This game takes place years after the events of Resident Evil 2. Leon is now a secret agent under U.S. government, and has been tasked to save the President's daughter from an unknown village. Unlike the zombie and B.O.W. threat faced by him in Raccoon City, he must face a new threat posed by the Ganados and multiple creatures created by a parasite.
Of all Resident Evil games, Resident Evil 4 has the most interesting storyline as well. Many new characters introduced, yet most characters in the game have their own moments to share with good character exposition. Thanks to the talented voice actors, this game also has the finest voice acting performance among all Resident Evil games.
Characters are also interesting in the game, with most of the villains taking the spotlight. Despite the odds that Leon faces, he faces many of the dire situations in the game calmly. Mendez, Salazar, Krauser and Saddler are great villains, fulfilling their necessary evil roles in this game with their distinct personalities. There aren't that many good persnality characters in the game, but they are rather well developed like Luis Sera.
This is the first Resident Evil game that features third person shooter gameplay. Unlike classic Resident Evil game's gameplay, you can now aim your shots freely on enemies, do a variety of actions, and many others.
The game's exploration is simple, as you can progress from point A to point B by going to several areas. However, you may need to solve certain puzzles to progress, and you may need to find key items in order to do so. The puzzles are relatively simple to complete, but the puzzles placement in this game make more sense than previous Resident Evil games' puzzle placements. If you are lost, you can always check your map to find out your next destination. You may also save you game after ending a Sub-Chapter or by interacting with typewriters.
Unlike previous inventory system and storage system from previous Resident Evil games, this game features attache case inventory system. The attache case inventory system features an inventory system with grid design. Each item in the game will take up space with differing sizes, such as a First Aid Spray consumes two inventory spaces. As each item has their own size, constant item management is highly recommended. As you progress, you can buy bigger attache cases to keep more items such as larger sized weapons.
Fighting enemies require you to use weapons, where each weapon has their own pros and cons. Handguns are useful to defeat regular Ganados, but are virtually weak against bosses and other tougher enemies. Shotguns are damaging against many types of enemies, but have slow rate of fire and reloading time. As each weapon in this game have their own advantages and disadvantages, experimenting each weapon is highly recommended. Keeping a variety of weapons generally help in the game.
The weapons upgrading system is revamped here, where you can upgrade many aspects of your weapons such as firepower, firing rate, ammo, and others. Fully upgrading a weapon may allow you to purchase a special upgrade for that weapon, enhancing it's effectiveness. Weapons can be bought and upgraded with your money by interacting with your regular merchant. You may also choose to sell weapons and other items for money by interacting with this merchant as well.
Most of the time, you will encounter new type of infected humans called the Ganados. They are different than zombies faced in previous Resident Evil games, more intelligent, and more dangerous. For starters, the Ganados can duck and dodge from your laser aiming if timed well. They can also throw weapons at you, grab you when nearby, and many other actions. Shooting at their head can stun them, and you can use the regular kick attack to knock down the enemies around for escape. Be aware that you will fight other types of enemies in the game other than Ganados, such as Garradors and Novistadors.
Boss fights are also prevalent in this game, where each of them unique to different situation. Each boss has it's own weak point, and possess dangerous one hit kill attacks that must be dodged. In certain occasions in boss battles, you can input the Quick Time Events button prompts on screen to dodge attacks, but do not rely entirely on them as you will still need to run to avoid enemy attacks.
As this is the first Resident Evil game includes Quick Time Events, button prompts will be present in both combat and cutscenes. Correctly inputting them will save you from death, otherwise it will be death. Like previous Resident Evil games, you can find ammo and healing items by exploring in the game. Enemies may also drop ammo, money and other items for you to pick up,
The overall gameplay is great, with very intense combat, easy-to-learn weapons system, effective item management. variety of enemies to be fought, and steady progression. However, some may debate that the game's survival horror aspect is toned down. Personally, I think the survival horror is toned down, yet still present as I find that playing the game with it's atmosphere is somewhat very immersive and horrifying. Tank controls are still present in the game, but it is not a major issue if you are used to those controls back from older Resident Evil games.
The main game's cutscenes and the gameplay of the game looks gorgeous in HD. Amazing looking characters, environments, and creatures to be encountered in the game. Unfortunately, the Separate Ways campaign does not have HD remastered cutscenes, presumably because the cutscenes are prerendered back from the PS2 version instead of using in-game engine cutscenes like Leon's campaign. Gameplay areas however, look amazing for both campaigns and other extra gameplay modes like The Mercenaries.
This game has one of the best voice acting talents for Resident Evil games. This game features my favourite voice actors for three main characters, which are Leon, Ada, and Wesker. Unfortunately, neither of them actually reprise their roles in the main Resident Evil games, which is a true disappointment to me.
The soundtrack is both creepy and excellent. The themes used when fighting the Ganados in the game are creepy, and the ambient tracks are creepy as well. The soundtrack also include some action tracks, such as when fighting the second last boss in the game. This game also features one of the most creepy themes, which is the theme for Regenerador.
This game has good replay value. You can opt to complete the harder diffiuclty, Professional Mode upon completing the game. You may also choose to play the Mercenaries, a fun mini-game where you can use different characters with different weapons and abilities to get high scores on different levels. You can also play Ada's campaign Separate Ways to find out several unexplained involvement of Ada in Resident Evil 4's story, or play the short minigame called Assignment Ada as well. As this game has New Game Plus mode, you can play the game again using your cleared save file and use your current weapons or unlock new ones.
This is a fantastic Resident Evil game. Great combat system, immersive atmosphere, variety of enemies to be fought, great boss fights, good story, many likable characters, and good graphics make this game one of my favourite Resident Evil games. Unfortunately, this game suffers poor HD remastered custscenes of Separate Ways, which would have been great if Capcom put more effort to do so. Tank controls can be annoyance to some, and the survival horror aspect may be toned down to some people. Regardless, this is one of my favourite games, and nothing can change that.
Final Score: 9.5/10
Pros and Cons
- Simple, yet interesting storyline,
- Many likable characters.
- Leon's most likable appearance and personality.
- Effective third person shooter gameplay.
- Intense combat.
- Great boss fights.
- Simple to understand and effective weapons upgrade system.
- Simple yet more survival based inventory system.
- Many variety of weapons.
- Fresh new take on Resident Evil games.
- Incredible graphics.
- Immersive horror atmosphere.
- Many scary monsters.
- Good replay value.
- Excellent voice acting.
- Good and fitting survival horror soundtrack.
- Major tone and gameplay differences from older Resident Evil games.
- Tank controls can be annoyance to some.
- Poor HD remastered Separate Ways cutscenes.