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Resident Evil 4 Review

Developer: Capcom Publisher: Capcom
Release Date: January 11, 2005 Also On: None

Much like Eternal Darkness, the game that I refer as the best survival horror game, Resident Evil 4has been in development for years, delayed time and again. The last Resident Evil on GCN, Resident Evil 0, was planned for the Nintendo 64, but scrapped and brought over to GCN, just as Eternal Darkness was. Resident Evil 4 hopes to take the series in a frightfully new direction. Does the new formula work?

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For starters, Resident Evil 4 is only the second Resident Evil game to be 3D. The 3D environments give your player more freedom. No longer will you have to worry about camera angles; you can set where the camera is placed, to a certain extent. It will always rest just behind our main character. The c-stick acts as an independent analog stick, in that it can move the camera at your discretion.

Gone are the stiff controls, replaced with a more smooth, behind-the-back vie. You’ll aim with R, fire with A, using a laser to better target. Accessing your inventory is done with the tap of Y, while the map is Z. Think of the map as somewhere along the lines of Metroid Prime. In other words, it’s the ultimate guide in the game, providing you with details such as locked doors, save points, and merchant locations. The inventory, as stated, is accessed with Y. You can rearrange items, flip them, drop them, combine them, even sell them to the merchant. No longer will you have to fangle with the magic inventory boxes.

So far as graphics go, these are the best I’ve seen this console generation, sparing Metroid Prime. You have weather effects such as fog, rain, lightning, sunlight, etc. Leon, while not the most manly hero we know of (his physique is rather feminine), he looks and moves triumphantly. The difference between RE4 and past games is character movement is smooth. Despite the occasional detection issues and lack of enemy appearance differential, this game has one of the most solid engines on the market.

Speaking of the character you play as, Leon Kennedy returns from Resident Evil 2. In many ways, the story is the sole bridge between this and the old Resident Evils. Raccoon City is wiped off of the map, Umbrella has fallen from grace, and secretly, the president’s daughter has been abducted by someone from inside. As Kennedy, on behalf of the United States government, you’ll travel to a quaint European village. From the language they speak, we can pinpoint it as being in Spain. You’d think the French would be more hostile to American presence than the Spanish.

You might be astounded to learn this, but RE4 replaces zombies with zombie-like villagers, who carry pitchforks, torches, crop trimmers, and throw dynamite. Expecting them to sliver towards you? You wish; these suckers will charge, throw items, bite, and grab. Not to mention, you’ll need to avoid the booby traps they set, be it tripwires or bear traps. Capcom has progressed a long way since the release of Resident Evil 0.

There’s so much ground to cover. Next, let’s talk about the cut-scenes. Capcom has improved upon those already impressive cut-scenes of past games with interactive controls. If you’ve ever played Broken Sword: Sleeping Dragon, you know what I’m talking about. In order to avoid a slash, you’ll need to respond by pressing a button combination on the screen (such as L and R). Run from the Indiana Jones-like boulder by rapidly pressing A.

The ‘action button’, as it’s called, doesn’t stop in cut-scenes. Stun a villager with a shot to the face or leg, run up to him/her, and press A to kick them. If villagers are directly behind him/her, he/she will act as a torpedo. Want to climb a ladder? Then do it, and knock it down once you’re at your destination. Be prepared to get smoked out with Molotov cocktails though. Stuck in a building with no escape? Not exactly stuck, actually; just jump out the window for a quick escape. If the president’s daughter is trailing behind, she too can jump out that window (Leon catches her).

Boss fights: nothing new to the Resident Evil series here. In the past we’ve fought giant snakes, sharks, and deformed monsters. It seems this community has a giant fish problem in their pond. You’ll be speeding around on a boat, until a cut-scene is triggered, in which you’ll spear the beast to death. I won’t spoil any other boss fights, but expect a giant pulled directly from Lord of the Rings. Be prepared to release your ammo on him.

Yet another new addition to the franchise is the merchant. From killing villagers, browsing through cupboards, etc., you’ll manage to acquire items, be it bullets, herbs, or gold. All items, including guns, can be sold (and purchased) from the merchant. This adds an almost RPG element to the game, since your weapons can be leveled up from the purchase of upgrades. This includes fire power, reload speed, etc.

I’m a fan of Resident Evil. I’ve owned all games, at one point or another (not including the spin-offs), except for Resident Evil 3. Leon’s presence in Resident Evil 2 wasn’t the reason I liked the game more than all others, it was the cutting-edge visuals and gameplay, at the time, that is. Now that Leon returns, he once again stars in the best Resident Evil, or should I say, ‘new best’. Resident Evil 4 is an absolute must-play for fans of the series, survival horror games, or having a good time while kicking ass.

Graphics: 10
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 10
Creativity: 10
Replay Value/Game Length: 8.5
Final: 9.7
Written by Kyle Review Guide