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Veteran Member - Level 12
Well well, it looks like we're back at it again little brother. To the GI members who are reading this, welcome back to another LA/Deckard team-up review and this time around we've tapped Resident Evil 4 HD. Its been awhile since our last one and to be honest we both sort of missed our posted deadline which was last Halloween *hangs head in shame* but I guess we could say we're very early for next All Hallows Eve. And with that said:
DECKARD: At this point I pretty much consider you a seasoned vet at Horror Survival with Silent Hill 2 & 3, the Dead Space series and RE5 under your belt. Sometimes a games reputation can put it on a pedestal of sorts that can lead to some disappointment. Especially for a game that is nearly a decade old. Did you have any apprehensions toward playing RE4?
LA643: I was a little worried about how the overall lasting appeal of gameplay
would be. As you said it's about a decade old so I was concerned it would
get stale after a few hours. There were a few other minor ones I was
worried about like how good the survival aspect would be, the story,
and of course the QTEs I had heard so many wonderful things about.
Overall though I didn't run into any of these except the last one. It
definitely proved to me it deserved its place.
DECKARD: Since RE4 pretty much was a new starting point for the series, you really didn't need to know too much of the RE lore, except perhaps that Leon is a bit of a badass. Were you worried that you might get a little lost or feel you were in the middle of something story wise?
LA643: I was a little hesitant to be honest but I figured it'd catch me up to date if
necessary. So did this happen? Yes and no. I wasn't ever lost in the
story but there were things I could tell were nods to previous games
(especially a certain plot twist). It was more like someone telling a
joke and you being that guy that doesn't get the punch line. I was never
lost yet never fully there on everything that happened.
DECKARD: That can be a pitfall in any series especially when you your starting point is number 4. Well with that I think we are ready to roll little Brother. And now the LA643 Resident Evil 4 HD review. Finally. No really, it's happening this time. Honestly...
RESIDENT EVIL 4 HD REVIEW BY LA643:
Okay so let's go ahead and clear
this up. I seriously had not a single clue what to expect with this game. In
fact when I encountered the first crazy village folk I was sitting there
thinking "what the hell is going on here? Resident Evil is all about
zombies." Now that you all know how stupid and clueless I was upon
entering this game here are my thoughts after finishing it.
Resident Evil 4
follows protagonist Leon S. Kennedy (of Resident Evil 2 fame). Ashley Graham, the
president's daughter, has been kidnapped and Leon is the man tasked for the
job. Along the way Leon eventually does find Ashley, loses her, finds her
again, loses her again, and then finds her one last time. While this is the
main story line for the game there are also other subplots which include Leon's
life being in peril and running into characters from past games, most notably
the nefarious Ada Wong. While the latter probably served as an interesting
twist for people who have played the previous installments in the series, the story
is still understandable if you aren't in that category. The story overall though
is not anything special. In fact it has some of the most incredibly cheesy
dialogue I have ever heard even for a Resident Evil game. But to be fair the
story isn't the reason I played Resident Evil 4.
The game play
is really what sold on me. The over the shoulder 3rd person game play was revolutionary
at the time leaving its mark on many games to come (Gears of War anyone?). And
it works well in this type of game if not entirely perfect. Like previous RE
installments, you can't shoot and walk which leads to frustrating crowd fights
on higher difficulties. But as far as fights go they are a lot of fun. A well
placed headshot leads to great and gory prize and Leon's knife came in handy
more than I thought it would. Suffice to say a useless accessory it is not. The
weapons in general were something I really loved. There's not a ton of
variety but enough to keep you switching to try out new guns nearly the whole
game. Upgrading weapons with the Stranger (when you're in the game shop) was
also not extremely varied, but easy to do and worth your money.
While the horror
aspect isn't really there survival most assuredly is. While it's far from a
free roaming environment, scavenging for ammo and herbs did lead me to
exploring the game world a little more. While you definitely find yourself in a
desperate search for survival more often than not, I never found myself out of
ammo or herbs although I came close several times. Scourging through places is
a must if you don't want to get stuck between a rock and hard place later on in
the game. For this reason I recommended having multiple save files so you don't
have to restart your whole game because you got to a boss and found yourself
reduced to only one clip.
My two major
complaints about the game are the final boss battle and the game being titled
HD. Every boss I encountered in the game was a fun and interesting battle
except for the most important one, the finale. It was lackluster and incredibly
easy compared to previous bosses leaving me feeling unsatisfied and a little
underwhelmed at game's end. My second complaint about the game being called HD.
Why? Because it's not HD. The game looks like a more upscaled version of the
original. This shows the glaring age of the game. The graphics aren't terrible
but if I'm paying for something with HD in the title, I expect it to be actual
thought the game was really good. A wonderfully cheesy story kept me chugging
along from an area of "zombies" to a fun and absurd boss fights. With
simple but large upgrade system for all the guns the game became more manageable
as I progressed. I can see why so many people praised Resident Evil 4 when it
first came out but for new comers it will just be another great and satisfying
survival action game.
RESIDENT EVIL 4 THEN AND NOW BY DECKARD:
Much like the zombies that have plagued the characters of this series, Resident Evil 4 has risen from the dead repeatedly and infected every port possible. Originally released for the Nintendo Gamecube in January of 2005, RE4 was initially a GC exclusive. Much to the dismay of creator Shinji Makami (who on record claimed he would commit harakari if Resident Evil 4 were to ever be released to another console) the game was re-released to the PS2 in October of that same year. This version however offered up some choice extras not found on the original release. RE4 made its way to the PC in May of 2007 one month ahead of the Wii release. This time Nintendo got all the extras the Gamecube owners were shafted out of with the Sony release. But now like it or not, the game had been implemented with the Wii control scheme to varying degrees of success and an ever present reticle. Between these ports there were no changes made graphically (except the slight edge PC owners got based on the prowess of the computers) and in all honestly only Gamecube owners were left with a lacking version, albeit if only in the extra content department.
For the span of two years Resident Evil 4 was the benchmark for nearly every Horror/Shooter/Action game to aspire to. A tall order that was rarely if ever matched.
But RE4 would come back from the grave one more time. On March 23, 2011, the game was released on the Xbox 360 and Playstation3 as an HD port downloadable in the US via Xbox Live and PSN and released in hardcopy form in Japan and Europe. Having downloaded and played this version myself, the question now is: is an HD version really worth it? As much as I would love to scream from the tallest peak, or take to the streets with a megaphone proclaiming a resounding YES to this, in all honesty I must simply say: maybe. Only if you have never played or currently own the before mentioned versions. Make no mistake, this is not an HD remake of any sort. Just a simple HD scrub up of what was already a very beautiful looking game to start with. The images now are sharp and facial detail is brought out very nicely not just in main characters like Leon but in enemy types as well along with weapons and clothing. Color balance seems to have been tweaked somewhat and the lighting (most noticeable to me with fire and explosion effects) is more dynamic then in previous releases. Contrast is also very nice with the blacks going much more into the inky area, not a pixelated smudge. However, ground and wall/building textures look extremely rough in almost every level and aspect drawing a little too much attention to the fact that this is after all a last gen game. Does it ruin the game? No. Is it jarring and detract from the over all experience? Slightly. But you'll get used to it. Its just a little disappointing that that Capcom didn't put in the overtime to pretty up the environment for a new generation of gamers ready to experience RE4 for the first time, giving them a more complete package.
Sound on the other hand has been nicely upgraded to 5.1 revealing just how much effort really went into creating an atmospheric and unsettling environment that was previously shoehorned via Dolby digital stereo in the past.
All other extras and unlockables from the PS2 version onward thankfully have ported over to this HD release as well with the current standard achievements (360) and trophies (PS3) though a scant and easily obtainable 12 that they are. Aside from this, RE4 has been unaltered in any way shape or form. Thankfully.
At a time when Horror Survival seemed to have run out of steam, RE4 could not have been released at a more opportune time. It broke the mold in ways that are still seen and felt to this very day, most notably with then new mechanics like the over the shoulder perspective that nearly every shooter/action game has ripped right out of the RE4 playbook (I'm looking at you Gears of War) and the advance enemy AI that would dodge your gun fire, hide behind objects, surround you in hordes or call out for back up if you were discovered on your own that is today par for the course. The advances in RE4's gameplay back in 2005 not only helped reinvigorate the RE franchise and perhaps Horror Survival in and unto itself, but also influenced games and the gaming industry for years to come, etching its mark in the halls of gaming history as one of the most important entries of all time.
DECKARD: Welp little
brother, you've finally gotten your hands on the legendary Resident Evil
4. Aside from what you put into your review, do you have any other
reflections on your time with the game? Did it live up to or fall short
of your expectations?
LA643: One thing I didn't touch on in the review was the fact that a lot of
the game is spent escorting Ashley. While it didn't bother me all the
time, there were some parts of the game where it was a major hassle. As
far as expectations go yes it did live up to them. That being said my
expectations weren't set extremely high. Before playing I took into the
account that it's an older game and that it wouldn't be as great as
something nowadays, but I was expecting a fun experience and that's what
I got. If you've never played the game I wouldn't say go into it with
low expectations but you probably won't see it as one of the greatest
games to come out which some people considered it when it first came
out. That's the way I personally looked at it while playing.
DECKARD: I'm glad that you
mentioned the rather loopy story that is RE4. I don't think its rather
grand story is given enough attention. How do you think RE4's plot
stacks up against the others that you've played or to that end other
Horror Survival games?
LA643: Comparing it to other survival/horror games I didn't feel it was that
great. I liked Leon and some of the other characters but overall plot
wise it just didnt do much for me. It's not that it was bad I just
wasn't very involved with it like I usually am with other games of any
genre. On comparing it to other RE games I can't really say that much
because I've only fully played 5 and just recently started 6.
DECKARD: It seems to me
that many newer gamers aren't even aware what an impact this game had.
Is it hard for you to appreciate the strides that RE4 made in 2005?
LA643: It actually wasn't hard to appreciate it considering how many games have
followed or expounded upon the gameplay. You can obviously see the
improvement other games have made on what it did but you can still see
the core of what RE 4 did in nearly all third person games today. I
actually found it really interesting to see the impact it made. Doing
something new and having everyone follow is a great accomplishment and I
really appreciate what the game did for others. It was just incredibly
interesting to see where this gameplay started and where it's come.
DECKARD: Well, I'm glad you
liked it and that you got to experience it after hearing about it for
so long. And we both hope you all enjoyed this review and found it
Have a better one!