The anticipation for the revamped Resident Evil 4 is higher than ever before, even more so than the Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 remakes that have been released over the last few years. Since the advent of the world of gaming with its first Nintendo Gamecube release in 2005 the fourth installment by Capcom in the acclaimed survival horror series has had updates ranging from the latest consoles to mobile devices and also virtual reality. It’s no surprise that a number of popular modern third-person shooters like Gears of War, The Last of Us and Dead Space all took obvious inspiration from the original entry.
With only minor changes however, the tale that follows Leon Kennedy infiltrating a rural village in Spain to protect the daughter of the President of a terrorist group that wants to spread the virus across the globe by introducing a mind-controlling virus is exactly how those who played the original game will remember the game. Resident Evil 4 maintains a tension-filled narrative balance between pure horror and pure fun with an original cast of characters that younger players will never forget.
But, how does Capcom improve an action shooter that is thought to be perfect, without sacrificing the white-knuckled excitement of the first game? The answer lies in offering improvements brought about by the last couple of remakes, while also introducing smart gameplay tweaks that are backed by the RE Engine that allows for new visual and audio highs that raise the tension to a degree that is satisfying.
Resident Evil 4 is out on March 24 on PS4/5, Xbox Series X|S and PC. We played through our PS5 version. For those who are interested in diving in to Mr. Kennedy’s most memorable adventure, here’s our thoughts after a 15 hour game.
What we enjoyed about it
Incredible audio and visual updates
The time Resident Evil 4 was released over two decades ago it was viewed as an engineering marvel as well as a stunning art-design. The game left the ruined remnants of the fictional town in midwest Raccoon City behindand and introduced an entirely new setting that was a fictional unknown Spanish village. The first part of the game shifts the action from daylight hours to make the game the very first in the franchise yet still remaining frightening. Once nighttime is brought into the game, things become more terrifying.
This is all improved substantially in the new version thanks to the capabilities of the current technology. The opening scene against the affected villagers and a chainsaw-wielding madman is as frightening as ever, thanks to the modern graphics. Animations and character models are fantastic both in cutscenes and gameplay. A number of characters are given visual overhauls too including the supporting characters such as Ada Wong and villains such as Ramon Salazar. The new lights are definitely the primary feature, from the rustic browns of the village to the evening scenes that strike all the appropriate moods. It’s further enhanced with the clever use of ray tracer which improves reflections.
While the performance of your PC could differ depending with your particular setup however, the PS5 version was flawless with no noticeable slowdown. Players using Sony’s console and its Xbox Series X have two options for visual modes. There’s a performance mode which is geared towards high frame rates and dynamic resolution and a resolution of 4K specific mode that provides more immersive visuals. You can also toggle ray-tracing on or off for higher frame rates. Xbox Series S owners also have the same options available for 10-80p at 60 frames per second, or 1440p with 30 frames per second. Whatever platform you pick, Resident Evil 4 looks great.
The sound also gets some important updates that include new audio narration, sound effects and the ability to use spatial audio. The game’s distinctive, humorous dialogue is back and is more convincing this time around. The use of spatial audio can go far in bringing authenticity to the terror of the incredible sound mixing. There’s something about listening to Ganados speaking in the native language in the rain in a peaceful place that is just uncomfortable. As the action gets more intense gunshots sound a lot more powerful, and the sound of sharp objects striking Leon is genuinely painful.