In 2005, Capcom released the original Resident Evil 4 and completely changed the industry. Resident Evil 4’s impact on gaming was felt for years to come, innovating and popularizing new third-person shooter mechanics that directly influenced some of the biggest names in the industry, inspiring them to take a more action-oriented approach to horror games. Resident Evil 4 is easily one of the most influential games of all time, and many would argue that it holds up well today, and some might wonder. Even a Resident Evil 4 remake is necessary. After playing Resident Evil 4 fans will see that Capcom has somehow made a near-perfect game even better.
This Resident Evil 4 remake follows in the footsteps of the other Resident Evil by beefing up the graphics, adding quality of life features and pushing things in a more serious direction. Whereas the original Resident Evil 4 didn’t almost feel like a horror game at times, the Resident Evil 4 remake is rooted in the horror genre while retaining the exaggerated action that made the original game a hit.
Resident Evil 4 wastes no time in setting the mood for horror with atmospheric lighting and grotesque monster design. The original game looked great for its time, but the Resident Evil 4 remake takes the visuals to another level by offering more realistic character models, detailed environments and a high frame rate that never drops. While not a slight cut above, it looks just as good as the other new Resident Evil remakes
It’s clear from the start that the Resident Evil 4 remake is going for a much darker tone. The parasite-infested enemies are downright relentless, constantly enveloping Leon and barely giving the player any time to catch their breath. Players will regularly find themselves expending all their ammo as they blast through the relentless hordes with everything available, creating a real sense of panic and intensity.
Once players have successfully cleared the area of any threats, they can loot corpses and nearby breakable crates for supplies. In addition to finding healing items, treasure and bullets, players can also collect gunpowder and resources that can be converted into various types of ammunition and grenades. The Merchant is back in Resident Evil 4 again as well, with an expanded inventory of goods, so players will find themselves well-stocked between battles. Each blood-soaked encounter will put players back on the gas, creating a satisfying cycle of stocking up, using it all to survive, and then stocking up again.
The combat in the Resident Evil 4 remake is brutal and much more dynamic than the original. Leon can move and shoot this time around, and one might think that would make things easier, but the enemies are deadlier and have more tricks up their sleeves to compensate. There’s more focus on melee combat than before, thanks to Leon being able to parry attacks with his knife and even take down enemies from behind with stealth kills.
Players will find themselves relying on Leon’s knife far more than in the original. Resident Evil 4, but they’ll still be going through the game’s weapons, which are often up in flames. Leon has a wide arsenal, from his trusty pistol that’s good for precision shots to his shotgun that can literally cut enemies in half. It’s basically non-stop adrenaline-fueled action from start to finish. Even when trying to solve puzzles or complete side missions, players have to deal with the threat of enemies around every corner.
Some of Resident Evil 4 remake’s puzzles should be familiar to those who played the original game, whereas others are tweaked and even brand new. Resident Evil 4 remake’s story follows a similar approach, but there are some clever changes here and there. Leon still has a lot of clichéd one-liners and the same big story beats are still there, but there are some new discoveries for fans to explore, surprise twists and more depth is given to certain characters, especially Luis.
Ashley has changed in the Resident Evil 4 remake. The developers have managed to make keeping Ashley safe much less uncomfortable than it was in the original game, but players still need to focus on protecting her against potential threats. Ashley’s presence adds a lot of extra tension to certain parts of the game as players have to deal with hordes of enemies at all times to make sure Ashley doesn’t get hurt. As in the original, players even take control of Ashley for a while, but this section has been significantly revamped to be more of a pure horror experience and is one of the best changes in the remake.
Another change that fans will appreciate in the Resident Evil 4 remake is the addition of side quests. Resident Evil 4 side quests can get quite repetitive by the end of the game – a few quests ask players to throw blue medallions – but they still provide additional replay value and in some cases encourage players to explore areas they might have otherwise overlooked more thoroughly. Side quests reward players with spinels that can then be delivered to the merchant for special items, so it’s definitely worth pursuing.
As good as the changes are, the sad truth is that the Resident Evil 4 remake has less content than the GameCube version did back in 2005. Resident Evil 4’s New Game+ adds a great deal of replay value to the game, and the harder challenges are fun to tackle, but it’s incredibly disappointing to reach the end credits and realize that none of the bonus modes are there, there’s no Homework Island in this Resident Evil 4 remake, the Separate Paths campaign is nowhere to be found, and worst of all, The Mercenaries mode isn’t available at launch.
Mercenary mode is coming to Resident Evil 4 some time later as part of the free post-launch content update, but there’s no word on when Assignment Ada or Separate Paths content will be coming to the game. It’s entirely possible that they’ll be added for free like The Mercenaries, but it’s also a distinct possibility that they’ll be released as paid DLC. Regardless, it’s heartbreaking that this great game doesn’t have bonus content because it could have elevated it significantly.
Even without the extra game modes, Resident Evil 4 remake is still outstanding. It offers non-stop visceral combat and clever changes that help it feel new and familiar at the same time. The truth is that Resident Evil 4 remake isn’t as full-content as previous iterations of the game have made it hurt, but what’s there is still so good that many will be able to forgive it.