My High School Paper RE4 Review
Holiday season '04 turned out being one of gaming's biggest ever in regards to top titles, with the likes of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2), Metal Gear Solid 3 (PS2), Halo 2 (Xbox), Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (GameCube or "GCN"), Doom 3 (PC), Half-Life 2 (PC) and many more being released within 3 months of each other (Oct-Dec.). The result of all that end-year activity usually means that the industry is dry by the time New Year hits. But not so in '05. Because of all the big-name titles in '04, '05 started off with a bang as publishers delayed their other big titles to avoid competing with the holiday releases. And the firs game to kick-start the banging was Resident Evil 4 (GCN), released only days into the New Year and already being heralded as a contender for Game of the Year.
In development for years (Devil May Cry [PS2] originally started out as Resident Evil 4), the newest game in the Resident Evil ("RE" for short) saga set out to rid itself of established conventions that had bogged the series down; giving a fresh take on RE that's more focused on action. Indeed, the game lives up to it's aspirations.
RE4 has been given a full 3D coat of paint, with beautiful, highly detailed graphics, and a new over-the-shoulder viewpoint that allows for precision aiming. The pace of the game is much faster than previous titles, and puzzles are few, far between, and easier than before, rarely interfering with the action.
In the game, you play as Leon S. Kennedy (from RE2) who, after the Biohazard outbreak and the zombie carnage that ensued, joined up with the US government once the Umbrella Corporation was disbanded. Assigned to protect the President's family, he finds himself in a remote part of Europe when the president's daughter is mysteriously abducted. If this all sounds foreign to you, don't distress, no knowledge of Re's rich background story is needed to enjoy this title, as it stands on it's own, only slightly adding to the overall RE mythos.
The true highlight of RE4 is its cinematic presentation and its spectacular boss fights. The run & gun action of RE4 is relentless as you blast away foes with a cavalcade of weapons. The movie scenes are jaw dropping,, and many scenes use a new interactive mechanic that places Leon's fate in your hands, as the movie scene plays, by having you pressing buttons during certain moments to keep Leon alive. Other scenes of this ilk have you jamming on the A Button to sprint away from oncoming foes or runaway boulders, timing button presses during an incredible knife fight sequence, and much more. These scenes are truly amazing and they give the game a unique feeling by having you involved instead of just watching.
All said RE4 is a must-have title for anyone with a GameCube. The game lives up to the Resident Evil name while driving the series fullbore forward on all cylinders into new uncharted territory and features excellent graphics, a great storyline, the token spooky atmosphere, smart new enemies that attack you in swarms and make the previous RE's zombies look like petting zoo animals, great fat-paced gameplay, lots of unlockables and extra modes and so much more that I don't have the space to mention.
Resident Evil 4 will be a GameCube exclusive until the end of 2005, at which point you'll be able to pick it up for the PS2. But why wait? On a scale of 1 to 10, RE4 snatches that coveted perfect 10 from me. Evil is calling, and there's a shotgun with your name on it. :)