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Resident Evil 4 Remake: Another Great Revival of a Horror Icon

Resident Evil 4 Remake Review

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Resident Evil 4 Remake - Leon Shooting Excelent Close Up
Resident Evil 4 Remake - Leon Shooting Close Up

Title: Resident Evil 4 Remake
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Released: March 24, 2023 on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, and PC
Platform Reviewed: PlayStation 5
Article Reading Time: 10 minutes

Introduction: The Legacy of Resident Evil 4 

Resident Evil 4 has long been one of the most popular installments in the franchise, alongside the second game. When the original game came out in 2005, there was a lot to praise. This action-horror adventure impressed with its approach to storytelling, revolutionary third-person view with over-the-shoulder aiming, the evolution of the game’s universe with a significant change of setting, boss fights, and overall styling and atmosphere. 

But what was once revolutionary is now, at best, a complete staple or, at worst, an outdated element. This was a hugely important and, more importantly, ambitious project for the developers at Capcom. With something so beloved, all it takes is one misstep, and it can all come crashing down like a house of cards. Most importantly, though, that script version only happens here.

Reimagining a Classic: Balancing Old and New

Now that I’ve said the word script, it’s appropriate to start with it because you can already see the direction the remake takes. As we may have become accustomed to from the remakes of the second and third installments, Capcom doesn’t try to copy every event or dialogue. And the same is true this time around. Half and half. The central story points, with some exceptions, happen in the same order; you’ll be walking around the same, albeit often modified, locations and fighting the same enemies. Therefore, the original game’s core has been retained in this respect. However, it has also been improved, even expanded in some cases, or the order of events has been changed. But the core remains the same – you and Leon are sent to find the president’s missing daughter, Ashley, somewhere in a Spanish village. Of course, it will take a lot of work… But I don’t need to say more. The new player will see for himself.

A More Serious Tone: Enhancing Character Depth and Relationships

The original’s unique yet slightly far-fetched style is now more in the background and has been replaced by a more severe presentation. On the one hand, this may be a mistake for some, but the reality is that this is something established and, more importantly, consistent with the previous remakes and new installments. And something that fits the modern form of the franchise perfectly. Leon jokes a little less, performs fewer athletic feats, and takes everything more seriously. At the same time, Ashley finally comes across as at least somewhat of an intelligent person and not a hell-raiser like in the original…

Most importantly, a lot of moments are set in more believable situations. You can see that beautifully in chapter eight, for example. The reason Leon and Ashley are separated this time is not because she suddenly runs away from him in a panic attack and, like a complete fool, walks into an obvious trap that, moreover, seems random and somewhat artificial. The reason for the split now has a lot more depth, which results in the expansion of both Ashley and Leon’s characters and their relationship for the rest of the play. And it doesn’t just apply to them. Even though some cutscenes have been shortened, all of the characters are given more space, depth, and meaning. Story-wise, the remake of Resident Evil 4 is thus a surprising experience, which has matured much more in relation to the original, and its original frequent ailments have been removed. I also have a favorable view of the gameplay. As with the original release of the individual episodes, it goes more and more towards an action shooter. The enclosed corridors of the police station or the action-packed streets of Raccoon City are replaced by the setting of a Spanish village and its immediate surroundings, including a giant castle. Stupid zombies are replaced by villagers with interest in the occult. Here, the core of the original remains, and more importantly, it proves, among other things, how timeless the original game was. 

Gameplay Evolution: Adapting to Modern Standards 

Still, some changes had to be made as the original game was, after all, 18 years old at the time of the release of its remakes. The main one is the whole movement and combat system. Leon is a bit more experienced in the remake, so he can now shoot and walk simultaneously, which was impossible in the second remake. The developers were fearless in experimenting with new things that stuck to the idea of the original setup and, at the same time, things they only worked with in the latest installments. There are even some mechanics that are entirely new to the series. Overall, it makes for something that veterans will recognize and fall in love with anew, but also something that will offer them the chance to look at the game in a new way. 

Stealth and Resource Management: New Mechanics, New Challenges

To be more specific, there is now stealth. With Leon, you can duck and sneak at any time. Larger locations full of villagers can only partially silently traversed. Still, it allows you to get a feel for the area and, more importantly, quietly take out a few before it comes to open combat. There’s also a new weapon that allows you to fire arrows with the ability to take out enemies silently at a slightly greater distance. Yes, combined with stealth, even this may seem like a form of simplification. But some buts balance it out again. Your knife, which can be destroyed this time. Any use of it, whether it’s just silently killing enemies, finishing them off on the ground, or simply using it usually, will slowly start to destroy it, and you can only repair it at the merchant. The ability to parry goes hand in hand with this as well. You can block axe throws from enemies or melee attacks with your knife. Since they are more aggressive and at least in feel, this is an ability I recommend you get as soon as possible. It will save your progress in the game from the last typewriter. But it is something you have to be able to use with the right timing and paying attention to what your opponents are doing. Which, of course can be challenging. So, even in combination with this novelty, the knife works more like a resource that you can waste in a certain way. Therefore, you have to use it with care and discretion, just like in the original, because here, too, every attack and every weapon has its specific use. Combining them and using them correctly in the game still allows a specific form of slow and tactical play to be maintained. This is despite the generally faster and more aggressive gameplay. It’s a fascinating combination that is hard to describe but works.

Minor Additions, Major Impact: Requests, Cases, and Pendants

There are more novelties, but mostly, it’s more of the minor things you’ll come across on your own over time. Whether we’re talking about requests, which are little “side quests” for the merchant, different types of cases and pendants that aren’t just cosmetic as they may seem at first glance.

Room for Improvement: Companion AI, Evasion, and Stealth 

The remake of Resident Evil 4 does an excellent job of being fearless to take away where it doesn’t matter and add where it adds more depth and context. Both in terms of story and gameplay. Still, of course, there are a few things I’d still like to see done a little better. Ashley may be a bit more sensible, but accompanying her in dangerous parts still causes pain at times because she can’t defend herself. Thankfully, you don’t have to address her health directly anymore. The lack of a better evasive maneuver can be frustrating at times when enemies pile up on you from all sides. And the stealth, while it works, could have been more interesting after all, especially when you never know if the enemy can see you or not. Sometimes, he looks at you and pretends nothing; other times, someone starts shouting at you from afar, and most of the time, you don’t even know why. Similarly, the developers could have done with aggressive and nonsensical scripting, where you clear a location, pick up a story item, and suddenly the area is a whole of enemies again. Or someone runs at you from a building you’ve entirely cleared before. 

Audiovisual Overhaul: Reimagining Iconic Designs

Also, of course, the most significant change was the audiovisual aspect of the game. From the original release, the developers tried to leave mainly the design of characters, enemies, and some key and iconic locations or places. The rest, however, has undergone a more or less complete change. You’ll know which way you’re walking most of the time if you’re a player of the original, but at the same time, you will need more time to take the blueprint completely and point to the exact same places. But everything is more settled, more realistic. Combined with the lifelike graphics and another shift in the RE Engine, this creates a unique atmosphere. The excellent presentation is also complemented by great dubbing. Compared to the original, the overall quality and direction are good. Perhaps the only thing that bothered it was Ashley gasping for breath. I don’t know if it was some fault, but the fact that she was constantly huffing behind my neck and acting like she had asthma even when we were standing still was sometimes quite a sacrifice.

Otherwise, the sounds also work great, especially in the larger locations where you can distinguish beautifully where someone is coming from and the music, which is more in the background and only plays at appropriate times. Admittedly, this means that the game lacks any outright soundtrack that will remain in your memory after you’ve finished playing.

The Final Act: An Over-the-Top Spectacle

The biggest issue with Remake Four is the final section. It feels like the developers went overboard with the action, resulting in excessive violence and chaos. At times, it reminded me of the over-the-top nature of Resident Evil 6. You’ll understand what I mean when you experience it for yourself.

Last Rites: A Respectable Homage to a Legendary Game

Capcom has taken their legendary game, removed the flaws where they were, and given the game the gorgeous audiovisual treatment that such a game properly deserves. The gameplay has remained the same at the core but has been reskinned and enhanced with several minor elements, making this game a slightly different but somewhat more fresh experience. The music may not be prominent, but it plays when it really needs to. What, however, was the most damaging aspect of the remake compared to the prequel, which I only mentioned in passing and saved more for the very end, is the sometimes absurd and unnecessary slide into a very action-packed concept, especially in the final third of the game, which was often overdone even by the standards of the third remake. By the end, while I was excited about the story’s climax, I was not so enthusiastic about the gameplay. Still, this is an overall respectable work that pays homage to its predecessor. For fans of the series and the previous remakes, it’s a must-play!

..And VR lovers as well as CAPCOM prepared this extenstion for PSVR2 free for owners and is terrific as we hear , but we did not yet try ourselves.

Purchase Resident Evil 4 Remake is available on multiple platforms:

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