Okay, so after a whole week when I said “The Resident Evil 4 review will be out tomorrow”, I am finally going to do the actual review. Yeah, I know, I should have done it sooner, but you know, school and finals and junk. Anyway, how about that review. We all know that Resident Evil is one of the best horror franchises out there. It managed to make survival horror what it is today. Sure, we may have just gotten out of the dark ages of Resident Evil, what with Resident Evil 6 being a Michael Bay movie and Umbrella Corps being the worst thing ever, but I think Resident Evil VII is a step in the right direction. Hell, it’s better than whatever the hell Konami is doing to Silent Hill. But, aside from that, there was a time when a more action oriented Resident Evil was the best thing ever. And I am not talking about Resident Evil 3. Maybe another time. No, I want to talk about something better. And that is a game called Resident Evil 4
Now, I am going to start off this review by saying this… I don’t think Resident Evil 4 is a good horror game. Now hang on, before you castrate me with a bear trap, let me explain. I do not, I repeat, DO NOT, think Resident Evil 4 is a bad game. In no way at all. I think Resident Evil 4 is one of the greatest and most genre refining games of all time. Hell, I like it more than Silent Hill 2… As a game, anyway. As a horror game, however… Yeah, that’s where I think Resident Evil 4 lacks, but, despite bringing it up that much, we’ll talk about why later on. First, let’s get into the story. So, six years after the Raccoon City Outbreak, Leon S. Kennedy… Somehow ends up working as the president’s bodyguard. Yeah, he goes from his first day as a police officer to the president’s guard. I guess surviving a zombie outbreak gives you special privileges. Anyway, on his first assignment, Leon is tasked with finding the president’s daughter, Ashley Ghramm. So, Leon travels to an unspecified area in Spain where he soon finds it overrun with crazed villagers called Ganados, who are infected with a dangerous mind controlling parasite known as Las Plagas. Along the way, you will run into enemies with other Spanish names. These include the giant mutated monster known as El Gigante (The Giant), man-eating dogs called Colmillos (Fangs), Las Plagas infested suits of armor called Armadura (Armor… yeah, these names aren’t so cool when they’re translated, huh?). Now, the game may be silly… And it is. But damn if it isn’t amazing.
Resident Evil 4 is a game that is amazing just for being so… simple. Okay, to be fair, it was different back then. Back when shooters were average to come across at the least, Resident Evil 4 was a game that dominated the shooter market at the time. The game has an over-the-shoulder third person perspective that isn’t awful… Like Fallout’s third person. The game will have you use many different firearms to fend off your enemies, from handguns to shotguns to rifles to… whatever the dart gun is. The world of Resident Evil 4 doesn’t revolve around exploration and taking one puzzle item to a different puzzle. Instead, it’s very linear, and you are to follow a set path from one location to the next. It manages to surprise me every time though, and always manages to be very fun to explore. I remember how shocked I was when I found a second butterfly lamp by going out a window when I was searching for all the treasure. I never knew that before buying the treasure map. Aside from killing enemies and keeping Ashley from sticking her face into a bear trap and tripwire, you can also look for treasures. You could just sell them on their own, but a better idea is to see if you can combine treasures together to sell them for higher amounts. Money, believe it or not, is a very necessary thing in this game, as you can buy upgrades, new weapons, maps, and health, but no ammo for whatever reason. And finally, one of the best things to try out in the main game is the shooting range. There are four different shooting ranges with four different modes. Completing all of them will reward you with special bottlecaps with the game’s characters. They are kinda pointless, but damn if they don’t give you that extra bit of push to keep trying out the shooting range.
Now, with most of the gameplay out of the way, let’s look at the characters. Well, Leon is here to save Ashley. How is she? Well…. I mean, I can see why everyone would hate Ashley. She stands around, screams, and is easily captured, but I never had that much trouble. That’s not to say carrying her around like a mule was without problems. She would always just yell whenever I was gone for five seconds, run headlong into bear traps, and would refuse to move when a regenerator was already swatting at her, and just crouched in place until she died. If you ask me, tell her to wait in the dumpster (Right where she belongs). It makes things way easier. Aside from her, you’ve got Luis Sera, the Spanish man. He’s funny and really kills it… ironically, considering… Well, spoilers, spoilers. Anyway, we have the lovely Osmund Saddler, the main antagonist and evil cultist. All I know is that he is able to control his Las Plagas… somehow, so when he becomes totally and utterly fucked in his monster form, he can just fix it and turn himself back to normal, unlike most Resident Evil villains. Then you’ve got Salazar. He’s a high-pitched midget……. Remember, this is a horror game. Jack Krauser is shit- I mean, Jack Krauser’s an asshole- I mean…. I’ll get to Jack Krauser later. And finally, you’ve got the best character of them all. The loveable and huggable Merchant. Every time I see the Merchant, I get the same amount of comfort from him I got from Barry in the first game, and that is always good in my book.
Now, we all know that Resident Evil 4 is a classic game with few flaws. But few flaws just means that there are still some flaws to be found. Like the quick time events. I know that everyone hates on the massive escort mission and while I can easily agree with that, it was never too big of an issue for me (Maybe I just have a higher tolerance for this sort of stuff), but what I was mostly pissed about was the quick time events. It doesn’t matter how sudden they are, if you don’t get that button pressed in that instant, you are either going to take damage, or, in most cases, you are going to die. This is what I hate most about the Jack Krauser fights… Yes, fights. Plural. As in more than one awful fight. Jack’s first fight is the worst, since you just have to hit the right button at the right moment. If you screw up, you are forced to do the whole fight again. This is completely unskippable each time you play this game and it is just one of the dullest, most tedious parts of the game. Jack’s other fight, thankfully, isn’t as bad… Until you notice that you have to kill him within a time limit. And this guy sucks up bullets like a sponge, it took me a while to realise that he is weak to knives…. Yes, your melee knife does more damage to him then the Striker. You’ve got to be kidding me with this shit. Thankfully, that’s just one awful fight in this game. I can forgive the others… Mostly because they weren’t just awful quick time events. Also, this complaint is a nitpick for me, but what’s with the world? You start out in a rural village, makes sense. Then you go to a castle, alright, odd, but maybe part of the architecture. And lastly, you go to a heavily secured prison island…. What? Maybe it’s just me, but I find it funny and kinda dumb that you go from a castle to a maximum security prison. I mean this island has a laser room for God’s sake.
Alright, so I think I talked about the gameplay and characters and what little story you care about enough. I think now is the time to discuss the horror of the game, as all Corner of Horror reviews go. And trust me, though Resident Evil has very few horrifying moments, when it does show them, it’s very intense. First off, let’s talk about everyone’s most known moment of horror in Resident Evil 4, the Regenerators. Everyone who has anything associated with Resident Evil 4 knows about these guys and everyone I know is terrified of them. Even if you know what you are getting into, these things still shock and scare you. The Regenerators are a created B.O.W that is nearly impossible to kill. They will slowly lumber towards you and will attempt to eat you alive, even stretching their limbs to grab you. If you shoot them in the head or in the torso, it won’t slow them down. It will just fix itself up in a matter of seconds. And if you shoot their legs, it only makes the situation worse, because they’ll just jump at you like some frog from hell. These guys suck up so much ammo, but if you have an infrared sniper scope, you can find their weak spots, and shoot them. But you still have to deal with their haunting breathing as they wobble towards you. And these guys are just about everywhere once you first run into them, popping up all over the place at around every corner. And I mean literally right around the very next corner, just standing there, wanting to take a bite out of Leon. And don’t even get me started on the Iron Maidens. Those spikes on them just make the situation a whole lot worse. But I think what is better is the subtle use of the Bag. Now, what is The Bag? Well, in chapter 5-4, there is a dumpster, and inside the dumpster is a white bag. If you look at the bag, it will begin to struggle, showing you that there is something alive inside the bag. What is it and what is it doing inside a bag, or a dumpster even? No one knows, and Capcom sure as hell never told us. Is it a monster, is it another villager, is it a failed experiment, or could it be an animal? We may never know, but what I can say for certainty is that I love this Bag. And finally, this sort of horror is a lot more depressing horror…. Almost like Silent Hill 2 (I really need to stop comparing things to Silent Hill 2). We already know about the Ganados that come at us in packs with sickles, axes, knives, and pitchforks, and that shooting, stabbing, and suplexing them is hilarious. But after you beat the game, for whatever reason, this game about an American searching for the president’s daughter while killing a cult of parasite carrying Europeans in a castle and prison, tries it’s hardest to depress you with the end credits, showing you the life of the villagers in the past. They were all friendly and kind and lived a normal life, before the cult, Los Illuminados, came and injected them with the parasite, making them violent and evil within their residence (Jesus Christ). You could say that this did the whole Resident Evil VII thing about kind people turned evil, but I felt it was done better in Resident Evil VII. But, I guess it was very effective for what it was.
It’s not hard to see that Resident Evil 4 is one of the best video games of all time, and debatably the best Resident Evil game out of them all. I can say that it is definitely a top contender for the category of best Resident Evil game. Is it the scariest game ever? No. Hell, it isn’t even the scariest Resident Evil game. But as a videogame, in general, Resident Evil 4 is one of the best. If you want a game that has a nice blend of creepy atmosphere mixed in with some of the best gameplay of the sixth generation, you can get it easily. This game came out on several consoles back in the day, and is now out for download on Xbox One and PS4, so it’s pretty easy to get ahold of. And it’s worth every penny. Take care