Resident Evil is a franchise that has meant a lot to me over the years. From the days of being too afraid to even touch the controller and sticking to “watching” my friends play the first game on the PlayStation. Desperately trying to act cool as if I wasn’t going to be sitting in bed later that night thinking about a zombie having a nice munch on a poor member of S.T.A.R.S. To the moment I finally played Resident Evil for the first time by myself on GameCube. They’re all precious memories, but none are more important than completing 4 with my friend from college. The game felt like such a huge leap forward and everything from the locations, boss battles, and characters stayed with me for a long time. To say the remake has a lot to live up to is an understatement.
So, here we are, returning to CAPCOM’s horrific world 6 years after the Raccoon City Incident in Resident Evil 2 which saw the American town overrun with the undead. We join a now fully trained Leon on a deadly mission to save the President’s daughter, Ashley, in a remote village. It isn’t long until Leon finds himself in a whole heap of trouble and his investigation turns into an absolute nightmare with the inhabitants wanting nothing more than to gift him with the most brutal deaths possible. Whether you’ve played the original a hundred times or this is your first experience, you’ll instantly be swept away in the game’s haunting atmosphere.
As you step into the village for the first time, you can feel the tension and never know what will be waiting for you around the corner. Hopefully, it’s some ammo or treasure for you to sell to the Merchant, but let’s face it, we’re not always that lucky and one of the villagers who just can’t wait to welcome Leon to the family will also be lurking in those dark corners. While this isn’t the franchise’s scariest entry, it does have plenty of disturbing and tense moments that will not let anybody down who is looking for something to stain their undies.
This remake keeps all of the important stuff but manages to expand on certain moments, adding new depth to characters and secrets to discover. There are now also side missions that reward you with a new currency for special upgrades and items. Everything down to the music, movement, and inventory management is perfected here. You can even auto-sort your inventory, which will have some fans celebrating and others disgusted that the series’ unofficial mini-game has been broken.
Combat has never felt smoother and it wasn’t long until I felt that this is where the Resident Evil franchise has wanted to be for a long while now, with lots of options to cause mayhem, but still managing to hold onto its spooky roots.
Another thing this remake does is continually highlight just how brilliant the designers at CAPCOM are, not only with character and enemy designs – but with the way each new area is presented. There will be several times when you will be asked to solve a simple puzzle or to take the scenic route to make it to your destination. Once you get to where you need to be it sinks in just how brilliantly it all merges together. They also managed to keep a lot of items in the same locations as the original game, I went to an oven hoping to find an egg, smashed a box expecting a viper to be waiting to lunge at me, and I felt elated when they were there. It’s the little things in life, eh?
There is no mistaking the fact that this remake could never bring as much innovation to the wider gaming industry as the original Resident Evil 4 did at the time of its release, but it manages to elevate, reimagine and perfect it for a modern-day experience – and I can only imagine what a monumental task that was for the developers. I’ve only had a chance to play through the story once, but there is so much left to do and see, and with secrets seemingly hiding everywhere – there will be enough to keep me glued to the game for a long time to come.
The Resident Evil 4 Remake is perfect. CAPCOM has achieved something special here managing to breathe new life into one of the franchise’s most beloved entries. Whether you’ve played the original or not, there is absolutely no denying what has been achieved here. If the series can continue down this path then Resident Evil fans will be happy for a long time to come.