Tina’s First: Resident Evil 4

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!

Why the Resident Evil 7 Demo Works

     As I slowly make my way down the ladder, with my soon-to-be-dead companion cheering me on with each step at the top, I wonder if we will find the other member of our party that so conveniently wandered off in a house that is looking more reminiscent of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with every passing moment. It seems that I have been climbing down for at least 15 seconds now, but by the looks of this obviously make-shift hidden entrance to the basement, there is really no telling when my feet will finally hit the ground and I can resume investigating my surroundings. As I finally find the floor, I struggle to grasp what I am actually looking at as I slowly reposition myself, completely expecting a jump scare. Why not? After all, it would be the easy thing to do. Instead I am greeted with rusted pipes in some type of a underground passage, but faintly in the near distance I can just make out the figure of our missing person, Andre. As I courageously decide to move closer when I realize that he is facing the opposite direction of me and standing still. Way too still… I place my hand on his shoulder to tell him we need to get out of here, but it’s to my horror that I realize that someone or some thing had shoved him mouth open on to a pipe sticking out of the wall. I fall backwards on to the mud underneath me, just in time to see a pair of old workman boots making their way up to me, cast in the light of my camera. My world goes dark once more…

     This is only a short 30 second piece of the full Resident Evil 7: Biohazard demo that is being offered for free on you platform marketplace, and a brief glimpse into the full game set to launch on Jan 24th, 2017. I was able to complete the demo from beginning to “end” during my first run through, but with the deployability and the fact that I continue to find new things and entirely different endings, I have sunk more than 5 hours into this demo. For context, I could play almost the entirety of The Order: 1886 in this length of time, so to answer many of your questions thus far, yes- I like this demo. A lot. 

     While producer Kawada Masachika and director Nakanish Koushi, have already confirmed that this demo is not necessarily a piece of the final product, taken to allow players to sample, but merely a look into the tone and “feeling” of the full version. Let me safely say, that if this game is even half as good as what the demo implies, this will be easily be the best Resident Evil entry since number 4 (not difficult, I know). In every controller gripping/high tension filled moment of this glimpse, it is apparent that they have finally walked away from the attempt at making the franchise a Shooter, and instead doubled down on the concepts that made this IP so beloved in the first place.

     A sense of unease and dread around every corner and of course the puzzle-like way you have to make your way through the game, the demo is a call back to everything that made the original entry so great. At this point, my only hope is that they take their time to give the final product the love and attention that they did with this sample. Last we heard, that game was about 65% of the way complete through development (fact credit: famitsu)a few weeks ago at E32016, and with a release date of January 25th, I worry they will try to rush. While it is obvious that Capcom has every intension of hitting this timeline, with the recent re-releases of the series and ending with Resident Evil 4 this fall, a deployment strategy leading up to the launch of the latest installment. Capcom, do NOT rush this game. 

     If you haven’t already checked out the demo for Resident Evil 7, you owe it to yourself to give it a go. If you’re the type that gets nervous at the thought of playing horror games, get a buddy and play through it together. I promise, it is that good. With the reveal of full PS VR integration, this game will do huge numbers, already looking to be a clear flagship for the sony platform. However, regardless of where or how you play it, just do. This is the Resident Evil that we have been clamoring over for years. 

     Now what the hell am I supposed to do with this dam mannequin finger….