Resident Evil 4 Remake Review: Bingo


In Capcom’s recent quest to revisit the original Resident Evil games, remaking Resident Evil 4 is the hardest project to justify. Although time has not spared the fixed camera angles and awkward controls in Resident Evil 2 and 3, Resident Evil 4 was designed specifically to reinvent the tedious conventions of previous games. He was so successful that games from God of War to Fortnite still turn to his design vocabulary to formulate their actions in the third person. Twenty years later, the original Resi 4 remains not only playable, but also completely addictive, a master class in action game design.

Therefore, the main task of Resident Evil 4 Remake is not to screw up. With great relief, we can say that Capcom has used its screwdrivers with atomic precision. This remake retains the core qualities that make Resident Evil 4 one of the greatest games of all time. Intense crowd control battles, endlessly inventive action sequences, even a B—movie-style narrative – all of this has survived the transition period in a recognizable and fascinating way. Which doesn’t mean it’s a straight protector. The fight has been changed, some sequences have been reworked, some ideas have been expanded, and some have even been removed. But the main throughline is definitely the Resi 4, and it’s as fresh and invigorating as it was in 2005.

Like the Resi 2 remake, Capcom’s Resident Evil 4 Remake is a complete reworking of the game on the company’s RE engine. However, the challenge facing a visual overhaul is slightly different. Instead of recontextualizing pre-rendered environments in 3D, Capcom should instead update the representation of the original without compromising its strict, creepy aesthetic.

In this, Capcom maintains an excellent balance. The initial part of the village remains largely painted in autumn brown tones, but everything is drawn much more intricately. You can see the protruding masonry of the buildings of the opening village, the overlapping clay tiles of their sagging roofs. Perhaps the most impressive visual work is the Ganados, the base—level enemies that constantly bother you throughout the game. Capcom uses the power of modern rendering technology to improve their expressiveness compared to the roughly hewn polygons of the GameCube era. Ganado has piercing eyes on faces with deep wrinkles and grimaces of grimaces that remain visible even when their faces are splattered with blood.

More broadly, the opening section of the remake provides a handy snapshot of how Capcom balances saving and changing. Leon’s initial meeting with Ganado at the Hunting Lodge was made more detailed, the tension gradually increased and added a couple of new shocks to the unfaithful veteran players. For comparison, the following village battle more accurately reproduces the pre-industrial pressure cooker from the original, perfectly conveying the splendor of this iconic scenery.

However, even here there are subtle changes, mainly related to the battle adjustments in the remake. Now Leon can sneak up on enemies and quietly kill them with a knife, adding a little stealth to the mechanical cycle of the game. As in The Last of Us, here it’s not so much about making your way through the contractions, as about pumping up tension until you are inevitably noticed, after which hell begins.
Knives are central to the remake of combat changes. In addition to the fact that you can make several silent kills, Leon’s knife also allows him to fend off enemy attacks, quickly free himself from captures and destroy incapacitated opponents before they can recover. Indeed, knives are useful tools in the Resi 4 remake, so they are also expensive. Leon’s survival knife wears out over time until it eventually breaks. If that happens, you’ll have to rely on much more fragile kitchen knives and other blades collected from the environment until you find a place to repair.

In addition to the more complex work with knives, the Resi 4 fight largely corresponds to the original, that is, it is sublime. The Ganados are as delightfully ruthless as ever, rushing at you with everything from bare hands to farm tools and chainsaws. Leon responds to these coordinated attacks with a combination of cold-blooded shooting and bursts of martial arts flair, stunning enemies with head shots before rushing forward to clean up the U-turn. Along with Leon’s knife counterattacks, there are a few other small but significant changes to his set of techniques. Leon can now attack, which makes it easier to change positions during combat, and some attacks can be evaded by responding to the prompt of the button in a timely manner. Together, this allows Leon to resist almost any attack thrown in his way, which is incredibly nice if you have calculated everything correctly.

To be clear, Capcom has not turned Resi 4 into a fist rhythm action game that requires perfection. This is still mostly about making reasonable use of the resources available to you. Choosing a weapon appropriate to the situation remains an important part of combat, as does taking advantage of the environment by barricading yourself inside a building with furniture or firing explosive barrels and ceiling lamps to incinerate your enemies. It’s especially nice to use your enemies’ weapons against them. The dynamite stick in ganado’s hand is just as dangerous for them as for you, and a well-aimed shot can smear a whole group of enemies on the ground, saving you both ammunition and health. As in the original, there is plenty of room for creative problem solving and tactical changes on the fly, and what adjustments Capcom has made contributes to this emerging game.

While the fight remains pleasantly familiar, more significant changes have been made to the story. Most of them are more specific to the narrative, with a rewritten script that tries to reduce the overwhelming cheese smell coming from the original. But the main plot was also reversed, some key events took place either at different times or in different ways.

Do these changes make the story better? Not massively. The plot remains clearly a category B movie, while the script and characters retain the heady smell of queso. Nevertheless, although the narrative of Resi 4 will never be as popular as, say, in The Last of Us, it nevertheless gives great pleasure. And it does make some genuine improvements, like giving Ashley a more rounded character by removing some of the more ballistically awful lines addressed to her.

In any case, the purpose of the story of Resi 4 is not to become a great literary work, but to facilitate the unprecedented design of the game. It’s easy to forget how often and deftly this game escalates and reinvents itself. Almost every field you enter throws you some new idea or mixes up old ideas in a way that destroys your expectations. The remake does a fantastic job highlighting this creativity. Again, not everything happens exactly the same. Some of the decorations are almost identical to the original, but others have been improved or adjusted, usually for the better. One of the most improved sections of the game is a short sequence in which you play as Ashley. Once the weakest part of Resident Evil 4, this part was heavily reworked and turned into a fantastically tense scene, removing most of what didn’t work and refocusing the action on the best idea of the original sequence.

Although almost all the main episodes were included in the remake, not all. The biggest omission is the fast events, which have been almost completely removed. This basically means you’re less likely to die suddenly when the game does something unexpected, although it does mean some significant changes to how single boss combat works. However, the end result is definitely an improvement, creating a closer and more personal contact.

The remake has several drawbacks. Ashley has obviously been locked up for a long time, because she is constantly suffocating whenever she is with you, and her hyperventilation behind your back after a while begins to distract. The remake also follows a recent trend where NPC companions point out solutions to puzzles before you have a chance to solve them yourself. Finally, a lot of new content revolves around the merchant, some of which seem useless compared to other Capcom design changes. This doesn’t always match the overall course of the game and seems unnecessary in a game that is as diverse as this one.

But these are minor quibbles. In general, Resident Evil 4 is as good a remake as one could hope for, which clearly understands what made the original great, makes thoughtful changes where it considers it necessary, improves parts of the game that didn’t work so well, and of course, makes the whole experience easier on the eye. It may not be as necessary a setup as Resident Evil 2, but nevertheless, it’s a great reason to return to one of the best games ever created.

Resident Evil 4 Remake is released on March 24. This is on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X&S and PC. NME reviewed it on PC.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here