There is a valid concern among gamers regarding the necessity of a Resident Evil 4 remake. The original game, released in 2005, was considered a masterpiece by Capcom and revolutionized the third-person shooter genre. Even today, it remains relevant, enjoyable, and boasts exceptional gameplay. Given its near-perfect status, some may question the need to enhance it further.
The recent release of Resident Evil 4 sheds light on the reasons behind its remake. The remake of the first Resident Evil game preserved the original experience, with gameplay that remained largely unchanged. Players still had to navigate using tank controls and fixed camera angles, while solving puzzles.
The third-person shooting mechanics in the remakes of Resident Evil 2 and 3 significantly altered the original gameplay experience. Rather than being true remakes, they were essentially new games that followed the same storylines. Given that Resident Evil 4 (2005) was already a third-person shooter, it made more sense to remake it with added features and fresh content. But did the remake live up to the original’s perfection? Read on for our review of Resident Evil 4 (remake).
This is a review coupled with a supplemental video review. You can watch the video review or read the full review of the below:
Resident Evil 4
Platforms: Windows PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 (reviewed), Xbox Series X|S
Release Date: March 24, 2023
Price: $59.99 USD
The latest iteration of Resident Evil 4 is a stroke of genius. Capcom has not only created one of the most exceptional remakes in history but has also produced their masterpiece. The original game was expansive and filled with gameplay scenarios that subsequent entries could not match. This new version captures the lightning in a bottle once again.
In contrast to recent remakes, any content that is removed is replaced with something new. The disappointment of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis’ remake, which removed multiple bosses and locations, is still fresh in many people’s minds.
Fans will be caught off guard by the brand new and unique sequences that pay homage to the original Resident Evil 4, leaving them pleasantly surprised when they realize something is missing.
The remake tastefully and logically shuffles familiar areas and sequences, giving it a unique identity. It offers a grimdark version of Resident Evil 4, with added locations and expanded gameplay. The inclusion of new weapons, puzzles, and enemies make the gameplay more complex, surpassing the original in terms of depth and challenge.
The narrative is expanded upon in greater detail. As is common knowledge, following the events of Resident Evil 2, Leon transitions into a covert operative and is dispatched to a sinister region of Spain to retrieve Ashley, the daughter of the President. Unfortunately, the mission does not unfold as anticipated, resulting in a harrowing experience for all involved.
Leon has toned down his smartass attitude, but has become more of a hardass. He is less inclined to engage in humor and is more focused on practicality. This time, he resembles Jason Bourne more than James Bond. Although he still uses some of his classic lines, he also creates new ones in certain situations. He no longer appears to be a dudebro, but rather someone who would resort to violent means to obtain the information he requires.
The narrative of this tale remains true to its source material, but with an enhanced portrayal of the characters. The secondary roles are given greater significance and are allotted more on-screen presence. The beloved Cockney merchant is granted an expanded dialogue and is no longer limited to just purchasing and selling items from Leon. The additional lore notes provide a backstory for every element, including the giant and Verdugo, who are now given obscure explanations.
The enhanced development has greatly benefited Ashley’s character, while still maintaining her essence. She now has more opportunities to showcase her courage and take on significant roles.
On the standard difficulty, there is no need to worry about her health anymore. She is no longer a liability and does not make foolish decisions in the story. However, she is unfortunately wearing an unattractive skort and Leon is not criticized for taking a quick glance.
The playability of the gameplay remains consistent with the remakes of 2 and 3, providing gamers with familiar handling and control kinesthetics. Additionally, new actions such as crouching introduce a mechanic element and create additional hiding spots to explore.
Leon’s knife combat has significantly evolved and now serves as one of his crucial weapons. In addition to its ability to parry, it also plays a vital role in executing finishers and stealth kills.
In order to maintain equilibrium, performing contextual actions will result in a reduction of durability. However, the merchant has the ability to restore Leon’s reliable blade. In the event that Leon is without a knife, there are disposable ones scattered throughout the game, which must be taken into account when managing inventory.
Leon’s suitcase has made a comeback, and it’s even more impressive than before. The thrill of organizing the contents is back, and for those who find the task tedious, Resident Evil 4 now includes an auto-sort feature. Don’t miss out on the excitement.
Moreover, the case can undergo unexpected alterations beyond mere capacity enhancement. Resident Evil 4 incorporates additional RPG elements, yet they are executed with subtlety and sophistication.
Resident Evil 4 provides gamers with a constant sense of progression, thanks to its new treasure system. The sidequest of shooting down medallions in the farm and graveyard from the original game makes a significant return and is incorporated in various ways throughout the entire story.
As anticipated, the RE Engine produces stunning visuals that exceed expectations. While it was already anticipated that Resident Evil 4 would look impressive, the graphics still manage to leave players in awe. The level of detail showcased is so impressive that it’s difficult to believe that this is a game running on last-generation hardware. Each area is filled with objects that boast high polycounts, with even the barrels of Leon’s guns appearing perfectly round without any visible vertices.
The Pueblo’s early exploration is accompanied by a sense of filth and grime, creating a fittingly third-world atmosphere. The addition of new weather effects, such as the thick, suffocating fog and the bone-chilling wind, adds to the realism of the environment. These moments provide a stark contrast to the warm, candle-lit areas that exude a musty scent, creating a peaceful and calming atmosphere.
Forget about any worries regarding censorship of gore. The brutality inflicted upon both enemies and Leon is depicted in a manner that appears even more excruciating and gruesome. In the event that Leon is beheaded by a hatchet, the execution is prolonged and agonizing, with numerous strikes until his flesh ultimately surrenders.
The monstrous creatures and repulsive abominations appear astonishing and exude a greater sense of danger. The animation is more substantial, and the motion capture performances add a lot of character to their movements. The grime and dirt that were merely suggested in the 2005 rendition are now visible in exceptional detail.
The broken butterfly is a weapon that can cause gruesome damage to cultists, often resulting in their bodies being split in half. The aftermath of such an attack is a disturbing sight, with bloody tendrils flailing where the waist once was. The Plagas weak points, which are exposed during the attack, have blinking eyes and pulsating veins, adding to the revolting effect. The environment is also filled with gruesome scenes, with rotting corpses and bodies that have been savagely killed in inhuman ways.
The environments in the game offer a surprising range of diversity. While Salazar’s castle was once characterized by its uniform medieval architecture, the remake presents the lord’s residence in varying states of disrepair. Some areas resemble the darkest dungeons imaginable, while others boast elegant baroque features. Capcom has clearly made an effort to ensure that each setting offers a unique visual experience.
Is the original Resident Evil 4 replaced by its remake? Not exactly. While the remake provides numerous distinctive experiences that are incredibly impressive and, in some cases, surpass the 2005 game, it does not entirely replace it. Many gamers may opt for the remake, but it is unfortunate as the original game has its own exclusive moments that the remake lacks.
The remake of Resident Evil 4 follows in the footsteps of the first Resident Evil remake by building upon the franchise’s strong foundation. It introduces new elements while also reimagining beloved scenarios. Capcom approached the changes with great care, resulting in a superb gaming experience that pays homage to the original game’s legacy.
Capcom provided a copy of Resident Evil 4 for review on PlayStation 5. For more information on Niche Gamer’s review and ethics policy, please visit our website. The game is currently available on Steam for Windows PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S.