Capcom shows us the face of Evil

Four blimey.

Up to now, real screenshots of Resident Evil 4 have been difficult to find. Without the aid of shady forum threads and scanned magazine pages, all we've had to go on is a number of outdated shots of lead character Leon Kennedy as he strolls around typically luscious environments, and it's pretty obvious now that these bear little relation to Shinji Mikami's actual vision of the game.

Details of how the game works have been less troublesome to track down, and we've already wasted plenty of page views contemplating the excised door animations, the new widescreen-only approach, the lack of cut-scenes, a context-sensitive action button, and the lack of actual zombies this time around. But in the absence of the expected swathes of screenshots, guesswork has been high on the agenda.

Fortunately, Capcom has finally released a stack of current Resi Evil 4 screenshots to go with all the details pilfered from mag scans, and they certainly give us a good idea of what to expect. Leon can be seen performing all the actions we had described to us last month - climbing a ladder and then knocking it down to slow pursuing enemies, leaping through windows, repelling chainsaws, emptying uzis into the ranks of diseased townsfolk, spying from afar with his binoculars, zooming along in his speedboat, and repelling a truly enormous boss creature.

Graphically the game looks to be on a par with its Cube-based predecessor, and the loss of zombies seems to have worked a treat. Leon's manic adversaries may not be quite dead, but they're certainly raving loons, which is perhaps worse. Zombies can and do munch on flesh, but at least they have the decency to leave power tools at home. One has to wonder how much of this sort of abuse young Mr. Kennedy can endure without dying...

What's more, anybody worried about all this 'great outdoors' nonsense will be pleased to see that the sun does still go down, and that this doesn't throw up much of a barrier for the residents of this latest evil - they just light up torches, grab a pitchfork and continue rambling. Bless. Fortunately they're just as susceptible to the odd shotgun blast to the head as you'd expect. Which is something.

With E3 coming up, it won't be long before we're playing Resident Evil 4, and that means it won't be long before we're looking for "the new door-loading animation" amongst other things. We just hope Capcom is handing out new pants this year and not just T-shirts...

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