The most perfect game ever made.
I can't stress how amazing this game is. Not only is it the best horror game ever made, but may be the best third person shooter ever made. First of all, the gameplay. It is atmospheric, and scary. You need to get from point A to point B, while blasting through a large variety of monsters and enemies. The enemies are extremely fun to fight because where you shoot affects how the enemy acts. Shoot them in the knee, they fall down. Shoot them in the hand, and they drop their weapon. Shoot them in the head, and it explodes- sometimes to reveal a mutant parasite. But those crazy villagers aren't the only enemies you'll fight. Infact, the game introduces enemies all the time. One level you'll fight evil monks, and the next you'll fight mutant flies, and the next you might engage in combat with flying sentry bots. My favorite enemy is the chainsaw guy on the box art. Most of the time though, you'll fight the half zombie/ half normal enemies equipped with everything from cross bows to pitchforks to maces.
Fighting these enemies is where the real fun comes. Leon (one of the coolest main characters of all time) moves with tank controls, and to fire, the camera goes into an over-the-shoulder view like Gears of War. What differs from GoW however, (other than the Tank controls) is that you can't move while shooting. This may turn off a few at first, but it actually makes the game much better. It creates suspense where you have to kill the enemies before they kill you, and not only does it make the game harder, it differentiates it's self from the crowd of shooters giving it unique, rewarding and very fun gunplay unlike any other game I've played. Of course a shooter is (usually) as good as it's weapons, and while the guns in RE4 aren't anything near the kind found in game such as the early Turoks, they still are cool.
You have the usual shotguns, handguns, rifles, and machine guns, but after you beat the game, you might find some surprises. You can even buy new weapons every time you encounter a merchant in your adventure. You can upgrade your weapons, sell items, or buy things. You only have a limited amount of space in your cache , so you need to make sure you pick up supplies wisely. And you will be picking up supplies from crates you can break with your handy knife, and from dead enemies. Ammo isn't as scarce as you'd think from a survival/horror game, because you usually always have some in at least 1 or 2 of your weapons. You still need to conserve it, though, because weapons like the shotgun, you'd go through ammo quickly. This is where strategy in battle comes in. Since you never know what kind of enemy you'd face next, you need to find the best way to take them down without them hurting you or Ashley.
Ashley is the basis of the plot of the game, since the President sent you to find her and bring her back to the States. However, things get complicated, and both of you would have to survive through a variety of locations including a village, a castle, and an abandoned military station. Overall, the story is great, and will keep you progressing through the 20+ hour game as much as the gameplay. Protecting Ashley isn't frustrating since you can hide her in things, or tell her to stay put. She also has her own health bar that you can elongate, same as yours. Overall, the adventure is nearly perfect, as you'll experience some of the best moments in any game ever made as well as have a great time. I couldn't get over how perfect the game is. The polish is extraordinary, and each level includes moments so fun, I can't comprehend how the makes of the game made it. It's as if they took the best parts of 30 other games and put them in this game. Except that those 30 parts are fresh and the only place you can play them in, is in this masterpiece.
While the gameplay virtually has no flaws, the graphics are perfect. They are the best graphics of any game, on any console, from the last generation. Up until the Xbox 360 came out, it had the best graphics of any game (in my opinion). Everything looks as it should be, and has amazing detail. The characters (especially the variety of enemies) look great, and the environments create an atmosphere that really sets the mood. The sound and music also contribute the mood, and do their job, as you'll hear the enemies mutter to each other and the creatures make scary noises. The music is more subtle, unlike in the Zelda or Final Fantasy games.
There is no multiplayer, but there are extra missions you can take on as a different person than Leon, and timed missions where you try to take down as many enemies as possible. You can also tackle the game on any of it's 3 difficulties (which are all a little hard) with the weapons you had at the end of the game on your previous play through. And, if you're like most people, you'll want to play it again.
Overall, there is nothing else to say, except that it is one of the few games that is perfect, without flaws. Yes, there are some very difficult parts, but when you beat them, the feeling of accomplishment is great, as you proceed through the next memorable scene. Pick this game up, and you will have a great time. This is one of the very best of games, and I'm eager if Resident Evil 5 could top this, because if it can, I'll be amazed. This is the second time I've ever given a game a 10, and it is worth it for a reason.