Review by davidstebbins
Not as scary as I would have hoped, but still a great game.
When I finally got this game, I was ecstatic. This would be my first Gamecube M-rated game ever, and my second M-rated game (next to SOCOM II) on any console. I heard that this was "quiet possibly the greatest horror based action game every created," by gamespot. It's not all that great.
The truth about Resident Evil 4 is that it's virtually devoid of any kind of "scary" at all. Sure the entranced townsfolk will sneak up behind you and that will startle you, but don't get this game in hopes of wetting yourself like I did, because you will be extremely disappointed. I had to learn the hard way. Don't make my mistake.
Now don't get me wrong. This is still a great game; it's just not very scary. If you want to know what to expect out of this game, expect intensity. That's where the game shines. When the villagers attack you and get really close, it gets really intense. You will die a whole lot, forcing you to start over. You can't shoot and move at the same time, which adds to the intensity.
This game is basically a shooter at heart, which is a break from Resident Evil. Normally, Resident Evil games have forced you to use ammo sparingly. In Resident Evil 4, it is very abundant. You can pick up ten bullets after you kill a zombie, or you can buy ammo. Of course, your gun can only hold ten bullets at a time, so whenever you use ten bullets, you have to reload, which adds to the intensity, because you are vulnerable to attack when your reloading.
In previous Resident Evil games, you had to solve puzzles. This game also has puzzles, but their diferent. Instead of just thinking, you will also have to be quick with the buttons because they are "action puzzles" as Capcom--the developer and publisher of this game--calls them. They are very cool and really fun to solve. One of the puzzles that you'll find very early in the game is when a line has been placed connecting two trees and, without spoiling anything, you have to disable it.
This game is really hard. One of the things that makes this game hard is the fact that you can't walk and shoot at the same time. Another reason that this game is hard is because you can only fire ten bullets before having to reload. Sometimes you may think that you are crippled under the shear weight of numbers, and sometimes you may get frustrated because you can't figure out an action puzzle or you can't seem to complete it in time.
One thing I would like to see in this game is dual analog gun operation. I know that the single analog control makes the game harder and more intense, but I think Capcom should have come up with a better way to make the game intense. Also, I notice that the analog stick when your holding your weapon at the ready is rather sensitive. The slightest tap will have you turning forty-five degrees. I would have prefered it more like Splinter Cell, where you have to tilt the control stick all the way just to get it to move at a noticable pace. This isn't intense. This is frustrating.
The story is rather straightforward. You're Leon S. Kennedy from Resident Evil 2, and you're working for the United States government trying to locate the President's daughter, Ashley. She was spotted in a town in Europe, and Leon is sent to that town to investigate. When he gets there, however, he is confronted by a pshyco who attacks you with an axe. Once you kill him, the REAL fun begins.
Resident Evil 4 looks great. In fact, it looks even better than any Gamecube game ever. There are no what I like to call "paper prisms." If you don't get what I'm saying, try looking at a cube or rectangular prism made out of paper that a kindergardener slapped together. You'll notice that there are areas where you can see inside the prism. There are none of these in Resident Evil 4. There aren't even any paper walls, which are walls that have no deapth. The cinematics in this game are also very well done. The mouths move to show pronunciation and emotion, and there are no lines separating the characters and objects.
The sound is just as great as the graphics. The voice overs are very realistic and don't sound camera-distorted in the slightest. The background music is bang on with the mood. I noticed how great the background music was when I met the first villager. I knew from the previews I've read about the game that he wasn't going to be friendly, but Leon didn't know that. When the man turned to face Leon and we saw that he had no eye balls, the music actually sounded like it would in a horror movie.
The sound effects are also incredibly realistic. The gunshots sound like real gunshots, and the moans of the people sound like real moans. When Leon walks over dead leaves, you will hear an extremely realistic crunching sound.
There is no multiplayer in this game, so there is not much to add replay value to the game's intense single player experience. However, once you beat the game, you can play it again on several difficulty levels, which adds a little replay value to the game. Still though, a little multiplayer would be nice.
Still though, despite the faults and the fact that this game is not as scary as I would have hoped, Resident Evil 4 is still a fun game, but arguably so. I rate the game like this:
GRAPHICS: 10/10 (10%)
SOUND: 10/10 (10%)
GAMEPLAY: 9/10 (20%)
LIFESPAN: 8/10 (20%)
FUN: 8/10 (40%)
OVERALL: 8.6/10, which rounds to 9/10. Buy this game, but not with the wrong expectations. It's not scary; it's intense.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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