RESIDENT EVIL 4 REMAKE REVIEW (PS5/PC)
''HORROR WITH A SIDE OF BALLISTICS''
Release Date: March 23, 2022
Platforms: PS4/PS4/Xbox Series/STEAM
*Review copy provided to me by Capcom*
Resident Evil 4 2023 is a remake of the original action horror title of the same name and is developed and published by Capcom. Having already set the bar with franchise remakes with Resident Evil, Resident Evil 2 and to a lesser extent of Resident Evil 3, Capcom now ups their confidence and aims to bring back another classic entry into the series for the modern gamer to enjoy. But was this a wise to decision to touch and change up such an innovative title? or should it have kept to all of our nostalgia? Only one way to find out, so let's go!
6 years have passed since the biological disaster in Raccoon City. Leon S. Kennedy, one of the survivors of the incident, has been recruited as an agent reporting directly to the president of the United States. With the experience of multiple missions on his back, Leon is sent to rescue the president's kidnapped daughter. He tracks her to a secluded European village, where there is something terribly wrong with the villagers. He must now put his own life in danger and complete the mission at all costs.
''AS MICHAEL JACKSON SAID, THE GIRL IS MINE''
As stated before, Resident Evil 4 is a classic survival horror game that has been remade for modern consoles. The earlier title was originally released in 2005 and is widely considered to be one of the greatest video games of all time. Greatest of all time? well that's debatable, obviously, but you know what's NOT debatable? This title being one of the most milked games of all time, alongside games like Skyrim and Grand Theft Auto 5. No joke, this game has been re-released on every console imaginable, I swear they'd throw it on Magnavox Odyssey if they could. But were not here to talk about how much it has been milked, nope, were here to talk about getting choke slammed by The Undertaker while looking at a picture of Emperor Palpatine, and seeing the toilets from the inside of Taco Bell. Wait what?. Resident Evil 4, ever since its early teases, has been one of the most anticipated remakes in recent years, one that would even rival games such as Final Fantasy 7 Remake in terms of overall hype. Luckily there isn't any ''fate ghosts'' to ruin the pacing or bogger down the story, so big win there at the very least. However, while yes this is an anticipated title, people still held some questions for it after the overall lackluster showing for Resident Evil 3 remake with the changes it made to the game. While I didn't think it was THAT bad, I can see where people would have an issue with the cut content or less emphasis on major scenes. Is any of that present here? Yes it is. Uh oh. Now before you pull a Leon and start telling me ''Hasta Luego'' and ditch me and this review, just know that all changes made to the original title are a ying and yang, good and bad, which ultimately in the end serves their purpose in a POSITIVE way. I'll explain here in just a bit.
Resident Evil 4 Remake this go around features upgraded graphics to not only the game environment, but also to the character models too. No longer does Ashley look like a cross between a chipmunk and Alfred Neuman from Mad Magazine, and she now looks like a normal and more mature female. Likewise, characters like Ada get a great looking update and even little man Salazar goes from looking like something you'd see as a spawn of Pumpkin Head with his 2005 iteration, to now looking like Hasbulla is cosplaying at a convention. Sounds weird, I know, but its definitely an improvement. But graphical fidelity isn't the only part of the game that has gotten an overhaul, oh no, because if that were the case then this would be no more than a remaster. Alongside particle upgrades and lighting and offering a more intense atmosphere for forests, castles and caverns, the gameplay itself also has gotten a wide variety of changes to it as well with a more responsive control scheme that makes it easy to navigate around environments, objects, or helping you narrowly escape from an enemy ambush - and even a slight upheave in the way combat works too. Its not a drastic change like me taking off my make up and looking like death itself, no don't worry its not that much of a change, but it takes an already stellar and amazing feeling combat and makes it that much better. Gone are the days of the good ol QTE's and instead its replaced with a variation of button mashing for close encounters when you're caught in an enemies grasp. Also left in the past is being able to try to quick turn and maneuver yourself ever so slightly just to avoid getting hit because now you have the additions of evading and dodging, which if pressed when prompted on screen, lets you dart out of the way like me running away from Ashley in the original title because she would NOT SHUT UP with her ''LEON, HELP!''. What an annoying little brat. So many times did I just let the villagers take her, didn't care that I got a game over either, because that couple minutes of silence was absolute bliss. Plus, not like they were going to kill her anyways, they just wanted to take her to Bingo night, so not sure what the big deal was anyways. But... were off topic.
''SIR, ARE YOU OK?''
Another notable feature in this title is the use of a parry attack. Oh man, yeah, this makes things so much easier and in my roughly 14 hour playthrough, it was definitely my go to and saved me from death dozens and dozens of times. To parry an enemy, you must time your button press of L1 when prompted or just by personal instinct with timing. At first, I was pretty damn awful at it, getting hit again and again, but soon as I got better? oh, it was over for everyone the remainder of the game. Trying to blind side me bro? aint no way, your axe? get that crap out of here, chump, that chainsaw... wait.. a chainsaw? uh oh, no no no, how is this even possible, blocking a chainsaw with a knife, oh well, don't question it, mash mash mash. While blocking enemy attacks is definitely addicting, you do however have to manage your knife durability in the same light as managing ammo and inventory space. By this I mean, for every hit of your knife, every stab, every parry - your blade will take damage, whether it be Leon's main knife that can be upgraded via The Merchant for its power, durability and damage, much like every other weapon in the game. So my suggestion is to open crates, chests, pick up stuff off the ground as much as possible to find kitchen knives and other blades, this way you'll never run out of ways to parry. Plus it holds you over till you get to see good ol Merchant again and be like ''HEH HEH HEH, THANK YA, STRANGUH'. One of my favorite things about the new combat mechanics in this title is the use of a combo system. No, this isn't a fighting game or whatever Ehrgeiz and Sonic Fighters attempted to be, dont worry, but I'm more so referring to the mix of parrying plus instant kills or gunplay straight into an instant kill, if done correctly. These two things help when getting bombarded by 4 to 5 enemies at a time and being low on ammo, then utilizing everything to your advantage is the absolute main way to your ultimate survival.
So while you're out saving dumb Ashley from a cult in rural Spain, fighting off gigantic trolls, fending off giant lake monsters, finding blue medallions, participating in shooting mini games for Merchant, spending a friggin hour on puzzles because you're too stupid to figure them out like me, and watching the the paint looking rain, you will be able to use strategy in order to make quick work of your foes. For instance, should you parry an enemy just at the right moment, they will be temporary stunned and lose balance, this in turn allows you to run up to them and either stab them in the head or pull a Brock Lesnar and take them to Suplex City. Oh ya its super fun. Likewise if people have a shield to block fire or you just have too many people to deal with, you're able to shoot a villager in the knee to drop them into a stunned position and then run up to them, grab them, and slam them into the ground, usually for an instant kill. Should that shield get in your way though? screw it, shot gun blast to the face baby, kaplow. But if you run into a Regenerator, screw that noise, just run run run. I hate those freaking things, and no, I'm not racist against monsters, I have Licker and Nemesis friends, ok?. Outside of equipping weapons to your hot bar for easy management with the arrow buttons, priming and throwing grenades and flash grenades to stun or clear out enemies, purchasing scopes for rifles, upgrading each weapon with power, reload speed and capacity via selling items for money for their upgrades to the Merchant after either combining crowns or lamps with jewels for high prices - you will notice another addition you might not have noticed before. Sound design. The games sound effects this time around in my opinion are more impressive than the 2005 edition, complete with more real sounding gun shots, further use of eerie ambient noises that in the case of your dual sense controller, lets you hear the sounds from your controller and completely makes you feel immersed further into this version of the game than ever before. Plus, Leon kept all his signature puns that we all know and love, which made me get into it too, cause you know how much I love me some puns.
''KNIFE TRY, BRO''
As far as this game being a faithful recreation of the original, does that hold true? well yes and no. Yes in the sense that the story you encounter such as going to rural Spain to save the presidents daughter, fighting against infected villagers, take down the cult leaders Salazar and Saddler, meeting and saving the ladies man Luis, encountering the stealthy Ada Wong, that's all intact, however QTE's and some scenes are changed. For example some of the scenes you remember with QTE versus the giant troll monster, gone, running away from a boulder by tapping your little heart out, gone like a fart in the wind, running from a giant Salazar statue, sorry buddy, gone, Ashley's ballistics? who cares you silly pervert. But even if some stuff was seemingly cut or changed it doesn't necessarily mean its a negative. For example a change I feel is appropriate is the change to Salazar's statue. In the original, you had a gigantic giant size statue chasing you, making you feel like Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park muttering ''must go faster, must go faster''. Sure it was intense, but overall given the tech that was being used by the cult at this time, it made about as much sense as Slime making The Statue Of Liberty move. So even though ''your love is lifting me higher'', it was still ridiculous. However in Remake, the statue now spins its head and shoots a flamethrower at you as you try to climb the tower. You see? now THAT makes sense and is way more viable than the previous entry, even if it is a tad bit more underwhelming in the intensity department. But do not fret, much to the disdain of the initial leaks about the Doggo in this game being dead, I am here to tell you that is not true, midway through the game, before your encounter with the troll, you have the opportunity to save mister doggo, and just like in the original game, he will come to your rescue in order to help you slay your foe. Now that's what I call a good Pupper The Doggo and the bestest boy in town. The narrative of the game is also shaped and expanded upon beyond just these examples. Areas that were once condensed and smaller are now more broadened, giving you ways to explore more, find more items and more collectibles. This of course states the obvious, the game has just as much replay as the original, if not more this go around. That's pretty weird to actually say.
In regards to the boss battles in this title, which like in the original game, offer some of the most memorable moments in this game too. No single boss will play the same or even take the same amount of skill to beat. While you may have to run up to a troll to rip out and kill its infection that is placed on its back, in another you will have to chuck spears into a monsters back while being dragged in a boat around a lake to avoid being eaten, get into a close encounter intense knife battle against Krauser, or take an eye for an eye as you attempt to smash the eye out of an ugly as all heck monster. Sure, its not super innovative and ground breaking as one would hope overall for a Remake, but to me, the fact that each boss has their own unique mechanic that require different strategies and are both challenging but never overly frustrating, for me personally, it shows an opportunity to offer a great showcase of the games management system to make sure you're always well stocked, well prepped and on top of it all, allows you to showcase the games combat system to its full potential and put together everything you have learned in the game so far, whether it be perfect dodging, parrying or picking and choosing the right weapon to use based on the strength of each villain. Well.. mostly. I mean you can kill the main boss of the game with a freaking Golden Egg. I'm not even joking. It's now made me realize that I have had the ultimate weapon beside of me this entire time. All I need now the Hand Of Midas. Oh Chicky. Come here little girl. I got an idea. Don't worry, I'm not going to hurt ya. JUST GIVE ME AN EGG, RIGHT NOW.
''YOU ARE ONE UGLY MOTHER FU...''
At the end of the day Resident Evil 4 Remake does what I felt wasn't even possible, live up to the expectations of the original or even surpass it in certain ways. Sure I don't find it perfect by any means, with issues for me personally, like ugly rain effects, sometimes parrying not registering quick enough, lack of quick turn which while not essential, could've helped in tight scenarios, character models like Ashley looking like the movie Mosquito with her pale dead skin looking like she got all of the blood sucked out of her - nothing major, obviously. But even with the small negatives, the overall positive changes to the set pieces, more action than before, emphasis on the use for stealth with your knives, more strategy to your combat with the parrying system, tons more to do in the collectible department via journals, audio, gems, crowns, jewelry, mastering the mini game shooting range, collect all unlockables, achieve S rankings for missions, unlock new costumes, etc. The game in your first playthrough may only run anywhere from 15 to 20 hours your first run, but trust me, you'll want to come back multiple times due to how addicting the game is and the amount of replayability there is to be had this go around. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Capcom once again has set the bar for Remakes, and it is now up to the rest of the industry if they wish to follow with the same level of care and quality. So now with all this having been said, my verdict is clear, GameNChick says BUY NOW.