First Impressions: Resident Evil 4

You, the Master of Unlocking

After a brief one hour taste of Resident Evil 4 last night I'm glad Swat is around to write some impressions while I play in small bursts during the day with the afternoon sun streaming into my living room and my cat close by to watch my back. He's been playing with his significant other though so maybe I'm not alone in the wuss club. Take it away Swat!


Â"Jesus Christ, theyÂ're coming through the door! Run baby, run!Â"

My girlfriendÂ's sharp, cautionary warning caused my heart to palpitate quickly. I had just escaped into a run down shack to avoid the villagerÂ's relentless attacks. The bureau I had pushed in front of the door wouldnÂ't hold for long. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed another door in the room. I didnÂ't waste any time running to it, kicking it in, and slamming it behind me. I could hear the shaking and banging at the door. I scanned the second room for another exit, but the windows were too small. My heart beat faster; I used my sleeve to wipe the perspiration from my head. I was trapped, and the only way out was to faceÂ"… them. I steadied my handgun as they finally broke through the front door, cursing me in dialects unknown..

The scene I have just described is commonplace in CapcomÂ's latest entry in the Resident Evil series. RE4 has taken a fresh new approach to a genre that was desperately in need of change.

Leon S. Kennedy is familiar to those whoÂ've followed the series over the years, but in this outing he has given up his police uniform for a slight metrosexual attire. On assignment from the President to find his kidnapped daughter, our hero follows the clues to a remote European village. After a run in with one of the locals, itÂ's pretty easy to see that heÂ's not welcome.

One of the first things youÂ'll notice is the new point of view. Best described as a hybrid third person, over the shoulder view, it seems to be a good fit for the action. ThereÂ's a sense of fluidity in LeonÂ's movements, and a great deal of the environment can be interacted with. Jumping over fences and through windows is a seamless process. The camera can be an annoyance at times as it doesnÂ't provide the same viewing radius as other games, and I found the C-Stick to be too snappy and less fluid for taking a peak around those critical corners. However, the viewpoint definitely enhances the claustrophobia youÂ'll be feeling during the game.

The villagers themselves are relentless. They are not zombies, but are they human? I made the mistake of falling back on my old Resident Evil skills. I calmly steadied my weapon (which you manually aim by holding down the right trigger) and let them lurch towards me. I had a bit of a rude awakening when I realized the suckers are fast. Very fast. They swarmed upon me quickly, and before I could fire off two rounds an axe had been buried in my skull. One of the male villagers dodged my attacks while another shielded its face. One of the women villagers grabbed me violently and I shook her off. I realized that I had to change my tactics, and more importantly, get the hell out of dodge fast. I ran down the path further into town and I was spotted quickly. One of the villagers raised his arm in the air and shouted something foreign, and before I knew it a small mob was forming. RE4 has no problem throwing you into the intensity right away.

The weapons are familiar to the series – standard issue pistol, shotgun, rifle, and more. A nice addition however comes from upgrading these weapons. Throughout the game a mysterious Â"vendorÂ" will appear and offer his wares and services. Money and treasure can be found throughout town and from fallen villagers, and thereÂ's a nice balance to the system so you can save for certain items. Weapons can receive upgrades such as accuracy and firepower.

The violence is extremely gratifying. Early on you feel overpowered by the weaker pistol, but as soon as you acquire the shotgun, itÂ's go-time baby. The shotgun has a very nice kickback, easily dispatching the villagerÂ's heads. ItÂ's also useful for blowing back the swarming mob when they are inches away from clawing into you. Thrown axes and dynamite can be shot out of mid-air, and specific body parts can be targeted – when you shoot them, limbs violently snap back.

Sadly enough, a few puzzles made it into the game. Earlier Resident Evil puzzles were a bit illogical; they seemed to be a cheap device to give the players a break from zombie killing. In RE4 however the puzzles seem more suited to the village. Using a crest to open the door of a cultish church makes more sense than using that same crest at a Police station. They donÂ't interrupt the flow of game play as much, but they are still the wacky puzzles youÂ've either grown to love or hate.

Graphically, RE4 is easily one of the most impressive console games to date. ThatÂ's quite a claim, but when you see it in action you will be a believer. The village and surrounding woods look and feel very convincing. The atmosphere is so thick you can almost smell the putrid stench of decaying bodies. ItÂ's hard to believe that the little cube is capable of such beauty. The sound is equally impressive, making great use of Pro Logic-II.

Other than some minor control gripes and camera issues, IÂ'm hard pressed to find any flaws so far. Everything seems to fit together nicely, and itÂ's very balanced. RE4 truly is the next step in the evolution of the survival horror genre; the bar has been set, the gauntlet has been thrown down.

I can still hear my girlfriendÂ's frantic cries as they broke through the front door of that house. My hiding spot wasnÂ't safe for long, and I had nowhere to go. I had been outsmarted and outnumbered by the villagers. All I heard was the throbbing beat of my heart as I drowned out all other noise. I focused on the door. I steadied my handgun.

- Swat

Comments

Damn it's going to be hard deciding if my g/f and I play WoW or this tonight. Thursday's down time will settle it for then, but tonight indecision!!

Oh, and Certis, I play RE with my g/f as well. The only difference is we are both cheering for blood and enjoy not being pansies. Not to mention making off-color jokes as we play.

Nice write-up Swat. Crap,that sounds like a good game. Maybe I can sell my fillings.

Damn you all and your exquisite teaser's.. my wallet hates you.

Swat: BTW did you play with your security blanket (a.k.a. wooby) or pacifier? Just taking an impromtu GWJ poll.

You know.. it's days like these I'm happy I can't justify the purchase of a gamecube.

My wallet loves my lack of interest in 99% of the GC's titles.

I subscribed to GameFly's rental service a bit ago, and now it's more difficult for me to justify dropping fifty bucks on new console games. RE4's due to ship to me tomorrow, and so I must wait in agony for several more days as everyone else is busy enjoying frantic shotgun decapitations.

*sigh*

World of Warcraft is my only comfort.

Holy sh*t, Swat. The desire you've awakened in me for this game is tremendous... almost overpowering. I mustn't give in! For if I do, I know that the chance of my finishing Galactic Civilizations will plummet, and I swore not to let that happen. It burns, it burns!

Good article. Unfortunately when I was in, the only type of computers they had filled half a room. Our play time was with one-arm bandits, cards, music and booze (not necessarily in that order:) Oh, and if you were near civilization, they had good entertainment in on Base Clubs.

Great article. A question to those who already played it, however:

Why does the "main protagonist" look so Metrosexual?

Mayfield: no "wooby" or pacifier, although oddly enough I had a cat near me just like Certis. We like our feline protection damnit! My 22lb orange cat is a beefcake.

I dearly hope this comes out for the PS2 so I can buy it and then play it (as is the norm). I have too many games that I need to finish first.

San Andreas
X-Men Legends
Metal Arms: Glitch in the System
Xenosaga
Wild Arms 3
Summoner

Nice write-up Swat! IMAGE(http://members.shaw.ca/wenpigsfly/smileys/thumb.gif)

Can't wait to play this with my gf tonight!

Vector wrote:

I dearly hope this comes out for the PS2 so I can buy it and then play it (as is the norm). I have too many games that I need to finish first.

San Andreas
X-Men Legends
Metal Arms: Glitch in the System
Xenosaga
Wild Arms 3
Summoner

For $100 you can get RE and a GameCube. Just chip in and go for it!

From whence dost thou get this amazing deal Ulairi?

Good write up...but even that little teaser is enough to give me the shudders. Too creepy for me, thanks. Wow's violence is about at the top of my graphic threshold...which is to say, almost non-existent.

Although the title of the article is top 3 in the quotes from the first game, my favorite was when Barry said "Blood! I hope this isn't Chris's blood"

Just the B-movie aspect of that alone locked me in until I beat it. The campiness hasn't really been there for me since, and I sadly don't see it mentioned in the writeup. But here's to hoping! *crosses fingers*

Just the B-movie aspect of that alone locked me in until I beat it. The campiness hasn't really been there for me since, and I sadly don't see it mentioned in the writeup. But here's to hoping! *crosses fingers*

It is gone.

Ulairi wrote:
Just the B-movie aspect of that alone locked me in until I beat it. The campiness hasn't really been there for me since, and I sadly don't see it mentioned in the writeup. But here's to hoping! *crosses fingers*

It is gone.

I guess it is true. You can never go back.

Without saying too much, there's a little homage to the lockpicking phrase. It's nice to see Capcom has a sense of humor

I had to register to say: "Jesus Christ, they're coming through the door! Run baby, run!" must be the sweetest thing I've heard this year!!!

Had Swat already hasn't become a Handheld Ho, I bet you a dollar that "Run baby, Run!" would be his tag...

Crap! I missed Swat's tagging!

BC Hippie pot smoker that should be!

Crap! I missed Swat's tagging!

Don't worry eventually (soon) mine will come and I could take that tag.