Review by Ryudo88

Reviewed: 01/18/05

It's Simply Survival Horror Perfection

I was first introduced to Capcom’s Resident Evil series when I got my first Playstation for Christmas 1998 when I was 15 years old. I remember the first game I bought for it was Resident Evil: Director’s Cut. The game simply blew me away, I loved everything about it. It was freaky, it was original, and it was quite memorable. I then picked up Resident Evil 2 and was even more blown away. The sequel was one of the very few video games I have beaten over and over again. I instantly became a Resident Evil fan. I can remember how excited I got on the day Code Veronica came out on the Dreamcast. Resident Evil in full 3d! The game ended up being just as amazing as the first two. I was very happy with Code Veronica after being pretty disappointed by Resident Evil 3. Unfortunately after Code Veronica, I completely got turned off on the series. Every new game released ended up being the same old thing. I was now a Silent Hill fan and thought I would never touch another Resident Evil game.

Well you are probably thinking, why am I saying all of this? What’s this have to do with Resident Evil 4? Well I will tell you. Capcom has taken a series that I have abandoned and totally redeemed themselves. Not only did they improve the series, they have also created one of the very few games that I can truly say is perfect. I will tell you why.

First off, Resident Evil has been known for its jumpy scares. They all had the typical pop out and go boo moments that started to get old. Survival Horror games today either use this typical scare tactic that I call “pop and go boo” or by showing you sick demented stuff like in Silent Hill. Resident Evil 4 uses a new type of scare factor to freak you out. This knew scare factor is a little feeling called Panic. This game will make you panic. The game has to be the only game that has truly made my heart race while playing it. No game has been this intense out of my 17 years of gaming. It’s quite refreshing to play something that uses other forms of fear to scare you. The good thing about this is that the game can scare you even in complete daylight.

Resident Evil 4 puts the player in situations that will require some thought and planning. If Tom Clancy were to make a horror game, it would be a little something like this. The reason I think of this as a Clancy game is mainly because like Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, and Splinter Cell, you must stay aware of your surroundings and use your brain to get through your obstacles. The game also has multiple ways of overcoming your obstacles, just like Splinter Cell. This game will surround you with very high numbers of enemies, all wanting you dead. You can either blast your way through, use your brain and surroundings to take them out, or run for your life.

Capcom has given us a tough little game here. Though the difficulty is completely perfect. This game is hard but it’s not frustrating. You will die and you will have to retry several times until you overcome your obstacles. Most games cannot do this without becoming extremely frustrating. Resident Evil 4 succeeds at doing this while also staying fun. At most times I could care less if I died since I had a blast playing on each attempt. The game will usually reward your death by showing you a very cool, gory, and crazy way of dying. So instead of tossing your controller in frustration, the player will more than likely yell out “wow that was cool!” after their character dies. This isn’t what makes the game not frustrating though, the addictive gameplay is what makes it fun at all times. This game even makes escort missions fun, which is another gaming rarity.

This game is more action packed, unlike the previous games. You start out with a pistol (which is assigned to the R button) and a knife (which is conveniently assigned to the L button). The controls are similar to the previous games, but since the camera is behind your back now, everything controls a lot easier and smoother. Everything is really easy to control. There is little to no learning curve included in this game. The game controls perfectly on the Gamecube controller, and that’s sometimes rare to say when it comes to the GCN controller. The only downfall is the lack of a sidestepping or strafe feature. When you are aiming, you can't move.

Later in the game you will find or purchase other weapons to assign to your R button as well. The game now gives us a free aiming feature that lets us move the aiming cursor and pinpoint body parts on enemies instead of relying on an auto aim. This feature is not only a lot easier and fun to use, it’s also important since shooting specific body parts in specific situations are very important. For instance, if you are surrounded by more than one enemy, it’s best to shoot them in the kneecap to bring them to their knees. You can then tap the A button to roundhouse kick them. Roundhouse kicks not only save you ammo, it can also knock down multiple enemies behind the enemy kicked, a very useful strategy if you want to run away or slow them down to back off and unload on them. That’s the beauty of this game, you can actually develop strategies to get you out of stick situations. That’s why I consider this the Tom Clancy of horror games. It’s a very beautiful thing.

A new addition to the series is merchants. These folks are scattered around the game and allow you to buy and sell items. You can buy upgrades, new weapons, items, and even upgrade your current guns to pack more of a punch. The game also has tons of secret hidden treasures, which you can sell to the merchants for more cash. Some treasures can also be combined with others to make them even more valuable. Money can also be obtained by killing enemies and finding them within the game. Upgrading you items and guns is a key factor to surviving in Resident Evil 4.

Resident Evil 4 also sports a very welcome new action button feature that lets you perform certain actions. You can hop over fences and walls, jump out of windows, interact with objects, and even attack if in the right situation. This makes the game a lot more strategic and interactive. Nothing is more exciting then running from a crowd of enemies and busting out of a glass window to safety. This feature makes the game more exciting than any other horror game out there.

As many people know, Resident Evil 4 has done away with the trademark zombie. There are no more living dead in this game. The game now sports brain washed possessed European villagers who want you dead. Enemies now have weapons as well unlike the zombies. These enemies will have weapons such as axes, knifes, maces, pitchforks, and even chainsaws. The game no longer pits you against slow moving zombies either, these enemies are fast and will do anything they can do kill you. Hiding in a room will no longer work here. They will bust windows, climb ladders, toss explosives at you, ECT. These new enemies are ruthless and are a lot scarier than any zombie in the previous games. Don’t worry though, the game still has its fair share of unusual, out of this world creatures coming after you as well. Also, Resident Evil 4 gets rid of the ink ribbons and lets you save whenever you want, which is also a welcome addition.

The game still features typewriters as a save point like in the previous games, just without the ink ribbons. Most of them are placed perfectly, but there are a few that are a bit far apart from each other. Luckly the game has plenty of checkpoints, so don't worry about having to redo many areas multiple times.

The story also has nothing to do with the Umbrella Corp. either. Though they are mentioned in the opening movie, but only explain what happened to them. You now play as Leon Kennedy, the police officer from Resident Evil 2. It’s six years after the Raccoon City incident and Leon is now working for the President of the USA. His mission is to retrieve the President’s kidnapped daughter in Europe. When you arrive, these people (who seem to want you killed) attack you. Now the whole damn village is after you. Who are these people and why do they want you dead? Keep playing to find out.

The game sports some graphics that will amaze GCN owners. This game is beautiful. Textures can be somewhat blurry at times, but the environments and player models are gorgeous. The game is presented in a letterbox sort of widescreen mode, which cannot be disabled. Don’t sweat though, because the letterbox aspect ratio works wonders in Resident Evil 4. It makes the game seem a lot more cinematic. It may seem like sort of a drag at first, but people who are into widescreen movies like myself should have no problems. All cutscenes are in-engine as well, and all look amazing.

Sound is also a great feature in this game. Everything from gunshots to footsteps all sound great. The dialog has been greatly improved this time around and the voice acting is actually quite solid. Moans and screams from enemies is all top notch as well. You can tell Capcom really put a lot of hard work into making this game sound like a movie, and they did an excellent job.

The game sports a good 17-20 hours of gameplay, which makes this the longest Resident Evil game yet. Not one moment of the game gets boring either, it stays exciting all the way through. You are also treated to lots of unlockables too. The game is so fun that you will actually want to play through this game several times just to develop new strategies and tactics to get you through the game. The game is also highly interactive, which will also warrant many playthroughs. This game also sports some of the most unique and memorable boss battles you will ever encounter in gaming.

So in conclusion, why did I call this game perfect you ask? Well it’s simple. The difficulty is perfect, the gameplay is perfect, and the controls are perfect. Everything that makes a game important is done extremely well in this game. Capcom finally gives us a Resident Evil game that feels completely fresh while also keeping it’s Resident Evil feel. This game has redeemed my faith in Capcom and has also revived my interest in the series. Resident Evil was becoming a boring series of need of improvements big time, and they have finally did it. If it wasn’t for this game, this series may have died. This is an amazing game and has already become one of my favorite video games. Resident Evil 4 is the best game in the series and in my opinion, the best game on the Gamecube. It truly is an amazing game. Thank you Capcom.


+ Great graphics
+ Perfect controls
+ Addictive gameplay
+ A whole new way to scare players
+ Interesting story
+ Good amount of unlockables
+ High replay value
+ An overall great gaming experience

- Widescreen format may turn some off
- Some save locations are kind of far apart
- No strafing or side step feature

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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