Resident Evil 4 was released in 2005 and changed the game. Action and survival horror would never be the same. The notorious “tank” controls of yesteryear were discarded forever in favour of tight, over-the-shoulder third person movement. Technical improvements meant more enemies on screen at once, leading to hectic action-survival set pieces. If this game had come out 5 years earlier, Dr. Salvador would probably be one of four total enemies in that original village sequence.
Yes, Resi 4 is truly a classic. When the remakes of Resident Evil 2 & 3 were well received, 4 seemed inevitable. But 2 & 3 are different beasts. 4 has a special place in so many peoples hearts, a critical darling filled with iconic moments and cheesy dialogue that was played and replayed time and again by many, yours truly included. To remake such a title is a risky proposition. What if they ruin it? What if Leon doesn’t say his stupid one-liners any more? What if they make Ashley’s ears smaller?
Thankfully, Capcom know what they’re doing. This remake is a near perfect modern update, tweaking gameplay mechanics just enough to be interesting and toning down the camp just a smidge while still keeping some corny lines in there. Granted, I am still a *tiny* bit annoyed that Leon doesn’t say “No thanks, bro” at any point over the course of the game, but I will eventually get over this glaring omission.
The village, the castle, the island, all locations have been re-created with astonishing care and attention to detail. The mysterious merchant returns with new side-quests, gleefully throwing logic out the window with a cockney twinkle in his eye. Even his target range is back, and you can tell the developers really have love for the original material when the bonus round kicks in and a remix of the radio music from the OG intro starts playing.
Not just the merchant is back, every character has returned with a modern twist. Ashley is less of a useless, whiny damsel in distress stereotype. Luis actually sounds Spanish and thankfully makes no mention of Ashley’s “ballistics.” Ada decided to leave the evening wear at home for once, and Krauser is back with actual character motivation.
Sadly, I did say the remake is *near* perfect. Some notable exclusions include the “It” monster and associated boss fight, which I think would have paired really well with the more serious horror tone of the remake. Also… Um… No, I think that’s it. I miss that one boss fight and some of Leon’s comebacks and have no further notes.
Capcom really got this right. I have total faith in whatever they decide to remake next. As long as Chris Redfield still punches a boulder in the inevitable 5 remake, I’ll be happy.