Howdy hidey ho! You should know: Resident Evil 4 on the GameCube not only single-handedly turned me into a fan of the series but was my top action horror game of all time. It remained that way with only Dead Space sitting in second place when it came out just three years later. Welp, as those of you who watched my review of the Dead Space remake know, I expect my beloved classics to be respected if rebuilt for the modern era. Does Resident Evil 4’s remake pull that off?
…once you get used to these things, it’s pure, classic RE4 bliss.
The first thing that needs to be addressed is the massive deadzone in aiming. After enough tweaking, I was able to mostly aim accurately in the hopes they eventually patch this. From there, though, is something else that’s also odd: Leon feels unnecessarily heavy and sloppy for a trained professional by this point in the series. I’m serious: just standing still and then aiming, it’s like he has mild Parkinson’s. Fortunately, once you get used to these things, it’s pure, classic RE4 bliss. From the assortment of weaponry to puzzles to babysitting Ashley, it’s all there to tickle and moisten your nostalgia naughty bits. But this is a remake, and that means they’ve changed up some core parts and modernized them. Let me tell you, even if you do not agree with their choices, they made sure to do justice to the original. This is mostly about the new knife mechanics that particularly affect the Krauser boss fight. In fact, I don’t want to spoil it, but let me also tell you that my love-hate relationship for Regeneradors has NOT been sullied. They knew they needed to keep people like me happy who held the original in high regard, and they did exactly that. It’s just a pity they made Leon feel so weighted and unrefined because this is a damned near faithful modernization of literally everything I loved about the original… Almost everything: there’s no looking up Ashley’s skirt and getting called out for being a pervert. Damn.
You might not be able to resist a second playthrough…
You’ll see the credits roll in about 15 hours on your first playthrough. But here’s the thing: not only are there things to do like a shooting range, but what made the original game so great was its focus on replayability. I’m happy to report that they absolutely respect this, and you’ll see yourself in new game plus approaching everything differently, namely with the ability to just gun them all down. And of course, multiple playthroughs gives new weapons. You might not even be able to resist a second playthrough knowing this…
…Ashley grows as a character and becomes properly likable and adorable.
Let me start out by saying that this IS, indeed, a good-looking game. In fact, it’s the later indoor castle that really shows off what the engine is capable of. However, it comes with some caveats. The first is that it does not have a stable framerate. The quality mode needs a 30fps lock option, and because it doesn’t have that, I recommend the performance mode with ray tracing off. You can leave “hair strands” on, though, as it helps quite a lot with cinematics (even if it still looks a bit strangely stiff). Still, expect framerate dips and stutters. The second issue is texture loading: any fast camera view swaps and you’ll watch textures load in. It’s not always that bad, but it’s definitely there. But much like the gameplay, the rest from there is pure bliss. They’ve definitely improved the cinematic storyboard, characters that are remade are still eccentric, and this time around, Ashley grows as a character and becomes properly likable and adorable. The tiny adjustments they’ve made to the story itself particularly focus on growing Ashley both on you and as a personality, and it simply works. It’s all done while still keeping the classic “damsel in distress” power fantasy in play, too.
…made Ashley worth all the trouble.
They pulled it off. Yea, there are some issues with Leon feeling like a bad lesson in digital body weight physics, and there are some graphical issues (namely in terms of framerate dips and textures), but otherwise this is another damned faithful remake. It’s all that classic combat from bosses to everyone’s favorite Regeneradors, from treasure looting to protecting Ashley, and everything in-between that can be replayed and replayed with increasing voracity thanks to retaining the new game plus system. To imagine, I ended up liking Ashley as a character this time and now hope to see her again in a future entry. Hats off to you Capcom, you made me relive my favorite action horror game all over again and made Ashley worth all the trouble.