Resident Evil 4 (GameCube) review
"Ok, can I just say one thing? Wow. Just... Wow. This game is a lot better than I thought it was going to be, to be completely honest. I mean, there were so many people talking about how this game was going to be so different from the other ones, that it would completely change the series. Well, I don't think it completely changes the series, so yay! Also, I know there were trailers floating around the internet. I have a trailer on my computer that shows what look like shadowy monsters and it tal..."
Ok, can I just say one thing? Wow. Just... Wow. This game is a lot better than I thought it was going to be, to be completely honest. I mean, there were so many people talking about how this game was going to be so different from the other ones, that it would completely change the series. Well, I don't think it completely changes the series, so yay! Also, I know there were trailers floating around the internet. I have a trailer on my computer that shows what look like shadowy monsters and it talks about the progenitor virus, but neither of those things are in this game. It's nothing like the showing at 2003's E3, either. I think that they scrapped the game three or four times and then started over. I do believe the only idea that they kept throughout production was the idea of Leon being infected. But, even through all of that, they managed to still create a great game that skimps on nothing! If you didn't buy a GameCube to play REGC, I think now would be an appropriate time to do so. You would have thought that after remaking the game so many times that they would have gotten fed up with working on the game and threw together a bunch of disappointing crap. Would they have to make public apologies if they had? Well, this game lives up to all expectations, so don't worry!
The story of this game is completely shiny and new! No more technicalities or storyline plot-twists to rely on. This game takes place in 2004, and Umbrella Corporation is no more. Leon, of course, is the main character. You join him on a new job: retrieving the president's daughter and returning her safely home. (You'd think he would have picked an easier job like... Mail sorter...?) But, anyway, the government recieved rumors about where Ashley (the president's daughter) was being held captive from inside sources. So, you're on your way to Europe. It never actually says where you are, but I think it takes place in Spain since the villagers seem to be speaking in Spanish. With their monster-sounding voices it can be a bit muffled, though... So, you're dropped off in Spain to find Ashley in a village out in the middle of nowhere. Everything seems completely random until you find out that the religious leader of this village has plans of world domination. You'll hear some familiar names, see some familiar things, and meet some interesting new characters throughout the game. The new storyline leaves openings for new technicalities and plot twists in future games!
The graphical quality of this game is far from a rushed last-minute abomination! Really, they're very good... The characters' body movement is extremely natural-looking. Their shoulders move around a bit when they run and there isn't any stiff movement in the models. And you'll notice that their clothing moves freely, appearing separate from their body. It doesn't look like it's stuck to them or anything- not at all! In the game, Leon wears a gun holster that goes around his shoulders... Well, it actually moves on its own, completely off of his body! And Ashley wears a skirt that flows around on its own. Plus, the hair is amazing-looking, it moves with them as if it were real, and it has so many parts to it- it is in no way just flat layers of hair! Also notable are the wonderful ways that they made water ripple and fire burn. The reflections in water are eye-catching and it looks like you could burn yourself on the fire in the game. You'll go through foggy areas of the game and you would swear that it was actual fog... It doesn't appear to be layered or anything; it is completely seamless and atmospheric. I don't think this game would have looked as good if it were made for PS2, I really don't.
As for the sound... It, too, is amazingly well-done. Some of the music seems like it has been inspired by the SH series. In some parts of the game, you might hear strange scratching, or otherwise, sounds characterstic of Silent Hill. The save room music sounds a lot like the old save room music from RE1, only slightly different. It's almost like a remixed version, which I suppose is what you could say the entire game feels like. Actually, when you move to the area called "the island", you'll start hearing a new music whenever you're fighting something. For some reason it reminds me of being in a cheesy cop-chase from an 80's movie or something! I don't know how else to describe it, but I swear it does! The voice acting is so perfect and there aren't monotone voices, no siree! Leon's voice, as well as his lines, is interestingly different. You can tell that he's aged since RE2 and he must have been playing MGS, because he's taken up smart-mouthing and he seems to be a lot more confident in himself. He's what, 27 in this game? Not the same goofy rookie cop that we used to know! He seems to be comfortable around members of the opposite sex now, as well. Good for him!
The controls in this game are slightly different from those of the other RE games, GC and non-GC games. Instead of having cinematic camera angles and 3D controls, the game now utilizes a fps-esque third person view. You'll follow behind Leon throughout the game and when you use your gun, the camera gets a bit closer and is first person, without putting your view actually through his eyes. I think that was a good idea, on their part. The camera angle changing from third to first person would make it seem more like Dead Aim... And I don't think we would have liked that. I think I miss the camera angles though, those always added a bit more of a movie-feel to the game, which is what I believe the series was originally trying to achieve. I don't, however, think that cinematic angles would have agreed well with the no-auto-aim aspect of the game. No more shooting zombies you can't see!
The map and inventory buttons are the same as they were in the other two GameCube RE games, which is obviously perfect for the game. I'm glad they didn't rearrange those keys. The inventory in this game operates a little bit differently than what you're used to, though. You now carry a special case with a certain amount of spaces on it. You have the option of upgrading it to bigger spaces, though, which makes up for the lack of box-using in the game. Additionally, you have a new area in your inventory for "treasure" items. You'll pick these up during the game and sell them for spendable money. Some of these items can even be combined to sell for even more money. There is a merchant in this game that you'll run into numerous times throughout, this is the man that you sell your treasure to. You can sell him anything else in your inventory as well, of course. In exchange for money, he will give you new weapons, weapon upgrades, aid sprays, and your inventory space upgrades. He will also sell you treasure maps and special weapons.
There aren't any ink ribbons in this game. Instead, you can save as many times as your heart desires, to no consequence. I almost don't like this concept though. I like the idea of being restricted to using your saves a certain amount of times. Another added feature is that if you die in the game, or just want to try something again, you have the option of reloading at the closest restart or save point. Since there can be long stretches of area between some save points, the continue option can be useful in preventing unnecessarily annoying segment repetition. Another thing that is new to the series is a system they've implemented where at certain points in the game, buttons will flash on the screen. If you don't push them fast enough, you could end up hurt, or even dead. So no more kicking back and relaxing during cut-scenes! In my opinion, this new feature is both annoying and fun. Another thing is that if you walk up to certain things in the game, like a cabinet or a window, you'll see an action at the bottom of the screen and if you push the "A" button, you'll perform these certain actions on things. So, you'll want to explore areas thoroughly to see if you can perform any of these actions.
As I mentioned earlier, you can buy new weapons. So, you can pick and choose which weapons you think deserve to take up your inventory space. The custom upgrade system lets you customize just which weapons you'd like to see become more powerful. New to the game is a system of sniping enemies, too. You can buy a rifle and equip a scope to it which lets you fire at enemies that are far out of view. You can zoom in and out and hit them with accuracy at a great distance. This does add a bit more of the fps-feel to the game, but it's also fun to zoom in and out and actually be able to aim your weapons. Your guns have a laser sight on them to help you aim easier, too. Without it, I'd probably never hit anything!
There are some fun little repeated things in this game and I wonder if they added for a little bit of nostalgia. Or they're possibly to remind you that, yes, you are still playing a game in the Resident Evil series! This isn't a completely new game! There is a sword puzzle in the game where you have to switch two different color swords, which resembles the puzzle in the first RE in which you had to switch two emblems around. And, as always, there are a few light puzzles! How much fun is that? There is a part of the game that you walk into a long hallway and, it's so predictable, those lasers come at you like they do in the first RE movie. Except, of course, they don't kill Leon! He's got all the right moves! During the last boss fight, you're given a little bit of a helping hand in killing it. Anyway, there's a lot of little things in this game that remind you of other games. I don't wanna spoil everything! You'll have to notice the similarities for yourself.
I think I've made all of my points! This is an excellent game! I was a pretty skeptical and I kept thinking that I was going to hate it. But, it turns out that I feel quite the opposite towards it. I just know that everybody is going to love this game, new fans and old fans alike. Yes, it is a little bit different. But, it isn't different enough for the series' cult following to dislike it. It's a very addictive game! Furthermore, let's just hope that Leon picks a safer job after this!
Community review by jill (February 02, 2005)
A bio for this contributor is currently unavailable, but check back soon to see if that changes. If you are the author of this review, you can update your bio from the Settings page.
If you enjoyed this Resident Evil 4 review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!