bodycount's Resident Evil 4 (Collector's Edition) (GameCube) review

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A remarkable achievement

Resident Evil 4 has been a long time coming. First said to be released on the Playstation 2 back in 2000, then later being made 4 different times. The first attempt at Resident evil 4 was Devil may cry. Devil may cry was originally planned to be Resident Evil 4, but according to the creator the game strayed to far from the past Resident Evil games, so it was turned into a new project. The other notable version seen by public eyes would have to be what Capcom dubbed as “Resident evil 3.5”. This was the game that was shown at E3 that we all saw, and many loved. The game took place in a mansion, with Leon as the main character. The trailer’s footage consisted of Leon being attacked by a ghostly figure with a razor sharp hook. The game showed promise, yet ultimately it was decided that Resident Evil was in need of a reinvention.

The gameplay in past Resident Evil games was not their strong points. The past games had you controlling your character as if he/she were a tank, with blind and akward camera angles. There needed to be change, but could such drastic change completely change the feel of the game? As I diehard Resident Evil fan since it’s original release in 1996, I can definetly this is a Resident evil game. The story of Resident Evil is going to be new from now on. Umbrella is said to be gone, but there are mentions of them in the game. Without spoiling any part of the story, all I can say is that it does retain the feel of the past games. There are many surprising twists, so get ready for an entertaining, while also fresh story.

The story of Resident Evil 4 follows Resident Evil 2's protagonist, Leon S. Kennedy on his quest to save the presidents daughter from a group of maniacs in a rural part of Europe. Old foes and friends will be seen in the game again, along with some new faces. The games story, while totally original, does fit in with the past games quite well, and will please any old fan of the series.

The gameplay mechanics have been completely reworked. The old style has been ditched and a new one implemented. The camera will take a slightly to the left position behind your character, allowing you to see everything around you whilst you witness the horrors around you. This camera angle is really effective and really adds to the games feel. The aiming system has also been completely reworked. In past Resident Evil games, you had 3 options for shooting. High, medium or low. This is not the case in Resident evil 4. The aiming system is an over the shoulder view allowing you to shoot the enemy in key hit zones, and overall really just looks great, and is very realistic. Leon’s hand will shake when aiming, as any humans would. Not only does it add to realism, it adds to the challenge. There are endless interaction possibilities in Resident Evil 4. After shooting the enemy in the head, the enemy will be dazed. That is your change to perform a melee attack. Depending on where you shoot the enemy, a different melee attack will be available. If you shoot the enemy on his knees, you can perform a suplex. This basically has Leon grabbing the enemy and smashing his head into the ground. The most common attack you will be able to do is a frontal kick to the face. Another melee attack is a super kick from behind. Again, when the enemy is on his knees, get behind him and kick him in the back. All of these gameplay additions are truly wonderful.

Another gameplay addition that separates Resident evil 4 from it's predecessors is the need of quick reflexes. During cut scenes, you will, at random unexpected times, have to press a button combination to dodge an attack, run from a boulder and many other actions. This addition means that you cannot just set your controller down for a cut scene, but actually interact with it. The button combination will always be either R + L or A+B. You will never find a combination of R +B or any combo that has a shoulder button or A,B buttons. Sometimes you will also have to rapidly tap A or B, for running and other actions. Also, if you die during one of these moments, you cannot just go over to redo that same part and be ready knowing the combo they asked last time. They, on almost every part, will be changed.

There are some things that I need to address however. There is no way of quickly switching weapons. You need to bring up the inventory screen during the action to switch weapons and heal your character. This is a very minor problem however. The other thing I need to mention is that while aiming, you cannot strafe left to right, or move at all for that matter. That not only adds to realism as it would be very difficult for a person to accurately fire a weapon while running, but it also adds to the tension knowing you could be attacked at any angle. Another thing is, most of the time you aim for the head and repeat. This can get repetitive at times, but there is so much variety in weaponry and actions that this can be almost completely over-looked. Another disappointing aspect of the game is some truly lackluster and simplistic puzzles. I've been with the Resident Evil series since its beginnings, and I've come to expect challenging puzzles, and a wide variety of them, all which were not present in this game.

Another of the most notable differences between Resident evil 4 and its predecessors is that there is no more zombies, instead infected villagers by the name of Ganados. The Ganados were ordinary villagers, infected with a deadly virus that turned them into bloodthirsty killers. The villagers will attack with an array of weapons. Most of the weapons are however close range weapons. Axes are most common. You will also encounter some other interesting weapons such as the ever famous chainsaw, kamikaze villagers holding dynamite who will attempt to grab you from behind, butcher knives and later in on the game you will encounter other foes with different weapons, such as crossbows and maces.

Another of the new additions Resident Evil 4 has made to the series is the merchant based buying and selling of items and weaponry. Throughout the game, enemies will drop money, as well as ammo. The currency (PTAS) can be used when you locate a merchant to buy a wide variety of specialty items such as first aid sprays and weapons. You can also increase the power of your weapons by tuning them up at the merchants counter.(all of which, of course cost money) Any special weapon you unlock through mini games and other secrets in the game, are available through the merchant.

Upon starting up the game you will notice amazing Graphical quality with 480p support and a mandatory 16:9 Wide screen format. Those with 16:9 televisions will be able to have a full screen image, those without will have two cinematic bars on top and bottom. The bars add to the cinematic feel of the game and really look great. The graphics, simply put, are some of the best, and probably the most realistic graphics ever produced in full 3D. The game has some great texturing and the characters use an insane amount of polygons. There are never slowdowns, even when the screen has 20 some enemies all moving. The water and fire in resident evil 4 are the best ever produced to date, even surpassing that of a high end PC. The fire most notably looks so realistic that it is breathtaking. All of these amazing features along with a great atmosphere make resident evil 4 one of the most best, most realistic looking games to date.

Another thing I would like to mention is some truly impressive enemy AI. The enemies will duck while your aiming at them, side step, and even shout out their plans at their comrades. They will surround you, they will outnumber you, but a good strategy and a powerful weapon will come in handy, of course.

The audio in the game is amazing as well. You have three options: Stereo, Mono, and Dolby Digital. The sound effects are great. Each gun sounds unique, the sound of enemies moving, floors creaking, running water fire in the wind, terrain dependant footsteps, all of it just sounds great. The music climatically rises when enemies are near, and even the save rooms where you save your progress have an very soothing sound to them. The voice actors are great and really fit the characters appearance. The overall package is astounding. The only problem is though that enemies speak in Spanish, which does many things for the experience: It adds to it, yet it may confuse. You might really want to know what they're saying, but with out knowing the tongue or looking up the translations, you'll be clueless. However this is nitpicking at its finest, I don't think will be a problem for most people.

The game spans 2 discs, in 3 different and unique settings. The game will last about 20 hours for your first time through, but there are plenty reasons to come back to it. Your weapons from your past playthrough carry over, and the great enemy AI ensures for a challenge each time. There are two difficulties in the North American version; Normal and professional. Another great addition in the game is the shooting range. You can go practice on targets, and each time you do well enough you will receive a bottle cap statue of one of the characters in the game. There are 20+ statues to collect, and each one replays a certain phrase from that character. While all those things are great, the real replay value comes from the mini games you get after beating the game. Assignment Ada is a sidestory where you play as Ada Wong, one of the characters from the game. Assignment Ada will last anywhere to an hour and really ties up some of the loose ends from the main story. Another minigame called mercenaries also ads to replay value. Mercenaries is a game where you play as 5 different characters (I won’t spoil them) in various settings seeing how long you can last against an onslaught of enemies. If you set high scores you will unlock a special weapon you can purchase in the main game. This adds to replay value making Resident Evil a game you won’t be putting down any time soon.

Even though it may stray from its roots, Resident evil 4 brings in more good than bad, and is definitely going to inspire many imitations. This new gameplay mechanic will probably be the norm for survival horror games. The engine is great, making the gameplay a lot more intense, and even if you're an old-school Resident Evil fan, you'll love this game. Flaws aside, Resident Evil 4 is great. The action and the unbelievably high production values of Resident Evil 4 make it an experience that should not be missed by anyone, and make it like nothing we've experienced before.

To call it the best game in years would be an understatement. Resident Evil 4 has got to be the best game I’ve played to date. Resident Evil 4 will take it’s rightful place with such greats as Resident Evil(1996), Resident Evil 2, final fantasy 7, Ocarina of Time, half life and other timeless classics. There is few words to describe this game other than masterpiece. Shinji Mikami, the brains behind RE4 has done one hell of a job and deserves a lot of praise for his work, as does the whole development team behind Resident Evil 4.There is no denying the quality of this game. Resident Evil 4 is sheer brilliance, and anyone who has labeled themselves a “Gamer” needs to play this game, period.

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