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Resident Evil 4 (2023 Remake) [The Playful Asmo]

Started by Asmodean, April 14, 2023, 11:16:05 AM

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A note for this series. You may notice that "most" games I review end with a positive recommendation. This is because currently, I only review the games I buy for myself, from my personal preferences and by word-of-mouth from people who would judge them similarly. I am "lucky" enough (in actuality, an experienced enough gamer) to very rarely buy games that I could not recommend to others. (As in, "negatively surprised" - most in this series meet or exceed expectations) However, if I do - my review shall reflect the fact. If you are contemplating buying a game and want it reviewed by my methods and/or through my lens, tell me and I may (or may not) give it a honest go. And, of course, if you buy a game off my recommendations, do keep the fine print in mind; "I can recommend it" does not at all mean "it's for everyone." Usually, I shall include a statement or two about who I think a game is for, and review it from that particular angle

Resident Evil 4 is a 2023 remake of the original 2005 game (Capcom, "all" modern mainstream platforms, played on Xbox Series X)

Set in the Resident Evil zompocalypse-universe, Resident Evil 4 is a faithful remake of the iconic 2005 game of the same name.

You play as Leon S. Kennedy, formerly a rookie police officer who survived the Raccoon city outbreak in Resident Evil 2. Now a US government agent, he is tasked with rescuing the president's daughter from - of all places - a run-down village in "Outer Nowhere," Spain.

The inhabitants of said village are infected with a zombie parasite, called Las Plagas, which my very limited knowledge of Spanish makes me assume to simply mean "The Plague." This parasite can turn them into murderous automatons for the local cult leader, Osmund Saddler.

The story of the game is, as it tends to be in Resident Evil, transparently-thin in more places than not. However, as horror/jump-scare zombie flicks go, it's acceptable. 4/10 It's not as "scary" as Resident Evil 7 or 8, but then it is a slightly different sort of survival horror game than its newer franchise members.

In the course of the game, the main progression mechanics are centered around crowd control (Fight/flee/sneak), ammo conservation and loadout management. There are some rudimentary crafting mechanics that can help alleviate the scarcity of certain ammunition types and other resources. The in-game economics are centered around collecting treasure, with some valuables capable of being augmented with gems to fetch a higher price with the mysterious Merchant. In return, he sells new weapons, upgrades and crafting blueprints. This system was somewhat overhauled from the original game and in my opinion, for the better.

In some battles and encounters, the game also has quick-time sequences, resulting in Leon making special moves, which tend to do greater damage to the bullet-spongy zombies than his pistol or even shotgun.

The map design is linear, meaning that the game's geography is "on a railroad," where the player moves between small(-ish) explorable maps, where "all" the enemy encounters, treasure and objectives are located, in a linear manner - with very little in terms of mandatory backtracking.

For being based on a nearly twenty year old game, and faithfully so at that, the world and interaction design is good. 7/10

Graphically, the game has a lot of improvements over the original, which reflect the general A-list trends of the past two decades. While if compared to contemporary titles, it is not as visually-stunning as its predecessor was back in '05, it is a very pretty game, in a dark-and-full-of-zombies kind of way. The game's atmosphere feels dark and oppressive, even in relatively well-lit areas - something I remember fondly from the original, and am happy to report that the developers managed to re-capture that sort of world ambiance with modern tools just as well, if not better. 8/10

The game has decent replay value since the player character gets some neat rewards for completing it - usially in the form of access to better weapons, potential for infinite ammunition and such like. Without any of that, however, the highest standard difficulty provides a good challenge and can at times be as punishing as that of Souls-like games (Dark Souls/Sekiro/Elden Ring) in its own way. Personally, I see it as a plus. After all, I'm not playing a remake of an action RPG with hordes of zombies for its storytelling.

That said, however, the game's story does merge into the overall Resident Evil universe canon.

Overall, I think this game is genuinely good if you have not played the original, but are interested in the Resident Evil universe or just as a stand-alone "Dezombifying hero" adventure with an overall score of 7/10.

If you have played the original, it can be a bit of a hit-or-miss, depending on what you liked and did not like in the original game. As a faithful remake, the game follows the same story, so you will not learn anything new about the universe, unless previously missed. You do get more modern looks and mechanics and the streamlining of certain events and encounters though, so if you were a fan of the original and just want to re-live it - that's what this game can offer you, and offer it well. Depending on your perspective going in, I'd say in these cases it's a 5/10 to 8/10.

Also, did I mention that you get to shoot hordes of zombified innocent civilians repeatedly and until death - lest they stomp on your melon until it explodes? Well, you do. (Otherwise they will) Potentially, with an infinite RPG launcher, provided you're going for a second playthhough and have hoarded a bit of wealth in the first. Ah, fun times!

NOTE: You do not have to have played Resident Evil 1-3 in order to make sense of the game. It will not hurt for the increased knowledge of characters and the universe, but since this is not a primarily story-driven game, it will make enough sense of itself on its own.

Tl;dr: Can recommend? Yes. (...if you enjoy dark zombie games)
Quote from: Ecurb Noselrub on July 25, 2013, 08:18:52 PM
In Asmo's grey lump,
wrath and dark clouds gather force.
Luxembourg trembles.