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Resident Evil 4 Remake Is the Perfect Modern Resident Evil Game Empty Resident Evil 4 Remake Is the Perfect Modern Resident Evil Game

周一 4月 03, 2023 4:31 am
Resident Evil 4 Remake is the triumph you heard it is, but what will this game's success mean for the future of the franchise?

I’ve long been one of those gamers who thinks that underachieving games with great ideas should get remakes rather than already great games. That argument doesn’t make much business sense (which is why it rarely happens), but the creative logic is sound. An incredible game is often only in need of a touch-up (if anything). Proper remakes sometimes feel like they should be reserved for games that had potential that is easier to see through modern eyes and with the help of modern technology. Of course, Capcom’s recent Resident Evil remakes have certainly challenged that seemingly sound theory.

2019’s Resident Evil 2 Remake was a revelation. I already considered Resident Evil 2 to be one of the best Resident Evil games ever (and one of the best survival horror games ever), so I obviously didn’t think it needed a remake. Yet, that remake’s stunning visuals, reworked cameras/controls that placed slightly more emphasis on action, and reimagined sequences did what many great game remakes strive to do: recreate that feeling of playing a truly great game for the first time. The Resident Evil 3 Remake didn’t quite reach those same heights, but hopes were obviously high for the long-awaited Resident Evil 4 remake. After all, Resident Evil 4 isn’t just one of the all-time great games regardless of franchise and genre; it helped inspire some of the gameplay changes that made the RE 2 remake so special.

So try to be surprised when I tell you that Resident Evil 4 Remake is an incredible game. It’s arguably the best overall version of Resident Evil 4 and one of the best Resident Evil games ever. It’s pretty much the perfect version of the modern Resident Evil experience that Capcom is trying to craft with these remakes. While I mean that as a compliment, it’s a compliment that I deliver with at least a small twinge of disappointment in regard to what that might actually mean.

Resident Evil 4 Remake Solidifes the Original’s “Greatest Game Ever” Credentials
Apologies for those who are already well aware of this, but 2005’s Resident Evil 4 is widely considered to be one of “the great games.”

Originally released for the GameCube (and since ported to pretty much everything), Resident Evil 4 followed Leon Kennedy as he traveled to a rural village in Spain to rescue the president’s daughter. There, he finds a cult whose deadly experiments have turned the villagers into monsters and the village into a hellscape. As they so often do, things escalate from there.

Resident Evil 4 was a real shock to the franchise’s system. It utilized an over-the-shoulder perspective that not only replaced the previous games’ fixed camera angles but formed the basis of a new combat system that allowed players to properly aim their weapons. It also added a merchant and a new inventory system designed to help you carry more items (when properly managed). It even replaced two of the series’ most iconic enemies: zombies and the Umbrella Corporation (though the lore is more complicated than that).

Those changes (and more) made Resident Evil 4 much a much more action-oriented game than its predecessors. In some ways, those changes were a reflection of the times. More and more games of that era were also emphasizing cinematic setpieces, and 3D action was finally coming into its own. Other notable RE 4 changes were designed to address growing fatigue towards the old-school survival horror genre and the many RE clones that eventually watered down that style. Many felt that it was time for the series and genre to evolve, and Cpacom obviously agreed.

Yet, Resident Evil 4 was more of a trendsetter than a trend chaser. What few ideas it did borrow it also refined and reimagined for a new kind of action-horror experience. Older Resident Evil games often instilled fear by making you feel helpless. Resident Evil 4’s brand of horror was more about overwhelming you with “holy shit” moments but giving you more of the tools you need to feel relatively in control during those moments.

At the time of its release, there was really nothing like Resident Evil 4. It straddled the line between interactivity and cinematic presentation in ways that made nearly every beat of the experience feel like a revelation. Your first time playing RE 4 was like watching the future of gaming come at you with a bloody chainsaw. There was no denying what you were experiencing. It was so good that it even made escort quests feel enjoyable.

It’s no surprise that some instantly labeled it the best game they had ever played. Even a growing army of Resident Evil 4 clones couldn’t immediately diminish its impact. Many of those games couldn’t match the ways that RE 4 balanced skill with approachability, presentation with interactivity, and action with horror so expertly.

Yet, time has taken a toll on the game. Resident Evil 4 was never actually a perfect game, and some of its problems (sometimes clunky controls, final act pacing issues, and an occasional overreliance on QTE sequences, just to name a few) became more pronounced over the years. Games like Dead Space also arguably improved the RE 4 formula in some pretty notable ways. It also didn’t help that Capcom failed to produce a worthy follow-up to RE 4 in the style of that game. Resident Evil 4 remained great, but those “greatest game ever” claims started to sound a little more hyperbolic.
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