REVIEW: The ‘Resident Evil 4’ Remake Stays True To The Original While Upping The Horror (PS5)

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Resident Evil 4

The original Resident Evil 4, published in 2005, was my first foray into the series. It holds a special place in my heart, especially since it was my first introduction to the survival horror genre, leading to a lifelong passion. So, while I’ve certainly enjoyed the Resident Evil 2 and 3 remakes, I’ve been sitting on my hands, impatiently waiting for the announcement of the Resident Evil 4 remake. But now it’s here, and I couldn’t be happier. And while I genuinely love Resident Evil 4 as it is, the top-to-bottom remake Capcom has released takes something already good and makes it unforgettable.

Resident Evil 4 is a third-person survival horror game set six years after the Raccoon City incident in Resident Evil 3. Leon S. Kennedy is a survivor of this biological disaster, and while he survived one incident, it looks like fate has more in store for him. Now on a mission to save the president’s kidnapped daughter, the trail leads him to a secluded village in Spain. Not long after arriving, Leon realizes that there’s something off about the locals, leading to a discovery that adds new depth to his mission.

Out of the frying pan and into the fire. Leon can’t seem to get a break, but that’s a win for players because Resident Evil 4 is really where Leon shines. No longer a rookie, Leon is much more confident in his abilities, and it shows. The sarcastic, slightly brooding agent is back with some wince-worthy one-liners that were absolutely a product of their time, but I can’t imagine Leon saying anything else. But that’s the only thing that dates this game because other well-known characters return with some much-needed updated designs.

Resident Evil 4 jumps straight into the horror with Leon out in the middle of seemingly nowhere, alone and without much of an arsenal to contend with. Getting immersed in the eerie, oddly empty village doesn’t take long, with the creaking houses, rustling leaves, and croaking crows keeping you on high alert. The atmosphere the game creates is fantastic and suffocating; the level designs often enclose you in small spaces or narrow hallways, leaving you just a bit claustrophobic but simultaneously giving you enough room to maneuver if you play it right. And the puzzles Leon has to complete to advance add even more stress, often asking players to think under pressure as they juggle enemies with puzzle progress. Resident Evil 4 never fails to get my heart racing.

The stress is non-stop, largely because of the excellent graphics and audio. Resident Evil 4 features updated graphics that go beyond just an upgrade—the environments have gotten an extensive overhaul, and small details have been added, making everything, including the enemies, that much scarier. In addition, the sound design is excellent. The tiny audio cues, like the rev of a chainsaw in the distance or the whispering whose origin you can’t pinpoint, are perfect at simultaneously warning you of what’s to come and making you feel like you’re losing your mind.

The storyline hasn’t changed much from the original Resident Evil 4. However, while I can’t reveal much, the remake alters some plot points and takes liberties to expand on others. But never to the point that the story is unrecognizable. It’s a good move, staying accurate to the original to garner nostalgia while adding just enough for a few surprises for longtime fans. Nevertheless, even if the story was faithful to the original through and through, there have been vast changes in the gameplay and mechanics that will make the remake worth the buy.

The gameplay has gotten a considerable overhaul, so much so that it easily competes with modern games while retaining many aspects of the Resident Evil series. The third-person perspective returns and has plenty of survival flavor with limited ammo and item management. But the remake allows Leon to be much more mobile, permitting movement while shooting and allowing much more maneuverability via vaulting over rails and jumping down from rooftops. However, the remake stays truthful to the melee combat, allowing Leon to follow up a shot to the head or knees of enemies with a melee attack. In addition, you can now parry with your knife and finish off fallen foes.

Resident Evil 4

This combination of new and old works seamlessly together, and the upgrades definitely make the gameplay an excellent experience for a new audience. And while you can use a range of weapons, the melee still feels like a huge focal point; it works well and provides some comical moments, like being able to parry a chainsaw. But beware, any knife action reduces its durability until it breaks. Thankfully, your knife can be repaired at the Merchant.

That’s right; the Merchant is back, British accent and all. While the Merchant works similarly—providing a space to cool down from the stress and action, having weapons, attachments, and upgrades for sale, and buying any treasures you find—some additions add more depth to the game. A big change is the availability of side quests. While some involve activities available in the original game, like finding and shooting blue emblems, others are new, like finding a golden egg. This gives players more to do outside the main plot and puzzles and provides even more reasons to backtrack to previous zones.

The Merchant allows you to do a lot with your arsenal, but as much as you want to buy that new, shiny gun, you’ll need to pay attention to how much you’re carrying because item and space management is essential. Your attaché case holds your weapons, ammo, and other items. Space is limited, so your arsenal is restricted too. But crafting herbs, ammo, and other items is an excellent way to free up space. All this makes players consider what weapons are essential for survival and ensures that the action doesn’t outweigh the horror but instead amplifies it. My only real qualm is that, while there is a hint of ammo restriction on normal difficulty, outside of a few points in the story, I rarely felt the threat of running out of ammo.

While Resident Evil 4  is a remake, it stays true to the core of the original. The revamped gameplay, additional and expanded plot beats, and optional activities only add more depth and ease of play to a fantastic game that already knew how to scare its players. As such, Resident Evil 4 is easy to recommend to new and old players alike.

Resident Evil 4 will be available on March 24 on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC.

Resident Evil 4 Remake
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10


While Resident Evil 4  is a remake, it stays true to the core of the original. The revamped gameplay, additional and expanded plot beats, and optional activities only add more depth and ease of play to an already fantastic game that already knew how to scare its players.

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