Resident Evil 4 concludes the trilogy of new-gen re-releases this year from Capcom for the iconic Resident Evil series.  For many, Resident Evil 4 is considered the pinnacle of the series (though mine will always be Resident Evil 2), offering the perfect blend of horror, suspense, action and a typically over-the-top story.  We’ve seen Resident Evil 4 release on almost every platform imaginable since its debut on the Nintendo GameCube from way back in 2005.  Now in 2016, it’s made its way on to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but after a seemingly endless amount of re-releases, how will this latest version fair on its most powerful console release yet?

If you’re not yet familiar with the story of Resident Evil 4, how big is the Chris Redfield victimised rock you’ve been living under?  Six years after the events of Resident Evil 2, Leon S. Kennedy is now a U.S government special agent and he is tasked with the mission to rescue Ashley Graham, who just so happens to be the daughter of the U.S President.  However, after being led to a rural village somewhere in Spain, Leon soon discovers that this is no simple retrieve and extract mission, as a sinister cult harnessing a deadly parasite are behind the disappearance of the President’s daughter.  It’s never been a simple life for our Leon has it?

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Visually it’s difficult to see what improvements have been made to Resident Evil 4 on new gen at a quick glance, at least in comparison to the last gen release, but improvements have certainly been made.  What I would say is that it’s a mixed bag of tricks and more so a sign of its age.  The added smoothness of the characters such as Leon is quite plain to see, in-fact the same can really be said for all its main set of characters and it certainly looks crisper than ever before.  Where its visuals do become exposed however, is more so with the environmental textures, especially at close inspection.  But don’t let that put you off, as after all, this is a remaster and not a remake.  I can’t speak for the PC version, but it’s fair to say that this is still the best looking version of Resident Evil 4, on console at least.

In terms of gameplay, it’s still the once revolutionary over-the-shoulder camera that soon became the blueprint for many action/horror games following the release of Resident Evil 4.  To be honest, I don’t think nothing really needs to change in this respect, as apart from the slightly fiddly GameCube controller, this is still a very playable game even on the 2005 release.  It just feels as natural as it can be, especially if you’re used to such games as Resident Evil 5, Resident Evil 6 or the incredible Dead Space.  It’s arguably the one factor that didn’t need to be “remastered” and I’m glad that Capcom has left this element well alone.

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Additionally, like all the previous versions of this game that came before (following the GameCube release), you have a whole host of modes to sink your infected teeth into.  As always you have the New Game+ that will allow you to start a new campaign with all your upgraded weapons and so forth.  Also, you have the brilliant Mercenaries mode, which arguably kick-started all the Mercenaries modes that featured in pretty much all games in the series since (Resident Evil 3: Nemesis had a mode very similar to this also).

You also have additional story modes that star the always mysterious Ada Wong with Assignment: Ada and Separate Ways.  Without giving too much away, both of Ada’s short campaigns add significant back-story as to why she is situated in the main village of the game, as well as her reasons for being on an island later in the game.  You also have a Movie browser that will allow you to watch all the cut-scenes in the game as they unlock, as well as those featured in Separate Ways.  And there is also Ada’s Report, which presents a series of video reports by Ada and they unlock as you progress through Separate Ways.

However, the one feature that I would have loved to have seen in this new-gen release of Resident Evil 4 is the option to revert back to the old GameCube graphics during gameplay, similar to what we have seen in the Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and Halo 2 Anniversary.  I think that would have been a great addition to this release, just to see how far the game has come with its many re-releases over the years.

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Even after all these years, Resident Evil 4 still holds up well as a very playable game.  Evidence in that statement only has to be provided with the moment you pick up the controller to once again re-visit this all-time classic.  Even for fans of the series that may have missed its many releases up until this point, should quite comfortably find enjoyment with this game and it should be plain to see why so many people regard this as one of the best games of all-time.

Yes, its visuals maybe a little dated by now, though in its defence, it is a 11 year old game.  With the recent re-releases of Resident Evil 5 and 6, its still quite obvious to see that this is the superior game out of the three and it’s probably why Capcom left it until last.  It would have been fantastic to see this game get a full remake treatment, much like Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil back in 2003, but for now, we can sit back and admire one of the greatest games of all-time in its best reincarnation to date.



Author

Richard Lee Breslin
Richard Lee Breslin

Gamimg has been my life for 30+ years and will always be my passion. I have a BDes Hons Games Development and Digital Media, and I hope to one day turn my passion for gaming and writing into a living. My favourite gaming series are Resi Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, Assassin's Creed, Uncharted and The Last of Us. I collect gaming merchandise, comics and movies. I love football (namely Aston Villa) and WWE. I can also often be found wondering the outskirts of Raccoon City. Follow me on Twitter @Solidus5nake and you can check out my Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/solidus5nake