Before we begin this discussion about the newly remastered ‘Resident Evil 4′, I’d like to state a disclaimer. As the title suggests, I have never once in my life played any Resident Evil games and in all honesty, have never had the true desire to. Despite being a huge fan of horror as a film genre, I turn into the world’s biggest baby when it comes to horror as a video game genre. It’s physically crippling for me to even so much as pick up any game that could potentially be classified as anything horror related. Is it because I care too much about these little computer generated characters to even fathom putting them through the things that are occurring in the game? Or is it because as a child, my older brother thought it would be funny to expose me to ‘Silent Hill’ at the age of 7?
Despite these ingrained fears, I ran a recent poll on Twitter to have my followers give me their feedback on what they wanted me to check out. I have no idea what compelled me to type in the fateful words “Resident Evil 4” and include it in the poll, but after a landslide victory, it was crystal clear that this was the game you wanted me to share my thoughts on. I am a woman of my word, and despite having a small panic attack Tuesday evening after the poll closed, I managed to purchase the game and play it in order to share my thoughts with you guys. For everyone who participated in the poll I just want to say one thing: Thank you. Thank you for being the pressure I needed to break out of my comfort zone and give this game an honest chance. With this being said, though, please keep in mind that I will be reviewing this game from a noob standpoint and not from the side of a long time Resident Evil fan.
For being a game that has been around for more than a decade now, the developers of the remastered edition did a really good job cleaning this up and making it look great. With that being said, however, if this is a game that you’ve never played before I strongly urge you to not try and compare the graphics to something like Fallout 4. This is a remaster, not a remake, so the visuals will not always compare to a game that has come out within the last year or two. If you do want to have a base of comparison graphics wise, I’d say that a close comparable would be the ‘Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune’ remake included in the ‘Uncharted: Nathan Drake Collection’ that was released just last year. A fantastic example of how great a job they did remastering this game occurs within the first 5 minutes of taking control over Leon. As soon as you enter the initial house, you’ll notice that off to the left there is a window with some light pouring through it. You can actually see the dust dancing in the sunlight, which I thought was a nice touch before you meet your initial Ganado. The hidden little details such as this don’t stop throughout the game, and at any moment you begin to question the visual quality, I strongly suggest you stop and look around at your background and remember just how old this game is.
Despite its awesomely remastered visuals, the controllers felt very outdated. The inability to move around and shoot at the same time was horribly debilitating. It actually made for an even more difficult gameplay simply because I had to learn that I couldn’t just move away from the mobs moving towards me. I get that this game was released for nostalgia purposes with the longtime existing fan base, but for newcomers to the series who have heard tales of this cornerstone of the Resident Evil franchise, it is just not fun. It feels very archaic and clunky. Even outside of battle, it was extremely difficult to try and move diagonally using the joystick, and at times It almost felt like the game was designed to be played on the D-pad of my controller. For a remastered version of a game, I would have hoped to have a bit of an upgrade on the control functionality because it was definitely a joy hindrance during my play through.
Now I have a secret I’d like to reveal to everyone: I do not live my life in ‘Hard’ mode. I’m a very story driven player and in fact, when it comes to most RPG’s I prefer to do an initial playthrough of the game on easy mode just to experience the story. If the game has a decently written story, I’ll go ahead and replay it on the normal mode. It takes a really beloved game to warrant me attempting it on hard mode and those are few and far between. Maybe it’s because this is the remastered version of Resident Evil 4, but this game did not allow for me to change my initial gameplay mode. Now I know what you all may be thinking, “Tina, this is Resident Evil 4 remastered! Playing any gameplay mode besides normal or hardcore is just blasphemous!”. Truly this game was built for the existing fanboys and girls out there who have been long time lovers of this game. But for someone who is new to not just the game and series but also the genre for that matter, this is a huge drawback. If you are the type of player who is not the biggest fan of the horror genre, yet still wants to give this iconic game a shot, you may want to steer clear because it is definitely not easy.
As a side note, on the PS4 currently, if you have a PS Plus account the Resident Evil 4 Ultimate HD edition is free to play. I downloaded this version initially by accident, and in doing so, I did notice that the Ultimate HD edition does allow for you to change your difficulty between easy and normal mode. Newcomers to the genre may want to start off with that version just to see if it’s something that they’d even be interested in purchasing. Since it was an accidental download, and I promised you guys I’d be playing the Remastered version, I did not play through the easy mode offered on the Ultimate HD edition so I do not have insight into the difference in gameplay between the two modes.
Did this game create a new fan out of me? Honestly, I appreciated it for what it was but it is probably not something that I will play again. This game was very clearly geared toward a specific audience, and I think if I was a part of that audience it would have been extremely enjoyable for me. As a remake, the developers did a solid job of blending modern visuals with old school mechanics that I’m sure longtime fans of the game would be familiar with and appreciate. Since I’m very much an outsider to the entire Resident Evil franchise, it had a very unwelcoming feel to it from the get go. If you’re an existing fan of this game, this will be a great nostalgia game to add to your collection. But if you are like me, this may not be the game for you. All in all, I’d rank this game as a solid 6.
Let us know what you think! What were some of the issues you experienced in the game? What are your favorite Resident Evil 4 moments? Do you have any advice for other newcomers to the franchise? Let us know in the comments below!