After 18 years, one of the most beloved Resident Evil games of all time has been remade and reimagined for current-gen hardware. After launching on GameCube in 2005, Resident Evil 4 was soon ported to the PlayStation 2 where it received rave reviews, being praised for its artistic design and action-packed gameplay.
Fast forward several years, and Resident Evil 4’s popularity saw it being released for the Nintendo Wii, PC, and then HD remasters for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, and PS4. These remastered ports not only gave fans 1080P Full HD graphics with an increased frame rate, but add-on campaigns and arcade modes.
Now, in 2023, Capcom has delivered a completely rebuilt version of Resident Evil 4 using RE Engine, the same game engine used for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, Resident Evil Village and the RE2/RE3 remakes. While the core fundamentals of the game stay true to the original, the remake brings improved gameplay, a slightly reimagined storyline, and highly detailed graphics.
The story begins six years after the events of the biological disaster in Raccoon City. Leon Kennedy has been recruited to rescue the president’s kidnapped daughter, Ashley, whom he’s tracked to a small secluded village in the mountainous regions of Spain. He soon realises that the locals have succumbed to a religious cult known as Los Iluminados, led by Osmund Saddler.
Leon makes his way to the village, where he is soon captured by its chief, Bitores Mendez. It’s here where he meets Luis Sera, a former Spanish police officer also held captive, and learns that the leader of Los Iluminados plans to inject a parasite into Ashley in order to infect the President of the United States and take over the world. The story continues with Leon tracking Ashley and fighting his way through infected henchmen, taking down the region’s leaders one battle at a time.
Now, apart from subtle changes to the story and a few new enemies, Capcom have added a number of control and gameplay features. The third-person view has improved, along with Leon’s aiming and manoeuvrability. We also see better pacing of the story thanks to reduced loading times and an auto-save feature, meaning you’re no longer sent all the way back to the typewriter where you last saved.
On top of these features, Leon can now parry with his combat knife, which is a welcomed change. Parrying can sometimes be difficult to master, but Capcom has introduced this well. Just keep in mind, however, that each time you use your knife, it deteriorates so you must keep repairing it at the Merchant. Weapon selection has also been upgraded. In previous games you had to switch to a new weapon via your briefcase, but now you can customise your D-Pad for easy access to guns, grenades, and other throwables.
The shooting range mini-game has also made a reappearance in the remake and can be found next to the Merchant in four locations, The Merchant’s Hideout (Chapter 3), The Grand Hall (Chapter 9), The Mines (Chapter 11), and The Facility (Chapter 14). It brings new challenges and courses, plus, as you complete each challenge, you now earn Silver & Gold Tokens, redeemable at the Token Machine for random charms. These charms are worthwhile grabbing as they offer different perks when attached to your briefcase. These include benefits such as +8% running speed, +50% health recovery for green herbs, 40% off resources, and more.
So what are my overall thoughts?
Well, as creepy as this game is, it’s not particularly scary. It does have elements of horror with a couple of jump scares at the beginning, but as you get to understand the flow of the game, you can easily anticipate enemies and what’s about to happen. Resident Evil 4 at its core is an action-adventure game, which it does well, and the remake doesn’t stray from this.
Besides the huge visual overhaul, the changes to third-person view, plus the ability to run and gun at the same time, are the standout improvements. This together with updated controls and new gameplay features, make it feel like a completely new game, but for the better. Resident Evil 4 (2023) only improves on what was already a well-received classic and is a must-play for RE and action-adventure fans alike.
Thank you to Capcom Australia for the PS5 review code.
Gaming, Pop Culture and Tech Enthusiast who has an obsession with the 90’s. I have a long running background in the IT & Audio Visual Industry, followed by substantial experience in Business Development, Sales & Digital Marketing.