Resident Evil 4 review: another day in parasite paradise Dexerto

Published: 2023-03-17T07:00:00

Updated: 2023-03-16T16:34:03

The Resident Evil 4 remake is almost here, but did the game really need a remake, and more importantly, is it worth it?

Resident Evil 4 (2005) is one of the most celebrated games of all time. The original not only reinvigorated an aging horror franchise, but also helped redefine the third-person shooter as we know it. That’s quite a legacy to live up to, and while the original PS1-era Resident Evil trilogy was in dire need of a remake, many fans were on the fence about a Resident Evil 4 remake.

Of many ways, the game it didn’t need one, especially after being ported and upgraded to every console generation since its release. Also, while there is no such thing as a perfect game, for many, RE4 is as close as they can get. A remake risked tarnishing that rather than elevating it (possibly, like RE3’s rushed remake). With this in mind, we entered the new version of Resident Evil 4 with a mix of apprehension and anticipation, but it didn’t take long for us to realize that our fears were misplaced.

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Resident Evil 4 key details

  • Price: £59.99 / $59.99
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: March 24, 2023
  • Platforms: PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC

Resident Evil 4 Trailer

welcome back stranger

In many ways, Resident Evil 4 Remake is the same game you remember, only modernized. That said, Capcom has also taken the opportunity to make some adjustments. The good news is that each of them is for the better. It’s my great pleasure (and some degree of relief) to tell you that the remake of Resident Evil 4 improves on the original in every way.

To be clear, this isn’t simply a 4K remaster of the original Resident Evil 4, this is a complete remake from the ground up in the same vein as the RE1, 2, and 3 remakes. If you’ve played the last two games, you’ll feel instantly at home. , even if you didn’t play the original RE4. This remake feels like someone took the template from Resident Evil 4 and lovingly combined it with the mechanics of Resident Evil Village.

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Village itself was an homage to RE4 in many ways, so it’s great to see 4 return and borrow from its little brother, while also putting the RE Engine to such excellent use.

Chainsaw in Resident Evil 4 RemakeCapcom

Dr. Salvador returns, along with his chainsaw.

Survival Horror vs. Action Horror

The original RE4 was distinct from previous entries in the series, as it was more light-hearted and action-focused. The game kept the B-movie flavor, but went with an approach that was full of weapons and one-liners. However, in recent years, the Resident Evil series has returned to a more focused, serious, and horror-focused universe. Being different from what came before and what came after, the original RE4 was starting to feel out of place.

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Thankfully, the remake does an excellent job of adapting to this new style, but without dishonoring or changing what made the original so beloved. While it puts more emphasis on survival horror, it’s still very much in the spirit of the Resident Evil 4 we know. Leon’s jokes are still here and just as corny, but it all feels more in line with a now battle-hardened and confident Leon S. Kennedy. This is the Lion we met in the RE2 remake, instead of the super spy from the original RE4. His journey from rookie cop to badass cop feels natural and more believable this time around.

The remake brings back some of the more cartoonish elements of the original game, while finding new ways to reference, honor, and present them that should please purists. The game strips away some of the less interesting aspects and expands on the most celebrated moments. There were times when we thought, “I wonder how they’re going to do that,” and were pleasantly surprised and supportive of the change once it was done.

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Resident Evil 4 Remake gameplayCapcom

Resident Evil 4 is one of the most popular horror games of all time.

surviving the attack

The over-the-shoulder perspective that Resident Evil 4 popularized has never been more effective than in this remake. Leon is a joy to control and can get out of danger with roundhouse kicks, stomps, and German suplexes. The game also adopts the knife moves from the remake of Resident Evil 1, allowing Leon one last chance to avoid injury by stabbing a Cattle with a blade should he get caught.

Gunplay has also hit new franchise highs, even improving on the Village system. Every shot feels satisfying and heavy with each weapon having an important use and a reason to improve it. The new version brings back all the weapons from the original, but also throws in some surprises.

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Enemies never feel like cannon fodder, even in the most action-packed moments. Every crazed villager, muttering monk, and beyond feels like a legitimate threat. If you get complacent, they will bring out the best in you, especially when playing on the harder settings. We had also forgotten how terrifying the speed of a chainsaw could be. This remake soon reminded us of that.

Leon in Resident Evil 4 RemakeCapcom

Resident Evil 4 Remake offers plenty of scares but doesn’t lose sight of the action.

Building a New Resident Evil Universe

The remake’s story does a better job of making RE4 feel like an important chapter in the universe rather than a side story, or baffling coincidence. Resident Evil 7, Village, and the RE2 and 3 remakes have tried very hard to tell a complete and interconnected story, and the RE4 remake continues this trend by making slight changes to the plot. It works and helps connect the chapters that came before and will come after León’s trip to rural Spain.

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The motivations of various characters have been changed and this really improves the narrative flow of the game. The remake subverts expectations at times in an effort to throw off players who are very familiar with the original, but it does so in a way that always satisfies fans and new players alike. We’d compare it to the RE2 remake in this regard, staying true to what came before and still managing to be fresh.

Verdict 5/5

The new version of Resident Evil 4 is exactly what we wanted it to be and answers the question: is it possible to improve what many once considered the pinnacle of gaming? Luckily, this gives us the answer, and it’s a resounding yes.

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While we may still question whether a Resident Evil 4 remake was strictly necessary, we’re very glad Capcom created it. No matter which era of Resident Evil is your favourite, Capcom has designed this game with you in mind and we look forward to seeing where the series goes next.

Reviewed on PS5

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