It is a little daunting and peculiar trying to review Resident Evil 4 for the Xbox 360. On the one hand, the game is legendary in the truest sense of the word. On the other, it is six years old. Few games have been ported as many times as RE4 has. It began its life on the GameCube, then was ported to the PS2, then the PC, then the Wii, and even wound up on the iPad. Now it has made its way to the Xbox 360 and PS3. And while the PS2 version saw several additions, not much has changed since then. Can a game published it 2005 still cut it in 2011 or is it as garish as Ashley Graham’s voice?
In many ways, the answer is “yes” to both questions.
In terms of gameplay, RE4 still has what it takes. While there are several things that feel out-of-date, like aiming with the right analog-stick, it is still a very tense and visceral game. Finding loot and selling it to the omnipresent trader, facing increasingly tough enemies constantly leveling up your weapons or finding new ones goes a long way in making RE4 a well-paced shooter. It is addicting and provides numerous reasons for replaying the campaign and side missions, including alternate costumes and a harder difficulty.
I never got around to playing RE4 in any of its previous iterations and I can firmly say that the gameplay still holds up today. Not only is the game’s action good for nostalgic purposes, it also holds up well for newcomers (that is, if there are any that remain).
The graphics are where RE4 really shows its age and are easily the sorest part of whole package. While the game is in HD, it is not really in HD. None of the textures have been redone nor have the surfaces become any smoother. From afar, wall and ground textures look okay, but you quickly realize just what passed for textures back in 2005. And now because everything has been stretched to high definition standards they look even worse. It is really a shame too because with redone textures and a new lighting system, this game could be gorgeous. On the bright side, the game does have a better draw distance and it seems greater anti-aliasing has been applied to the character models.
RE4 is an incredibly fun game and stands as a testament to good design philosophy- tense where it needs to be, action oriented in all the right places and never over-burdening you with ammo scavenging. Sadly, not much has been added to the game. There are leaderboards and while they are a nice addition, it would have been even nicer to see new content in order to make this version of the game stand out from the others. As it stands, the only things that are new are the aforementioned leaderboards and achievements. Speaking of achievements, there are only 12 despite this being a retail game and having the full 1,000 points. Most of the points you will get are just for completing the story. Usually, unimaginative achievements do not bother me much; it just seems like a crime that there is not a “Blow up a Ganado with his own stick of dynamite” achievement.
Resident Evil 4 is largely thought of as the best game in the franchise, and with good reason. In 2005, the gaming world was spun on its head with its release. Not only did the game legitimize over-the-shoulder aiming, it also revived a nearly dead franchise. Flash forward to 2011 and it just feels like this RE4 is another drop in the port/remake becket is so popular. IT would have been nice if this port had gotten a little more attention.
It is great that Xbox 360 and PS3 owners can now experience Resident Evil 4 but it is a shame that more effort was not put into it to make it stand out. As it is, there is really no reason for this version to exist as it does not bring anything new to the package. That being said, if you have not played Resident Evil 4, I whole-heartedly recommend it. But if you are veteran, there is no reason for you to pony up the cash for a game you have probably played several times before.
Jonathan is the host of the DarkCast, DarkCast Interviews, and Gamers Read. He loves books, video games, and superheroes. If he had to pick favorites, they would be Welcome to the Monkey House, Mass Effect, and Superman respectively.