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Resident Evil 4

Developer: Capcom | Publisher: Capcom
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 01/11/05 | Genre: Survival Horror

Resident Evil is a title that most gamers are familiar with in North America. Created in Japan, where it is known as Biohazard and directed by a man named Hideki Kamiya, Resident Evil revolutionized how survivor horror games are played today. In 1996 Capcom the first incarnation of Resident Evil in North America and Japan on the PlayStation. This title would go on to create a new genre in gaming known as Survival Horror. The game was a huge hit featuring spooky and realistic gameplay. Before Resident Evil Infograms, now known as Ubisoft, created a video game named Alone in the Dark. This game included lots of scary moments and was the best type of game for its time. This was then surpassed by Resident Evil which included better graphics, realistic horror and a more intriguing story.

After the first game, Capcom and Hideki Kamiya spawned out sequels and side games (not 100% based on the Resident Evil franchise). Though the Resident Evil series has seen its share of good titles, RE2, and its fair share of bad titles, Resident Evil Survivor, Capcom continues to release RE title after RE title. In 2001 Capcom signed a contract with Nintendo stating that all Resident Evil games will be published exclusively to the Nintendo GameCube until Resident Evil 4 (though Capcom designed Resident Evil Outbreak for the PlayStation 2, it was because GameCube didn't have the capability for online play so they put that on the Sony PlayStation 2).

After this deal was complete, Capcom released a remake of Resident Evil for the GameCube which revamped everything including the pre-rendered background, characters designs, and tons of new features! After that, Capcom released Resident Evil Zero which was a prequel to the original Resident Evil game where the player was Rebecca Chambers, a RPD officer, and Billy Coen, a convicted killer, before the Mansion incident in the original Resident Evil. This included a new zap system where you can switch characters right in the middle of the game by pressing a simple button. After this, Capcom released Resident Evil 2 and 3 for the GameCube. Normally it would be good to bring back old classics, but the thing Capcom should have done was actually remake the game as they did for the Resident Evil. Unfortunately though, they only ported Resident Evil 2 and 3 to the GameCube making almost NO changes the game what so ever (graphics were maybe a little smoother) but what was worse was that they were charging $30.00 each where you can get a PSone or DreamCast copy for about half that price.

Despite these minor setbacks, Capcom came and showed everybody at E3 2003 what changes they had store for us in Resident Evil 4! Capcom claimed that this game will revamp the whole Resident Evil system by taking away the bad cameras, and giving a whole new perspective to the franchise. On January 11, 2005 Capcom has finally shipped Resident Evil 4 to retailers all across the United States, but was the wait worth the while? Yes--yes it was.

The story takes place six years after the Racoon City incident and you play as the rookie cop Leon S. Kennedy (Resident Evil 2), but now Leon is more mature (both looks and brains) and working for the United States government. It would seem as the president's daughter, Ashley Graham, has been kidnapped by a group of people supposedly located in a small Spanish town in Europe. Unfortunately this small village is home to a religious cult named the Los Illuminados, and they aren't very fond of the United States. Now Leon must go to this small town to try to locate and rescue Ashley. When you arrive in the village, it would seem as the villagers who live there want you dead really badly. Luckily you will be equipped with:

*An attach-case so you can store items in
*An 9mm handgun for self-defense
*9mm handgun bullets
*First Aid Spray if you ever get in any danger
*A knife in case you run out of bullets
*And last is your Radio

Your radio will be equipped with your very own assistant that will give you your objectives and information, her name is Hunnigan and yes, she is a human that works for the United States government. Hunnigan will come up once in a while to give you some information, but mostly tells you what you already know, "Save Ashley under any means necessary."

Like other Resident Evil game there are those bloody typewriters on which you save your progress but this time you don't have to find those stupid Ink Ribbons meaning you can save at anytime you wish when there is a typewriter present. But what is better is Capcom added continue system to the game where if you die you will just restart back at the beginning of the area or after any big event. This is very useful considering you will be dying a lot, this game is a little hard first time through. As said above you are equipped with an attach-case that allows you to store items, unlike the other Resident Evil games the attach-case can carry around 10x-30x more items than other games. Capcom also discontinued my favorite storage method--the universal storage boxes. Fortunately, you are able to upgrade your attach-case making it fit more items, this will come in handy because you will find yourself running low on space as you progress through the title. Also another upgrade is that keys and important items are placed in their own pocket so you don't have to bother putting it in your attach-case.

A new system, similar to the Devil May Cry system, has been added to the game, this new system is the merchant. The merchant seems to be a group of villagers just trying to make a decent living by selling items. The merchant also sells attachments for weapons and healing items; also you can sell items for PTAS and even upgrade your current weapons to make them more powerful, faster in shooting, faster in reloading or holding more bullets. These type of upgrades come in very handy later on in the game.

It is strange; the villagers are nice enough to leave money around.

Everybody wants freedom in a video game, now you can drive or ride different vehicles such as boats, mine carts, a trolley and even a skidoo--Yes a Skidoo!

This is new to the series and is quite fun but only lasts for a short period of time. Also new in the series are the new interactive cinemas, but I'll talk about that later.

Resident Evil 4 plays much differently than any other game in its series; first off there is the new ability to aim with your selected weapon? yes Aim! This gives you the ability to discharge enemies and weapons, to do this now you are able to go into, not first person perspective but over the shoulder perspective so you can still see your character and yet you can aim your gun! How clever is that? Being able to aim, Capcom added a hit zone to enemies so if you shoot them in the hand they'll drop their weapon, shoot them in the head close up and ka-boom! There goes their head, and I must say, exploding heads never looked so good. This gives the game more realism and depth creating tension and over the top fun. Aiming your weapon will also be very useful to disarm traps and explosives.

The recent Resident Evil games have had pre-rendered background so it was almost like one big path--but now Capcom developed everything in 3D! Meaning almost everything is interactive. You can break barrels and boxes, kick down ladders and have the ability to jump through windows and structures. This will help you defeat or escape your enemies.

A new twist to the series is that there will be traps set up all around, such as explosives, roofs that'll squash you, and even bear traps (but are not meant for bears), this sometimes will get annoying considering you wont always be able to see what on the ground ahead of you. But I guess Capcom can always improve that in RE5!

The Resident Evil series is well known for creating unique monsters but more importantly zombies. In Resident Evil 4 they don't disappoint in creating unique monsters but they have replaced the zombies with crazy villagers. Is this bad? Heavens no. now the enemies can use whatever brain they got. Enemies can think and team up on you. This will give them the ability to run at you when you are reloading or move out of the way when you are aiming at them. These enemies will now throw weapons such as sickles, scythes, axes, and various other objects but luckily you are able to shoot these weapons out of the air or dodge them. Unfortunately you are not able to strafe so its difficult to dodge. This is the one drawback to the control scheme they have chose. Still, it is much better than the old camera system they used for past titles.

Okay so encounters with normal enemies are better but what about boss fights? Well Resident Evil 4 doesn't disappoint when it comes to fighting a 'freak of nature.' Now you will have to face off giant Ogres, lake monsters, crazy villagers with chainsaws and even monsters that will remind you of the good old games. These boss battles are insane and include different strategies to defeat them, mostly using common knowledge/sense. Unfortunately some areas you go up against bosses are usually small, which means you may get hurt a few times. (Also one of the monsters I must say reminds me of Nightmare from the Soul Calibur series)

Graphically, in my opinion, this has to be the best looking game I've ever seen. Not, only in the cinemas but also in the gameplay. As you may notice, there are no fully rendered cinematic sequences, only in-game cutscenes (just as the Metal Gear Solid series has done). This makes the game stand out more because the cinematic graphics are the same as the gameplay in the game. Since it's not fully rendered it allows the game to load really fast which is a huge improvement over past titles in the series. Character models in the game look superb and move amazingly realistic. In past Resident Evil games the characters always looked a little stiff but through better motion capture making Resident Evil 4's animation to be some of the best of its time. Also the lip syncing in this game is amazing! This is because Capcom US did their face motion capture for North American game, and almost every word said looks just like real life--its scary. None of that dubbing, but yea, motion and character models look amazing best of its time. Environments as said before are 3D and they just looks marvelous and never get old because the areas will change fast, from village to castle to underground pathway and it just keeps going on and these are done so well its hard to tell if they are real or not. Rain effect also looks amazing with drops coming down and hitting the characters and environment gives it a more realistic feel. Also there are animals such as dogs, wolves and cows that look really good and move realistically. Now the enemies are also well done, from villagers to giant ogres they are well textured and animated and even the exploding of heads and beheading of Leon looks really good (in a creepy way).

Also while aiming with any gun, Leon's hand will shake and get harder for him to aim his weapon which also gives it a realistic ability.

I must add that each scene and video is well coordinated with lots of action and really good dialogue. Graphically, this is the ultimate game; if every scene was rendered I would think it would take up 3 or 4 GameCube DVD's

Sound wise, Capcom does an amazing job. Guns shots sound extremely realistic and make you feel like you are actually inside the world along with enemy snarls and screams. Villagers speak in a foreign language but it actually sounds good. Yes, you heard me--we have good voice acting in a Resident Evil game! Background music changes when you run into enemies, this is also well orchestrated.

Like any survival horror game there are several puzzles. However, unlike previous titles in the series that contained puzzles that were almost impossible to figure out, Capcom finally provided players with puzzles in RE4 that are much easier to figure out. The best part about the new puzzles in Resident Evil 4 is that you are no longer required to backtrack in order to complete the majority of the puzzles! This is a first for the series.

RE4 will keep you busy for many hours. In fact, instead of the normal six to ten hours of gameplay time Capcom normally gives us, the fourth installment of Resident Evil provides players with right around twenty hours of gameplay! And because there are several secrets and unlockable things in the game, players will find replay value for the first time in the series. This is defiantly the biggest and best game of the Resident Evil series I have ever seen.

But all games have their flaws. Resident Evil is amazing in its own way, but one thing that stressed me the most were the interactive cinemas. During certain cinematic sequences, a random button will appear on the screen and you will have to hit the right button within a few seconds or you will be put into a worse situation. This can cause you to die and is very frustrating. However, if you do die, fortunately there is the much more forgiving continue system. Also it would be nice to see a strafe button. This could have been implemented via the D-Pad. But other then that the game is practically perfect.

Overall Resident Evil 4 is one of the best games I have played in a very long time. It is a shame that Capcom had to delay this title because I think it would have had a shot to win countless Game of the Year honors in 2004. If you like the Resident Evil series, this game is for you. If you don't care much for the Resident Evil series but adore shooters or a good adventure, this is the game for you. This game will literally draw you in, even the anti-Resident Evil people will like it because it includes what every game should have, a great cast, humor, action, weapons, puzzles and monsters!

Resident Evil 4 is a huge accomplishment for Capcom and one of the best titles the company has ever released. Because of this we highly recommend RE4 to all GameCube owners.

By Adam Beck - 01/26/05
ESRB Details: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence
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Screenshots for Resident Evil 4

Super Mario 64 DS

Resident Evil 4