Resident Evil 4 Remake review: Updated, revamped, replayable

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Following Capcom’s successful remakes of its Resident Evil titles from the 1990s, a remake of its magnum opus, Resident Evil 4, was inevitable. Yes it was necessary apparently it was a moot point. Now that we have the remake, how does it compare to the influential original? Pretty good, with most of the changes improving the story and gameplay. It has one or two disappointing alterations (and a few direct removals), but it’s a fantastic way to experience Resident Evil 4, either as a replay or for the first time.

By now everyone knows the story: Raccoon City survivor Leon S. Kennedy is now a government agent and is sent to a rural Spanish town to retrieve the kidnapped first daughter, Ashley Graham. The task quickly spirals out of control, as he must deal with an entire village of Parasitized Gan, a shady cult based on parasites, and keeping an eye on some allies who aren’t quite what they appear to be.

There are a lot of things specific to the remake that I won’t talk about due to spoilers – I want all fans of the original to experience the specific differences for themselves. I will try to talk about the changes in broad strokes. However, I feel safe pointing out what has stayed the same. There’s enough of both to keep veterans guessing and newcomers entertained. In short, I was convinced there was no reason to redo RE4, and now I’m glad they did.

Secret agent training pays off

The first thing to note, and I consider this to be a positive, is that RE4-make is not the same type of remake as Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3. Those games were massive seismic changes in style and design. (which, ironically, made both look more like RE4), and the RE4 branding is more subtle. These small changes created a fresh experience, free of the older elements of the original.


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The gameplay changes are the first and most noticeable. Leon can now move while he’s aiming, which is a big help than you’d think, and he can crouch to hide as well. That’s right, the new version of the game in which Resident Evil action has added stealth back. It’s not very useful, but it’s nice to have the option so you can save some bullets before the hordes start attacking you.

RE4-make villagers are smarter and nastier than the originals.

And there will be hordes. Resident Evil 4 intensifies the combat, multiplying the number of Cattle and other enemies that Leon will encounter in the average area of ​​the game. The game almost rejoices in pushing the limits of what the player can handle in the three main areas of the adventure. The Cattle are tougher than before, and even landing a perfect headshot is not a guaranteed kill. I played on Normal difficulty and chewed a hole in my bottom lip trying to make my ammo supplies last.

The RE4 mark gives Leon’s trusty knife a new purpose…mainly in the sense that it’s no longer trustworthy. The knife gains a durability meter and can break if Leon overuses it. This is likely, as another new addition to the game is the ability to parry incoming weapon hits with the knife. I’m sure most people will have seen Leon use this against Dr. Salvador’s chainsaw in the demo. While the game does give you spare knives as a backup, it is possible to end up in a scenario where you have nothing to fight enemies with.

Leon can parry almost anything with his knife in RE4 Remake.

The RE4-make also benefits from Capcom’s proprietary RE engine, as the town no longer looks as muddy and dreary as it once did. It looks a bit like its successor, Resident Evil Village, in that both the castle and the town look a bit more atmospheric. I do have a bit of a problem with the amount of foliage being added, as it sometimes makes navigation a pain in the rear, but this is only an issue in the first third of the game.

a missing lady

In addition to the gameplay, the story and characters have also received an update. The two characters who will benefit the most from the remake treatment are Luis and Ashley, Leon’s two main supporting characters in the story. Leon spends more time outside of cutscenes talking to them, and they have more interactions with him than in the original. This also helps make Leon a bit more interesting by association, as this version is more stoic and less willing to joke around with his enemies.

Ashley from RE4-make is a softer and more humane character.

While the story rhythms haven’t changed, the order has. Veterans will discover that things don’t always turn out the way they used to, and the rewrites keep the story fresh and make it all make more sense. I can’t be more specific because, again, there are spoilers, but certain characters appear at different points in the story, and some of the sillier dialogue has been dropped to make the villains more threatening.

Luis is much more affable in the new version, acting a bit more forthcoming about who he is and what he’s doing. Ashley is more fleshed out, shown less as a prop and more as a character with thoughts and emotions. She spends most of the game understandably terrified but willing to do her part to help, and the solo chapter remake of hers is one of my favorite parts of the game.

Luis Sera is one of the best characters in the Resident Evil 4 remake.

Even our old friend The Merchant gets a makeover. Yes, he’s still a deep-voiced Cockney gun dealer and he still gives you the option to buy, sell and tune up your guns. But he also has a new trading system, where you can do him small favors in exchange for spinels, which you can exchange for useful and valuable items. These extra bits give the game some replayability and extra things to do.

Oh, and one small complaint about the original that I’m glad the developers addressed: the Spanish peasants actually sound Spanish, rather than Mexican. In the first game, they evaded it outright by saying it took place in Spain (which I always assumed was an attempt not to offend actual Spanish people). In the new version, they all have proper Spanish accents and Luis references Don Quixote several times. He doesn’t make a huge difference, but at least he’s not too irritating to listen to.

The more things change…

While I like Resident Evil 4 Remake overall, it’s not perfect either. There are times when you can almost feel that the developers are holding back on big changes. This wouldn’t be a problem, except that the desire to stick to the original largely means that they sometimes skimp on the little things. Sometimes the game’s chapters don’t always flow well narratively as they seem to lack an interesting moment to end everything.

Resident Evil 4 Remake improves the shooting mechanics of the original.

If Ashley and Luis become more charming and interesting in the new version, then poor Ada is the one to suffer. Behind her was her air of sexy mystery: here she is curt, listless and downright tired. Her scenes with Leon lack his chemistry with the other two allies, and she makes her appearances (which are admittedly rare) flop. I think her voice actress probably got misdirected, because I can tell she’s trying to sound sexy and instead it sounds like she has a sore throat.

Speaking of Ashley, she sadly retains some of her most annoying features. Instead of hideouts, which are almost completely absent, the RE4 trade in a “formation” system. With this, Leon can tell Ashley to either stay close to him or move further away from her and keep her distance. In theory, this is to prevent melee attacks from enemies and Leon from marking her. But with the game’s tight map layout, she’s always on top of you whether you’ve told her to back off or not, which means an enemy is more likely to pick her up and leave with her.

Yes, the RE4-make dealer still calls Leon “strain-ja”.

When it comes to gameplay, there is one change that made me change my mind, but hey: Leon’s running animation is very slow. His in-game sprint feels almost the same as the original game’s default walking speed. This becomes more of a problem later in the game when you have to run away from larger, more aggressive enemies (and those hideous Regenerators), and it feels like Leon is running through quicksand. These complaints aren’t enough to ruin the game for me, but they did temper what was otherwise a very pleasant experience.

“Where’s everyone going, bingo?”

The Resident Evil 4 remake feels like something made by a huge fan of the original, but wasn’t afraid to shake things up a bit. I’ve sunk around 20 hours into a single game, and I’ll almost certainly be playing more. While I sometimes wish the developers had changed even more than they did, I’m pleased with the ratio of faithfulness to new in the new version.

There’s a chance fans of the original won’t take this altered version well, and some of the elements in the previous section prevent it from being a seamless experience. Even putting aside the fact that it’s a remake, it’s still a solid game overall, and will bring joy to new players experiencing this revamped and revamped Resident Evil 4.

Company of Heroes 3 gets 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Capcom provided GamesBeat with a PS5 code for this game for review purposes. Resident Evil 4 Remake launches on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, and PC on March 24, 2023.

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