Resident Evil 4 Remastered - Review

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Finishing up Capcom's line of classic remasters is Resident Evil 4 - which by far should be the most anticipated remaster of the bunch.
Resident Evil 4 was a game changer when it came out. Introducing the world to third person shooter horror, it revolutionized many game mechanics and surprisingly enough gave the Resident Evil franchise a breath of fresh air with a faster paced and more action oriented gameplay that still incorporated many survival horror elements though.
Does Resident Evil 4 stand the test of time with its remastered version?..




The Original Game

Resident Evil 4 was released all the way back in 2005 originally planned as a Gamecube exclusive yet also quickly found its way onto other platforms like the Playstation 2, PC, Wii and more. And luckily, so, because to this day, Resident Evil 4 is considered by many to be one of the best games ever made.
And as it is typical for "game changing" innovative games, Resident Evil 4 was a huge gamble for Capcom and the entire Resident Evil franchise. With many gameplay concepts for the game getting changed and or even scrapped entirely during its development (one of those concepts even led to the original Devil May Cry), Resident Evil 4 introduced a very different kind of playstyle for the series. With a bigger focus on action but not fogetting its survival horror roots, Resident Evil 4 struck a great balance by offering something for newcomers and longtime fans alike - something that only very few games manage to do.

RE4 revolutionized the genre and amazed both old and new fans alike.

While many gamers nowadays also deem Resident Evil 4 to be the starting point for the franchise's more action oriented route, those people forget that while admittedly future installments opted more for a bigger action focus, Resident Evil 4 is the one title in the franchise that managed to blend together action, puzzles and survival horror gameplay like barely any other game.
With that said, Resident Evil 4 was the first big game to introduce the over the shoulder third person view for a shooting game the best. Without any unnecessary HUD displays overly cluttering the view, the game put you as Leon Kennedy on the search for the president's daughter in the focus of both story and gameplay. Resident Evil 4 is a big leap from what the franchise usually was known for by decidedly putting shooting and a faster pace in the forefront (and resultingly replacing the slower more puzzle oriented gameplay of the first games).
But that doesn't mean that Resident Evil 4 went the route of Dino Crisis 2 and became a big shooting gallery. Instead, Resident Evil 4 perfectly managed to still be nailbitingly tense by severely limiting your ammo supply in the game and thus forcing you to skillfully and strategically aim before shooting to preserve ammo (or even think about whether to shoot at all). Further underlining this is the fact that you can buy several weapons and upgrades in the game, but no ammo (which in turn is only found throughout the location by exploring the area and or dead enemies).

RE4 is the perfect blend of action shooter and survival horror game.

With that said, Resident Evil 4 manages to keep it's tension up all throughout the entire 10 to 13 hour playtime of the game despite Leon getting more and more equipped with deadlier weapons through its sheer amount of so many great level designs, boss battles, puzzles and just sheer memorable moments. Whereas many games nowadays offer great stories with one or two specific standout moments or highlights, Resident Evil 4 is one of those games that are just so chockfull of them, that it's hard to even name 10 of them without leaving some out. From the memorable first arrival and fight for survival in the first village, over the lake monster fight, to the encounters with the scary as heck Regenerators, and many many more, the game's rather straightforward B-movie storyline is filled to the brim with unforgettable moments.

There are just too many memorable moments to count.

Speaking of story, Resident Evil 4 luckily is brave enough to continue Resident Evil's story even without directly involving Umbrella. With many new elements like the Las Plagas introduced for the first time, Resident Evil 4 really feels like a fresh new start for the franchise that nevertheless doesn't neglect the past events of the franchise. And while, again, the main storyline of Resident Evil 4 revolves around Leon having to save the president's daughter all while stopping a Las Plagas outbreak, the game's story is simple yet incredibly effective and truely feels like one big adventure. Mostly due to the fact that the game doesn't focus soley on the horror genre but incorporates horror, action and adventure all at the same time with seemless transitions, the different elements in Resident Evil 4 never feel unfitting. Instead Resident Evil 4 stays true to its horror roots but nevertheless shows that it can evolve into new territories and incorporate new genres that compliment each other.

It's a straightforward B-movie story, but a damn well told one.


The Remaster Updates

But how does RE4 stack up against Capcom's other remasters?

Resident Evil 4 Remastered actually boasts only very very little in terms of a true "remaster". Of course though the graphics are expectedly put into HD quality and resultingly are much sharper this time around. While the atmosphere is always still kept intact just like in the original, the environments in Resident Evil 4 look beautifully creepy - especially for a game from 2005.

But the sharper textures and smooth framerate are really all that fans can sadly expect from this remaster. Whereas of course all additional unlockable content from previous versions, like the bonus missions that you can play as Ada Wong, are also present just like the Mercenaries mode, there is not that much visible work outside of the graphics that has been put into this remaster.

What turns out as a missed opportunity though, is that Resident Evil 4 Remastered doesn't offer any control scheme options at all. Sure enough, it's nice that Capcom decided to entirely stick to the classic control scheme, yet in 2016, RE4's controls admittedly feel quite a bit alienating at first. On top of the nowadays already awkward feeling "tank controls" of the game, the classic button layout of Resident Evil 4 certainly doesn't follow many standards of third person shooters of today. And again, while it's great that Capcom includes the classic controls, which despite being awkward feeling at first don't take too long to get used to again, Capcom could've easily also included a more modern control scheme to give players the option at least to play the game more comfortably.

Aside from better visuals, don't expect anything that you haven't already seen.


The Verdict

All in all, even considering that Resident Evil 4 was released over 10 years ago, this doesn't hurt this innovative and classic game in the slightest. Even in 2016, Resident Evil 4's tense gameplay that perfectly balances survival horror and action in a challenging game with a gripping story, manages to wipe the floor with what most other modern games have to offer. While other games sure enough might outdo it in terms of open worlds, content and extensive gameplay mechanics, Resident Evil 4 makes that up with simply great storytelling, well balanced gameplay and level design that holds up remarkably well even to this day. With that said, considering how well it aged and how innovative it was for its time, Resident Evil 4 even today would get a full 10/10 from me.
Looking at the remastered version however, Capcom sure enough made Resident Evil 4 look as good as possible with sharper textures and more detailed character models that enhance the game's already stellar atmosphere. Sadly, though except for additionally including the expected bonus missions of Ada and the Mercenaries mode, there's not much else here that hasn't already been available in other versions of the game.

While the remaster treatment of the game is aside from the graphical aspects quite a bit underwhelming, Resident Evil 4 stands the test of time and even in 2016 shows that it rightfully can be considered a masterpiece of a game and one of the best entries in the Resident Evil horror franchise.

          

 Final Verdict: 9 out of 10 
(Original Game: 10/10, Remaster Treatment: 7/10)

Status: Amazing!




Big thanks goes out to Capcom for providing us with a review code of the game.

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