After Resident Evil Village came out, I knew that a remake of Resident Evil 4 was in the cards. It’s not surprising that Capcom would want to maximize the assets (both games share multiple similar environments) that was created for Resident Evil Village, making games is expensive!
With 2 great remakes (well 3 if you consider the original Resident Evil remake on the GC), already under their belts, Capcom’s obviously hoping to hit Resident Evil 4’s remake out of the park too. Having spent more than 17 hours playing through the game…I can definitely say whether this is the case or not.
Read on to see what I think!
What is Resident Evil 4?
Resident Evil 4 is a single third person action horror game. It’s a remake of its namesake, which was originally released for the Gamecube and then ported to nearly every platform imaginable. Developed and published by Capcom, the remake is available right now on PC, Playstation and Xbox consoles.
Capcom awesomely provided us with two copies of the game, the PC version we’re reviewing and a Playstation 5 version, for an upcoming graphics comparison video we’re doing. Thanks a ton for that Capcom! You guys rock!
As always, I’m using our gaming rig to run the game.
For the review, we were running a rig off these specs:
– MSI B550M Mortar
– AMD Ryzen 9 5900X with NZXT Kraken X73 RGB Liquid Cooler
– MSI GeForce RTX 3080Ti Suprim X 12GB
– 64GB DDR4 RAM (Teamgroup T-Force Dark Z 16GB x 4 @ 3600MHz)
– Samsung 980 PRO 2TB SSD
Settings were all set to the maximum (except for video memory, which was set at 3GB and Shadows, were set to High) at 4K resolution, fullscreen mode. Ray Tracing was enabled.
There’s no NVIDIA DLSS support for Resident Evil 4, though NVIDIA has just released optimized drivers for the game.
While the MSI GeForce RTX 3080Ti Suprim X 12GB was able to run the game with higher settings, I purposely pared them down because the game is unstable if you’re running the upper limits of your GPU’s VRAM.
I kept getting gameplay crashes despite having 3GB VRAM free (I set the game to use about 9GB) so I toned down the Shadows (which had no discernible difference) and VRAM usage (with barely any texture quality drops).
Ah the sacrifices we make to play…
Having played the original Resident Evil 4 (and it’s many, many ports) to death, I consider myself quite knowledgeable about the game. So, you can take my word for it when I say that the remake is the definitive version of the game. If you’re a newbie, you start with this instead of the original.
Why? For a multitude of reasons.
The plot is much better this time around. Sure, the story beats are the same but there are more reports scattered around in-game that expand and flesh out the characters much better than in the original.
Did you know that Village Chief Mendez inherited his position from his dad? Or that the Salazar family were the guardians of Las Plagas and were meant to keep them sealed up for the world’s safety?
The new lore bits are incredibly interesting, especially for Krauser, who makes a ton of mentions about Operation Javier.
What’s that? Well, it’s the plot of Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, a lightgun game that came out for the Wii and Playstation 3…and hopefully something Capcom will port to the PS VR2 now that everybody’s scratching their head about it.
Wesker’s in the game as well (like he was in the original), so I guarantee that at the very least, Resident Evil 5’s getting remade soon too. Hopefully Code: Veronica too, despite it not being a numbered Resident Evil title.
Another reason why I recommend the remake over the original, is that the remake is much better paced because of gameplay changes.
You can now store weapons and first aid kits at any typewriter (which also functions as a save location), but weirdly enough, that’s all you can store. Everything else, Leon has to carry. It’s a rather puzzling restriction to be honest.
Leon can now also craft ammo, equip charms and different briefcases (each with their own beneficial effect). All of these additions are completely new, which brings a new dynamic to the game. Ammo crafting is particularly helpful, as I was always on the verge of running out of ammo throughout the game.
Oh Leon can now parry most attacks!
Tap LB (I play with an Xbox controller on the PC) just as an attack is about to hit Leon and he whips out his knife and deflects it. Sometimes it even opens up an enemy for a melee counter! The boss fight against Krauser is really cool because of this. It’s damn fun to parry Krauser’s knife attacks with your own and then counter!
There’s a bit of a learning curve to it and some attacks can’t be parried, but it’s still much better than the dodging in RE3.
The knife is now upgradable too and you can even use it to fend off grabs! It’s durability degrades after each use, so you’re have to keep repairing it to maintain its condition. Capcom’s even added in some light stealth elements too!
If you’re not spotted by an enemy, Leon can now approach silently by crouching and then doing a stealth kill when he’s right behind an enemy!
Arguably one of the biggest gameplay change is the removal of Ashley’s health bar. In the original, Ashley can die (and make you Game Over) if her health runs out. Now, she’s just downed if she gets hit and killed if she gets hit again in that state.
It might sound like it’s much harder this time around, but it’s the exact opposite. Enemies RARELY will have Ashley in their line of fire. After all, they want her alive for a reason. Finally, the gameplay reflects that. They’ll only attack if Leon is nearby. They’ll still try to kidnap her but stopping the Ganados from carrying her off isn’t much of an issue if you’re a decent shot.
Want more reasons?
How about the visuals are damn awesome?
Salazar’s castle is one of the grandest environments in any Resident Evil game. From its courtyards, to the cool ass garden, to the throne room, to the library! It’s just plain dripping with atmosphere. Playing as Ashley and running away from the plaga armour is nerve wracking!
The in-game character models are insanely detailed too and you can even blow limbs off with critical shots. I really love it when an explosion bisects a Ganado and you can see the plaga tendrils squirming out of their midsection.
All this, at a brisk 60FPS. The ONLY time I noticed a drop to the mid-40s on my rig was when it was raining heavily in the village square. This is right after Leon rescues Ashley from the church. Other than that part, nothing else budged the framerate.
The game’s not perfect though…Optimization for the PC could be better. I mentioned the VRAM issue I (and a lot of others have) and there are some bugs in the game too.
I encountered this bug a couple of times when I stabbed a Ganado that was carry Ashley off. The Ganado clipped through the scenery and Ashley was left hanging in midair.
I fixed it with a reload so if you encounter a similar issue, just do that.
I don’t like that Capcom’s beefed up the Ganados though. It used to be a single shot to the head stunned them, allowing Leon to close in for a melee blow. Now, it takes 2 shots most times, though sometimes 1 shot does stagger them.
Speaking of enemies, Capcom removed one of the best boss fights in the Resident Evil series in the remake.
In the original, Leon fought U-3 in the mines underneath the castle in a tense cat and mouse encounter on a suspended cargo carrier and then again on land later on. I was honestly looking forward to how the remake handled this and disappointed as hell when it didn’t materialize.
The other bosses are all back though some are much harder.
The fight versus Salazar is particularly noteworthy as it’s MUCH harder now. The midget’s mutated form is much faster and has some killer attacks!
Assignment Ada and The Mercenaries are also MIA from the game.
Now, The Mercenaries is coming in April 2023 as a free DLC so that’s fine. Assignment Ada is missed but since that was never included in the base Resident Evil 4 release (on the Gamecube), I guess the case can be made that its inclusion was never a sure thing. Perhaps Capcom will release this as paid DLC in the future?
One thing I’m lamenting is the seeming lack of infinite ammo for the game.
I finished the game on Standard, upgrading the Red 9 handgun fully and expecting there to be an option to unlock unlimited ammo in the Extra Content shop (like in Resident Evil Village, Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3) but sadly, there was none!
There is an Infinite Rocket Launcher in the Merchant’s Shop if you load a completed save but that’s 2,000,000 pesetas you’ll need to save up! I haven’t completed Hardcore or Professional mode so maybe those will unlock infinite ammo…
The Bottom Line.
Resident Evil 4 is hands down the best remake Capcom has done so far. It’s much lengthier than Resident Evil 2 or 3, has cool (and fun) new gameplay mechanics and has better lore than the original!
Performance is great on the PC if you have the hardware to run it well and I’ve only really run into a handful of bugs.
Here’s hoping that Resident Evil 5, Resident Evil: Code Veronica and Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles remakes are on the their way because I honestly can’t get enough!
The best Resident Evil remake yet. GET IT!
- Great visuals.
- Awesome plot.
- Fun new gameplay mechanics.
- Killing stealthily!
- The knife.
- No Assignment Ada.
- Missing U-3 boss fight.
- Ganados not stunned in one hit to the head.
- Gameplay unlocks lacking.
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