Resident Evil 4 Remake

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X
Genre: Action/Adventure
Developer: Capcom
Release Date: March 24, 2023


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PS5/PS4/XSX/PC Preview - 'Resident Evil 4 Remake'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on March 3, 2023 @ 12:00 a.m. PST

In Resident Evil 4, players rejoin Leon, who is now a U.S. agent with a top-secret mission, looking into the abduction of the President's daughter, now with modernized gameplay, a reimagined storyline, and vividly detailed graphics.

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Resident Evil 4 Remake has a heck of a job to do. Resident Evil 4 was one of the most beloved games of all time, and it exists in that odd state where it feels dated but still modern enough to play without any trouble. Unlike Resident Evil 2, its remake felt a bit tougher to justify. We saw almost 20 minutes of gameplay footage, and it made my Resident Evil 4-loving heart happy. It's not exactly Resident Evil 4, but it sure looks a whole lot like Resident Evil 4 as I remember it — and in the best kind of way.

Resident Evil 4 Remake looks very familiar. Almost every area in the demo was a spot that I recognized from the game. It wasn't one-for-one, as there were plenty of differences in layout, enemy behavior, and appearance. It was familiar enough that I felt a strange sense of nostalgia for a game that I haven't played yet. Even the areas where it differed seemed quite dedicated to capturing the same tone. We only saw a bit of the infamously ridiculous Ramon Salazar, but I get the impression he's going to be just as absurd as in the original, if perhaps in a slightly different flavor.

There are plenty of differences. New puzzles or enemy encounters seem to dot the landscape, and while they are familiar enough that I knew exactly which part of the game I was looking at, they are more fleshed out. It looks like it will exist in a midpoint between Resident Evil 2 Remake and Dead Space in terms of how closely it adheres to the original. From what we've seen, they haven't cut out anything like Resident Evil 3; it's just been remixed with revised zones and areas.

Gameplay-wise, we saw a ton of new features. Leon is more mobile, and there seem to be dodge prompts and commands for attacks that allow him to evade even quick foes. This was present in the original game but seems expanded here. His knife, always a mainstay, is present in most of his melee attacks. It also seems to have taken on an entirely new defensive purpose, with perfectly timed blocks allowing you to parry enemy attacks or knock them out of the air. It seems more seamless than in the original GameCube version, and it seems to be a natural part of his kit. His knife can even be upgraded now, but what that entails has yet to be seen.

The merchant and his wonderful collection of weapons are back in their cheesy glory, but some things have changed. While we saw familiar weapons like the shotgun or TMP, there's also a new bolt thrower that can fire explosive bolts, seemingly a more refined version of the mine thrower from the original game. Your attaché cases can be upgraded and even customized with different colors or special charms that give passive bonuses. (For example, a chicken charm grants a healing bonus.) Perhaps most importantly, the game makes it clear that you get almost a full refund for any weapons you sell back, which will make it fun to experiment with new tools instead of waiting to upgrade until you can get the Red 9.

The merchant's side-quests also seem to have been expanded. The demo has him requesting the rare golden egg (a full heal in the original RE4) for valuable items. We also got a glimpse of the treasure system In the original game, you could find treasures and specific gems that could be sold or used to upgrade specific treasures. The new system seems more general, with treasures having slots that fit certain gem shapes. Instead of needing to find the perfect treasure, you can put in the gems you find, but you're given bonuses if the gems have a variety of colors. Better items sell for more. It's a nice middle ground between needing to find everything versus not having to think about how you use your resources.

Good ol' Ashley is also present, seemingly for the same parts of the game she was in originally. I also noticed a few differences here. For one thing, she doesn't seem to have her own health bar anymore. Instead, damage can incapacitate her, and Leon has to help her up. Ganado still tries to kidnap her, but it isn't an instant game over if she accidentally gets a stick of dynamite to the face. On the other hand, I didn't see any sign of the trash cans you could throw Ashley in during the original game to keep her out of your way, so it seems like managing her will involve more effort this time.

Another welcome change is that there don't seem to be any QuickTime Events (QTEs). We got a look at the Krauser knife fight, one of the most noteworthy QTE segments in the original game. It has been converted into a knife fight where you have to parry, dodge and counter Krauser to come out ahead. It's neat to get the chance to fight Krauser one-on-one, and I look forward to seeing how the gameplay pans out. What I most look forward to is not having to mash a button to run away from a boulder.

Everything I've seen of the Resident Evil 4 Remake seems to be working hard to justify remaking the classic. The gameplay, the atmosphere, and even the goofy characters seem to be present and accounted for, but they've been revised and refined. It's clear that the developers are very aware of the game's status as a classic and don't want to deviate too much from the original. From what we've seen, RE4 Remake has the potential to be as much of a classic as its previous version. Thankfully, we only have to wait a few more weeks to find out for ourselves.

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