We take a trip down the blood-stained streets of Resident Evil 4 Remake and see if it stacks up against the original.
The year is 2005 and I’ve just popped a brand-new game disc into my Wii. I’d been waiting for this particular game for a long, long time. It had been a while since I last stepped into that particular game universe so my butt-cheeks were properly clenched for this instalment. The game opens up with a bit about our silky-haired blonde hero and after a short intro, we’re thrust into the game. No title screen, nothing. You’re Leon Kennedy, super agent and hair conditioner connoisseur, investigating a creepy Spanish village looking for the President’s kidnapped daughter. You take a few hesitant steps, the atmosphere is downright chilling. You hear chanting in the distance and head towards it. What you are then presented with is one of the tensest, white-knuckle openings in a video game. You are swarmed by a seemingly unending wave of enemies, right off the bat. There’s no easing in players with this game. And, just when you’re just about to be overwhelmed by a barrage of blows and bites, a bell tolls in the distance. The hostile villagers are now transfixed by the sound and head towards it. You are just standing there, palms sweaty, mom’s spaghetti etc. Then the title hits you square in the jaw….Resident Evil 4!
That opening perfectly set the stage for the adventure that was to come. For the 22-year-old me, RE4 was revolutionary. Gone were the pre-rendered backgrounds of RE3 and in its place was an over-the-shoulder camera that put players right in the thick of the action. The tank controls were still present but being able to aim with the Wii remote was incredibly satisfying. The game changed the way the industry approached third-person-shooters and some of the concepts introduced back in 2005 can still be seen in modern gaming. As one of the highest-reviewed games of its generation, what else was there that RE4 could offer? Well, Capcom has answered that question emphatically with the Resident Evil 4 Remake.
As a die-hard fan of the original, the original announcement of the remake bought a single tear to my eye. I’d just run through the excellent RE2 Remake on the PC and was looking forward to playing the RE4 Remake on the PS5. So, is the game any good? Read on to find out.
While the original game holds up even to this day, thanks to the excellent art direction, the RE4 Remake is just gorgeous. With two graphical options on the PS5, users can select Performance or Frame Rate mode. I personally stuck to the Frame Rate mode as the game runs on a smooth 60 frames per second as opposed to the 45 or so fps on Performance mode. As far as graphics go, apart from a few low-res textures here and there, the game looks stunning on the new engine. The lighting creates an atmosphere of dread and tension and never really lets up. There were a few areas that legit had me on the edge of my seat. There’s a sheen and polish to RE4 Remake that you won't find on many games. It’s clear that Capcom has a soft spot for the RE franchise as they’ve improved the game in every conceivable way. The character models all look great with special mention to the gory monster designs.
As far as gameplay is concerned, RE4 Remake might as well be a whole new game. The fact that the right analogue stick is now exclusively used to control the camera is a huge step in the right direction. Gone are the tank controls and in its place is a modern shooter with all the bells and whistles you’d expect. The knife has been given a much-needed upgrade and functions as a parry that can be used on almost all attacks. It’s an excellent addition to the gameplay and gives you a ton of options when approaching combat. The old trick of shooting an enemy in the head and rushing in for a spinning high kick is still as satisfying to pull off here as it was in the original game. It still functions as a moderate crowd controller. The strategies that worked in the original game are also retained in the remake. It gives you just the right amount of nostalgia sprinkled with the quality-of-life improvements found in modern games. You do not have to jump to the menu every time you want to change a weapon as you can just assign various guns and explosives to the D-pad.
Crafting has also been tweaked, giving you a list of recipes that you can access if you have the right ingredients. Upgrades to weapons can still be purchased from the iconic merchant and function much like they did in the original. Don’t need to fix what isn’t broken, right? The adaptive triggers on the PS5 also give you a more tactile feel to combat. There's a bit of resistance when firing your weapons and it really immerses you in the action. It’s amazing what a little haptic feedback can do for gameplay! I have no idea if the same is possible on the other systems but I would assume that the same resistance and haptic feedback will be present on the PC version of the game when played using a DualSense controller.
Look, this isn't some mind-bending narrative that delves deep into the human psyche. No, this is a straight-up action movie plot with just the right amount of cheese and one-liners to really drive the point home. It’s campy in all the right ways and pays homage to the original game with some sweet lines throughout the game. You play as Leon Kennedy tasked with finding the kidnapped daughter of the President of the United States. She was last seen in a small village in Spain and it's up to Leon to save the day. There’s a bit about infectious parasites and genetic mutation but all you need to know is that you’re Leon and your job is to kick ass and condition your hair, and you’re all out of hair conditioner.
There are a few twists and turns that are kind of unexpected if you’ve played the original but it adds to the game more than it takes away and is a welcome change. As I replayed the original a few weeks ago, I was astonished at how dense and long it was and the Remake is just the same. It’s packed with enemies and areas to explore. You’ll be spending quite a bit of time just running around collecting treasures and completing various challenges. These challenges also unlock charms that act as game modifiers. You gain access to treasure maps, guns and other items after completing these challenges.
It’s a fun horror/sci-fi romp that will keep you entertained right to the end.
How do you improve on a masterpiece? That was a question that weighed heavily on my mind when RE4 Remake was announced. Lots of games that have been remastered or remade have added content for ‘modern audiences’ that killed these titles. So I was worried we’d see more of ‘The Message’ in Re4 Remake. I’m glad to report that nothing of the sort was included in the game. It is a straightforward remake that takes the original game and improves everything about it. The gameplay is fun and addictive and the graphics look amazing. So if you’ve ever played the original and are looking for a reason to step back into the RE world, RE4 Remake is right up your alley. If this is your first time playing this game, you’ll still have an amazing experience. You really don’t have to have played the original to enjoy this modern masterpiece. If you have the money and are looking for an experience that exemplifies AAA gaming, Resident Evil 4 Remake is worth every penny.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox Series X/S, PS5, PC
Platform Tested on: PS5
We played a review copy of Resident Evil 4 Remake on the PS5
|Release Date:||03 May 2012|
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