Resident Evil 4 is more than ten-years-old now, and despite myriad ports, we've still yet to receive a definitive edition, a remaster that matches and exceeds the quality of the GameCube original in every way. So when it was announced that Resident Evil 4 was being ported to Xbox One and PlayStation 4, we were interested to see how these new versions stack up. Has an iconic release finally been revisited, revised and remastered to the fullest extent? Or is it simply a port based on existing work?
This week's new PS4 and Xbox One releases are based on the PC version dubbed the Ultimate HD Edition. This is based, in turn, on the original GameCube codebase. It's an important distinction as the original 2007 PC port is actually based on the inferior PlayStation 3 conversion. Despite the age of the game, none of the many ports have quite matched every aspect of the original release. Certain effects, such as high intensity fire effects, depth of field and dust particles in the air are absent while the overall colours are desaturated, eliminating the contrast between light and shadow. These criticisms apply to every conversion of the game - and that includes these new PS4 and Xbox One remasters. However, while the overall image appears somewhat less rich, the majority of the experience is intact and the higher resolution helps to make up for the deficiencies.
That said, once you jump in, it quickly becomes apparent that image quality isn't quite what we would have expected here. While both versions operate at a full 1080p, neither port features anti-aliasing of any description - even something as lightweight as FXAA could have made a difference here. When combined with the lack of mip-maps (textures generated to combat surface aliasing) the game suffers from noticeable shimmering throughout. On the GameCube, this approach was likely taken in order to avoid blurring caused by trilinear filtering, but on modern consoles, it's possible to perform anisotropic filtering on mip-maps enabling sharper but cleaner results. Unfortunately, this is missing on the new releases.