An Unbiased Review of Resident Evil 4

Five things that sucked:

1. The Knife

Your only move is a horizontal slash. Since when were AMV Hell videos this misleading?

But Baka-Raptor, what about the cut scene knife commands?

2. Cut Scene Commands

Cut scenes aren’t supposed to be interactive; they’re supposed to be a chance to sit back and enjoy the show. Whenever a cut scene comes up, I like to put down my controller. I pat myself on the back for beating the previous level. I stretch. I eat nuts. I’m not anxiously fondling my controller in the event that a random life-or-death button combo needs to be mashed with precise timing.

3. Irrelevance of Magnum Bullets in the Final Fight

I had a huge stockpile prepared for the final fight. Too bad they were useless.

4. Hitting on Hunnigan

Only his hairstyle sucks more than his dialogue

The moment I saw Hunnigan pop up, I thought to myself, “Please, no shitty pickup lines. You don’t have to flirt with your support just because everyone else does it.” Maybe I should’ve said it out loud; then he might’ve listened.

5. Assignment Ada

This mini-game basically took the Separate Ways mini-game (see below) and stripped it of everything that made it good:

  • Where’s the red dress? Why have a female character if you’re not going to sexualize her?
  • No save points
  • No new areas
  • Completely different/worthless storyline
  • Tiny attache case
  • Extremely difficult final boss

Five things that rocked:

1. Gameplay Variety

The game is full of change-ups to dilute the repetitiveness of solving puzzles to get from point A to point B while killing everything in between.

  • Harpooning
  • Cage match
  • Mine cart carnage and/or madness
  • Jet ski
  • Crane game
  • The dropping segmented maze
  • Sniping regenerators
  • Sniping for Ashley
  • Playing as Ashley
  • Fending off a home invasion
  • Helicopter backup
  • Truck shooting

2. Firearm Balance

Unlike Metal Gear Solid 3, Resident Evil 4 forces you to explore the battle system in it’s entirety, and you’re better off for it. The uselessness of the knife forces you to use the guns. The limited number of bullets in the game forces you to use all of the guns (and occasionally the knife). If this weren’t the case, a n00b shooter such as myself would cling to either the knife or the first gun he got comfortable with for the majority of the game.

The main gun types I used were:

  • Handgun
  • Shotgun
  • Rifle
  • TMP

The balance between these guns is excellent. You never think to yourself, “I want to use the _____ all the time and never use the ______.” Each gun has it’s clear advantages, yet no gun is strictly preferable to another gun in a majority of circumstances.

What impressed me the most about the guns is that the transition from each initial gun to its leveled-up version is seamless, assuming you’d been upgrading the initial guns regularly. There’s no sudden jump in power, nor does switching from the upgraded initial guns to the base-level new guns put you at a disadvantage. Clearly, nobody cut corners when this game was tested.

3. Difficulty

The game consistently found ways to be challenging without being frustrating. All but one stage killed me at least once, and no stage killed me more than nine times.

Level Hit Ratio Kills Times Killed Time
1-1 79% 22 6
1-2 87% 37 1
1-3 79% 36 3
2-1 73% 16 2
2-2 64% 59 4
2-3 77% 26 8
3-1 86% 71 9
3-2 57% 41 1
3-3 75% 18 3
3-4 94% 13 1
4-1 79% 80 6
4-2 63% 44 4
4-3 78% 74 0
4-4 85% 46 7
5-1 82% 80 2
5-2 74% 74 3
5-3 65% 28 4
5-4 73% 81 1
6 4*
Total 75% 846 69 22:28’25”

*Beat the final boss without dying. Those four deaths came on the jet ski.

4. The Fear Factor

By far the spookiest, goriest game I’ve ever played.

5. Separate Ways

It’s no Odin Sphere, but I do appreciate any attempt at a simultaneous subplot, no matter how small.

Five things I’m indifferent about:

1. Ashley

My outspoken stance against tough guys babysitting little girls may have led you to guess I’d hate Ashley. Sometimes I did, but she does have her moments. My favorite part of the game was the end of stage 3-1, when you have to snipe enemies chasing after Ashley while fending off enemies of your own. Other parts of the game where she helped out were good enough for me to forgive her whining.

Playing as Ashley was also surprisingly fun. Going into oh-shit-I’m-useless mode increases the fear factor tenfold. Furthermore, while her crawling skills were nothing to write home about, her lantern throwing skills were quite impressive.

2. The Mercenaries

The Assignment Ada mini-game left such a bad taste in my mouth that I didn’t even bother trying this one.

3. The Laser

Unlike Metal Gear Solid 3, which gives you no indication how to aim anything, Resident Evil 4 equips your guns with a handy-dandy laser. I loved it. At the same time, I realize it’s not 1337. If the difficulty level felt perfect for someone with minimal 3D shooter experience, hardcore gamers would probably feel like they’re riding with training wheels.

Also, I don’t think I can pin the battle system’s ease of use entirely on the laser. I found the grenades extremely simple and intuitive to aim, even though I had no clue how to aim the grenades in MGS3. Maybe MGS3 just had crappy controls.

4. Snakes producing chicken eggs

I must be the only one who’s ever pointed this out.

5. The 3D shooter genre

The game was exciting. It was fundamentally solid. My complaints were all minor. I honestly can’t see one-player 3D shooters getting much better. However, 3D shooters just don’t turn me on as much as other genres. I like contact. I’d rather kick a zombie in the face than shoot at it.

Final Grade: ++

58 people love sucking up to me

  1. Nice. I’ve been thinking about playing this game because I’ve owned it since it came out, and back then everyone and their grandma was raving about how it was one of the greatest games of all time. I, however, sucked at it and never ended up playing very far (I think the farthest I ever got was the parasyte dog things and then I promptly could no longer even manage shit.) But I’m older now and my victory of the highest difficulty of Uncharted has made me confident in my ability to play shooter game,s so maybe I’ll be giving this baby another shot.

  2. I think the snakes ate chickens and consequently the eggs.
    I really hated the aiming system when I played this game on the PS2, so I only finished it recently with the Wii version(which is great by the way).
    The jet ski part was a bitch, and the difficulty level was just fine since there was the hardest mode unlocked after you finished the game once.

    • The awkwardness of aiming with a standard controller/keyboard is the reason I’m generally fine with 2D shooters but not 3D shooters. From what I’ve seen of the Wii version of YouTube, the normal controls look don’t much any better, but playing with the zapper might’ve satisfied me enough to push the game into +++ territory.

  3. Umm… you can kick people in the face. And Los Ganados aren’t zombies. They’re so much more fun to kill than zombies. Zombies don’t even have the courtesy to stay dead… these guys yell out random shit in Spanish. I love them and I love killing them.

    I thought RE4 was scary until I started playing Resident Evil REmake (very recently, I pretty much got it last fortnight). RE4 is a barrel of monkeys compared with REmake. RE4 is fun as hell and has an infinitely superior control setup to RE, but RE is just about the most atmospheric and intimidating game I’ve ever played. Overall RE4 is a better game, because it fixes so many of the problems that plagued the previous RE games (control, camera, etc), but it gets no where near RE, scare-wise. Oh yeah, and as far as single player 3D shooters are concerned, Metroid Prime is far and away the best I’ve played. RE4 is up there, though.

    • Yeah, you can kick them only after shooting them, and believe me, I’ve failed trying more than I should’ve.

      I’d consider playing REmake or Metroid Prime, but that’d force me to admit I’m more than five years behind on my gaming.

      • I highly recommend giving Metroid Prime a try. It’s fairly unforgiving in the begging but a few energy tanks later you begin to enjoy the lovely immersive world.

        I too have been meaning to play REmake at some point. Hoping to see an Unbiased review sometime.

  4. My brother had this game… on Gamecube.

    On GAMECUBE. Dude was a Nintendo fanboy who didn’t realise that many of the company’s greatest games came out on their successful handhelds he dismissed as too kiddy.

    If you ever try a HD console, may I recommend to you Heavy Rain. It’s the most brutally realistic and mature video game I’ve ever seen – it kicks you in the balls while stabbing your heartstrings at the same time.

    Resident Evil 4 to me when my brother was playing it seemed like one of those macho games a weakling like me wasn’t into at the time. I never played it myself but I used to coach my bro through it using an online strategy guide. Times were tough and back then he wouldn’t so much as let me try his Gamecube, so I was designated as “game guide boy”. So yeah. Life as a twin isn’t all Ouran High School Host Club cheerful you know.

    • At my current pace, I’ll get around to Heavy Rain in 2015.

      I’ll never understand this concept of one kid in the family having his own video game system to the exclusion of his siblings. Share the damn thing, especially if your parents paid for it. Are all middle class white kids this spoiled?

  5. Speaking as a shooter-asskicker of the North fucking Star, I can attest to the obsessively playtested nature of this game. If a TPS is gonna force you to be rooted to the spot, it damned well better give you an intuitive-and-satisfying method of point shooting that isn’t “hope you’re facing in the right direction,” and Capcom delivered…even if it doesn’t make any sense that a (totally fucking awesome) C96 would have a rail for something that wouldn’t become widespread until about a century after its invention.
    The game was pretty damned forgiving, too, but I really wish it made more effective use of the forced perspective. When you have enemies helpfully shouting, “behind you, you imbecile!”, it really goes a long way towards wrecking whatever insecurities you should develop about OH GOD WHERE THE SHIT DID THAT COME FROM. The fact that Capcom fell in love with every late eighties- early nineties hollywood action hero ever didn’t help the atmosphere any.
    But there’s that nagging worm at the back of my head, the one that reminds me of The Professional difficulty.
    Every last quirk of game balance was magnified grotesquely in that light. Flash grenades are your best friend if you want to keep your head firmly planted on your shoulders, the machine pistol becomes dead weight and wasted chances to get an item better than TMP ammo, and most importantly, the boulders decide they fucking hate your guts.
    I’m not quite sure what it was. It certainly seemed like the quicktime event windows were halved, or their button mash requirements were doubled. Whatever the case, that first god damned boulder was responsible for my inability to hold chopsticks, paint, flip pens, or operate old doorknobs without breaking out in a sweat and watering at the eyes for a month.
    Thirty six deaths at that one spot.
    I can’t even remember the fun I had with that game, slashing Krauser to death, suplexing peasants, throwing eggs at Ashley’s face, shooting fish, or even dicking around at the dock and getting NOM’d by Del Lago before the boss fight, because every time I try to remember the fun, my carpal tendons respond with a dull, ancient ache.

    But shit yeah! One of the best non-gimmick TPSes I’ve ever played, and that’s not an insignificant qualifier.

    • Honestly didn’t know anyone’s actually died at that boulder.

      YouTube has just confirmed that the knife is not only useful against Krauser, it’s the quickest way to kill him. I am shock. Early in the game, I tried knifing one of the cows to death. It kicked my ass. That’s when I concluded the knife was useless and from that point on only used for transmuting snakes into chicken eggs. Never tried throwing any in Ashley’s face, though I did manage to accidentally shoot her a few times. She was a good sport about it.

      • And I highly doubt anyone ever has – on normal-and-totally-not-Professional-New-Game-Plus-bullshit-like-I-was-talking-about difficulty.
        I found myself using the knife out of stubbornness more than anything else. ‘Surely, if they went through the trouble of modelling, texturing, shader-mapping, coding, and to a much lesser degree animating this weapon, it has some purpose?’ A minority of players are like that, which is a shame.
        The knife, like any other weapon, can trigger flinching when it hits their faces, which is a perfect setup for the roundhouse. If ya don’t feel like burning ammo, it’s a nice option.
        On the subject of experimenting, planting a mine in one of the improperly pluralized cattle’s heads and then roundhousing him makes it look like the kick is what made him explode, like some sort of shitty monster of the week.
        RE4 is just packed full of shits and giggles. Nowhere near an MGS game, but it’s getting there.

    • I don’t think you can turn it off. It would be pretty hard to shoot without it, since the camera angle is over the shoulder and not straight forward like most FPSs. It’s not as obtrusive as the purple laser in that picture, though.

      • @mefloraine: Don’t think you can turn it off, but even if you could, I certainly wouldn’t want to. I wouldn’t be able to get past the first stage without it.

        @Starboy: The purple laser pic was the first pic I found online. That’s the case for most of my images.

  6. I could go on and rant how RE 4 stopped being an Resident Evil Game but thats been done already several times and RE 5 proved that Capcom was able to even stray more from the RE Glory.

    RE4 is one fine Action Game if youre able to ignore the fact that its part of the Resident Evil series.Everything works out perfectly and I havent had such a well balanced game back in the day.Hell I even bought it twice: once for my Cube and then for my Wii for the Extra Stuffs and superior WiiMote action.

    Still as Resident Evil it sucked Donkey Balls.

  7. You should try Mercenaries. It’s a fast-paced arcade-y minigame where you’re trying to score as many consecutive kills as you can against an endless swarm. It’s a frenzied action experience without the overhead of mission objectives, plus you can play as characters like Krauser and Wesker who have unique weapons and melee attacks. It’s really different than the Ada extras if that’s what you were afraid of.

    • I never played it in RE4, but Mercs in RE5 is more fun than the actual game. Even more so if you have a teammate. “Frenzied action experience” describes it perfectly.

    • Fine, I’ll give it a shot. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But someday. I had no idea what the game was even about. I just didn’t feel like playing any more after the Krauser battle in Assignment Ada kicked my ass.

  8. I thought this game would be different. I thought it would break the chain of shitty controls that has prevented me from getting into the series.

    It didn’t. Thanks, Capcom.

    • Since I don’t usually play shooters, I must ask, which ones in your opinion do have good controls, and how do they operate? RE4 on the PS2 does have the awkwardness I’d expect from trying to maneuver a gunman in a 3D environment with a standard controller, but I don’t see how those problems could be avoided. One stick controls player movement. The other stick controls shooting angle. Is there another way?

      • Sorry for the lateass reply. I don’t tend to comment/read comments as much with your stuff as I do with ghostlightning’s or 21DB’s. Dunno why. It’s been a good long while since I’ve played RE4. I just didn’t care for their implementation of a dual-stick setup. I’m also not a fan of having to stop to shoot in more action-oriented games, having grown up on stuff like Goldeneye Multiplayer and Doom 2. It’s perfectly fine in say, Metal Gear Solid 3, because running around with your guns blazing doesn’t really work unless it’s a tranquilizer gun set to shoot some gators so I can knife them for fun. It’s part of the reason I was so goddamned horrible at Killer7 when I played yesterday.

        I think the best damn implementation of this sort of thing is Metroid Prime. People argue that it’s a First Person Shooter. I vehemently disagree, it’s more like a third person shooter with a first person camera because it’s more conductive to the atmosphere. Locking onto things uses the L button, A shoots, b jumps, r aims if you need to, the c-stick and d-pad switch equipment on the fly, x puts you in morph ball, y shoots missiles. I really dislike dual-stick controls anyways. I grew up on there being one part of the controller tailored to movement.

        tl;dr: resident evil controls traumatized me anyways, RE4 makes it worse by adding in dual sticks. metroid prime has my favorite console implementation of shooting controls. Metroid Prime uses one stick for everything and we’re all better for it.

  9. Mercenaries is worth the price of the game all on its own. Warning: it is very addicting, and you’d better be damn good at the game.

    As has also been said above, REmake is way scarier than anything RE4 throws at you. However, both are excellent.

  10. ive never played this game, for im not the BIGGEST fan of shooting games…. however, i will say that in the ones that i have played, the aiming is what makes or breaks it for me.

    if its annoying, non-existant, stops you from moving (i HATE that) then i will hate the game

    if its cool, easy, doesnt affect your gameplay, ill prolly love the game

    • I believe you’re stuck in place when you’re aiming and shooting. Could be wrong, since I never tried moving and shooting at the same time. Movement is controlled by the right analog stick, and shooting is the X button, so it’d be really awkward to try both at the same time.

  11. The variety of guns is my favorite part of RE4, as well. I loved shotgunning the hell out of the enemies, but sniping is also awesome as hell, and the magnum kicks ass, of course. I also love how monstrous and threatening a lot of the enemies are. I want my bosses to be big, intimidating motherfuckers, and they fit the bill in RE4.

    Also, Ada Wong is hot. She should be in the dress 24/7.

    • Sniping was my favorite gunning action in this game and MGS3. I guess it’s because aiming isn’t a pain the ass like it is for other weapons. Shotgunning is fun because your aim doesn’t need to be all that precise. The TMP forgives you if your aim is a little off at first. In fact, wasting TMP ammo is part of the fun.

      Ada Wong should be in that dress 23:45/7.

  12. Nice review

    I’d say RE4 is the best Resident Evil, and ironically the one of the games in the series which sold the least.
    RE5 stripped away all the horror elements and sold the most, which will probably encourage Capcom to make the next games similar.

    So yeah, it’s not a good development. RE4 was awesome, RE5 was kinda meh.

    • You’re damn right it’s a nice review.

      Over 3 million copies sold worldwide and it’s the worst-selling title? That’s still about 50x better than God Hand.

      • God Hand is like Okami, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus.
        Great games nobody goddamn plays.

        Clover studio even went bankrupt because of Okami… ;_;

    • Then call them snake eggs. I eat chicken eggs all the time. It’s boring. The game should let me fantasize about of eating something new, even if it tastes like chicken.

  13. Now you have to play RE5— which I’m thoroughly indifferent about. And oh! No lasers there, but there’s a crosser.

    Dude you have to play Mercenaries, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to play as that guy with the monster arm.

  14. “oh-shit-I’m-useless mode”, Appears a lot in anime as well, i remeber that epic scene where raki entered this mode in claymore when claire was fighting the unawakened ophelia, or when claire and others would have to fight one of the abyssals and the silver-eyed lion king…

    claymore kick ass.

    BTW, I came in just in time for a final filler comment 😉

  15. oh yeah, I’ve been hearing news about Resident Evil 6: Who Can Claim Residency Evil

    chris files taxes, press R1 to lose your W2s and press square repeatedly to claim deductions

    (i love internet forums)

  16. Snakes often eat chicken eggs so it’s natural to assume that the snake will melt away leaving the chicken egg in perfectly good condition for you to eat it. So basically Leon likes eating already-eaten eggs for health. Why does marijuana heal you?

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