PlayStation 2, Game Cube, Windows XP
INTRO: Resident Evil 4 was a long-awaited sequel in a line of one
of the best-selling video game series of all time, Resident Evil (of course).
After a somewhat spotty group of side-story sequels to be found on the PS2 and
GameCube, RE4 is the first game to be an official sequel since Resident Evil 3's
release on the PSX in the late 90s.
This story involves RE2's Leon Kennedy, an agent on the
hunt for the President's lost daughter, Ashley. He is brought to a small
village, where people seem to be infected by a virus that has made them very
similar to the living dead. The plot thickens, and we're off to the races.
GAMEPLAY: If you played any of the previous Resident Evil games, you
remember that the controls were almost like an RC car. They functioned, but in
some ways were hindering to the action, and depending on the camera angle, could
leave you spinning in circles and eventually spiking your controller in
frustration. Well, in RE4, this is a thing of the past. In place, we have a
camera that is fixed directly behind Leon. This allows things to be much more
controlled and anchored. The quick 180-turn is still prevalent, and so very
necessary to your survival later in the game.
Targeting is done with the shoulder buttons, and is very
cool. Many weapons have laser sights or amazing scopes, and limb specific damage
is not only cool, but an awesome gameplay strategy. Want to conserve ammo? Shoot
the offender in the knee, and then run over to him, hot-swap to your knife, and
hack away. Awesome. As far as complaints go, control-wise, I’d have to say that
the fact that you have to constantly switch to your inventory to change weapons
is a huge pain, and also that the camera can just be too damned slow sometimes
when you have to whip around to face the throngs of foes who are trying to chew
The enemy A.I is also brilliant. The infected villagers are
smart. If you fix an aim on their head for too long, they'll dodge out of the
way or put up their hands. They will attack in groups and not waste much time
lunging for you when the time is right. This makes for one intense game
experience, and if you can play through the first hour of this game without your
heart pounding from the dire situation you've been placed in, then you're a much
better gamer than I. You truly feel as if it is your character against the
Unfortunately, the boss battles can be a little unbalanced,
with some bosses being way too easy (like the final boss, too bad), while others
are damn near impossible (a later context-sensitive battle with Krauser will
leave you cursing, as you are forced to repeat it over and over again from the
beginning each time you fail).
There are plenty of rewards to find that add replay value,
and the weapons in this game are so satisfyingly awesome. The sniper rifle and
mine shooter come to mind as a few of my favorites. Trying to juggle your
inventory with what you deem is important can truly lead to heartbreaking
situations, as your attaché case can only hold so much. This game really
re-invents survival horror as we know it.
The game changes things up too, as about half-way through
you'll have to deal with protecting Ashley, and she can be a real burden.
Luckily, an intuitive control system and handy dumpsters for her to hide in make
things bearable, although I’d be lying if I said I haven't shot her in her face
a few times. The story in the game is comparable to a B movie, and can be pretty
hammy, but that is a minor gripe considering how awesome the rest of the game
The game is difficult, without being too frustrating. It's
so satisfying to go through the game and figure out the various weak points of
your enemies. You will truly be placed in so many heart-pounding situations that
make this game one of the best experiences you'll have ever in terms of gaming
entertainment. It's addicting, thrilling and never gets old. Each level is
incredible, the environments ranging from beat down, rickety towns to high-tech
testing facilities, to gothic castle environments.
GRAPHICS: RE4 has graphics that push the platforms to their limits.
Undoubtedly the best looking GameCube game of all time, RE4 is truly a sight to
behold. Although it is only a single player game, your friends will still stay
around, because they'll be sucked in by the incredible visual atmosphere of RE4.
The attention to detail is unbelievable. Explosions are huge, and the blood is
so very red. You'll notice shells popping out of your weapons as you empty them,
and chunks of flesh flying off baddies as you blast them.
Just your death animations alone are bad enough. You'll be
decapitated, melted, speared, stabbed, bitten, and it’s all so, so nasty. I
don't think I’ve seen a gorier game, and at no point will you ever get tired of
looking at the nightmarish visuals this game has to offer. The backgrounds are
amazing, the water looks great, and when you get to see El Gigante for the first
time, you may just shed a tear of sheer amazement.
AUDIO: If you have a surround sound system, buy this game. RE4
wouldn't be half as amazing as it is without the sound that it features. In
fact, the sound is so good, it is actually a vital tool for those of us lucky
enough to have 5.1 systems. You'll hear whispers in the darkness, shouts of
anger, and screams of agony. You'll be tipped off that there's an enemy off in
the distance to the right when he screams to alert the others that he's detected
you. The sound in this game is truly chilling, and creepy as hell. You'll be
treated to terrifying jolts, scary music, plenty of splattering and some great
gunfire noises. The voice acting can be hammy, but still sounds great.
FINAL VERDICT: RE4 isn't just a video game, it's a gaming experience. I do
not toot the horns of just any video game. As a gamer for over 15 years, this is
easily one of the top 5 games I’ve played in my life. It is the complete,
consummate package that has set a new standard for what we have come to accept
as 'survival horror'. It has won countless awards, and is widely recognized as
one of the best games of all time. Beaten it yet? Then play one of the survival
modes! Haven't played it yet? Stop reading this, get down to your local retailer
and buy it now. It's cheap these days and you owe it to yourself! One thing's
for sure- it's WAY better than the films.
Resident Evil 4 PC system requirements
Supported OS: Windows® 2000/XP (only)
Processor: 1 GHz Pentium® III or AMD Athlon™ (or better)
RAM: 256 MB
Video Card: 128 MB DirectX® 9.0c-compliant AGP or PCI Express graphics
card (256 or higher for High Graphics Detail support) (see supported
Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compliant (or better)
DirectX Version: DirectX 9.0c or higher (included on disc)
CD-ROM: 12x or faster CD-ROM
Hard Drive Space: 1.2 GB minimum
Peripherals Supported: Gamepad
*Supported Video Cards at Time of Release
NVIDIA® GeForce™ FX/6/7 families
ATI® Radeon® 9200-9800/X families.