Resident Evil 4 (RE4) marked a huge departure from the series’ previous titles and in doing so, went down in history as one of the greatest video games ever created. Straying from static pre-rendered backgrounds, tank controls, and extremely limited firing options, RE4 redefined the horror and third person action genres in a big way. It set an extremely high bar in quality that other game developers tried to reach for years after the game’s release. But it’s been 11 years since the game first released on Gamecube here in the States, and there’s not much left about RE4 that could be said, that hasn’t already been said. So with this review, we will be going over some of the more technical differences in the PS4/Xbox One releases, rather than the industry defining gameplay elements that made the game so iconic in the first place.
Resident Evil 4
System(s): PS4/Xbox One
Publish Date: August 30, 2016
The Aesthetic Differences
Unlike the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, the current generation console versions are actually spruced up graphically. This is because it is based on the Ultimate HD Version that came to Steam over 2 years ago. Which, in turn, was built off of the Wii port of the game.
Overall textures were redone, or in some cases just made to look a lot better than the originals. But unlike the Steam version which can be improved upon even further with mods, the console versions retain the feeling of a game that’s almost 12 years old visually. On top of this, it is widely known that the initial Gamecube release had cutscenes that were rendered in real-time, allowing for the Special Costume 1 and Ballistic Vest to carry over into the cutscenes as well. Most ports of the game afterward use pre-rendered
cutscenes and this is because the PS2 release couldn’t actually render them in real time, which ultimately led to the notorious PS3/360 releases of the games using the pre-rendered scenes that were just stretched and looked completely awful. The new releases mark the return of real-time cutscenes, with a catch. Because the Special Costume 2 was exclusive to the PS2 at the time, when playing the new releases with the costume on, the game defaults to the original costume during the scenes. This is to keep the main game consistent and looking as polished as the rest of it, instead of having to create new scenes with the costume on. Unfortunately, this is not the case for the extra mission Separate Ways.
Separate Ways was created as an exclusive for the PS2, and it was supposed to tie up loose ends and fill in Ada’s role in the game. Cutscenes were created for the mode, but as covered earlier, the PS2 wasn’t capable of rendering in real-time. The pre-rendered scenes for this mode look just absolutely awful. Not that it could be helped, it’s just disappointing knowing that the team behind the conversions couldn’t be bothered to recreate them using the game’s engine.
RE4 runs at a cool 60fps, and it’s native resolution is 1920×1080, or 1080p. This makes for a more visceral experience. Enemy reactions are more fluid and faster, the reaction times for melee attacks and knocking ladders down seem to be more difficult as they go faster, and Leon just seems to run faster. It definitely feels a lot more in line with modern games. The only issue I could find with the frames (besides not being able to exploit certain glitches anymore) was that Leon’s frames drop to what feels like less that 30fps whenever the bolt action rifle is reloaded and the camera zooms in. It’s a small gripe sure, but when you only have that rifle to choose from for the first half of the game, it gets pretty irritating. Everything else is absolutely fine though and it plays just like the original game, albeit a little bit faster feeling.
Nothing was changed when it comes to the aiming/firing mechanics. You still have to stand still while aiming, which might be a turnoff for some. There is also a lack of strafing, leaving you only with the quick turn option or having to move the camera via analog stick to see what is next to you. These limitations seem archaic by today’s standards, even if they help build the tension during sequences with a lot of enemies on screen.
Speaking of things that weren’t changed, switching weapons can be somewhat arduous. There is no ability to swap weapons quickly with say, a push of the d-pad. You must open up the inventory menu, every single time. While this can be used to your advantage sometimes, opening and reopening the menu over and over again takes away from the action, and leaves a glaring mark on an otherwise gem of a game. If the developers had decided to change anything, I would have preferred it to be this.
One major difference that’s not entirely obvious is the function of the P.R.L. It is a non-canon extra weapon added into the PS2 version of the game that eliminates any Las Plagas parasite in any host. Besides being able to one-shot every boss in the game apart from Del Lago (the giant fish boss) at full charge, it also acts as a replacement flash grenade with infinite ammo. In the first appearance of the weapon, firing it at full charge sent the beam of light directly where the laser was pointing. In this version, the light from the beam splits and hits everything visible that can be destroyed, including barrels and bear traps.
Final Grade: 85%
Resident Evil 4 is a great game. While the premise of the story might be somewhat generic, and most of Leon’s dialogue is cheesy or driven by one-liners, that’s part of what makes the experience awesome. The gameplay is mostly what makes this game what it is. Couple that with an atmosphere that feels unsettling and a difficulty that adjusts to how the player is playing, turns this game into an absolute masterpiece. After 11 years, though, it feels like there was a lot of missed opportunities to make quality-of-life changes. Sure hardcore fans of the game wouldn’t be too pleased with that idea, but most of that crowd are already upset that Capcom keeps re-releasing RE4 as it is. Either way, the game still holds up, especially with a $20 price tag brand new.
- Exciting gunplay
- Plenty of gun choices
- Great boss fights
- Atmospheric music and environment
- One liners
- Decent post game content and mini games
- High replay value
- Movement feels restricted sometimes
- Have to open the inventory constantly
- Ashley Graham
- Trophies feel like an afterthought, no platinum