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Review

Review: Resident Evil 4 HD

Buy it at a high price.

I absolutely despised Resident Evil 4 when it was first released in 2005 for the Gamecube. As a hardcore Resident Evil fan it felt like Capcom abandoned everything I loved about the series. It took me over two years to finish RE4 on the PS2 and I hated every second of it. It wasn’t until Capcom released the Wii version that I considered the game any fun. And even then, I never actually completed it.

Things are different now. I finally see why everyone holds this game in such high regard. It’s actually a bit sad. I hated RE4 so much for not being like previous installments and yet, in retrospect, it’s actually very similar in design. Sure, it might be more action oriented but it is still unmistakably Resident Evil.


Welcome to HD, stranger!
From the silence and mystery of the opening scene, to being surrounded by a mob of murderous villagers with blades, there’s really nothing quite like Resident Evil 4. You will feel claustrophobic even when you’re in an open area with several places to hide. Enemies will smash through windows and break open doors as they mindlessly hunt you down. It’s not so much scary as it is terrifying. Just hearing the sound of a chainsaw will send chills down your spine. And that’s only the beginning. There’s always something new added to the game that changes the way you approach enemies. RE4 has such deliberate pacing. It’s nearly flawless.

The sound design is just as great. You can hear villagers shouting at you in Spanish even at a distance and their blades make a distinctive sound as they approach your face; it really forces you to pay attention to your surroundings because you never know when there’s an enemy right behind you. It’s even more intense when you know something is coming but can’t see it. The Regenerador enemies in particular will get your heart pumping simply because of the way they breath. The voices in the HD version do sound a bit muffled at times but it’s not enough to hinder the experience.

Aiming is still a painless process due to the over-the-shoulder perspective. Although it doesn’t seem like much now, this was once a revolutionary mechanic that changed gaming forever. What’s interesting is that Capcom actually modified the button layout to match the setup used in Resident Evil. There is also a new control scheme that lets you attack using the shoulder buttons. Unfortunately, you still can’t use the right analog stick to aim your weapon.

The menu system is just as cumbersome as its ever been. It’s really not fun constantly going in and out of the inventory screen each time you want to equip a new weapon. Sometimes you have to switch between weapons multiple times within the span of a few seconds. As you can imagine, it gets annoying. You also have to play Tetris with your gear just to make sure it all fits neatly inside Leon’s attache case. These minor frustrations will make you appreciate the improvements made in RE5 and The Mercenaries 3D.

There’s not much to say about the story. The dialogue is just as awkward and cringe worthy as its ever been. The action sequences and boss battles are top notch though; fighting El Gigante for the first time will definitely leave a lasting impression. The QTE knife battle is still one of gaming’s more memorable moments. It’s not overdone and it’s surprisingly elegant.


Somehow, even escort missions are fun.
Visually, the graphics are a bit inconsistent. Capcom basically upscaled the assets from Gamecube version and that’s pretty much it. Textures are noticeably bad at times but the actual character models look phenomenal. The scenery and overall atmosphere are still second to none, and it all just looks better in HD. If you only played the PS2 version you will notice a huge improvement throughout. This is especially true since the cutscenes are rendered in real time. Despite the somewhat subtle visual upgrade, some areas truly look remarkable. This is by no means an inferior port.

The lack of motion controls for the PS3 version is perhaps the biggest travesty. There’s really no reason why Capcom couldn’t add PlayStation Move support. The Wii version of RE4 had motion controls, as did Resident Evil 5: Gold for PS3. The lack of any new content in general is really disappointing. Considering all the extras included in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition, it feels like so much more could have been done.

That’s not to say that Resident Evil 4 doesn’t have enough content as it is; it actually has tons of replay value. There’s Assignment Ada (a mini-game where you play as Ada Wong), Mercenaries mode, multiple difficulty levels, unlockable weapons, and Separate Ways – a five chapter side-story featuring Ada Wong. The only downside to Separate Ways is that Capcom used the same FMVs that originated with the PS2 version. The movie scenes look like a blurry mess as a result.

Pros

  • Character models look great.
  • Includes all of the extra content from the PS2 version.
  • Brilliant atmosphere with genuinely creepy moments.
  • Gameplay still holds up well.

Cons

  • Nothing more than a straightforward port.
  • Some textures don’t look as good as others.
  • No Move support for PS3 owners.

It’s impossible to not recommend Resident Evil 4. Whether or not you should buy the HD re-release is a different story. If you already have the Wii edition you aren’t missing much, aside from the upscaled graphics. It’s the same exact game but without the intuitive motion controls. The visuals are noticeably improved when compared to the PS2 version and it has more content than the original Gamecube release. There is no reason why you shouldn’t buy Resident Evil 4 HD if you’ve never played it before or don’t already own a previous release. It’s almost the definitive version of the game, but not quite.

Score: 8/10

32 Comments
  1. The Lone Steven
    Never heard of him.
    Since: May 2010

    Excellent review. Resident Evil 4 was the first resi game that i ever played. I hated the QTEs due to them either, being too sensitve or creating that pause which ruins the scene when watching them in the player or whatever it is called.

    Since the cutscenes are rendered in real time does, this mean that stupid pause is now gone whenever a QTE is involved?

    I prefer Leon’s Attache case as you can decide what to have in it and it does require you to play smart instead of i’ll have the 3billion weapons, plus the 90thousand health items and 9billion ammo packs. I hated resi 5′s system as you were unable to increase the size and are limited to the 9 spaces per person. Which can be annoying when the freaking AI uses up the ammo and health items.

    Anyway, i will pick this up at some point next year as i’m getting low on funds and gaming is now forced to take a back.

    Comment posted on 26/09/2011 at 09:12.
    • colmshan1990
      Member
      Since: Apr 2009

      I waste so much time playing with Leon’s case, but it actually does help immersion somewhat, at least if you overlook the fact that he doesn’t seem to actually have a case outside of the inventory, that is. :P

      Comment posted on 26/09/2011 at 12:04.
  2. cc_star
    Team TSA: Writer
    Since: Forever

    How odd, but not surprising it doesn’t support Move

    One day my BOOM Sticks will need dusting off… one day

    Comment posted on 26/09/2011 at 09:23.
    • smokeybeef
      Member
      Since: Feb 2009

      I played ‘Start the Party’ the other night. it’s actually quite good for mindless party fun. Plus Time Crisis!

      That being said, it’s a shame Move support wasn’t added for this. It would’ve made sense given the Wii port.

      Comment posted on 26/09/2011 at 09:32.
    • skibadee
      Member
      Since: Oct 2009

      I think your looking for something that is never going to please you there are loads of good move games out.

      Comment posted on 26/09/2011 at 11:33.
  3. R4U Eldave0
    andUandU
    Since: Aug 2008

    Nice review. RE4 is the best game of all time as far as I’m concerned and I couldn’t say no to the £6 price tag of the HD version :)

    Comment posted on 26/09/2011 at 09:35.
    • Youles
      Member
      Since: Feb 2011

      That is quite a statement!! I really liked 1 & 2 best, the first one was quite scary as ammo was in such short supply! £6.00 was ridiculous, although my mate checked the following day and it was £8.00, so I really feel like I got a bargain! :)

      My favourite game ever is probably Zelda Link’s Awakening or FFVII, and I don’t actually play that many RPGs. Weird.

      Comment posted on 26/09/2011 at 09:42.
      • R4U Eldave0
        andUandU
        Since: Aug 2008

        Yeah. My favourite Resident Evil games are the gamecube REmake and Resi2, I just know they are pretty flawed in terms of gameplay (hence why I consider R4 the ‘best’) :) hopefully that makes sense heh.
        Code Veronica this week, another no-brainer for me. Loved that game on the Dreamcast :D

        Comment posted on 26/09/2011 at 10:31.
      • Youles
        Member
        Since: Feb 2011

        Yeah I know what you mean! :)

        Really, Code Veronica is out this week on PSN? I have all the Resi games on PS1/PS2/PS3…was Code Veronica the chapter based one that you could play online co-op? Or was that Outbreak I or II? Damn memory.

        Comment posted on 26/09/2011 at 11:07.
      • R4U Eldave0
        andUandU
        Since: Aug 2008

        You’re thinking of Outbreak (the only game of the series I haven’t tried actually heh). Code Veronica has you playing as Chris and Claire. One of my favourites and well worth the, presumably, 8quid they will ask for it.

        Comment posted on 26/09/2011 at 12:08.
      • Youles
        Member
        Since: Feb 2011

        Oh yeah that’s right – I’ll no doubt pick it up too!

        Comment posted on 26/09/2011 at 12:10.
    • jcor
      Member
      Since: Jun 2009

      Was actually in two minds about whether to get this but couldn’t resist when I seen it was only €7.50.

      Comment posted on 26/09/2011 at 10:46.
  4. Mike
    Member
    Since: Oct 2008

    …You didn’t like it originally? :O I love the RE series and enjoyed the change in style to the originals.

    Good review and I’m sure I’ll pick this up some time in the future.

    Comment posted on 26/09/2011 at 09:36.
  5. Dan Lee
    Common like the rest of us.
    Since: Jun 2010

    Good review. I generally dont like Resi games, but I might try this out once the winter rush is over…if it ever does finish.

    Comment posted on 26/09/2011 at 09:50.
  6. asparagushunter
    Member
    Since: Jan 2011

    Managed to pick this up for £6 due to a Plus pricing error on the Store. For that money, it’s worth it. The problem I have is all the blurb saying it’s a HD remaster when it really isn’t.

    Also disappointed they didn’t put Move in because the game worked quite well with the Wii-mote

    Still, it is a fantastic game.

    Comment posted on 26/09/2011 at 10:05.
    • Forrest_01
      Member
      Since: Jun 2009

      Yeah, i thought that from the vids that i have seen that it looked particularly non-HD for a HD remake to be honest & as i am not a plusser, that means i am paying top whack for something that is essentially still just a PS2 game.

      Might pick it up if it ever hits special offers though.

      Comment posted on 26/09/2011 at 10:39.
      • Delriach
        Member
        Since: Jul 2009

        It’s definitely in HD, there’s no doubt about that. That said, these HD reimaginings are not remakes. People need to remember that. It is still the same game from 2005 but it’s now at a higher resolution. The only thing that’s noticeably bad at times are certain textures. And that’s definitely not something exclusive to RE4.

        Don’t use the videos as a way to judge the game since you can’t tell at all if there are any differences. RE4 has never looked this good before, especially compared to the PS2 version.

        Comment posted on 26/09/2011 at 11:08.
      • asparagushunter
        Member
        Since: Jan 2011

        Ok, yes, technically it is in 720p, but there’s isn’t any noticable difference. There are no graphical touches like most other HD remasters (e.g. Team ICO) are getting, which is disappointing.

        But then maybe Team ICO is the exception rather than the rule. Who knows.

        Comment posted on 26/09/2011 at 11:34.
      • colmshan1990
        Member
        Since: Apr 2009

        It’s definitely still a great game, and I love it to bits, but…
        I don’t think we’re getting what we should be getting from a HD remaster. (Not a remake, but a remaster.)
        When you compare it to cinematic remasterings, the upgrades there are staggeringly more impactful than with games.
        Are we as gamers being short-changed?
        Just a thought.
        I started a forum thread here. http://www.thesixthaxis.com/forum/general-chat/hd-re-releases-movies-vs-games/

        Comment posted on 26/09/2011 at 12:18.
  7. MayContainEvil
    Member
    Since: Feb 2011

    When this goes on sale for the non plus subscribers I will be getting it, loved this game. Good review, although I have no idea how you didn’t love it right from the start ;)

    Comment posted on 26/09/2011 at 10:34.
  8. gaffers101
    Member
    Since: Oct 2008

    Thanks for the great review. I too feel they missed a trick by not including Move support, this would have put it much higher up my wish list.

    Comment posted on 26/09/2011 at 10:35.
  9. BIGAL-1992
    Member
    Since: Jan 2009

    Thanks for the review isaac. How big is the game to download by the way?

    Comment posted on 26/09/2011 at 10:53.
    • Youles
      Member
      Since: Feb 2011

      I think it’s 3333MB

      Comment posted on 26/09/2011 at 11:08.
      • Kovacs
        Member
        Since: Dec 2009

        Correct. It’s 3,333MB.

        Comment posted on 26/09/2011 at 11:27.
  10. FalconRedux
    Member
    Since: May 2011

    Good review, and a fair appraisal of the game. It is one of the best games of all time, so anyone who’s never had the pleasure before has no excuse now. As someone who played the PS2 version to death, however, the lack of Move support is a really disappointing omission.

    Comment posted on 26/09/2011 at 11:34.

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