Resident Evil 4: fine wine or stale bread?

Game: Resident Evil 4 | Developer: Capcom | Platform: PC

Old games have a rough time when it comes to ageing, as classics such as Wolfenstein struggle with archaic control schemes whilst others such as Super Mario 64 stay fresh; with that in mind, how does Resident Evil 4 hold up?

To put it simply, the biggest boss you’ll face isn’t Salazar, and it definitely isn’t the village chief, but rather the camera. Attempting to turn it is a fruitless endeavour, as it snaps back immediately, and aiming is sluggish which makes the initial introduction of Resident Evil 4 somewhat of a hurdle. However, if you can beat that first enemy – a mechanic that’s age is blatantly on display – then the rest of the experience is a breezy fun-filled adventure.

[Resident Evil 4] manages to balance survival horror with B-movie action surprisingly well.

Even on the highest difficulty, with a painstaking accuracy of 60%, you’ll manage to get through without much challenge, given that buying a one-shot RPG is ridiculously easy and the puzzles require little back-tracking or thought. You can see the departure from the series’ roots that eventually engulfed and nearly killed the franchise with 4’s sequels, but this entry manages to balance survival horror with B-movie action surprisingly well.

However, that’s part of what makes Resident Evil 4 such a fun ride, as it feels like those later portions of other titles in the series, where the breaks don’t work and it’s one-stop after the next until you’re knee-deep in special zombie variants, trudging through a lab with a creepy bad-guy ready to beef themselves up with a virus before an RPG is conveniently thrown to your feet.

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What’s better is that there’s such a diverse array of locations, from the rural village to the trap-filled castle right the way through to the military encampment. It’s a fitting successor to 3, which expanded from a singular location, i.e. the Mansion or Prison, with some extras like the labs and sewers, to an entire city. It means that the world isn’t as tight-knit and interconnected, which is a shame, but the expansive array of locations is part of what keeps things fresh and entertaining all the way through, and given the playtime, that’s great.

Even to this day, for newcomers, it’s an enjoyable romp.

Top that off with gun ranges, treasure, a merchant that sells you an arsenal of constantly improving weapon variants, hilarious one-liners and more Leon motherf@!?ing Kennedy and it’s understandable as to why Resident Evil 4 holds the number one spot for so many fans. Even to this day, for newcomers, it’s an enjoyable romp, which is an impressive feat considering it’s a survival shooter from the PS2 era with realistic graphics. Could it do with a remaster? Sure. Does it need one? Not particularly. You can nab this on the latest platforms and have an absolute blast with how it is in its current state. The only major downside? Ashley.

RESIDENT EVIL 4: RATING

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

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