Resident Evil 4 (PS5) Game Review – A worthy remake of a fantastic horror title

A worthy remake of a fantastic horror title

After remaking Resident Evil’s 2 and 3, Capcom has now turned their attention to Resident Evil 4, the acclaimed fourth entry in their long-running horror franchise that was originally released on the Gamecube in 2005.

Capcom did a great job with their previous remakes, breathing fresh life into those now-dated titles with state-of-the-art graphics and updated control systems. But as good as those titles were, not everybody was happy with the changes the development team made.

Resi 3 had the most complaints because entire chunks of the original game were missing from the revamp. These same complaints can be fired at the remake of Resi 4 as not everything from the previous release is included here. Long-term fans will be disappointed to know the lava-filled Dragon Room is missing as is the Salazar statue chase, and one major boss fight from the original is also noticeable by its absence.

You shouldn’t grumble too much, however. This remake has optional side quests that weren’t included in the original, alongside new enemies and quality-of-life improvements, so Capcom can’t be accused of cutting too many corners.

The game also has an auto-save feature, so while you can still manually save the game at a typewriter, you don’t have to worry about backtracking too far if you get killed by one of the game’s many nasties. If you played the original and saw the Game Over screen more times than you would like to count (perhaps because you failed to stock up on green herbs), this should give you some peace of mind if you play the remake.

The overall story remains intact despite the absence of certain bosses and locations. Once again, players control special agent Leon S. Kennedy, who is on a mission to rescue Ashley Graham, the US President’s daughter, who has been kidnapped by a religious cult in a (presumably) fictional area of rural Spain.

The sequence of events is largely the same as in the original, with Leon travelling through the 3 main areas that were featured in the previous game. These include the village, which is populated by pitchfork-wielding maniacs; the castle, where the “Enlighted Ones” reside; and the island, which contains a multitude of enemies of both the human and the monstrous kind.

These locations will be familiar to long-term fans of the earlier release but they are bigger in scale, with the kind of graphical quality that we have come to expect from Capcom after the previous remakes. New to this upgraded title is a new weather system and improved lighting effects, as well as a complete graphical overhaul for the game’s protagonists, the various creatures, and the interior and exterior areas that are spread across the game’s sizeable map.

At times the game looks absolutely stunning although you won’t have a lot of time to take in the graphical detail as you’ll be too busy trying to get away from flying beasties, chainsaw-wielding bad guys, giant cockroaches, and a wide variety of other menaces that will definitely keep you on your toes. The hardest of these are the zombie-like creatures that are hatched from what I can only describe as birthing bags, as you need to cut away at their flesh to find their weak points – no simple task when they’re trying to throttle you! There is an easier way to dispose of these lumbering terrors but that is something we will let you discover for yourself while playing.

The game is a blast to play through, with many exciting moments, including a minecart chase and a sequence on a lake where you’re forced to pilot a boat while trying to take down a giant aquatic monster. Leon is as adept at martial arts as he is at handling a gun so in most combat scenes, he is more than able to take down the bad guys when they aren’t attacking him in large numbers.

As was the case with the original title, this isn’t as slow-paced as the previous Resi games, as it’s more of an action game than a survival horror title. This shot of adrenaline will be welcomed by some players but those wanting a game as genuinely spooky as the very first Resident Evil game are going to be disappointed, as this favours gunplay over scares. This isn’t to say there aren’t any gruesome moments of horror but due to the larger environments and Leon’s kick-assery, it doesn’t have that ominous feeling of terror that the previous titles did when creeping through the game’s dark and shadowy locales.

Action fans won’t mind the lack of jump scares but they might get annoyed by some of the puzzles which are occasionally quite difficult to solve. The Marble Door puzzles are particularly taxing as the solutions to these conundrums aren’t immediately obvious, although those cleverer than me might disagree with my assessment!

The puzzles aren’t the only elements of the game that prove vexing. The missions where Ashley has to be escorted from point A to point B are especially frustrating as the ‘Game Over’ screen will quickly appear if she gets bumped off (or carried away) by one of the game’s villains. In some areas, you can tell her to hide so that takes some of the pressure off. But there is one sequence where Leon is constantly bombarded by a horde of monsters that want a taste of his blood as well as hers, so if you’re playing on any difficulty other than ‘easy,’ you’re going to have a difficult time trying to defend her.

Another frustration is the lack of a dodge button. There are occasional QTE events when you’re encouraged to dodge, but at all other times, you can’t tap a button to quickly avoid a flying axe or the hands of one of the game’s monsters. It is possible to crouch so some hits can be avoided but as this isn’t as easy as tapping a button that lets you roll out of harm’s way, you are going to take some damage!

These are only nitpicks as the game, as a whole is very good. It’s one of the best-looking games on the PS5 and possibly the best horror title on the system too. With new move sets, features, and gloriously detailed settings, this is worth picking up, even if you have played the original. And with fresh content that is only available on New Game+ after finishing the first playthrough, it does offer value for money.

Nearly 20 years after its original release, Resident Evil 4 is still as much fun to play through as it was in 2005. The game offers an astounding experience from beginning to end, despite the difficult puzzles and annoying escort missions.

It’s worth another playthrough, even if you have played the original. And as it’s more accessible than earlier Resi titles with its improved control scheme and flexible save system, this is a game that modern-day gamers will love as well as long-term Resi fans.




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  • Verdict - 8/10

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