Resident Evil 4 is Still the Pinnacle of Japanese Game Design

1UP: Have we as a culture forgotten just how great Resident Evil 4 is? It seems that way to me sometimes. Admittedly, reinventing a long-running series on the GameCube during the PlayStation 2's reign of complete dominance didn't do the game any favors; sure, RE4 eventually found its way onto other systems, but third party games on Nintendo's previous platform received about as much attention as they do today on the Wii (Viewtiful Joe is forever lost to the ages). And let's not forget that Resident Evil had become a complete joke by the mid-aughts, with a glut of spin-off titles tarnishing what once stood as a somewhat respected franchise. Thankfully, Resident Evil 4 showed up just as the series entered its roughest patch -- and if you're one of those people who think this fourth installment somehow destroyed Capcom's zombie-verse by changing things too drastically, well, I wish I had enough time just to explain how wrong you are.

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Simon_Brezhnev2315d ago

A pretty bold statement. What some people on 1UP said is what makes this game japanese. LOL

2314d ago
DigitalAnalog2315d ago (Edited 2315d ago )

This is what happens when legendary developers have big named companies backing them up. Unfortunately many of these Japanese devs have now gone independent, ergo losing a lot of polish due to tighter budget constraints (Vanquish, Shadows of the Damned).

Many people can criticize 4 for completely revamping the formula (which is a pretty bold move especially when you have 4 games prior that uses the working forumla). I'm one of those who welcome the change due to the fact it fits the story very well as it no longer revolves around zombies but this time the enemies you encounter are sentient so the "action" formula actually works best here.

Both story concept and gameplay designed meshed well which is why Biohazard 4 would always be the defacto standard of how action games are done right. Too bad Shinji had to leave before finishing the epic saga of Biohazard.

-End statement

KwietStorm2315d ago (Edited 2315d ago )

That's the exact reason why 4 was the beginning of the end for me. With all the focus on action, it became just another shooter. If this were the first Resident Evil game, then things would be completely different, but obviously it wasn't. Even if they absolutely had to do away with zombies, they still could have made it a survival horror game, which I feel it only is in name. Everything else the series had been known for like the claustrophobic halls, the lack of ammo, the anxiety of what's around the corner..all of that was gone in 4, and 5 just took over from there. It's funny they say the pinnacle of Japanese game design, when it felt much more western to me. I just think it's sad that the people who basically grandfathered the genre have done a 180 in the last handful of years.

-End statement

DigitalAnalog2315d ago (Edited 2315d ago )

I think it also has to do with the design. Remember, the original games had few zombies/enemies on screen who are completely oblivious to their surroundings unless you are in their sight range.

4's formula was a lot different. This time, groups of observant enemies would fill the screen. So the "survival" aspect comes from trying to fight of the horde who are somehow impervious to bullets yet retain their sense of thought. This gives a whole new and unique "thrill" to the game. Jump scares are just too cliched, even if they were pulled off masterfully. Despite the new formula, the spirit and nature of Biohazard has not changed at all. It's only observed from a different perspective.

However, I can sympathize with your dismay, but re-using the T-virus formula on a constant basis would make the franchise stagnant. Shinji, knows this best which is why he wanted a different setting, a different plotline, yet also canon to the franchise itself. This is why I prefer the title "Biohazard", the title is what entails the purpose of creating the plotline, which is about... viruses or anything to do with biological themes. Resident Evil was a title felt out of place, "Evil" is usually used in supernatural themes (biblical, occult, etc) which may or may not have something to do with gamers relating the title attachment to the gameplay/storyline.

I think the developer wanted to make a universe of his franchise. This is the best way I can describe it: Take Spiderman who's always stealthy and Iron Man who's always in-your-face. The same universe however, the way these characters deal with their adversaries are completely different. For one, it takes a fresh new intake in the story and it also makes the universe alive.

Like I mentioned before, they've had FOUR games that utilized the SAME, EXACT formula. You can only go so far with the same plotline and in order to keep the franchise new, this was the breaking point.

5 simply had no clue, no place and nothing to direct the already evolving game universe at hand. This is why it is a mitigated disaster amongst fans. Granted it is a good and solid game, what actually kept the franchise going is the uncertainty of the stories that follow through. Sadly, the original developer left the studio without proper closure. Biohazard would never be the game it once was.

-End statement

Kleptic2315d ago (Edited 2315d ago )

its been a long time since I played it...but i'm getting a little lost at the 'action done right' aspect of your comment...

I get that RE4 was the most action focused RE game at the time...and it worked well...but to me the mechanics at that point worked...but were immediately out dated as soon as more actual action games started using similar camera angles...but updated control options...

and RE5 is what i'm talking about now...RE5 was simply tired and old control wise BEFORE it even released...RE's original brilliance was in atmosphere and the helplessness of fixed camera's and goofy controls...that worked in 1996 given the available technology then...and RE4 made the proper steps forward to freshen the series...but in 2009, when RE5 dropped...those same gimmicks simply didn't work...not being able to move and shoot, or even aim, at the same time?...having completely ridiculous ways for turning quickly, even though the game would have enemies surround you...etc...

Dead Space picked up where RE4 left off...kept the atmosphere of a proper survival horror game, but made it modern enough to not force 'fear' by bad control layouts...I'm not saying its a better franchise, or anything like that...i'm just saying based on popularity, Dead Space is more the type of SH games people are willing to buy...

EDIT: @KwietStorm...I agree with you, but I think its pretty obvious that they had to change it around...what made the first RE games great was simply where game design was at the worked, because we hadn't seen other options yet...what made those games scary was how weak you were against a genre, that simply isn't popular anymore...Dead Space is easily the most succesful new 'survival horror' franchise right now...and it has next to nothing in terms of what the original RE's had...and I'd be willing to bet if Capcom when back to RE's wouldn't be received as well as many think...RE5 tried hard to stick with what made RE4 successful, and was pretty much handed its hat by newer ips in the genre...

look at Siren: Blood far the most traditional survival horror game to come out this generation...and regarded by a lot of the media as one of the 'scariest' games ever made...

and most people have never even heard of it...

tunaks12315d ago (Edited 2315d ago )

when people evaluate the state of Japanese games they tend to overlook Nintendo. Zelda is a franchise developed by Japanease game developers, so is Mario.

DarkSymbiote2315d ago

Apparently 1up has never played MGS4.