By Phatmac 3 Comments
I've never played Resident Evil 4.
Okay I admit it, are you happy now? I wasn't into games that much during the last decade since my family was pretty poor at the time. Luckily we've bounced back and I can now happily spend money on games and other junk. Excuses aside I have always wanted to play RE4 as it is recognized as one of the greatest games of all time. So I finally decided to check it out this week and start playing it. So how did I fare you ask? In short I got my ass kicked.
I knew coming in that the controls would be old school Resident Evil. While it isn't as bad as tank controls the act of moving and using the camera would be awkward for me. I was right in a way. I did play RE5 before and while it is more modern than RE4's controls it is still searching for shots and firing at precise body parts of an enemy. Games these days give you enough aim assist for aiming and shooting. The actually act of shooting isn't as stressful as RE4 and that is a big plus to me. The camera is still a big issue to me and I don't buy the 180 button spin to cure my problems with the camera issue. I love the atmosphere so far of being all by myself and coming into some strange spanish village. This is true survival horror as I had limited ammo and constantly had to run away from enemies. My trusty knife would be my last alternative during fights. My inexperience with RE4 also meant that I ran out of ammo quick due to me missing so damn much. I don't find the game to be scary as the enemies are most peasant spanish workers with rakes and knifes. Horror games need to have some super natural monster to truly induce fear into me. I'm sure that RE4's famous horror design will kick in at some point. I've played enough RE games to realize that.
Atmosphere is hard to do in games. You want to make your world believable and liveable. What I mean by this is that you have to look beyond it being a video game world. It has to feel like people have lived here for centuries and do that you have make it look populated. Adding buildings and cattle to make it seem like these people have been working together as a community is important in setting this atmosphere. Making idle animations for people walking around and tending to their duties makes it feel like this are regular people that wouldn't be horror enemies for the player to shoot at. I appreciate that in games and it helps set a tone for a game. With RE4 it's the sense of isolation and unfamiliarity. Leon is a stranger in a strange land in many ways. Hell, Leon doesn't even speak spanish. Most modern games are too busy with explosions and cut scenes to let you get comfortable with the world that you're in. Sure there are cutscenes in this game too, but they aren't as important as settling you into the game world. The novelty of the situation that Leon is in hasn't worn of yet. RE4 may not be the best looking or playing game out right now, but it does things that modern games have been missing. It has a deliberate pace to it that you can abide by or simply fight in many ways that either keep you well stocked or scavenging for more supplies. I appreciate what RE4 is trying to do and at 1 hour in I'm still going to keep playing it.
So stay tuned for another one of these trips back to games that I've never played. I'll probably do one for this game once I finish it. Who knows.
(I don't like the quick time events.)