Reviews

Resident Evil 4 Review: For whom the bell tolls

Another generation of consoles means another attempt by Capcom to dip into your wallet and sell you yet another iteration of Resident Evil 4. Should you take the plunge on a copy on Xbox One or PS4?

The answer is a solid maybe.

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If you’ve somehow missed out on RE4 after all these years, here’s a bit of a breakdown. After five core Resident Evil titles, the series was seeming a bit stale… so Resident Evil 4 changed it up way back in 2005. Survival horror took a back seat to action; the fixed cameras of past games went out the window, replaced by a dynamic system that zoomed in behind your shoulder so you could target and fire. Slow moving zombies shuffled out of the way to make room for the Ganado — a parasite-riddled, fast-moving, intelligent group of enemies. Resident Evil 2‘s Leon S. Kennedy returned, bigger and badder than ever — though without looking like a steroid-dependant freak (I’m talking about you, Chris Redfield). Kennedy, now a U.S. Government operative, starts the game on the search — quite famously — for the President’s Daughter. Of course, bioweapons happen and Leon gets to go all shooty-shooty. You know how it is.

While some hated the new direction, the game proved to be a huge hit. Nintendo Power named RE4 its 2005 Game of the Year, whilst IGN has the title in the list of their Top 99 Games of All Time. I personally recommend the action-packed title because it continues a storyline that hardcore fans know and love, whilst at the same time being easily accessible to newcomers.

I’m not even sure why I’ve pretended someone hasn’t played this game before, on either GameCube, PS2, PS3, Xbox 360 or Windows PC. At any rate, let’s get down to if you should bother with this latest iteration. This package comes complete with the full game and all bonus content available in various versions, including the “Separate Ways” story-based mode and the arcade-like “The Mercenaries” (though it’s debatable if Germany gets the latter mode… again). While this version has updated, hi-definition graphics that look quite good, anything that’s not in-engine ends up looking murky, pixelated and pretty much untouched since 2005. Trophies and Achievements are exactly the same sets as first appeared on PS3 and Xbox 360.

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The biggest problem I had with Resident Evil 4 on Xbox 360 and PS3 was its outdated control scheme. There, you had to go into menus and select its “Type II” control scheme to get something remotely workable in today’s landscape. Thankfully, Capcom has made this scheme the default on current-gen, going a bit further and providing expanded camera control using the right stick. Even then, you’re going to spend an hour or two getting used to controlling Leon primarily through your controller’s left stick — and wondering why the scheme made for the re-release of Resident Evil 5 couldn’t have been used here. Moreover, even with a recent 350MB update, the game has a nasty aiming bug that will cause Leon to crazily swing left or right when you’re initially trying to line up an important shot. It’s not game-breaking, but it sure is frustrating as all hell.

I’m a die-hard fan of the game and have loved jumping back in to Resident Evil 4. I have a feeling others who feel the same about the franchise will as well, as will Achievement and Trophy addicts, enticed over reasonable simple lists. For everyone else, it’s a harder sell at $24.95 AUD (or now a whopping $39.95 AUD for Switch) — while greatly improved over last-gen’s release, it’s still the same game on yet another platform.

 

7 out of 10

The good

  • A (slightly) improved control scheme.
  • Another go at RE4 for die-hards.

The bad

  • Ugly out-of-engine cutscenes.
  • Nasty aiming bug.
  • Another re-release of perhaps Capcom’s most re-released game.
  • No gyro controls on Switch.

 

Resident Evil 4 was reviewed using a promotional code on Xbox One, as provided by the publisher. Click here to learn more about Stevivor’s scoring scale.

About the author

Steve Wright

Steve's the owner of this very site and an active games journalist for the past ten years. He's a Canadian-Australian gay gaming geek, ice hockey player and fan. Husband to Matt and cat dad to Wally and Quinn.