Resident Evil 4
By Charlie Goodrich Thursday, 27 Jan 2005

‘Survival Horror’ has come along way since the introduction of the Resident Evil series. New games, ideas, and innovations have either failed or succeed. But the Resident Evil series has endured and remains the paramount of the genre and that which others in the genre are measured. However, if you called Resident Evil 4 a survival horror game you would be wrong. The focus has been taken off of horror and suspense and has been placed on the action. Resident Evil 4 is an action game that will make you jump on rare occasions. It takes courage to take a very successful series, alter the just about everything, and keep that game a wonderful playing experience.

The first change you will notice is the gameplay. Gone are the fixed camera angles. They have been replaced with an over the shoulder camera. This makes it easy to keep the action at a fast pace throughout the game. This also makes it more difficult to see what is behind you and to your sides. You have to know where you are in relation to how enemies can get to you and how much room you have to maneuver.

The inventory system has been tweaked as well. It is a lot like Diablo. You have a grid to fit your weapons, healing items and ammo into. At times, you will have to re-order your grid to take more herbs or some extra ammo. There is also a traveling salesman who pedals his wares to Leon throughout his journey. You can purchase new weapons, weapon upgrades and health sprays from the merchant.

Capcom has also added something I am going to call “cinematic actions”. During certain cinematics you will have to press a certain button or button combination to avoid injury or death. “Cinematic actions” enhance the level of action and keep you on your toes. Basically, Capcom has done nearly everything in their power to make the player experience and be prepared for action out the wazoo.

The graphics in RE4 are some of the best out there. The characters look great. There movements are fluid and realistic and the facial expressions are well animated. If you shoot someone in the leg they will either grab their leg or crumble to the ground. If they are running at you, their momentum will carry them to the ground. It looks awesome and is fun to do. Heads explode with a bloodier and more satisfying result than in previous RE games. The environments are also well detailed and unique. Each area looks different and feels different. You play in an old European village, a castle, and a research laboratory like area. Graphics don’t get any better than RE4 when it comes to consoles. It is a beautiful game.

The sound in RE4 is good but the music could have been better. All of the sound effects are great and the voice acting is decent. Ashley, the Presidents daughter, is pretty annoying throughout the entire game but she doesn’t talk that much. Leon and the other main characters are pretty solid. My big gripe about the music is that it doesn’t fit the atmosphere of the game. For a game that takes place in an old European town I would have liked to hear a more orchestral sound.

The story in RE4 is okay, but it doesn’t hold a candle to RE1, 2, or Veronica. After the events in RE2, Leon got a job working for the President of the United States. The President’s daughter is kidnapped and Leon is sent to rescue her. He arrives in a small village where chaos ensues. Soon Leon discovers that a bizarre cult is behind Ashley’s disappearance. He also discovers this cult is responsible for the villager’s strange and dangerous behavior.

With its small blemishes, RE4 was still a blast to play. From start to finish this is a fun game. So much killing was packed into the sixteen hours it took me to complete the game. Then you can start a new game with all your weapons and equipment from your last game. This only adds to the fun. That is the best word to describe RE4, fun. And the best part is it leaves room for a sequel. Hurray for more Resident Evil in the future! But until that arrives play RE4 and enjoy.

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