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17th Mar 2023

Resident Evil 4 remake is a gorgeous reminder why it is one of the best games ever made

Rory Cashin

Resident Evil 4

The remake of Resident Evil 4 arrives on next-gen platforms this month.

It cannot be unstated just how important Resident Evil 4 was when it was first released back in 2005. It essentially revolutionised a new format of third-person shooter games, mixed in with some properly overwhelming, panic-inducing horror. It also helped refresh the decaying Resi-series itself which had already gotten itself into a rut in Resident Evil 3, all while maintaining a self-aware (we think?) sense of camp fun.

Considering that Capcom have been slowly going through the older entries, giving them all a current-gen upgrade, to varying degrees of critical success but uniformly delivering commercial success, it was only a matter of time before the series highlight would be getting its revamp for modern gaming audiences. And we’re happy to announce that the RE4-make manages to improve upon the original’s highlights, while reducing or outright replacing some of the few niggles that popped up that first time around.

For those not in the now, the plot revolves around Leon Kennedy, who is sent into a mysterious Spanish village to recover Ashley Graham, the kidnapped daughter of the President of the United States. However, it turns out that the village is both fully run by an evil religious cult AND pretty much everyone has succumbed to a dangerous parasite that has basically turned everyone into zombies.

As you venture through the horror version of a Gerard Butler movie, it actually isn’t long before you find Ashley, as she sticks by your side for the remainder of the story, which is where some of the biggest changes appear in the remake. You can actually have Ashley stick really close by when you need to make a run for it in some of the hairier situations, or give you a bit of distance when you know you’ll need to stand your ground and put up a fight. Ashley also improves on her own usefulness, now able to unlock doors and keep quiet during the new stealth sections, on top of the usual kicking-the-ladder-back-down actions.

Back in 2005, QTEs were all the rage and in hindsight were one of the biggest grievances with the original game, punishing you for not having immediate, quickfire reactions. Most of the QTEs have been done away with, including one of the boss battles that now actually requires you to actively partake in it, as opposed to just following button-prompted orders.

Along with some fun other additions – the ability to parry, increased knife action, customisable attache cases, new weapons, some new side missions – it all adds up to a new version that isn’t vastly improved on the near-perfect original, but helps put a new spotlight on what made that game so great to begin with.

And that is all without mentioning the gorgeously updated visuals and creepily improved-upon sound effects and score, and just like the recent Dead Space remake, we get to (revisit) a modern masterpiece.

Resident Evil 4 will be available on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4 and PC from Friday, 24 March.

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