Some people would argue that Resident Evil 4 was the best game on the GameCube. Others would say that it was the best game of its generation. Others might even contend it is one of the best games ever made. I would fall into the camp of the former. It was easily the best GameCube game and one of the best games of its time. What’s more, when Capcom decided to port Resident Evil 4 to Wii, the experience was even better with its improved, intuitive control scheme.
When Resident Evil 4 was released on GameCube in 2005, I think we all were a bit surprised. After seeing numerous delays and promising to be the best Resident Evil game to date, Capcom fully delivered and then some. The over-the-shoulder camera was a first for the franchise and a vast improvement from the horrible camera angles that plagued the previous games in the franchise. The often robotic movements were replaced with more fluid and responsive controls.
For all of this, it is fair to say the Wii has only made the experience more enjoyable. The system is an attractive candidate for action and shooter games like Resident Evil 4. Seeing the game in action and controlling it with the Wii Remote is more intuitive and natural feeling than it ever was on the GameCube or PS2. Simply aim the Wii Remote at the screen, hold down B to equip your weapon, and fire with A. Using the motion sensitivity of the Wii Remote, you can aim anywhere on the screen while controlling Leon with the analog stick.
That is not to say that there isn’t a certain learning curve involved. For starters, Leon does not adjust left or right by the direction of the Wii Remote like most shooters on the system. That is left entirely to the analog stick. Further, the camera is rarely a problem, yet the only control you have over it is the control pad.
Before I move, I want to touch on the gestures used in Resident Evil 4. A simple flick near a crate will draw out your knife and cut it open. Want to slice an enemy? Simply press the C button and flick your wrist the same way. You can even aim the camera with the analog stick to reach someone lying on the ground. Finally, you can reload your gun when it is empty by doing this same motion, or you can press B and a direction on the D-pad.
If you are expecting a bunch of new stuff and improved visuals, you will likely be disappointed. This is a straight-up port of the GameCube version with the additional benefit of the bonus content from the PlayStation 2 version. That means you easily have over 20 hours of content to keep you occupied. Of course millions of Wii owners never played Resident Evil 4 before. For those who have, it is just as satisfying playing it on the Wii as it was on GameCube and PS2.
The bonus content from the PlayStation 2 version included in Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition is quite extensive. You have Assignment Ada, which has you infiltrate Saddler’s laboratory to obtain parasite samples. Then there are the Separate Ways missions, which take place on a parallel timeline where you play as Ada and help Leon along the way. These missions intertwine with the story from the first time you played through the game.
Finally, there’s the Mercenaries mode. This is a fun little mode with four levels to choose from where you try to kill as many Ganados as you can before an evacuation helicopter arrives. Successive kills result in more points and time bonuses help you extend your time to accumulate more points. As an incentive, high scores of 30,000 are rewarded with new characters.
As far as graphics go, while Resident Evil 4 may have been the best-looking console game on the market at the time of its original release, it is definitely not comparable to a PS3 or Xbox 360 game. Still, it has a very moody atmosphere, a large variety of environments, and a vast number of areas to explore, all with a surprisingly small amount of backtracking for a game of this size.
Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition will not be remembered nearly as fondly as the GameCube version, yet it is an improved version of the same game thanks to the Wii Remote and added content. And, of course, since the Wii Edition was released back in 2007, Capcom has released HD versions on PC, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, and Xbox One. Personally, I will take the motion controls over the marginal graphical upgrade.