I have a problem with this game - namely because I played this before any of the others. My problem lies in the fact now that I have played the previous games Resi 4 seems quite rubbish and testosterone laden. I mean, at first I absolutely adored this game and found the others abhorrent but as I matured Resi 1 just took my breath way. The attention to detail, the atmosphere, the minimal soundtrack, the lack of health, the exploration, were phenomenal in Resi 1 (especially the re-imagining on Gamecube).
That aside, in Resi 4 you take control of Leon Kennedy of Resi 2 decent. On a mission in non-specified Spanish town looking for the President's Daughter (Umbrella isn't really a feature in this game after collapsing into bankruptcy, portrayed in an amusing intro scene that talks about Umbrella's stock value). Leon batters monsters, finds out about a weird cult that unearthed a plague that a man with an eye stick can control as his minions.
This game went slightly too far into fantasy for me, too much magic so to speak. The first is believable: a pharmaceutical company looking into performance enhancers and the like that create super violent creatures. Possible but not phantasmagorical.
It only took one more game (Resident Evil 5) in this series before the over-the-shoulder style gameplay began to grow tiring. However, Resident Evil 4 was a welcome change to the confusing puzzle layout of the earlier games, and it managed to create an action packed game that could still send shivers down your spine.
- Story -
You play as Resident Evil regular Leon S. Kennedy, now a government agent due to his previous zombie surviving experience.
His first mission ends up being to find the President's daughter who has been kidnapped by a cult, and it is up to Leon to go to Europe and find her.
Upon arriving, Leon discovers that the local villagers are not too pleased to see him, and is soon fighting for his life.
The plot eventually becomes rather complex, but the game lasts so long that all loose ends are eventually tied up. The game will last you a good 10-15 hours.
- Gameplay -
The controls for the Gamecube version are a little unorthodox and feel strange at first, but it will be only a matter of minutes before you become a zombie killing master.
Speaking of zombies, the game has moved on from the mindless undead and enemies are now people infected with parasites; with this enemies are now much faster and intelligent. Because of this, tension can build up very quickly and if you don't fight back intelligently then it will be only a matter of time before you're surrounded by chainsaw weilding maniacs.
- Presentation -
The game world looks brilliant, in saying that I mean that the places you visit are horribe and not the most inviting. You'll find yourself arguing with your better judgement whether or not to enter that dungeon up ahead.
The enemies are genuinely scary, the utter hatred for you they portray in their mad stares at you could peirce into your very soul!
The boss fights are the most exciting, with gruesome appearences, you'll be instinctively running away from them.
- Verdict -
This game is how a horror game should be done, there probably won't be another Resident Evil game like it due to number 5's failure, but enjoy it whilst you can, because it will stay with you long after you turn the console off.
This game is the best resident Evil game in my opinion and is a lot better than the previous titles and not only that but the control system is much improved.
You play as Leon who is on a new mission to rescue the daughter of the president in some remotely located Eastern European village. sounds easy enough until he gets there only to find the residents are not quite human. But however, not quite like the zombies from the other games either. They are in between, and you will find some running at you with chainsaws. The zombies use weapons and will come at you.
The best change to the game is the control system as mentioned briefly earlier. you no longer have to hold the forward button to move as in previous games, which put me off them. But now you can move around normally with the analouge stick also the game features full 3-d environments and you have a third person view to work with in game rather than a afirst person view. But once you get used to the view its brilliant and makes for a scary experience. You can never really see what you are stood on, so when something pops up from under you it's SCARY STUFF.
There is lots of good graphics and the game has an awesome soundtrack. Which is very eerie. I love this game, brilliant mix of horror, gore and shooting.
Resident Evil 4 is one of the best games that has even been made. FACT. Well it's not but that's my opinion and that of many others who have played it. If you haven't played this game you're missing out on an amazing game. I was never really a fan of the original Resident Evil games, the control schemes always proved troublesome and just seemed really slow and irritating. Resident Evil 4 has a completely new control scheme and it works so much better than the older games in the series. For once you don't feel like a cumbersome zombie yourself and can enjoy the experience 100%. You can actually run away from enemies this time instead of being trapped by them.
New to the series as well is action based prompts during special events, such as when a boulder is rolling towards you, you'll be prompted to press certain buttons in the right order in order to get out of the way. These sequences are added in all the right places and it helps the game flow and also makes you feel part of some of the cut-scenes.
The enemies in the game are extremely smart, they will not stand idly and let you shoot them, instead they draw their own weapons and try and hunt you down. If you go into a building they'll follow you, they can break down doors, climb ladders, climb through windows. They also duck whenever you point your weapon at them and they've also developed the ability to sidestep which can be quite annoying when you've just lined up the perfect head-shot.
The boss battles are truly epic with many of them filling the entire screen and even smaller mini-bosses like the chain saw wielding bag man are truly scary and will be the cause of some game-over screens.
The game also has plenty of extras to keep you busy; mercenaries is a fantastic time based mode where you have to kill as many enemies as possible before the time runs out or before you're killed. As the levels are set on small stages this game can prove to be quite challenging but also a lot of fun and adds plenty of replayable value.
I have also neglected to mention the fact that this is the best looking game on the Wii itself and looks gorgeous.
In varying degrees, all of the previous Resident Evil games have in some way innovated beyond the original, but NONE have done so in such a drastic way as Resident Evil 4 did back in 2005. Not only did it boast supremely improved visuals, being on the GameCube, but it also wholly re-invented the gameplay mechanics that then became a mainstay when the fifth game was released this year. In short, Resident Evil 4 is, beyond the first game, the most influential title in the series.
Naturally, the game has had some criticisms - it is FAR easier than the previous games, for instance, and many hardcores are pretty miffed about this. However, it is also better produced and less frustrating, and so I commend it for this. For instance, the often cumbersome and frustrating save system, whereby you might play for an hour or two and then die, losing all of your progress, is gone - there are very frequent save points, meaning the most backtracking you EVER have to do is about 20 minutes, which is more than acceptable. Plus, regardless of difficulty, the game is pretty much longer than the first three put together, running in close to the 20-hour mark the first time around.
It is as much a re-invention as any game on.has ever been - RE4 is a huge series overhaul, notably with the gameplay. Whilst RE2 mainstay Leon Kennedy returns, virtually all other elements are new - now the camera rests behind the character in a fixed position, meaning that there are no strange camera angle changes at inopportune moments, causing glitches or a lack of spatial awareness. Also, Capcom have introduced QTE sequences that require you to attentively tap various buttons to survive an action, such as a boulder hurtling towards you early on.
The game plan is also pretty different from the standard operating procedure - whilst it still deals with a viral outbreak of sorts, the action takes place in Eastern Europe, and zombies are substituted for a crazed fleet of villagers called the Ganados. What's more? They can move faster than zombies, and some of the more aggressive iterations, such as the Chainsaw Sisters, move VERY FAST, and, oh, they carry CHAINSAWS. Not bad enough? The villagers most of the time come equipped with weapons like rakes and even throwing weapons occasionally like flaming bow and arrows.
Leon is essentially tasked with attempting to rescue the daughter of the President of the United States, who has been kidknapped. It is by far the hokiest premise of all of the games, and there isn't really much that addresses this as things go on, but the gameplay is so involving that this is mitigated to a fair degree. It is curious to note, though, that if you thought RE2 was the action-packed game of the series, you haven't seen anything until you've played RE4 - the entire game is mostly a huge set piece. There are puzzle elements, but they are generally exceedingly simple, and mostly just lead to a huge set-piece or Boss fight afterwards. The game also borrows the codec concept from Metal Gear Solid, and the translation over into RE doesn't really work too well - it seems kinda hokey. In much the same way, a good deal of the plot could very well have been torn from an arcade game like Time Crisis.
It may disappoint in the plot department somewhat, but there are some familiar faces that appear (although to spoil that would be criminal), and the refined gameplay, whilst drastically different, is a sure improvement. The production values are top notch, and so Capcom are to be praised for a bold and brave re-invention.
This has to be one of the greatest Resident Evil's in the series. After having played all the games in the series I was impressed by Nintendo's release (they released it 1st). With huge environments, great game play and a good story line this will have you occupied for hours. Of course, this game as with any RE game it is best played in the dark.
Game starts you out as Leon Kennedy a member of Raccoon Cities S.T.A.R.S. team (from RE2) somewhere in Italy riding down a secluded forest road with two local policemen. You soon discover that the President of the United States' daughter has been kidnapped and is somewhere in Italy and you having been sent to rescue her. You are dropped off and you quickly find yourself at a house with a man and something seems to be wrong with him. From there the game takes off full speed with never a dull moment full of people trying to kill you and creatures and bosses at every turn.
This installment of RE has a new system of buying items and buying and upgrading weapons. You can find jewel's, treasures and cash all over; on tables, dead bodies, in boxes, chests and on the ground. You then find a merchant who you can buy and sell with. You can trade the jewel's and treasures for cash which can then buy items and weapons.
There is a considerable lot more weapons on this game than in the previous RE's. One of my favorites is the rifle which can be upgraded with a scope to become a sniper rifle. There are handguns, shotguns both semi and fully automatic. There also Machine guns and of course the rocket launcher; can't have Resident Evil game without that.
With the new weapon upgrade system you can change how fast your weapon reloads, how much ammo it can carry, how powerful it is and it's rate of fire. There at least two weapons that can be upgraded with a scope (and my rifle is one of them!).
The artificial intelligence on this game is smart, your enemies will hide from you or attack you in groups. They will watch what you do. You have to really plan and strategize how you are going to come into a situation first and do it several times because if you don't do it just right they will kill you every time. You never know what is going to happen next and it keeps you on the edge of your seat. This game is smarter. Plain and simple.
This has to be the best Nintendo can do with graphics, I am impressed.
The controls may be a bit difficult for some at 1st, but once you get used to it, it is actually quite comfortable.
The best Gamecube game and the best RE game!
Everybody out there knows I'm not the biggest Resident Evil fan out there and I think I'm not the only one who has hated the series too, eh? C'mon, Playstation2 owners got some of the worst playing spin offs in gaming history with dismal games like Resident Evil Dead Aim and RE Outbreak. Resident Evil 1 and 0 on the GC were cool titles but they were hardly groundbreaking and just look at both Resident Evil 2 (I'm still taking heat for my last review here) and 3 for the same system, they were not even improved on this powerful machine. With all these disappointing titles imagine my shock when I first popped in the fun to play and visually stunning Resident Evil 4 for the GameCube! See why this new RE game is like no other game you ever played before.
This game takes place 6 years after the disaster in Resident Evil 2. The company responsible for the massive zombie infestation (the Umbrella Corporation) is no longer in business after the huge scandal and Raccoon City survivor Leon Kennedy is now a highly skilled secret agent. Although Leon is one of the few humans that escaped the ravaged city he still isn't exactly taking it easy. Leon is on a new mission to find and rescue the president's daughter from a remote European village. It sounds like an easy enough job until you meet some of the very hostile villagers there. They are not quite human but they are also not the standard zombies that you would find in past games. These aggressive residents will use weapons, they duck if you point a laser-pointed gun at their head and they are will even call for reinforcements. One of the coolest new features in this RE is figuring out what is really going on here and unlocking the mystery.
The story isn't the only radical change to RE here. The best thing about this new game is that it plays almost nothing like the previous titles. Gone are the awkward and annoying controls where you are forced to press up to move all the time, now you move Leon freely in multiple directions normally with the analog stick with ease. Another big change for this RE title is that the game is completely 3D as well. You can forget about wandering across some lame pre-rendered still art, this Resident Evil game lets you look around the creepy environments here in a very welcome change. The game also lets you view Leon from his upper torso instead of the usually third person perspective. Although this new look sure takes some getting use to since you can't always see what's underneath your feet, or worse yet, what is behind you, the new view works great for shooting off certain body parts of your enemies and nothing is more satisfying then watching some running blood-thirsty maniac get stop in his tracks with a well placed shot to the leg.
What hasn't changed much is that surviving isn·t easy since weapons and ammo are limited and even though your menu section is a lot bigger now (and it can get even bigger if you have the right amount of cash), you still have only have so much room to store everything. You also need to hold down a button as well if you want to use an attack and you can't move around in this position either but at least you can still look around for approaching enemies while during this. The first thing you will notice in the game is that most enemies are not going to be easy to kill but thankfully there are plenty of opportunities to find new guns and upgrades on your deadly mission.
These new zombie-esque creatures are not only quite intelligent but they look unbelievably real as well. There is this one guy with a bag over his head that will dig his chainsaw into your body until you get decapitated if you are not careful. By the way because of all the blood and gore in this game it really earns its Mature rating so parents shouldn't have their young kids go anywhere near this. Another thing I like about these graphics is how the game starts out in the daylight in a quiet forest instead of the usual dark scenery I'm use to in other survival horror games. Because there are so many enemies in the game some of these evil villagers and monks tend to look the same after a while but this is only minor problem I can see in these otherwise perfect graphics. The sounds also play an important role in RE4. If the evil town's people discover you, the music changes to a more tension building theme meaning you have much more cautious and watch your back. RE4 also has realistic sound effects for important things like gun shots and voices. All the actors here are well acted and believable so it feels like you are really part of the experience.
I know that past RE games have not been too good as of late but for anyone who was burned by Resident Evil before consider this the ultimate apology from Capcom. RE4 has very realistic graphics, fitting music, and most importantly the game controls very well unlike most the other games. Some of the odd button mashing cut scenes did take me out of the game too much but fortunately they are few and far between plus they do look pretty amazing. Resident Evil 4 is a very scary game that brings back this survivor horror series to its original glory.
RESIDENT EVIL 4 overall rating: 98/100
For 1 player only
Rated (M) for Mature
This review can also be found on:
(Ryan Genno) 2007
Resident evil has long been one of those games where you either love it or hate it and i think many of you would agree with me when i say that this is because of the camera angles employed by the game. Well worry no more and prepare to embrace this new 3rd person game from capcom.
This game implements the element of survival better than any of the other weapons, this time you really are short on ammo and youre going to have to use your wits if you are to survive. Luckilly for you this game allows you to barricade yourself into buildings and defend yourelf but be warned stay there too long and you will have company.
This is one thing which is certainly abundant in Resi 4, with a plethora of weapons including some old favourites you die hard fans will love, its hard to not kill absolutely everything you can, well at least untill you run out of ammo anyway.
The AI in this game is far superior to the previous resi games, because this time you are dealing with far more than just zombies; without giving away too much, these guys have been infected with a parasite which is able to take control of its host, allowing for intelligable thought. they can use weaponary, ladders, operate various machinery and just about everything else the zombies couldnt- YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! The main advantage in this of course is the sheer satisfaction that can be gained from mowing these enemies down and outwitting them especially with the new control system.
Awesome controls, never has a game felt so right on the gamecube as this, really easy to get used to and it really helps with all the killing that needs to be done. The user now has the ability to aim the gun in first person mode and since the weapons have a lazer sight this is an excellent option for taking those heads clean off- BOOM HEADSHOT!
This game has all the plot you would expect from any resi game, although it does deal with more than just the umberella corporation this time, but dont worry i wont give any details away here. The only downside is that the game is a lot more linear than the older ones in the series, but on the plus side it does mean you no longer have to spend hours wandering around the same section of game, but you puzzle fans dont despair the game still has all the puzzles you could need although i cant help feel they have been dumbed down slightly.
No more inventory juggling anymore, those chests have now been replaced with a rather shifty looking merchant who is willing to upgrade your weapons and sell you items (unfortunately no ammo), but be warned he will of course need something in return. The new inventory screen is a lot cleaner than the old one and the health screen here has been replaced by a small in game HUD which is very handy, and there is now a seperate area for treasures and keys to stop them filling up youre inventory.
Both are awesome, after playing this game on a friends machine i decided i had to own it, after saving up i bought myself a gamecube and the game and i do not regret it! The graphics are crisp and completingthe game more times only seeks to unlock new secrets and there are also a few mini games including a thoroughly awesome remake of the classic mercenaries game.
IF YOU LIKE RESIDENT EVIL, 3RD PERSON SHOOTERS OR PUZZLE GAMES THEN THIS IS THE ONE FOR YOU.
PLEASE NOTE THIS GAME IS NOT ADVISED FOR YOUNGER GAMERS
Resident evil 4
Resident evil 4 the latest instalment of the series, capcom have done it again and made another great sequel. So one day I was flicking through a new play mag only to find an article on the up and coming resident evil 4, but what concerned me at the time was not new resident evil game but what was written under it
There are no zombies what so ever
Now being a hardcore resi fan myself this was rather alarming to read, resident evil? With no zombies? I started to doubt myself, should I buy it? In the end I did buy it and jumped at the chance at owning a special collectors edition and to my surprise wow! The game and every aspect of the game was brilliant no faults what so ever
So heres the low down of the game
Ok so the storyline has finally moved on from on from racoon city and is now set in spain.6 years have passed since the incident in racoon city, the umbrella corporation is no more and racoon city was nuked and literally wiped off the map. This one stars Leon s Kennedy (resi fans will know Leon from the second game) now a special agent, he is sent to find the presidents daughter who was kidnapped by an unknown organisation and was last seen near a Spanish village.
Shortly after Leons arrival, he realises that something is seriously amiss here. The villagers attack Leon ferociously and with no apparent reasons, once again, he needs to draw his weapon.
As the plots thickens Leon finds that a mysterious, religious like cult calling them selves los illuminados, are behind the kidnapping of the presidents daughter, also he finds out why the whole village is hell bent on killing Leon. To his surprise the villagers are being controlled by an ancient parasite known as las plagas witch
Laid buried underneath the nearby castle until the villagers unearthed them one day and can now be controlled once attached into the host.
The connection between all of these is that los illuminados will use the presidents daughter as a host for the las plagas and then send her back to America to eventually infect the entire world, giving los illuminados control over the entire world.
As in most resident evil games previous characters return in sequels.
This time around stars Leon s Kennedy who originally stared in the second games as a rookie cop, who was caught up amongst the mayhem of racoon city, on his first day as a cop.
Another character that makes a return is ada Wong, resi fans will remember her falling to her apparent death in the second game. But some how survived the fall and is still working for the apparent fallen pharmaceutical company, umbrella.
There are a lot more elements to the game play than any of the previous games. New features include:
a new veiw your charcter is to the left of the screen.
QuickTime events: these are like little mini games that require you to press certain buttons as quickly as possible, these events come suddenly and can catch out even the fastest gamers. Incorrect button combinations are no buttons pressed can result in
Certain death for your character. Also when you find the presidents daughter you have to protect her from the los illuminados, the way this makes the game harder is that the presidents daughter can die and can be kidnapped again thus ending your game
There are 5 exciting action packed puzzling chapters that are split up into about 4-5 parts, so be warned, a very long game took me just over 10 hours to complete on my first, after that there are 5 extra chapters for ada Wong witch fill in the gaps of Leons mission and show how they intertwine.
Other: your character can now do more actions than the classic push, open, shoot, run and check. Your character can now zip line, jump over fences, jump through windows and even kick your enemies back as well as these there are still the classic actions we all know and love. Oh and not forgetting you now through grenades.
The graphics are brilliant in every way down to the fact of all the detail in the game.
Just little things like intractable farm animals and scenery.
Also the character animation is a lot more realistic, the way the characters move and talk are close to the real thing. On the whole the animation side of the game has used every inch of the ps2 power
There are a lot of extras to be had in resident evil 4. there are extra weapons and costumes to be had as well as professional mode, 2 extra games involving the sub character ada Wong, a mercenaries mini game and also the movie viewer witch allows you to view all the fmv you see in the game. Also as an added touch the start screen changes from a picture of lean and the presidents daughter, to a scrolling view of the village witch you can look around using the right analogue stick.
Where to find
I got my copy from eBay on pre order but you can pick this game up from most leading game stores from £20-£30 I would recommend Amazon .com you might even find it cheap in second hand game stores.
The limited edition copy is also available for about £30-£40 (includes strategy guide for the first chapter)
That just about raps it up this is an absolutely brilliant game so give it a chance, you might enjoy it
If I have missed any thing check out this link for news and reviews on the game
If you get stuck check out this link to buy the official guide
Thanks for reading t-virus
ive made a tiny misstake and thought this was the ps2 version aparently its the one for gamecube sorry:(
A few years ago, while I was reading my favourite Playstation magazine, I came across an article on Resident Evil 4. Yes!! I am a massive fan ever since I played the original. There were a few pictures and brief insight as it was very early news. I was all worked up and excited! You play as Leon Kennedy! He was great, almost an equal to Chris Redfield! The next month I was devastated. My trusty magazine had just informed me that it was to be Nintendo Game Cube exclusive! Nooooooooooooo....!!!!
But then, on the 4th day in November, I collected my copy for the PS2 from the Royal Mail Office (It should have been posted through my letter box but I won't go into that now, read my "10 things that annoy me" review to find out). It seems Capcom didn't forget about its fans after all....
Resident Evil 4 gives a very warm return to Leon S Kennedy, the rookie cop from Resident Evil 2. It is six years since the Raccoon city incident and the notorious Umbrella Corporation has been destroyed. Now he is a government agent assigned to rescue the President's daughter, Ashley Graham. Information leads him to a small village somewhere in Europe. Leon arrives escorted by three local policemen.
Walking down a narrow path through the trees, Leon advances towards a small cottage. Inside there is a man with his back turned poking at a fire. Upon approaching him, the man picks up an axe and starts walking towards Leon. The latter has no choice but to open fire on the assailant. Leaping out of the window Leon finds that there are more armed attackers waiting.
Welcome to Resident Evil....
There have been a lot of changes to the latest instalment of the Resident Evil series. All of them are a massive improvement!
How annoying was it in the previous games when you knew there was a zombie around the corner, but you didn't know if you were shooting it due to the fixed camera? Admittedly, the fixed camera did help to make the scary atmosphere as you couldn't see what was around the next corner, and it did mean that hi-resolution backdrops could be used. Well, forget pre-rendered backgrounds, this beauty is in Full 3D! That's right; the camera is now close-up behind Leon, so you see what he sees. There is still the tense feel of the old camera as it is easy for enemies to sneak up from behind or the side as the camera is so close.
It now means that aiming can be used fully. With each weapon (except the rifles) a red tracer laser shines out of the gun, a tiny circle at the end indicating when a target is locked on. It also makes it possible to have sniper rifles (Yes!).
Who can forget those infamous door clips from the resident Evil series? (Every door you went through or most steps had a short intro, in the 1st person, of the character going through) Thought not... Well those of you who thought they were tediously annoying will be pleased to know that it has been scrapped completely! Most doors are opened by Leon in real time, while some have a short loading screen.
Leon opens the doors slowly when you click on them, but double click and he will burst through with a good kick! Nice little touch!
Another big change is the Inventory. The previous games allowed you to hold between 8 and 10 items (6 for Chris in Resi 1). It was always quite annoying because a key took up the same space as a shotgun!? Boxes were located around the game so that excess items could be stored until needed. Now you get a case with lots of little slots. Each weapon or item requires a different amount of space depending on the size. This means you can carry multiple weapons and herbs etc. Larger cases can be bought later on in the game.
It is now essential to find money (ptas), either hidden in crates or from killing enemies. The amount you find varies and will not necessarily be in the same place each time you play. For example you might find 900 ptas in a vase, then die and load back up, and the same vase might hold 800 ptas or ammo. The money is used to purchase weapons or upgrades, which brings me on to the next big change...
The item boxes have been scrapped as Leon can now hold much more. In its place is "The Merchant". This guy pops up all over Resident Evil 4, noticeable by the blue torches. There are three options to choose from, Sell, Buy or Tune Up.
Sell gives you the opportunity to make money from any treasure you have found. Also if you want another weapon and have no space left, you can sell any item including weapons. The latter can be bought back at a higher price if needed.
Buy lets you purchase weapons or rare items, such as treasure maps or larger cases. There is also the option to buy a First-Aid spray; there is only limited amounts so don't go thinking you can replenish whenever he's around.
Tune Up allows you to improve almost all your weapons, at a high price of course! There are four parts to improve, Shot Power, Firing Speed, Reload Speed and Capacity. These can be upgraded to a maximum of level 6, although some weapons cannot. There is also the possibility for an "Exclusive" upgrade to some weapons. This comes about much later on and costs heavily. The Exclusive upgrade has a special enhancement on the selected weapon; for example, the Handgun has a x5 chance increase of Critical Headshots, and the Shotgun has the same Shot Power from all distances!
The structure of the new Resi Evil is very different from it's predecessors. The old games were one big long level, divided into different places, but with no obvious level start and finish.
Now it has taken on a "Devil May Cry" type structure; although it is still one long level in a sense, it is divided by sub sections that are divided themselves, e.g. you could be on level 4 - 3. At the end of each section you are shown your accuracy, number of enemies defeated and number of continues taken. You are also giving the option to save the game.
Ink Ribbons have been removed totally. The typewriter is still there, but you can now save to your heart's content! This is a welcome loss, as it was so annoying when you wanted to save but didn't have an Ink Ribbon. And to make things even better there are excessive amounts of typewriters everywhere (OK, maybe not excessive, but still loads)
The main enemies of Resident Evil 4 (Surprisingly!!) are humans! Well, I say humans, but they seem half human and half zombie?!?
They talk (In Spanish I believe...) and they are intelligent to the extent that they dodge where your gun is pointing and sneak up on you. They also run! Which is quite terrifying when you need to reload! Also they climb through windows and open doors. But there is something not quite right with them. Remember the groaning zombie noise of the former games? Well it's back, but this time it's got more depth in the sound! (Don't ask me how but it just has!) And with it comes a quiet chant to themselves, so you can hear them before you see them.
If one spots you they will point and shout to their companions of your presence. Keep your senses alert as they can come from anywhere; off roofs, through windows and form the doors behind you.
They come with a range of weapons, from knives and spades to crossbows and even chainsaws! Some are protected by a wooden shield (a quick blast from the Shotgun should sort that out!) and there are others with a bullet proof helmet!
To deal with the monsters most effectively you have to get a Critical head shot to make their head explode. Blood spurts out from the neck which is quite cool close up! But be careful later on as something can sprout from the neck.........
Shooting the men/women in the legs causes them to fall to the floor, very good for when faced with multiple foes.
There are sections with new and different foes, but I won't give too much away...!
The Resi Evil world is now more interactive thanks to it being 3D. Crates and vases can be smashed and hold valuable ptas or ammo. Also there are treasures hidden throughout the game that you shoot to make them drop. Some doors and windows can be shot through, breaking them with each shot.
There are a lot of puzzles or objects that need to be shot in a certain place in order to progress, e.g. a drawbridge stuck half open, shoot the brackets on the wall to make it fall.
The graphics in resident Evil 4 are exceptional! Everything is so smooth and highly detailed with a great use of colour and lighting. The latter seeps through windows and cracks and looks misty from the dust. Even the caves in the game are packed with detail, the walls really look real! The animation and detail on the Bosses is the best I have seen in any game (Watching the endless body parts shoot out of a man's body will leave you in awe!).
The water is again amazing, with great colour and depth to it. The scene on the lake is jaw-dropping; it has fog and bits floating in the water, and it moves with excellent realism! Not to mention the creature that lurks beneath.....!!
There are a couple of sub-missions in the main game, most notably the Bottle-Caps. The Merchant runs some shooting ranges in the Castle; select your choice of weapons, either automatic or sniping. The idea is to earn as many points as you can to gain Bottle-Caps. There are 24 to collect and they can be viewed in the treasure menu. Click on them for a close up, and they even have a sound effect! A small, but fun little extra to distract you from the chaos outside...!
There are many new weapons in Resi Evil 4. I won't ruin any surprises by mentioning them all; instead I will give a brief description of a few earlier in the game:
It wouldn't be Resi Evil without the trusty knife. This time it has a greater use and is easier to use. Hold L1 and the knife is quickly taken out. Use it to smash crates etc to save on ammo.
+Advantages - Doesn't require ammo
-Disadvantages - Hardly any damage, can only be used at close range
Small but effective, the 9mm handgun will be the weapon most used as there is a lot of ammo and is fairly easy to get that precious head shot. It only takes up 6 slots too.
+Advantages - Lots of ammo available, accurate
-Disadvantages - Lacks power
A must carry at all times weapon. Ideal for multiple enemies or when confronted by a stronger foe as it will send them flying backwards. Ammo is sparse so keep an eye on your supply.
+Advantages - Very powerful close range, excellent for dealing with multiple enemies
-Disadvantages - Not very good at distances, takes up a lot of space
An old bolt-action rifle with a scope fitted allowing Leon to zoom in on far away targets. A more powerful scope is avaliable from the Merchant.
+Advantages - Extremely accurate, Powerful
-Disadvantages - Slow reload
There are three types of grenade; Hand Grenade Large explosion), Flash Grenade (Blinds enemy) and Incendiary Grenade (Bursts into flame). Equip like a normal weapon and throw in the same way.
+Advantages - Large damage radius, helpful for blinding Bosses
-Disadvantages - Too many can take up a lot of space, can cause damage to yourself
A powerful Magnum that comes at a high price. Get this in for those tougher monsters!
+Advantages - Extremely powerful, Size of a Handgun
-Disadvantages - Limited ammo, Expensive to upgrade, Long reload
The ultimate weapon! Use this against the Bosses or any tough situations!
+Advantages - Kills virtually everything, large damage radius
-Disadvantages - Very expensive, only one rocket a time, Takes up a lot of space
The only real flaw to this superb game is that you cannot side step or move while aiming. It means that in order to shoot round a corner you have to run forward and turn, exposing yourself to the enemy. But then it may have been intended to keep the tension high as it is very difficult to see what is round the next corner, and you have to stay rooted to the spot while enemies lunge at you which is quite terrifying! So maybe it's not a flaw after all......
Another flaw is that at certain points in the game you find yourself running or dodging various attacks. This is fine in itself, but when running you are told to vigorously bash 'X' then have to press either the buttons or 'X' and square when prompted. It doesn't allow you much time to perform this action so your reactions have to be fast! The trouble is that I found myself constantly dying and it became a trial and error process. And sometimes the buttons change! It's not too bad a flaw, just gets a bit tedious after the 3rd attempt...
Resident Evil 4 has a more tense atmosphere than it's predecessors. This is mainly down to the music and sound effects. When an enemy is present, the music kicks in and doesn't stop until they have all been eliminated.
The scariest moment for me was the small maze. You can hear the dogs breathing heavily but you have no idea which corner they lurk around! I jumped on more than one occasion when a dog has snuck up on me! Being able to hear the monsters before you can see them gets your heart thumping and every little noise gets your adrenaline going.
The enemy eyes are another big 'chill' factor; they are a dead red and close up their stare can be very intimidating! All the more reason to blow their head's off!
The infamous puzzles of the previous games have been reduced dramatically which thankfully doesn't slow down the games pace. There are some puzzles, but they are so easy you hardly notice them.
Amazingly there is hardly any returning to previous places. Other Resi Evil titles depended on this to extend the playing time, which could result in frustration. RE4 hardly suffers from this problem at all, thanks to the vast size of the levels. The maps are like a narrow tunnel, with barely any branching off, but it goes unnoticed thanks to the superb aiming system that fools you into thinking that you can play it how you like.
Capcom have done an excellent job redesigning the whole structure, and have pushed the PS2 to its highest peak!
R3 = Look
L3 = Move
Square = Run
Cross = Select/Perform Action/Shoot
Circle = Cancel
Triangle = Map
R1 = Aim
R2 = Wait/Follow Me (Ashley)
L1 = Aim Knife
Start = Inventory
Select = Menu
Down + Square = 180 Turn
R1 + L1 or Square + Circle = Dodge attack (When prompted)
Resident Evil 4 Tips!
Ammo Gain - Here is a little trick to gain extra ammo. Empty your weapon to zero bullets (1 or 2 is fine also, the lower the better) and go visit the Merchant. Upgrade the capacity of that weapon and not only will the max amount increase, but it will come fully loaded too! Bargain!
Ammo Saver - If you find yourself low on ammo, equip the Handgun and fire 1 shot into the zombie-man's head. If it isn't a critical shot, then they will stagger. Run up top them and press 'X' to give 'em a kick. Repeat this method and you will only use about 4 shots per person
Crates - Smash all crates and vases that you find as you gain valuable ptas or ammo. Use your knife to save ammo
Treasures - Look around ceilings and lamps etc for anything glittering. If you shoot it a treasure will fall to the floor
Door block - In the early levels there are several houses that have movable cupboards. Push these in front of the doors when an attack is underway, and shoot through the top half of the door
Cut-Scenes - Pay close attention even in cut-scenes because you never know when an attack is about to occur! You will have about 1 and a half seconds to press the relevant buttons. But be warned, the buttons change randomly!
Save often - You have unlimited saves, so use them! You never know when an attack is imminent, so save when ever you can
This game is a virtually flawless, action-packed, enjoyable masterpiece that is quite possibly the greatest game of 2005!
This will keep you entertained for a good few weeks, and when played alone in the dark will get your heart pounding and your forehead sweating!
The main game takes a good 15-17 hours to complete (Not including dying) and there are also some extras to unlock.
Most notably it has five extra Ada Missions that were not in the Game Cube version (Haha), expanding on her background and why she's there. It coincides with Leon's missions and shows just how she helped him out. And it takes about 5 hours to go through so it is a very welcomed addition!
There is also another Ada mission, and the good old Mercenaries, which has unlockable characters!
And if that wasn't enough, on completion of the game you also get a "Professional mode" for those of you who love a good challenge!
A must buy for all fans of the genre (and everybody else actually...) If you enjoyed any of the previous games, you will love this!
At the time of writing Resident Evil 4 can be purchased for £29.99 from most places
I know this was a long read, but it is such a good game that I had to put it all in! The game is worth it! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did writing it :D
I first saw this game on the Gamecube and while it looked brilliant I was never able to play it because I only own a PS2. However Capcom in its infinite wisdom finally decided to release the game for the PS2 and I finally got to experience this game first hand. I was stunned.
The story revolves around Leon, from Resident Evil 2, and his efforts to save the presidents daughter, Ashley. He starts his search in a remote village in Spain where she reportedly has been seen. Then in the plot twist of the century he is attacked by zombie-like villagers and now he is in the fight of his life to save Himself, Ashley, and discover the horrible secret behind the villagers strange behavior. You've probably seen it all before but you can still tell Capcom tried a lot harder at the storyline in this Resident Evil then it did in the previous installments. Also even though the basic premise of the story is pretty predictable it is still enjoyable to watch unfold.
Fantastic. Lots of people said the game would look like garbage compared to the Gamecube version, but your average ps2 owner won't even tell the difference. I honestly find it to be one of the best looking games on the ps2. Also the great look of the locals really sets up the mood and atmosphere for the game.
For the most part everything sounds great from the guns to the enemies. The music is also great and combines with whats going on screen to create for some intense experiences. On the negative side whenever you break glass it sounds odd and muffled. Also when one villager sees you they can start to make noises like they are an entire mob by shouting things that clearly are meant to be heard only when there are multiple villagers around.
This is one of my biggest gripes with the game. When I first started playing the game I felt like I was fighting the controls, but they do begin to feel a lot more comfortable after time. The game is in desperate need of a dodge button and also just a flat out more effective way to control Leon's normal moving. Then again the Resident Evil Series has always been known for shoddy controls and they did get a whole lot better in this new installment.
As the heart of every game this is where the majority of my score comes from. For the most part I really enjoyed the gameplay. Basically you play as Leon who job it is to rescue the president's daughter. He fights through hordes of possessed villagers and even against a few unholy creatures. The shooting mechanics are pretty solid however you can only shoot while standing still which is kind of a let down because the game designers clearly envisioned the game where you could use shoot and run tactics to kill enemies. This is evident in the multiple exits from most houses by jumping through windows and the ability to bar doors. However it becomes fairly obvious from the get go that turning and running is a good way to get yourself killed.
The main reason its an easy way to get yourself killed is because the enemy A.I. is outstanding. They are always trying to surround you and will follow you relentlessly. If you bar a door they break through it, if you climb a ladder they are climbing after you, if you knock down that ladder they will raise it back up. Its stuff like that that makes fighting normal enemies very enjoyable. Also the first time you see a villager whose head you have just perfectly lined up in your sights dodge at the last second to make you miss is absolutely chilling.
A couple of interesting aspects they added to gameplay was an all purpose action button and interactive cutscenes. The X button is the action button and is used basically for everything like opening doors, attacks, jumping through windows and just flat out interacting with the environment. Personally I liked the action button as it made Leon control a lot more fluidly. The other interesting concept of interactive cutscenes means that you can no longer snag a quick drink while the movies are playing. You are prompted numerous times throughout the game to dodge attacks and other such things during cutscenes. Also failure to do so usually ends up in Leon dying a gruesome death.
They added a nice variety of unlockables. There is the basic stuff like a harder difficulty and bonus costumes and guns. However on the more interesting side there are a great deal of unlockable levels where you play as different characters from the Resident Evil series in their very own missions and storylines. This game will give you at least two playthroughs on the normal game and good deal of time playing the bonus levels.
To begin with, despite being an avid fan of horror movies, I could never quite see what the appeal of resident evil was, but, slowly but surely, I found myself getting caught up in it and Im now a massive massive fan of the series.
Resident Evil 4 was by far one of the most anticipated Gamecube games ever, despite it's constantly slipping and sliding release date which, to be honest, probably helped whet everyone's appitite even more with all the added press coverage it had.
The game is in some ways totally different to all the other resident evil games... yet at the same time, its somehow very similar... difficult to explain unless you have actually played it.
The thing that stands out about this game has to be the graphics - they look superb and this adds another level to the game, making the characters that bit more believeable. The sound is pretty good - you don't actually notice it at first because it's relatively sublte, but it definitely helps add to the suspense!
I wont go into any more detail about this because I dont want to spoil the storyline for anyone who hasnt played this game yet because to me, not knowing what was going to happen next was another thing which added to the tension!
In conclusion, if you own a gamecube, you HAVE to buy this game - its the law!!!!
Out of all the Capcom 5 games it was without doubt that Resident Evil 4 was the most anticipated. Of course, since then, out of the group one game has been canned and three (including this one) are ported to PS2 with only one of the games remaining exclusive to the GameCube as intended. Things change for better or worse but they always spark interest, so when it was revealed that Resident Evil 4 was taking a brand new direction it was certainly going to cause a stir.
Heading back a few years when the game was first announced it seemed that it was going to be a typical Resi game that we knew so well. There wasnt much to go on at the time except that Leon Kennedy from Resident Evil 2 was back and this time hes followed the evil Umbrella Corporation, the source of all the zombie madness, to the very heart of its empire. From the few screens we got it would seem that Leon wasnt at all well, seemingly infected with a virus and also chased by a mysterious black shape as he trundled the gloomy halls of the Umbrella base. Interest was high for the game but it would seem Capcom had other ideas because that Resident Evil 4 as we knew it would never see the light of day. Capcom wanted to bring Resident Evil right back to the forefront of the survival horror genre and it wanted to do it in style. To do this they would abandon everything people once knew about the series. Leon Kennedy is still around but there would be no Umbrella looming over proceedings and, shock horror, there would be no zombies to sink their teeth into your neck.
The story of Resident Evil 4 is set six years after the incident in Racoon City that Leon managed to survive. Since then the Umbrella Corporation has since vanished thanks to their involvement in the T-Virus outbreak. The days of zombies are well behind Leon as hes now a high ranking government cop sent on special assignments. His latest job might be a bit tougher than Leon may have first envisioned. On a mission to track down the Presidents daughter he finds himself in a remote Spanish village. He soon finds out, via a swing of an axe, that the locals are really not too friendly towards strangers. Leon may have a feeling of seeing this all before but the people chasing him are far smarter than the shuffling zombies but theyre not exactly all human either. Soon Leon is caught up in a whole new nightmare thats deadlier than what he faced back in Racoon City.
From the very start Capcom seem to want you to know that youre not playing your usual Resident Evil game. As well as starting off in an open plan and expansive village, not a remote mansion youll also, within minutes, have hordes of enemies armed with pitchforks and axes ready to bring you down. Its a far cry from the one or two slow zombies that tracked you down through hallways and seems like youre thrown in at the deep end. The pace rarely lets up from the outset and you will always be constantly battling with numerous foes, be it the angry villagers or some other not-so nice things you find on your travels including some of the massive and fearsome bosses that try to get in your way. Resident Evil 4 certainly has action at the forefront of its content. Thats not to say that the puzzle element of the games has gone. There are still a few around though these are fairly basic and none of the usually obscure head scratches the other games liked to throw at you. Youll also be looking after Ashley for a fair amount of the game too, if she dies or gets killed its game over. Games tend to have a patchy record when it comes to sidekicks that need protecting, luckily Ashley isnt too much of a problem, she ducks when in line of fire and can be told to hide or stay back if needs be to make it a fairly painless process.
As well as being plentiful the enemies you face can also use whats left of their brains. You can barricade yourself into a house but soon enough your followers will be breaking through the windows and climbing in or erecting a ladder up the side of the house ready to pay you a visit from the first floor. Hide yourself up high and theyll lob their weapons at you or aim with their bows. They also wont just stand there when youre aiming your gun, they can dodge your aim and duck if needs be and if they feel threatened then theyll almost certainly call for back up. As well as this they can also move a darn sight faster than your old zombie and you can find yourself surrounded in no time. Of course it would be annoying if these people, in their vast numbers, were super smart. They have intelligence and can use it but they can still be slightly slow off the mark if needs be. Capcom seem to have the balance just about right in terms of making it a challenge to disptatch of them but not too much of a one to cause annoyance.
There are a few other changes to the system as well as the beefed up action. The game has a much improved save structure. Gone are the days when you need to search for ribbons to save now whenever you find a typewriter you can save instantly. The game also soft saves your progress if you come to a certain point in the game with a lot of action and therefore higher chance of death so if you do die the game just sends you back to the restart point. The system works very well, both save points and restart points are distributed in just about the right moments which will save annoyance and endless backtracking. Just as the save system is more accommodating so is the dishing out of ammo. In previous games you were counting every last bullet but now you can be a bit more spare with your firepower. That isnt to say you can spray bullets all over the place because there will be times when you will face sheer panic due to low ammo but for the most part you will be fairly comfortable. This is due to enemies dropping items when they die which can either be ammo or healing items as well as gold. Resident Evil has currency and you can actually spend it with the cloaked traders you find. Quite why these guys are in a place like this and happy to sell you heavy weaponry baffles but its hard to see the game working as well without them. Youll also not see any item chests to compete with as Leon has a bit more space to carry things around with and can also buy upgraded storage. The final major change is one that will keep the player on their toes and reinforces the action style gameplay. The game is sprinkled with Quick Time Events, similar to those in Shenmue II, when you need to press a combination of buttons to save Leon from harm and more often than not instant death. These can come at any time, including cut scenes so you cant even relax then. Capcom have also randomised certain QTEs so the combination will always be changing just to keep you awake. While you may die from these you wont be cursing too much as youll always be brought back to the beginning of whenever they are about to be used so these are a welcome addition to the game that keeps your level of awareness at an all-time high.
With the new change in direction comes a change in the control system. Critically panned with every Resident Evil game that was released it wasnt really revised apart from a few tweaks in Zero. Those cramped feelings brought on by the fixed camera angles have now gone. The camera will now be behind the right shoulder of Leon giving you a good sense of whats going on around you but not enough to feel totally safe all the time as enemies can easily sneak up behind you. You move by using the analogue stick and pressing the B button along with it causes you to run. Shooting things can be done via holding the R button which causes Leon to aim his gun (which also, more often than not, has a very useful laser crosshair so you know where youre aiming) and then you can fire with the A button. Where you aim makes a difference thanks to area hits, hit a leg and the enemy will grab it and stumble along, aim for the head and it will explode in a very nice fashion. The left shoulder button is used for knife attacks, good at close range when the enemy is staggering and to open boxes without wasting ammo. The A button, as well as used to fire your guns, is context sensitive depending on the situation, it can allow you to jump over ledges, out of windows or kick enemies if they are within range. Turning to face your foes can be slow but luckily Capcom have provided a quick 180 degree turn option by pressing the B button and holding down the analogue stick.
There are some methods of control that arent included. You wont be able to strafe so no circling enemies and picking them off. You also wont be able to run while shooting at the same time. While some may think this archaic it does seem to be a conscious decision by Capcom and not an area thats overlooked, after all this isnt a FPS. The way the control method is mapped out and used is certainly better than the previous games and suits the game well. For people who dont want a standard controller then theres also the Resident Evil 4 chainsaw (£40) which you can pick up from the usual online places, certainly a novel idea.
Its easy to see the game looks fantastic. Resident Evil 4 sports some of the best graphics ever seen on current generation consoles and really does get the most out of the little GameCube. There are some great locations in the game, with the village just being the start; youll soon explore some other fantastic environments such as a vast sprawling castle or underground labs. They all have a certain something about them and atmosphere is heightened with the use lighting effects, youll sometimes play the game throughout the night or in dank, dark locations that shows off the torches being carried by your enemies or eerie lights to great effect. Cut scenes use the in game engine and are done in the usual cinematic flair that Capcom have. With hordes of enemies on screen with some serious gunplay going on its reassuring to see the game doesnt break a sweat, never slowing down even in very crowded moments on screen. The game is also quite nice to the ears. Music is atmospheric and also serves as a clue as to when you are safe or under threat. Voice acting isnt too bad though the dialogue is still of B-movie standard but thats part of the charm. Effects are also good, theres always something unsettling about hearing rustling footsteps (or something else) around the corner or nearby or when you are found out by an enemy and they shout for backup.
The game provides some truly fantastic moments. In fact it provides them in high numbers, more so than any game of recent times. The first time you are surrounded by villagers is a high point as is your first encounter with the fabled chainsaw guy often seen in screenshots. The game keeps throwing experiences like this at you, boss encounters, new environments, new enemies and twists in the story all help to make this a fantastic game to play and immerse yourself in.
The game is also quite nerve wracking. It doesnt throw you moments that will make you jump (though walking by a corridor full of windows always gives you a sense of dread) but it does provide some very tense thrills. When you first begin in the village your fear levels are low but as you go on into new, grittier locations with bigger and badder foes youll certainly be a bit more ill at ease. The game can make you fear for Leons life quite easily, for example one point in the game you are faced with an almost unstoppable foe while waiting for a lift to arrive, its a frantic few minutes that seem a lot longer than they are as you are frantically trying to avoid being killed. Fans of the past games are well catered for. There are a few nods to the past games and also a few familiar faces will show up to keep Leon some company, whether he wants it or not, so youre reminded that no matter how different the game feels its still Resident Evil at heart. Also, in an amusing reference, theres also a very familiar scene in the game that appears in the Resident Evil film.
At around 20 hours of play its a good job that this game manages to maintain the momentum. Itll go by far quicker though. Luckily Capcom have provided a few extras after your completion. You get a new mission where you can play as a character that crops up from time to time in the game. There is also a Mercenaries mode, basically a shooting gallery of sorts where you gun down villagers for higher ratings which can also lead to unlocking new characters to play as. As well as this a new difficulty setting for the main game can be unlocked as well as a new weapon.
There is very little to fault with the game. It can be said that its just repeating the same formula throughout the whole game where you reach an area of high action and then rest for a bit going through quieter ones. This is beside the point though because the game is done so well you dont really notice it while youre playing through and sometimes youre relieved that you can finally relax a bit. The game is also fairly linear as its always directing you on a set path so your chance to go off and explore doesnt crop up too much. There isnt too much variation of your standard enemy with a lot of repeated models cropping up though obviously creating a village full of totally different looking people is a tough job. Technically, while the game is very sound, the lack of true 16:9 widecreen support and the fact that there are borders during the game wont go down well with everyone though the borders tend to help with the cinematic effect of the game and people with a zoom function on their TV sets can easily get rid of them.
Capcom have shown that change in this case is good. Resident Evil 4 propels the series to new heights and is easily the best out of the lot. Its also one of the best games of the current generation and certainly the best game of this year so far. For those without a GC and want to play this game, given the price of the console now, you really have no excuse not to get it. Dont wait until the PS2 port, the console wont be able to handle the game anywhere near the GCs standards and a game of this quality deserves to be played how it was intended to be. Dont pass this game by, evil has got an upgrade and its better than ever.
[9 out of 10]
RESIDENT EVIL 4 IS
A new type of survival horror
Heavy on the action
RESIDENT EVIL 4 IS NOT
The end of the Evil
Evil as you know it
Full of zombies
MAVIS RILEY AND GENERAL DEAD HORSE FLOGGING
When does a winning concept become tired? Is it with repetition and the inevitable ensuing familiarity? Could it be failing to keep in touch with its contemporaries? Alternatively, maybe the concept, in hindsight, just wasnt much kop in the first place? For example, Les Dennis Mavis Riley impersonation got a laugh once in 1988, yet still he perseveres.
Aside from the Les Dennis analogy, all the quandaries above must surely have beset the production team of Resident Evil as they reconvened for brainstorming the fourth iteration of this popular survival horror series. With so many wannabes and spin-offs mimicking the format, films, CDs, memorabilia and the like, the series was in danger of doing a Mavis Riley impression on us and outstaying its welcome.
The obvious result of that brainstorming session was to conclude the endless parade of lost-in-a-mansion -zombie-dodging- obscure-puzzle-solving- jesus-whats-that- bugger-it-not-another-locked-door-athons, in favour of some very radical changes.
Enter Resident Evil 4.
HACKNEYED YET ORIGINAL THE RE4 PARADOX
Despite the radical changes I alluded to, Capcom obviously wanted to maintain some continuity in the series; hence, Leon Kennedy (a hero of previous RE games) is resurrected to star here. Six years have passed since the Raccoon City tragedy, which saw the entire populace infected with a horrific disease, reducing the human form to a violent, shuffling, moaning, rotting walking corpse.
The prestigious yet morally corrupt Umbrella Corporation have been uncovered as the instigator of the tragedy, and have since been disbanded by the U.S. government. Leon, as one of the few survivors to emerge from Raccoon City, has progressed from floppy-haired rookie cop to double-hard (yet still floppy-haired) special ops government agent. We join him on his latest assignment; to rescue U.S. President Grahams kidnapped daughter Ashley (yawn), snatched whilst away at university.
This assignment takes Leon to the perimeter of the remote Spanish village of Ganado. Left alone and on foot by his Spanish Police escort, the search begins on a woodland path. Predictably, things are set to take a turn for the worse. Unpredictably, there is neither the Umbrella Corporation nor flesh-craving zombies in Ganado. A cursory investigation of a ramshackle house leads Leon to meeting with his first resident of Ganado - who unprovoked, swiftly attacks him with an axe. Wha? All will be revealed .
FLOPPY-HAIRED YET HARD AS NAILS PARADOX #2
Initially, the visuals will have your undivided attention. RE4 is the Sistine Chapel to the Gamecubes Michelangelo, and surely marks high tide for this generation of consoles. Leons animation and appearance is pristine; each strand of his Pantenne enriched hairdo is realised, right down to the tone gradient towards the root. The environment of Ganados wooded surround is suitably stark and foreboding, with a bleak murky sky and tall naked trees yielding inelegantly in the wind. Similarly, crows and their ugly cawing may be an old horror cliché, but the animation as they flee the approaching Leon is impressive enough to excuse their inclusion. Later on fire effects, ornate castles and even cattle make an appearance with equal resplendence.
Suffice to say Capcom have put some considerable effort into rendering Ganado as an atmospheric holiday haven for masochists. The audio, presented in full Pro Logic II surround, is equally pleasing for those with the correct 5:1 sound system; the wind builds to a peak before dropping away, accompanying layers of associated sounds as it disturbs the carpet of leaves underfoot, rattles through branches, and nudges creaking doors. Yet the audio surround serves a less superficial purpose as time wears on, allowing you to locate the utterances of an approaching foe, and acting as a tool for orientation.
A SEQUEL SUPERIOR TO THE ORIGINAL - PARADOX #3
Pleasingly, in an era of thoughtless sequels, Capcom have gone much further than simply re-binding the same book with an attractive cover. The entire concept has been renovated especially, and most crucially, in the control and general on-screen positioning of Leon. Previous RE games favoured a pre-rendered environment and fixed camera position; essentially this means the graphics were not truly three-dimensional, as they were only realised from one fixed angle. Irrespective of your movements, the perspective stayed resolute in its position, which hardly aided your plight when surrounded by blood lusting semi-deads with you pinned down miles away in the distance.
Now our Pantenne warrior is blessed with an over-the-shoulder camera angle and true 3-D environs to explore. This was quite necessary to facilitate the more action-biased furrow RE4 has chosen to plough. Aiming weapons is now a far more pleasurable experience, although initially the free-roaming infrared targeting system for each weapon will catch you napping. That said, as you are thrown uncompromisingly in at the deep end to cope with Ganado and its ASBO qualifying residents, you have to adapt quickly or face a sinew-snapping demise.
The action bias does not stop merely with the targeting system or perspective though. The bizarre, quasi-metaphoric puzzles that suffered the translation from Japanese to English have been removed in favour of more literal, Square shape, square hole obstacles that merely compliment the game-play rather than intrude on it. Mercifully, as the game now follows a linear path rather than an ever-expanding core environment, no longer will you aimlessly retrace your steps wondering how on earth you open that conspicuous looking door. Linear usually suggests a lack of invention on the part of the programmer, yet in this case, it actually enhances your sense of progression and achievement.
As you work your way around the opening stages, yet more alterations to the formula become apparent. Ammunition is far more prevalent, which is a godsend. That dreaded, hollow click-click sound as fifteen angry nasties descend on you is a rarity in RE4, as many of your foes will drop ammunition and health items. Similarly, inventory management is no longer a problem as in previous games, as you are gifted an attaché case specific to death dealing and health healing items. Periphery collectibles are stored separately and out of the way until needed. In a final aid to enjoyment, the much-maligned ink ribbon save system has been scrapped, usurped by a plentiful supply of unlimited save points along the way.
ONLY ELDORADO IS WORSE THAN GANADO
All these improvements, alas, have come at a price. Realism has been put to the sword to allow the improvements in RE4. For example, Im not sure whether any of the production team have actually visited Spain; if they have, it must have been a long time ago, as Ganado resembles a medieval village inhabited exclusively by peasant folk. Almost all the domiciles are spartan wooden shacks, with no amenities or possessions except an idle sickle, pantry, and open log fire. Not quite a suitable realisation of a 21st century developed nation. Chickens and cows graze in neglected gardens, townsfolk roam around in dusty looking rags, and to be honest, its all a bit, well, backward. Add to this the bizarre inclusion of a cloaked, cockney arms merchant who pipes up at regular intervals to trade with you, Stranga, and the plausibility of the storyline seeps away rapidly.
In defence of the glaring geographical inaccuracies, some of the soap-dodging tendencies of Ganado-folk might be down to the fact that they all appear a little paranoid and a lot disturbed. Many parts of the town are barricaded, explosive trip wires are suspended between tree trunks, and leg-traps have been carelessly strewn around the woodlands. This suggests a modicum of organisation and forethought. Does this impact on Leon? Damn right it does. Be prepared to be mobbed, flanked, jumped on, pursued up and down ladders, chased at a sprint, and have sticks of dynamite lobbed at you through open windows by Ganados inhospitable townsfolk.
Evidently, these rather unkind and sinister Spanish villagers are more fearsome than their somewhat cranially challenged zombie predecessors, having received a major overhaul in the athleticism and intelligence departments. They now wield farming tools, crossbows and even chainsaws in their bid to keep Leon from the truth behind Ganado. Later, as the story (and your enemies) become increasingly bizarre and horrifying, Leon will have to develop an arsenal akin to that of a small rogue nation to cope with the onslaught.
To assist you against this empowered enemy, the combat and damage recognition system has been greatly enhanced. The over-the-shoulder viewpoint zooms closer when aiming a weapon, enabling an eye-level perspective of the action. The free-roaming aiming mechanism allows you to pick an area of your target, (be it limb, torso, or head) and unload. Your assailants will respond according to where the shot lands, i.e. a sprinting foe will stumble and fall after an uncompromising shot to the shin, however if standing still will simply stoop in obvious discomfort. These additions are not only a gratifying reward for marksmanship; they also play an integral part in keeping Leon alive. For instance, blasting a foe in the hand will cause them to drop their weapon (especially entertaining when a lit fuse and dynamite is involved). These features really contribute to the sense of achievement and replay value, as every scenario can be approached and navigated using alternative methods.
LEONS ELITE, BUT CANT LIFT HIS FEET
So, praise aplenty from this reviewer. However, I cant allow RE4 to slip under the radar without the odd criticism. I still find the control system, while much improved, about as nimble as a London Bus with square wheels careening down a slalom ski slope. You still cannot move whilst aiming to fire, during which time your opponents can easily gain the upper hand and overwhelm you. Jumping is another function which you would assume an elite government agent would be capable of should the need arise; although this most basic human ability is reserved for scripted moments where it is vital to progress. Even then, this jumping is managed by simply responding to an on-screen prompt [Press A! .Leon obligingly jumps with guaranteed success].
Finally, the constant waves of generic enemies can become a bind after a long stint at the controls; by removing the brain teasing and backtracking of old, Capcom have eliminated severe frustration, only to be replaced by a more palatable (yet no more stimulating) form of mild monotony. Thankfully these monotonous moments are interspersed nicely with sections which require you to protect Ashley, or even at times become Ashley, where unarmed and separated from Leon, you must use full-wits rather than bull-ets (ahem) to survive.
Please dont let the paragraphs above dissuade your purchase though; Resident Evil 4 is a triumph, especially since cloning an already successful formula would have been more commercially logical. In terms of aesthetics, atmosphere, and concept, consider it a benchmark for future survival horror games. Despite the minor foibles, which in my opinion clutch it a hairs breadth away from classic status, I wholeheartedly recommend a short stay in gloomy Ganado.
And not a Mavis Riley impression in sight.