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‘Resident Evil 4’ Remake Review

Less Scares More Backflips
Photo courtesy of PlayStation
Photo courtesy of PlayStation

The original Resident Evil 4 is one of the most important games of all time. It essentially birthed modern action games as we know them today, especially the likes of The Last of Us, Gears of War, and Mass Effect. It laid a foundation that shaped modern gaming and is often lauded as one of the best games ever made. 

The thing is, I don’t like the original all that much. As much as I’ll acknowledge how important this game is and how good it was for the time, I don’t think the gameplay has aged particularly well, and I thought it had one of the weaker stories and settings of the older Resident Evil games. It’s not a bad game by any means, but it never left much of an impression on me.

That said, I have been eagerly anticipating the remake of this game. I absolutely loved the remake of Resident Evil 2, so I couldn’t wait to see how they would handle this one (especially since I actually played the original). Resident Evil 4 remake knocked even my expectations out of the park.

Put simply, this is one of the best-designed games I have ever played, and after playing, I finally understand what everyone has been talking about all of these years.

This game sees you playing as Leon S. Kennedy, who was one of the protagonists of the second game, as he embarks on a secret mission to save the president’s daughter in a strange rural village in Spain.

Like every other Resident Evil game, the story of this game kinda sucks, but in a good way. None of these games even attempt to have good or even coherent stories, but they are enjoyable nonetheless because of how stupidly corny they are. These games have always had stories akin to B-tier horror slop,but they are just so entertaining. How could you not love a game with masterful lines such as: “I’m sure you boys didn’t just tag along so we can sing kumbaya together at some boy scout bonfire?”

If you’re looking for a story that will emotionally hit you like a freight train, then Resident Evil 4 is the wrong game for you. 

What this game lacks in an impactful story, it more than makes up for it with its impeccably designed gameplay. I cannot emphasize enough just how good the gameplay is here. Gone are the clunky controls of the original, and in their place are some of the best and most responsive controls in the series. Leon still moves slower than your typical action game hero, but his movements feel much more precise and easier to handle than before.

Combat is also fantastic. This game definitely leans more towards action than it does pure horror, but it still manages to be suspenseful due to the challenging enemy encounters that the game throws your way. Almost every major encounter leaves me feeling that I just survived by the skin of my teeth. Resident Evil 4 highly emphasizes smart play and rewards it in spades with one of the most satisfying gameplay loops I have seen in any action game.

I will say, though, there are a fair amount of encounters that are noticeably worse than the others. Some just don’t give you the resources in order to properly handle them, and others don’t quite communicate what exactly they want the player to do, which makes these encounters unnecessarily frustrating.

I also cannot get enough of the new parry mechanic that they added for the knife, which was previously almost useless unless you were great at the game. If you manage to parry an enemy attack, you can immediately follow back with a nice swift roundhouse kick to the face, and let me tell you, Leon doesn’t skip leg day.

Weapons also feel amazing to handle. Each shot of a gun or stab of a knife feels impactful, unlike the original, where it could often feel like you were shooting at thin air. Each weapon feels great to use. My only wish is that the game was a little more consistent as to what types of ammo you get because I went through entire chapters while barely getting any ammo for my shotgun, which made some areas a little more frustrating than they had to be.

Capcom also makes excellent use of the RE Engine once again because this game looks absolutely incredible from beginning to end. It’s such a feast to the eyes, which is a welcome change from the original, which now looks kind of ugly and a little drab.

2023 has been an amazing year for games, with multiple jaw-dropping game-of-the-year contenders releasing nearly every single month, and somehow this game shines even amongst this competitive crowd. Even in this stacked year for games, I highly recommend Resident Evil 4 remake because it is one of the best action games ever made. It not only lives up to the legendary legacy of the original but surpasses it with flying colors.

Score: 9/10

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