Welcome Back to the Horror Classic
Back in 2005, Capcom redefined the concept of the horror survival genre with Resident Evil 4. The game made the horror experience more user friendly while introducing the series to a new generation of gamers. It would go on to inspire a new era of horror games while growing to become a staple of every console generation.
Given Capcom’s recent trend of remaking and re-releasing their classic titles, it was only fitting that Resident Evil 4 received the same treatment. The remake is a complete overhaul of the game. It has changed so much and for the better. At the same time, it has not forsaken what made the original a masterpiece.
What sets this remake apart from others is my extensive history with the original game. I have played it on six different consoles, each one being completed at least five times since 2005. As a result, I know the game inside out and had high expectations for the Resident Evil 4 remake. However, I was shocked at how the final game surpassed those expectations.
Return of Las Plagas
Several years have passed since the Raccoon City Incident. The United States Government went after the Umbrella Corporation, resulting in its assets seized and many of its leaders became wanted fugitives. Meanwhile; those who survived are now working to prevent another disaster like Raccoon City.
Players will once again assume the role of Leon S. Kennedy, who has become an agent of the United States government. He is tasked with rescuing Ashley Graham, the President’s daughter, after she is abducted by a mysterious cult. Leon is deployed to a village in Spain where the cult is based. Upon his arrival, he discovers that everyone has been infected with a parasitic organism called Las Plagas. The cult has also infected Ashley with the same parasite and aims to use her to infect the President as part of their plan to take over the world.
On the surface, the story of the Resident Evil 4 remake remains faithful to the classic narrative: Leon must stop a cult and rescue the President’s daughter. However, the real changes lie in how the remake updates the original’s storytelling style to fit modern sensibilities. The original game, released in the 2000s, reflected the era’s pop culture, with an emphasis on being edgy. In contrast, the remake grounds the story more in reality (to the best of its ability). Leon is no longer portrayed as a hotshot hero with the cringy one liners but instead, as a survivor who is still dealing with the trauma of the Raccoon City incident. Meanwhile, Ashley’s character is more fleshed out and nuanced, with greater agency and depth beyond being a whinny “damsel in distress.” However, it’s not totally cheese free as it kept the more memorable moments.
Over Here, Stranger!
Resident Evil 4 builds upon the already successful formula of the Resident Evil 2 and 3 remakes, improving the gameplay mechanics and enhancing the overall experience. Limited resources such as ammo, health, and inventory space remain crucial factors that add tension. The ability to mix gunpowder to create additional ammunition also returns, giving players more flexibility in how they approach combat. Combat has become more fluid and intuitive, allowing players to adapt to the situation with their own tactics. This is more true in regards to the combat knife as it’s very versatile in combat but also must be properly maintained.
At the same time, the remake retains many of the familiar elements that fans know and love. The iconic weapons from the original make a return. Fans of the Merchant will be pleased to know that he’s back, providing players with valuable upgrades and gear at strategic points. Additionally, the game includes new improvements that enhance the overall experience. One notable improvement is the inclusion of more side games that allow players to unlock bonus gear.
The game’s M rating is utilized to its fullest potential, providing players with intense and unforgettable moments of terror. From the grotesque transformations of the Ganado’s to the nightmarish encounters with the bosses, the game constantly pushes players to their limits. Overall, it truly is a horror experience in all the right ways.
Just so we Understand Each Other
So how does the remake compare to the original? The original Resident Evil 4 was a much needed overhaul of an aging gameplay but the tone and setting were truly a product of its time. This is not to say the original was a bad game. It solidified Leon as a beloved character of the series while giving us some memorable moments. The remake modernizes the game more while also returning it back to its horror roots. Overall; they are both masterpieces in their own right.
Run, Leon! Run!
Resident Evil 4 remake is a masterpiece with almost little to no issues. It has a few things that I have to bring up but it has no impact on how I feel about the overall game.
One aspect that surprised me is how successfully the remake shifted the game’s tone. I was surprised by how successfully the remake shifted the game’s tone. While it has done away with that 2000’s edgy tone, it has also removed most of the cheesy elements, returning the game to its horror roots. However, at times I find myself struggling to keep a straight face when reminded that the premise is “save the President’s daughter from a zombie cult,” which remains cheesy.
Does this mean that the Resident Evil 4 remake falls short of being a masterpiece? Absolutely not. Although I had to accept the cheesy premise a long time ago, I am still satisfied with the overall experience.
Are You OK, Leon?
The original Resident Evil 4 has been hailed as a staple of the PlayStation 2 era while praised for reinventing the horror survival genre. The remake follows that tradition while also bringing it back to its horror roots while being a more mature experience.
Resident Evil 4 builds upon the already successful foundation of its predecessors to reimagine one of the most iconic games. This is a remake that has recreated the original while also respecting its charm and defining elements. Overall, it will leave fans mesmerized while also coming back for more.
Disclaimer: FortySeven Communications provided the game used for this review.
This review is the critique and thoughts of one writer. If you want to see how other critics felt then check it out on OpenCritic.
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