Assie Note: The following is from forum mod eskimo-bob.
In 2003 Capcom had signed an exclusivity deal with Nintendo to bring over the first three Resident Evil titles along with Resident Evil: Code Veronica and making Resident Evil 0 for the GameCube. This deal also included that Capcom were to develop five new titles exclusively for the GameCube: Dead Phoenix, a game that was quickly scrapped after the first screenshots were shown, Killer7, Viewtiful Joe, P.N.03, and Resident Evil 4. This deal was known as the Capcom Five. Unfortunately for Nintendo and Capcom, only one of these games stayed exclusive, two of them got average reviews and one of them was critically acclaimed, but never sold well at all. The last game that Capcom released in the Capcom Five was Resident Evil 4. The game was later ported to the PS2 and later to the Wii, which is the version I’ve played.
What makes it a classic:
Before I go into details about the gameplay and such, I’m gonna go ahead and say that this game is not a survival horror game, as the game involves little survival and barely any horror. There is little puzzle solving and ammo isn’t too scarce. Instead Capcom has made the game into a third-person shooter. Now if those words make you think of shooting aliens and hiding behind walls, fret not for there is no such thing in RE4... well, technically there is, but more on that later. In RE4 you play as Leon Kennedy, an ex-police who survived the Raccoon City incident. (Didn’t play Resident Evil 2? Raccoon City got overrun with zombies.) Now he’s on a mission to rescue the president’s daughter Ashley Graham who was last spotted in a village in Spain. Upon reaching the village Leon finds out the hard way that the villagers are all corrupted by a virus that turns them into mindless zombies. The story is cliché and as with most Resident Evil games you won’t play the game just to see the end of it. The game is filled with cheesy one-liners and poor dialogue that is so bad it’s actually funny. The voice actors do a good job with this script, though.
What completely makes this game is the gameplay. The game is filled with set piece moments and different scenarios that require you to play in another way and few of them ever repeat. To put things into perspective: in the first two hours of the game you encounter a small group of dynamite tossing villagers that stand behind a low barricade. You also have this on your side of the room and you are able to take cover behind it by pressing the A button and can pop up at any moment to blow the dynamites out of their hands. This only repeats once as you in the last two hours of the game have to take out some turrets, but these two walls you can hide behind throughout the game can be easily ignored in favour of just bum rushing your enemies down instead. Speaking of the game’s length: I managed to beat it in little less than 14 hours on my first run-through which is an incredible length, but then several new modes were unlocked such as weapons, a really enjoyable Mercenaries mode that’s basically a time attack mode, two 2 hour background stories that recycle environments from the main quest and more. The game is just full of things to do even when you’ve beaten the meaty, enjoyable story mode.
Something that can’t be as enjoyed today as it could back when it was released is the usage of quick time events. Today they’re overused in most games and aren’t the slightest bit original, but this game was released before God of War, the game that made it popular to use QTEs.
Normally I would just take the original over the remake, but this version of the game is superior to the GameCube version in every way. The game comes on one disc, there are more unlockables, you can aim your gun by pointing your Wii remote at the screen or use the GameCube or Classic Controller and the game has Widescreen support. While on the topic of visual quality: the game is a stone cold stunner. To this day it looks better than several Wii and GameCube titles (if not all of the latter.) and repetition in level and character design only exists in the middle of the game, namely chapter 3.
Of course, the game isn’t without its issues, and there are many to be honest. The first two chapters are excellent, but the third chapter goes downhill so quickly that it’s a pain to have to play through, really. The bosses aren’t hard at all, almost all the characters are priests that look identical... I’m sure not everyone will have an issue with Chapter 3, but I certainly did. Besides Chapter 3, there are still several issues I have. Once you get the Broken Butterfly or Killer7 (both two incredibly powerful handguns with little ammo spread throughout the game) all boss battles go from being easy to just being there. It’s almost a relief to see a giant ogre in a room as that lets you save ammo and get away with barely a scratch.
I could go on about the issues I have with the game, but that’s not what this article is about; it’s about making you want to play the game, and the game I’ve chosen to write about makes it very easy for me: it’s highly replayable, looks beautiful, has some of the best controls I’ve ever had the pleasure of using in a videogame and keeps mixing up the locations and rules of gameplay through the entire 14 hour experience. The game has some real issues with monotony from time to time, but in the end RE4’s worth it.
The coming articles by me will hopefully be shorter. :P