Resident Evil 4 Reader Review
"Surely this cant be right, did they really? You take one of gaming's most successful series and do that, maybe for a spin-off but not a full-on sequel."
Those were my thoughts when I first saw this game running on Gamecube, not because it seemed a bad idea (resi has afterall, allways felt limited by its original design, the constraints of which were down to 32bit hardware). The gamecube remakes were fab to look at yes, but still those awful controls, the deathly slow pace, the mixture of contradictions that aged these classic games so quickly.
I read somewhere that the teams working on Onimusha and Devil May Cry, both visited the RE4 studio many times during these games parallel developments and neither were so bold to mess with their games in such a way. Sure those series were both 128bit designs so maybe they felt they didn't need to but... oh what ever this game is fantastic, even if you've never played a resi game, or lost interest since the first.
YOU WILL BE IMPRESSED.
This is next gen running through this gen's dusty old circuits. For PS2 the graphics are cutting edge, super smooth framerates, massive, detailed environments, tons of crazy villagers (hardly any proper zombies/monsters till near the end, but that just makes its better). Quite simply this game was a bold move for Capcom and they knew it. The controls are pretty much perfect, and any problems you find on first play (such as no sidestepping) soon reveal themselves as part of the gameplay in a way that the old games could never have got away with.
There is a tension and panic and skill level required of the way you have to gun down wave after wave of enemy's that realy makes this a true survival-horror-shooter, very old-skool in one sense, and yet very fresh (at least for this genre anyway).
I don't want to spoil the story, only to say its excellent fun, pretty well acted (perhaps, if judged on the standards of its genre, award winning) and as with the mansion in the first game, the village is only the beginning of this gothic nightmare... once the rain starts to poor and you have found the president daughter its gets pretty crazy, one early boss is straight out of The Thing, (in fact from then on in Carpenters classic movie is one of the game's biggest influences!)
Finally the PS2 extras are excellent, with an arcade style shooter, and two modes letting you play Ada in 5 other missions. These levels played for speed and tension, with low ammo and loads of stuff to shoot are pasted together from various parts of the game and include some real classic moments, one of Ada's later levels is truely special, much better than the usual extras...
If every developer put as much effort and skill into revitalising their aging IP there would be so many more great games out there right now. Roll on RE5!
10 / 10