Posted a day in advance, as I would have no time to write this up and post it on Saturday because of Extra Life.
I have said this multiple times when talking about this game, but I’ll say it again. How the hell did I miss this game before?
It’s not surprising when a new game in a series, be it upcoming or recently released, prompts me to check out past entries. RE6 has been met with harsh criticism, and rather than play that to see just how much it fucks up as a game, I decided to play a game that would let me understand why people like it. Of course, Resident Evil’s gameplay took a major shift when 4 came out, so the question was do I try playing old school RE, or play RE4. I chose the latter, as I wanted to play something that I knew would have not controls that were awful.
15 or so hours later, after playing the main game and Assignment Ada, I really don’t care whether or not this is called Resident Evil. I like Resident Evil 4 because it is a superb, kick ass action game.
Granted, it takes a little while to come to grips with the mechanics of the game. First hour of the game had me struggling to find my rhythm fighting the Ganados and surviving in general. The first village battle that has you holding out until the bell tower rings was so brutal I chose to reload my save and do that scenario over just so I’d come out of it without my health in the red. By being smarter and searching the environment for supplies mid battle, I got my hands on a shotgun and came face to face with Dr. Salvador. The results were far better.
I continued playing, and as I improved my skills, I faced new and varied challenges, discovered neat, Kojima styled attention to detail in certain scenarios, and just had a damn good time in the course of my 15+ hour playthrough. From the village, to the castle, to the island, not once did I think the game was going for too long or should’ve ended sooner. You cover so much ground in the game, and new things are constantly being introduced and added on top of the game. That was one major part I found surprising about the game, even with the 48 times that I died during the course of the game. Not a dull moment at all.
Another major part of this game that I really enjoyed, once I got past the hurdle in the first hour, was the action. It’s certainly different than your typical 3 person shooter and definitely not as fast as other Japanese games. It’s slow and methodical, and different random elements like the likelihood of a Plagas revealing itself from a Ganado or the chance of a headshot instantly killing an enemy and so on. And the things you can do with aiming at particular body parts or any object in general. Shooting an axe that’s thrown at you out of the air makes you feel like a badass every time. Even with the random elements mentioned before, there’s still enough skill required during combat that you can easily leverage against those unexpected moments. Really well designed, top to bottom.
The combat in particular is what makes me consider maybe checking out RE5. Again, much like I don’t care whether or not RE4 is a Resident Evil game, I don’t care about RE5 being a Resident Evil game. I just want more of this kind of action and RE5 looks to be more of that.
One thing I’ve always heard about RE4 is that while it’s not “scary” like the old RE games were, it’s got a lot of tension. And I certainly felt it. The damage that a Ganado can dish out is rather significant, and that first village battle definitely solidifies it as you have to contend with mobs of villagers without getting trapped in a corner. And then there’s more. You have to hold out against them while trapped in a really tight spaces like a house, or a cage in the castle. I ended up running out of ammo in many cases, and some boss fights resulted in me using only my knife to do damage. The boss fight with the 2 El Gigantes comes to mind, as I dropped one into the lava, and the other I ran out of ammo and had to knife him until the Plagas revealed itself for the third and final time. Then there’s running from Salazar’s “right hand,” which was a right bastard. The regenerators and iron maidens were the only things in that game that were actually downright creepy. That heavy breathing and grey, featureless body. They reminded me of the Heaven’s Smiles from killer7, though without the creepy laughter. RE4’s got great action, and great tension to boot.
Of course, there have been multiple versions of RE4 released, so which version did I play? Because it was the one with the highest availability on Gamefly and didn’t require 2 discs, I got the PS2 version. Granted, things like the cutscenes being prerendered and in general technically inferior to other versions, I still had a terrific time playing through it. Of course since I’ve got the PS2 version, that means I can play the Separate Ways campaign, which I will be doing tomorrow during my 24 gaming marathon for ExtraLife. Since I am super stubborn about owning the original version of every game, I’m thinking I may not miss Separate Ways if I get the Gamecube version in the future. Assignment Ada was a nice distraction, but it is short, and hard, and kinda made me hate the Krauser fight more than I did the first time as Leon.
There’s still for me to check out in RE4, but I gotta say, I can’t get enough of that game. The action, the tension, the atmosphere and presentation, I loved it, even on the PS2. 2005 to 2006 seems like the highest point in Capcom’s history in my memory, having played Okami, God Hand, Devil May Cry 3, and now Resident Evil 4. Fucking amazing.
And the Rest
Nothing really new since last week. Was still playing Bloodlines and Thief until RE4 came around.
Like I said at the start, the reason for this blog going up a day early is because Saturday I'll be joining other duders on the site by playing video games for 24 hours for charity. This year I noticed that the day for it falls on my birthday tomorrow, and felt like I should make my birthday something special this year by taking something I already do almost every day, playing video games, and play them 24 hours straight while raising money to give to children's hospitals. Don't know about you, but that sounds like a win-win to me. Thankfully I've had friends and family who are supporting me in this and have donated towards this as well.
So tomorrow the marathon starts. What will I be playing? How will I be presenting it? Well, I lack any proper streaming equipment, so I'll be doing updates via Twitter. If you are in some way interested in following where I am in my game playing, here's the link
Now then, the games. What will I be playing. More or less in this order.
- Borderlands 2, playing either the Mechromancer class or starting Captain Scarlet and her Pirate's Booty
- Another Century's Episode R, playing through an entire campaign of that game (not very long when you skip all the cutscenes)
- Resident Evil 4, playing the Separate Ways campaign.
- Juniper's Knot, a short visual novel I've had installed for months now but haven't tried. Should be a nice diversion.
- Arx Fatalis. Whatever time I start it at, I'm gonna keep going hopefully to about midnight.
- Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines. Been a while since I've played it, this marathon provides a good excuse.
- Aliens versus Predator 2, playing the Alien campaign. Just felt like it.
- Whatever I can think of in the last few hours. Most likely just a grab bag of console games.
So that's the line up. Looking forward to doing this.
I am at a lack of saying something other than thanks for reading, so...thanks for reading.
Oh, and if you feel like donating, here's a link. Would be great to reach my goal during this event. If it doesn't, well, 75% is still a good accomplishment.