Resident Evil 4 HD Review
- Posted September 21st, 2011 at 02:15 EDT by Michael Harradence
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A gripping, action-packed horror shooter chock full of intense gunplay, thrilling set-pieces and plenty of content under the hood.
- Action-packed and satisfying combat
- Awesome boss battles and eye-popping set-pieces
- Heaps of unlockable content and great replay value
- Shoddy sound effects
- Some horrendous textures
- Underwhelming puzzles
(continued from previous page) ...RE5, you’ll be able to utilize melee attacks on ‘stunned’ foes, as well as whip out a trusty combat knife for dire ammo situation. Three grenade types also show up, namely standard, incendiary and flash. Add all this up and there’s plenty of diversity to scraps, more so when you start coming up against tough buggers like the chainsaw-wielding Dr. Salvador, the insect-like Novistadors and the slobbering, humanoid Regenerators. And then there’s the bosses, many of which are impressive both aesthetically and from a gameplay perspective, requiring you to exploit a specific weak point in order to dispatch them, injecting a rewarding, strategic edge to the comparatively straightforward blasting of regular gun fights. Highlights include the water-bound Del Lago, a mammoth salamander-type beast that tows you around in a small boat forcing Leon to lob harpoons at its backside, and the lumbering, troll-like El Gigante that wouldn’t look out of place in J.R.R. Tolkien novel.
The controls may irk some, though anyone who has played RE5 won’t be in for any shocks. You’re still rooted to the spot when you aim, and you’ll need to hold down the X button to make Leon sprint. R1 readies your weapon, square shoots and that’s about all you need to know. It’s archaic by today’s standards, but manages to accentuate the fear factor without becoming too problematic—the fact Leon’s left side is effectively a blind spot had me constantly apprehensive to remain in one spot for too long. More unfortunate is the lack of an instant weapon swap option, as you’ll have to access your inventory—kitted out in the guise of an attaché case—to switch up weapons and other equipment. It’s a pain in the arse to say the least, and has a habit of occasionally breaking the immersion of a heated scrap.
As you press on through the game you’ll accumulate a fair bit of wealth, either by currency dropped from dead enemies or fishing around in numerous barrels, boxes and other item-giving objects. This can be spent at Merchants, where you can plonk down the cash for new guns, First-Aid Sprays, extra inventory space, and upgrade your existing weapons’ basic attributes such as shot power, reload speed and capacity. You can even flog various treasures you’ve collected to earn more dough, some of which can be kitted out with small jewels to increase their overall value. It’s an incredibly satisfying system, and there’s a fair amount of decision making on the player’s part; for example, do you keep your trusty standard Shotgun and spend your wealth pimping it out or cough up the cash for a shiny new Riot Gun? Needless to say, you’ll need to spend heaps of cash and a few play-throughs if you are to max out each and every gun on offer.
While it’s fair to say you’ll be spending copious amounts of time blowing holes in foes, there are still a couple of other distractions along the way. This is Resident Evil after all, so expect to solve a few riddles here and there. Then again, the phrase riddles might be giving them too much credit, as these elements are far from the cerebrally challenging puzzles of past games, requiring little more than shoving a key or elaborate object into the right lock/hole, and presto. There’s little sense of accomplishment to be had here, and while some puzzles do require a little more thought, it’s never anything too taxing. If anything, the riddles only seek to expose the game’s linearity, as these events rarely give you a chance to explore and investigate your surroundings , with key items largely placed inconspicuously in each area as a minor stop gap before your next blood-drenched gun battle. Those that do, however, offer a welcoming change of pace.
These sections, combined with various QTE sequences—which include everything from outrunning and dodging boulders during gameplay or saving Leon’s bacon during interactive cut-scenes—help to punctuate the meat-and-potatoes of gunplay immensely. Equally ... (continued on next page)