GAME REVIEW: A Fresh Look at a Fresh Remake, Resident Evil 4

 Resident Evil 4 Remake
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Release Date: March 24, 2023
Platforms: PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC

Resident Evil is a franchise staple in the horror genre. Its first game released in 1996, and its latest title is a remake of one of the most popular installments, Resident Evil 4. Capcom has done a decent job changing the Resident Evil formula every few games to keep things fresh, and Resident Evil 4 was the one that infused heart-pounding action into its gameplay. After the success of the Resident Evil 2 and 3 remake, it only made sense that Capcom would give Resident Evil 4 the same treatment.

There are likely hundreds of reviews for this popular title, but this article is written by someone who has never played a Resident Evil game. I feel this is important to divulge, and I will bring a newer and hopefully objective perspective. However, this will also mean my comparisons to the original may be limited.

**Mild Spoilers ahead**


Resident Evil 4 follows Leon Kennedy, a protagonist who made his debut on Resident Evil 2. The opening of the game provides a high level overview of his experience with Umbrella and the horrors that resulted from them in Raccoon City. After undergoing intense training, Leon is no longer a rookie cop, but is rather under the employ of the President of the United States to save his missing daughter, Ashley.

Intelligence leads Leon to a remote area in Europe. Local law enforcement escorts him to the suspected location, but disaster swoops in as soon as they stop for a break. Leon discovered a destitute village full of bloodthirsty people. They brutally murder the local police and try to kill Leon; however, he is saved by the bell, and the villagers seem deeply connected with a cult-like religion.

With the help of questionable allies such as Luis Serra and Ada Wong (the latter also a familiar face in the franchise), Leon fights his way through the community, learning they are infected with a parasite called Las Plagas–and this parasite seems to draw them to the cult, Los Illuminados. Despite his efforts, Leon is forcefully infected with Plagas as well. He races against time to follow Ashley to Lord Ramon Salazar’s creepy castle. This harrowing mission reveals the ugly truth behind Los Illuminados and the traitor who kidnapped Ashley.

Image Source: Capcom


Resident Evil 4 as a remake. As mentioned before, I haven’t played the original that released in 2005 on the Nintendo GameCube; however, I did watch someone play it, and I’ve read up on some of the major changes. So while I’m familiar with a few that I mention below, here is a great link to the top 10 differences that I found helpful.

What I do know is that there were new enemies such as the Brute. As you can imagine, the Brute is a massive being with a cow or boar’s head tied on while they wield massive hammers or other deadly weapons. I also know is that the escort portions with Ashley differs in that there is a two-hit rule before she is killed by an enemy. The first hit will incapacitate her, and if you don’t “pick her back up”, a second hit will cause a game over. There is also a parry system, and Luis plays a little more of a role during some fights. Lastly, it seems like a lot of Leon’s cheesy lines remain. As long as you don’t take it seriously, it adds to the experience. Personally, it also helped lightened the mood since I’m not a big horror game player.

While the original Resident Evil 4 aged well, the remake still added an insane amount of polish. It looked fantastic, right down to the gruesome eyes of the chainsaw villager or those terrifying Regeneradors.

Image Source: Capcom

Graphics and Sound. As mentioned above, the Resident Evil 4 remake looks and feels like a next gen title. Although it’s still a dark (literally and figuratively) game, the details from character and enemy models to the rain were a pleasure to experience. The sound retained a lot of the “scary ambiance” as you control Leon throughout the various chapters. The chanting from the Ganados to the dangling chains I try to avoid so I could escape the Garradors were two such examples. So, despite several feedback from friends that questioned the need for a remake, I appreciated the high quality visual and sound that supported immersion.

Image Source: Capcom

Gameplay and level design. This is where the Resident Evil 4 remake really shined. The controls felt fluid, and the levels were broken down into chapters that made sense. As Leon, you can run, attack, and new to the remake, parry. The parry system is available when you have a knife, and it comes in handy as there is no roll or dodge option.I feel without the parry option, the game would feel too cumbersome if you are trying to play defensively. I will also say, Leon’s “run” was a little frustrating, and at times I felt like Leon was moving through molasses. It was also a bummer whenever your combat knife broke, but thankfully the Merchant can always repair it.

Once you stagger enemies, you can still kick the snot out of them, and even fatally stab those that could return as Plagas. While there have been some changes, Capcom still emphasizes resource management. I played on Normal difficulty, and I barely scraped by after each chapter.

Speaking of chapters, Capcom paced Resident Evil 4 well. You would regularly cycle through moments of calm and swarms of enemies as you travel through several major areas in the game: the village, the lake, the castle, and the island. Each had their own set of challenges, side quests, and treasures to uncover. The crafting system works well, and the puzzles were fun.

Image Source: Capcom


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Capcom’s latest remake, Resident Evil 4, looks and feels like a modern game. WIth a mix of horror and action/adventure, it makes for a fun romp, even for those that typically do not engage in horror games such as myself. The beginning sequence where you take on infected villagers on a timer was incredibly challenging, but there was a sense of satisfaction when I finally got used to controlling Leon and understanding how the game should be played. That first section did seem much harder than the rest of the game, but there was also a lot of variety as you progress through the chapters. Some are more stealth, others action action-packed, and still others retain the quintessential Resident Evil horror (aka. the lab level with the Regeneradors).

I found a lot of joy in seeking out all the treasure while working my way through the main mission. The sequences where you escort Ashley wasn’t as horrible as I recalled watching my friends manage through the 2005 version. To me, it seemed like Capcom kept Resident Evil 4′s identity and made a few tweaks. These tweaks seemed to both remove and add challenge to the modern version.

Most of all, I was surprised at how much I got sucked into the lore. I read every entry and was able to piece together the tragic fall of the village and those that were possessed by the Plagas. I appreciated Luis’ and Ashley’s character development as well as the dynamic between Leon and his former Commander, Krauser. The fight with Krauser, along with the other major fights, were a blast.

Image Source: Capcom
Image Source: Capcom

Looking at Resident Evil 4 remake by itself, I firmly believe this is a well made and entertaining game. I personally found controlling Leon a struggle–I hoped for a faster run and ability to dodge; however, this is coming from someone not used to ‘Resident Evil mechanics’.

I will say I’ve observed a lot of division between Resident Evil fans. Some may never like Resident Evil 4 simply because it doesn’t follow the traditional horror routes like 2 and 3. Others I’ve noticed, rated this game a 0 on Metacritic, just because of the option for microtransactions post-release. As you can image, many people are outraged by this. While I don’t like microtransactions either, this is barely reason to rate the game poorly, especially when these microtransactions are not necessary to play and enjoy the game.

Overall, this remake is great for fans of Resident Evil 4 or new folks who like a mix of action and horror. It just is flat out fun and the pros greatly weight out the cons. As a chicken for horror games, I still highly recommend this title!

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