Why You Need To Play Resident Evil 4 Remake 

 

The original Resident Evil 4 was the first horror game (and first Resident Evil title), I ever played in my life. I purchased and played the game on the GameCube, the PS2, the PS3, and the PS4, so it’s pretty obvious what a big fan of the original game I am. If there were any further doubt on how much I loved the original, I ranked it as one of the best Resident Evil games. After the lackluster remake of Resident Evil 3, I was still somehow excited for the remake of Resident Evil 4, as I knew what a great foundation Capcom already had to work with with the original. It turns out that my optimism wasn’t unwarranted—you need to play the Resident Evil 4 Remake. 

 

Capcom managed to make the perfect remake, which stays true to both the spirit of the original and manages to even improve upon it at the same time, delivering a truly memorable experience. Here’s just a few of the many reasons why you need to play the Resident Evil 4 Remake.

 

*Note: There are no major plot spoilers below. What I consider spoilers are marked, but those concerned about any and all spoilers should read at their own discretion. 

 

Features

 

 

Not only does the game feel overall less clunky and sleeker than the original, it offers a ton of accessibility features and even an auto-sort option for the attaché case. Players can turn on aim assist with snap and follow features, change the button tapping to a hold mechanic, and much more. Plus, there’s even a photo mode for digital photography enthusiasts. And the map has been completely upgraded from that of the original’s, allowing for zooming and scrolling, as well as showing more points-of-interest, like ammo, herbs, and treasure locations (if you’ve shelled out some Spinels for the treasure maps or bought the expanded treasure maps).

 

Parrying

 

 

 

The Resident Evil 4 Remake adds a parrying system to the game. There’s not a more powerful feeling than parrying a chainsaw with a knife! I think fans of Souls games will really enjoy this new gameplay mechanic. I haven’t started my playthroughs on higher difficulties yet, (the hardest I’ve played is Standard), where only perfect parries are allowed, so we’ll see if I miss the old quick time events then, but I highly doubt it. 

 

Modern Tone

 

The game takes care to update Ashley Graham into a more likable protagonist, who thankfully, has her own sense of agency and a less obnoxious personality. Ashley actively fights back against her captors of her own free volition, even coming out on top against those infected by Las Plagas by sheer force of will and intelligence alone. She feels much more like a real person, who is genuinely scared to be in the situation she is in, but also wants to help Leon help her. I never thought I’d say this, but I actually like this version of Ashley. 

 

Her counterpart in the rescue mission, Leon S. Kennedy, is less of a sassy asshole and more of an incredibly attractive dad-type character. It was hilarious seeing such an attractive man and capable agent cracking cringe-inducing, cheesy one-liners any chance he got. I liked that Leon, despite oozing handsomeness, kept things strictly professional. Any attempts by Ashley to flirt with him pretty much fell flat in what is clearly purposeful on Leon’s part to maintain respect and professional distance between them.  When she tests the waters about “working together” in the future, he politely draws a line in the sand, telling her that she doesn’t need him and that she can handle herself. Thankfully, the developers also took out the problematic lines where Leon was very “ick,” like when he hit on his support intel officer, Hunnigan, at the end of the original game. We love a respectful king. 

 

I would’ve rioted if this scene and the bingo line weren’t in the remake.

 

As a whole, the game definitely takes itself and its characters more seriously, which I appreciate. Though I know some fans might miss some of the hallmarks of the original, like the completely unnecessary laser room or some of Leon’s arguably worse jokes, I liked that the remake had a more serious and less campy tone, but still managed to include some of most famous scenes and lines. 

 

Themes

 

The remake of Resident Evil 4 feels like much less of an isolated entry in the game, keeping continuity of its characters from the past. In the very beginning, the game immediately makes reference to the events of Raccoon City and the effect that that trauma had on Leon’s life and career. By flashing back to these pivotal moments, like Leon watching Ada slip from his fingers and Leon surviving hand-in-hand with Sherry Birkin and Claire Redfield, players can fully appreciate what Leon has already been through and how he has grown into a more confident and capable character from the rookie cop we saw in Resident Evil 2 remake. 

 

This is in line with one of the themes running throughout the game, which asks, “are people actually capable of change?” Though Ada remarks that Leon hasn’t changed, even though he thinks he has, implying he still has that same heart of gold, she never answers his question of whether she has changed herself, leaving it up to both the audience and its hero, Leon, to decide. The open-ended exchange makes players wonder if Leon even does, in fact, want Ada to change. It’s clear that the whole secret agent with murky ambitions is quite appealing to Leon, in spite of the difference in their own morals.

 

In line with his skepticism surrounding Ada’s true intentions, Leon is innately distrustful of Luis Serra, who helps Ashley and Leon, while claiming he merely wants to make amends for his past.  It’s almost as if Leon can’t accept possible redemption as Luis’s true motivations, which is the exact opposite of what the rookie cop inside of Leon wants to believe of Ada. When Luis finally asks Leon if people can change, clearly wanting validation for his actions during the game, Leon ultimately finds himself unable to answer. Beneath his confident dad-joke-cracking exterior, Leon struggles with the very same question and the implications of what the answer means for himself and the world at large. 

 

 

This moral dilemma is given yet another variety of a demonstration by the evil turn of Leon’s former mentor and superior in the forces, Major Jack Krauser, who has given up all hope that people will ever change and do the right thing. To him, the only answer to humanity’s own inhumanity to man is absolute power. While Leon is disgusted by Krauser’s discarding of his moral code, it’s clear that on some level, Leon is able to sympathize with the path that his foil has taken and it’s obvious he feels that he could have ended up taking a similar path if he had found the same answer as Krauser. Since Leon was blackmailed into becoming a government agent to protect Sherry and Claire, it’s not too hard to picture Leon becoming jaded and resentful and choosing a similar path, if it weren’t for his own stronger moral code.

 

I really liked this exploration of this theme, which added a layer of nuance to this more serious version of the game. I felt that seeing all of these characters struggle with the moral implications of their actions made them that much more compelling and lifelike.  It was interesting to see a moral conflict, demonstrated subtly, but consistently throughout the entire game. I think this kind of dilemma goes beyond what we typically see in a horror or survival-action game where the main focus is usually on survival. And we definitely did not see this moral quandary in the original, sillier version of Resident Evil 4.

 

Emotional Impact

 

As a result of the exploration of this theme of change and the overall more modern tone of the game, a lot of the scenes and events of the game have much more emotional impact than they did in the original version of Resident Evil 4. In the original game, I saw Ashley as little more than a loud-mouthed nuisance that I had to save for the sake of the game’s plot. However, in the remake, it is apparent that Ashley is a bright young woman who cares about the people around her and wants to help Leon in any way she can, whether this means driving heavy machinery, dropping a regenerator off a bridge, trying to keep the mood light, or fighting against her own infection of Las Plagas.

 

Going into this game, I did not to expect to care for Ashley at all. But to my surprise, when this incarnation was carried off by a member of Los Illumandos, I was desperate to save her, and not just to avoid a game over. I wanted to save Ashley because she’s Ashley. This is in stark contrast to the original game, where I was constantly groaning and irritated by the inconvenience of having to stop what I was doing again in order to rescue her (if only to get a reprieve from her incessant squealing and to avoid a game over.) Due to this overhaul of the character, the part of Resident Evil 4 Remake where Ashley is separated from Leon, without a means to defend herself, is one of the scariest parts of the game and feels like it has the highest stakes. It’s also incredibly satisfying to see Ashley prove herself to both Leon and audiences that she is capable of defending herself on some level.

 

 

 

Likewise, Luis is given a lot more background and moments that are integral to the themes of the game. When Leon first stumbles across Luis in the charred remains of a house, players can find clues to the tragic past of Luis in files scattered throughout this area and the rest of the remake. Luis lost his only remaining family to the fervor of Los Illumandos and the diseases in the area. Knowing these past events and how the man fought to overcome the circumstances of his birth in a small, isolated town in Spain—complete with its own cult—came to get his education, as well as to work for and to eventually leave the prestigious (and notorious), pharmaceutical company, Umbrella, made me much more invested in the man. Learning that he returned to his ravaged hometown and that he chose, at great personal risk to himself, to repeatedly do the right thing makes the character so much more than what he was in the original. In turn, this makes Luis’s role and the outcome of his character arc that much more emotionally impactful. I was even brought to tears at one point during his development.

 

 Ada wong

 

This is apparently an incredibly unpopular opinion, but I really liked Resident Evil 4 Remake’s version of Ada Wong and preferred her to the portrayal in the original. Ada’s new voice actress, Lily Gao, has an effortlessly deep and sultry tone to her voice. I feel like the old voice actresses were very musical and completely over the top, which personally, I found took right out of the story to ask, “who actually speaks like that in the real world?” I’d argue absolutely no one. 

 

With the new voice actress behind the microphone, Ada feels like an actual person and an authentic femme fatale, not a video game caricature of one. Honestly, I loved this Ada, who likes to appear disinterested and bored with both Leon and all of the nitty gritty details of the mission (as she’s already been there and done that without misplacing a single high heel), but it’s obvious to players that she can’t help but to let emotion slip through when she’s around everyone’s favorite agent. This Ada shows emotion in what she doesn’t say, which I think a lot of the player base doesn’t quite understand.

 

 

This Ada doesn’t hide behind a sing-songy voice, but a disinterested and even tone, which is often belied by the expressions on her face. And as Ada Wong has never been a whole lot more than the sexy unobtainable love interest for Leon and a mysterious agent with questionable motivations, I was really excited to see these hints to a more complex character lurking underneath her blasé attitude. Honestly, I have never been more intrigued by the character than I was in this remake.

 

It also must be said that I love her new outfit. Though it’s still ridiculous that anyone thinks a woman can comfortably fight in thigh high leather boots and a skin-tight sweater dress, it still feels slightly more plausible than the old dress of the original game, and quite frankly, I love to see it. Crossing my fingers for Capcom to remake Ada’s DLC chapter, Separate Ways.

 

Secret Ending

For fans of the Resident Evil series, there is a very exciting secret ending at the end of Resident Evil 4 Remake. This ending depicts View Spoiler »

 

Mercenaries Mode

 

With Resident Evil 4 Remake, Mercenaries Mode is actually fun again. After Resident Evil Village’s Mercenaries Mode, which required absolute perfection and a talent for aiming (which god knows, I don’t have), prevented me from successfully getting the Platinum Trophy for the game, I was thrilled to see a return to the more traditional version of Mercenaries Mode in Resident Evil 4 Remake. Even better, this mode came as free DLC (knowing Capcom there will be additional content available for purchase later), and thankfully did not have any trophies tied to it. This meant that I didn’t get locked out of my Platinum Trophy for Resident Evil 4 Remake, which I’m still working on at present. 

 

And this version of Mercenaries Mode has four maps and four characters from the get-go, with a variety of different play-styles, which kept it feeling fresh on repeated attempts for high scores. I also really enjoyed the Mayhem mechanic, which is like an ultimate or limit break that all characters have their own variety of too. It was fun constantly watching that bar fill to unlock this Mayhem and then getting to deal massive amounts of damage to the endless waves of enemies. Constantly hoping that Capcom will make an online multiplayer version of Mercenaries Mode where teams of players, as famous Resident Evil characters in a plethora of skins on a variety of famous maps from the games, can fight the endless waves of mobs and classic villains together. This really seems like a no-brainer to develop and Capcom should really just make this a reality and take my money.

 

 

Whether or not you’ve played the original Resident Evil 4, there’s so much to love in the Resident Evil 4 Remake, like the added gameplay feature of parrying, the accessibility options, the improved map, and the more serious undertones and themes. This game is perfect for both existing fans of Resident Evil and for those who have never played a title in the horror series yet.

 

Resident Evil 4 Remake is available today for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows, and Steam.

 

What Resident Evil title do you want to see remade next?

 

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Why You Need to Play the Resident Evil 4 Remake - Blogging with Dragons

Posted April 14, 2023 in Games

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