We’ve played Resident Evil 4 Remake and we’ll tell you all about it: Incredibly familiar and eerily different

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Following the incredible success of 2019’s Resident Evil 2 Remake, it was a no-brainer for Capcom to reinvigorate more of its previous games in the series to better suit modern audiences. However, with each step forward, the quality gap between past and present is less striking. And now that the progenitor of the franchise’s successful over-the-shoulder style of gameplay has finally arrived, it’s hard to imagine how much an all-time classic can be improved beyond a fresh coat of paint. But from what I’ve played of Resident Evil 4 so far, Capcom seems less interested in creating a RE2 remake-style giant leap. Instead, seems more focused on making one of the best games of all time even better.

During my play session, which started at the beginning of the adventure and ended right after the villagers attacked, everything felt incredibly familiar and eerily different in equal parts. The sequence of events was nearly identical, but graphical and design improvements made the locations seem more alive, claustrophobic, and unsettling to explore. Despite my experience with the original, I kept tiptoeing around every corner, expecting that at any moment something unexpected might happen.

Just like in the 2002 Resident Evil remake, the elements were strategically arranged to subvert my expectations. One of the highlights of that remake of the original was the first drill that took advantage of the memory of the dogs coming through the window, which didn’t happen when one expected it. With the remake of Resident Evil 4, i experienced similar twists in my brief tourone of which was also related to a dog.

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Fans of the original will fondly remember the unlucky dog ​​from the opening chapter caught in a bear trap, and how the game gave you the option to free him. They will also remember his triumphant return (if you saved him) when he helps Leon defeat El Gigante. On this occasion, however, the dog is still there, but it’s already dead. Didn’t I get to him in time? Or was this an indication of this remake’s noticeable shift to a darker tone? Be that as it may, this brief moment set the stage for a game that isn’t necessarily going the way I’d hoped.

Nevertheless, Where Resident Evil 4 feels incredibly familiar is in the combat.. As we’ve already said, Capcom is remaking its library of classics based on ideas from Resident Evil 4, so it was inevitable that this game would be the most familiar. Leon’s control remains exactly as expected, and he even keeps some of his iconic moves from the original. It was a matter of seconds before he instinctively began shooting at his kneecaps and lining up spinning kicks to take down anyone who was nearby. Muscle memory kicked in instantly and everything was very satisfying.

It’s It does not mean that the combat does not have anything new. Beyond the long-awaited aiming update, which now allows you to move (something that, while now a staple of the genre, wasn’t allowed in the original), there’s also some light stealth gameplay. It wasn’t specially announced to me through a tutorial or anything like that, but with the addition of a crouch button, it became apparent that I could avoid the attention of nearby Cattle by quietly creeping around the village, picking up resources before it started the attack. Now you can also perform sneak attacks from behind on unsuspecting villagers with your trusty knife. I don’t suspect stealth will play a big role in the full game, but it’s nice to have that variety.

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Leon also has a set of light parrys with his knife, being able to resist or deflect attacks with a well-calculated button press. I didn’t have time to explore the depth of this system, but it came in handy when I faced the mythical chainsaw enemy. In the blink of an eye, not only was I able to withstand the full power of the tool, but the detour also managed to disable his contraption for a few seconds, opening a window for me to run out.

Those familiar with the initial village raid from the original Resident Evil 4 will know what to expect here. But this time the process has been greatly intensified. The gaps between the houses are smaller, the area is narrower, and it feels overwhelming in the best possible way. The chainsaw enemy can now destroy wooden structures to block your paths, enemies will flank you around every corner, and some will even grab and hold you from behind for their fellow Ganados to attack you from the front. It seemed like every second and every decision counted as I desperately moved through the pack trying to survive.

Despite being familiar with the setting, there were still plenty of surprises, especially considering that many moments could easily be lost depending on your strategy. Climbing the bell tower no longer led to a safe space (thanks to the ground collapsing under me) and the cow, who was previously standing still watching all the chaos, can now spring into action if her barn unfortunately catches fire. Although a running cow on fire was initially annoying, I can’t say that she wasn’t useful when it came to handling Ganards, running through several of them while they were on fire.

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Like the combat, Leon, Resident Evil 2’s rookie cop turned government agent, is familiar, yet modern. He seems threatened by the situation and approaches her cautiously. It’s a more serious take on the fearless, cocky, superhero bravado of the original.. That said, the guy still has no problem rolling out of a second-story window and spouting iconic catchphrases (yes, the bingo catchphrase is still there). But, at least from my little experience of the game, the way he interacts with people, Hunnigan in particular, seems much more grounded in reality.

It was always going to be difficult for a new game in the series to experience the same technical leap as the Resident Evil 2 remake. But so far Capcom seems to be making smart decisions when it comes to Resident Evil 4. It gives the feeling that you are trying to find the perfect balance between homage and innovation. And based on the changes and updates I’ve seen so far, I’m looking forward to seeing more.