generous reward from him. However, there are more sidequests in the world, and you will have to go out of your way to find some of them. They differ in objectives and missions but offer rewards that are well worth the backtracking or hunting.
Lastly, the developers have overhauled the inventory system. You no longer have to switch back and forth between your attaché case to switch weapons. You can now do that from the comfort of your D-Pad. A welcome change to the series since Resident Evil 7. It’s good to see that combat can be faster, smoother, and even more chaotic with this addition to the gameplay formula.
There’s more about the gameplay that’s very subtle, but that’s for you to discover on your journey of playing this game, along with discovering all of the new features added to the game.
Graphic and Audio Overhaul – The REengine Strikes Gold
Whether you want to play the game in performance or visual mode, the game is an absolutely magnificent gem. This is easily one of the biggest strengths of the RE Engine, introduced with Resident Evil 7 in 2017. Year after year, each new title shows just how much the engine continues to improve and wow us.
The graphics deliver the same murky aesthetic of the original that complements the dark and eerie environment set by the original title. Still, there are a few good additions to the game in the form of better reflections and massively improved textures. The addition of being able to run ray-tracing in performance mode alone should be a testament to the power of this engine.
All the characters look better than one can imagine, even with the numerous mods available for the original title. Each character has living facial animations, the reflection of their clothes during the cinematic and gameplay moments. Even enemies live up to the phrase “if looks could kill”.
Superb Visual Variety
All the environments you visit are visually stunning, from the dilapidated village to the rustic castles. There is no place in the game where you won’t stop for a second and admire the meticulous love and attention put into that level. The enemies inhabit it naturally as they are charging at you with weapons or throwing projectiles your way. Almost every aspect of this game is pure brilliance, from the first time you boot the game to the conclusion with an even better final boss fight.
In terms of audio, the game is also the same. A lot of the audio from the original title has been carried over, but there have also been some new additions. These additions help with making this stand out from the original. Whether you’re playing on headphones or speakers, the audio design is a step above the original. You hear the footsteps, weather effects, and other dangers in the environment as a constant. You must always be ready for any fight, which is what the audio design does brilliantly for this title.
Plenty of Replay Value
The original game offered its fair share of rewards for players who beat the game. If you are looking for a reason to return to the title after beating it, Capcom has you covered. Until the launch of Mercenaries in April, and the eventual PSVR2 port, there is so much content for players to unlock by beating the game on higher difficulties with an A, S, or S+ rank, and this is where the fun is. If you want to get the most out of the game, this is by far the longest and most rewarding Resident Evil title yet, particularly when compared to Resident Evil 7 and 8 in terms of gameplay length.
If you are a long-time fan of the recent remakes or even a fan of the original, you don’t need to wait for the thumbs-up from Leon to buy this game. It is a game you will thoroughly enjoy regardless of your experience with previous titles. Capcom has easily created a masterpiece here that warrants a purchase, and with Mercenaries coming to the title, the game will only get better.
Resident Evil 4 Remake is a game that absolutely deserves your money. It’s a title with a long-standing and established history to it, more ports of the game exist than most other games that exist today. Almost 18 years after its original release, perfection has been improved upon. With a lot of good in-game content to keep you coming back for more, paired with an upcoming Mercenaries mode and even the PSVR 2 port of the game, if you happen to own the hardware, is there any reason you shouldn’t pick up this magnificent title?
If you are itching to play a game until your next favorite AAA title, I can only recommend Resident Evil 4 as the best possible time sink. It is worthy of your time and attention to enjoy to its fullest. If you thought you were the best at 2005 original, the new title will certainly put you through the challenge of learning and mastering some new tricks.
What did you think of our Resident Evil 4 Remake Review? Please share what you think about it in the comments below.
This review is based on the PS5 version of Resident Evil 4 Remake. The key was provided by CAPCOM.