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) ...gunplay immensely. Equally impressive are various set-pieces too, such as fending off hordes of marauding villagers from a small cabin, to an adrenaline-fueled mine cart ride. You’ll also have to protect Ashley at various points in the game, and Kennedy will have to help her out now and then by boosting her to higher terrain or catching her as she jumps off a platform. However, there’s no comprehensive partner system here; players can only issue barebones commands like ‘Follow Me’ and ‘Wait,’ and while she’s completely hopeless in a fight, you can easily have her hide in containers or simply cower behind Leon as he goes all Rambo on attacking enemies. Crucially, Ashley never outstays here welcome, as the whiny-voiced bint happens to be highly susceptible to enemy ambushes and traps every few chapters, meaning you’ll be flying solo for a nice chunk of the game.
Visually the game’s art direction certainly makes RE4 easy on the eyes, even if some of the textures are pretty wince-worthy up close – it’s evident that the HD makeover is better in some areas than others, which is a bit of a disappointment. Character models are the most obvious area to benefit from a 1080p paintjob, with the villagers in particularly looking even more warped and twisted after a bit of spit and polish. Fortunately, locations are still brimming with atmosphere, be it the moody and dilapidated village, the glowing aristocratism of Salazar’s castle or the tech-savvy Island labs. Not so pleasing is the game’s aural component, which comes off how I can only describe as very muffled and of poor quality. Cut-scenes are fine, but in-game dialogue and general sound effects aren’t as sharp as previous versions of the game (and I should know, having played the GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Wii editions). Interestingly, certain effects seem to be higher in the mix, so you’ll hear the rambling of cultists and ominous patter of distant footsteps as if they were right next to Leon, despite the fact they’re quite some distance away. It’s a little intrusive, and makes it exceedingly difficult to discern which enemies are nearby and those that aren’t. Meanwhile, the script is archetypal Resident Evil nonsense, though the performances themselves are actually quite decent, and make the most of the cliché narrative.
Resident Evil 4 is a pretty meaty package, and you get a lot of bang for your buck. Outside of the 12-18 hour campaign, there’s extra difficulty levels, new costumes for Leon and Ashley, bonus weapons (the Tommy Gun being a highlight) and two new mini-games—Assignment Ada and Separate Ways. The latter is like a bite-sized campaign in its own right, chronicling super spy Ada Wong’s exploits as she carries out missions for blonde baddie Albert Wesker in events that run concurrently to Leon’s adventure. New bosses crop up here, as well as new locations, weapons and cut-scenes, and you’ll still be able to gobble up an assortment of treasures and cash to spend on upgrades and equipment. Add all this up and you have what is possibly the most complete version of a game that’s admittedly been milked more times than I care to remember. Sure, there are a few flaws dotted throughout, and the HD revamp isn’t quite as polished as it should have been, but these issues are pretty inconsequential in the long run. At the end of the day, what you’ve got here is unequivocally one of the greatest action-horror outings of all time, and an absolute must-have for Resi fans and newcomers alike.