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: ++

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