The Resident Evil franchise has eluded my collection over the years due to inconvenient timely matters or parental restrictions on violent games during my youth. But now, the time has finally arrived as I begin my first-ever playthrough with Resident Evil 4 Remake. Although I am somewhat of a coward when it comes to the horror genre, I always do my best to pull through, even if I have to cover my eyes while playing, and this game is no different.
My initial run went off to a great start, given that I already trembled in fear at the gunshot sound effect when pressing the ‘Start’ button. Yet, it wasn’t long until I realized what all the hype was about after completing each chapter, where I became addicted to the victorious achievements of every battle and the riveting storyline. To top it off, the enemies are some of the most unique adversaries I’ve ever encountered, considering that players have to unleash a considerable amount of bullets to eliminate them.
Regardless of amazing headshots or CQC-style knife attacks, these enemies won’t surrender. I learned that the hard way whenever I foolishly turned my back on a supposedly “successful” kill and squealed at the unfailing jumpscares. Now I know why Scream’s Sidney Prescott guarantees her opponent’s demise before going further. Alongside these eliminations are the different variations of each adversary, from the Armadura to the Verdugo to Zombie Dogs, increasing the thrill of what enemy you’ll have to go against next.
As for the story, I have a general knowledge of the Resident Evil series thanks to the media coverage and fan-made edits. From what I can gather, the Umbrella Corporation are the bad guys, and Leon Kennedy is a hunky agent that everyone thirsts over, which is completely understandable after I got a glimpse of his dazzling, luscious hair and impressive backflip tactics. I also enjoyed the character’s iconic jokes that sincerely made me laugh, including his famous “bingo” and “nighty-night knights” lines.
New players, like me, don’t have to worry too much about the previous installments, as the game provides enough details to get you by. Sure, I didn’t entirely grasp the connection between some characters, but you can still pick up the pieces the more you play through every chapter. I will admit that I probably should’ve started in a more accessible mode as a beginner; nevertheless, I never gave in to the dreadful ‘Do you want to reduce the difficulty level?’ prompts.
One of the primary reasons I became a fan is because it felt like playing a game from the older generation. Of course, Resident Evil 4 originally debuted on the GameCube, yet I was utterly impressed with its re-imagination in the modern age since some reboots have diminished crucial factors from past versions. In my eyes, the GameCube and the PS2 era were all about innovation and diversity in gameplay, and I could clearly see these features in the Resident Evil 4 Remake.
Instead of your typical shooter, players can try out a wide variety of minigames and side missions while exploring the dangerous world, where it never feels like you’re doing the same thing repeatedly. I certainly never thought I’d spend an hour shooting cardboard pirate cutouts in a zombie-filled world, but here we are. The requests from the Merchant (possibly my favorite character) are also astonishingly fun to complete when you’ve got time to kill, resulting in unique adventures and rewards.
While many side missions in games feature common objectives, Resident Evil 4 Remake adds a flair of quirkiness to it, in which players can do odd jobs. In particular, you can take on the role of an exterminator in the More Pest Control request or search for a golden chicken egg that can somehow restore your health. This aspect reflects the older generation’s creative side mentioned earlier, as it breaks the norms of traditional gameplay mechanics of today.
I was surprised to learn that Resident Evil 4 Remake features a relatively open-world map, given that many story games are confined to limited areas. Sometimes, you can miss out on trophies/achievements or items with these versions, so the free-roaming gameplay was just another reason why I fell in love with the franchise. It also helps that the visuals of both the environments and the characters are incredibly breathtaking, and I often found myself using the Photo Mode to take pictures, even if Leon was running away from a horde of enemies.
The more I played Resident Evil 4 Remake, the less scared I started to become while I took advantage of the many offensive strategies, including sneak attacks, parrying, weapon upgrades, and full-frontal assaults. It can be a bit overwhelming at the beginning with the immortal-like health of the infected and the opponent’s immense size in numbers, yet players have the potential to become zombie-killing masters by the third or fourth chapter. Nevertheless, I still had moments of intense fear, especially when I discovered new variations of grotesque creatures that caused me to run away and scream in terror.
Other factors that impacted my impression of the series are the various companions you meet throughout your adventure, such as Luis Sera, Ashley Graham, and Ada Wong. For example, Ashley proved helpful in battle, precisely when you play as her in Chapter 9 or when she assists you with the infected knights. Not to mention that every character in this game is easy on the eyes, even more so with the revamped graphics, giving me a better understanding of all the fan-made edits I’ve seen over the years.
Last but not least would be the numerous puzzles scattered around multiple locations, similar to past trials I’ve faced with the Uncharted and Prince of Persia series. However, these features can make things more difficult as you fight for your life from surprise attacks while simultaneously using your brain to solve the puzzles. So, if you enjoy challenges, Resident Evil 4 Remake will be perfect for you, like it was for me.
Now that I’ve fully immersed myself in the latest installment, I plan to get started on other Resident Evil games to expand my knowledge of the franchise and simply experience the joys of playing it. Despite being late in the game, I do consider myself a fan after spending hours getting lost in its captivating world, making me feel like a kid all over again with its fresh take on a classic.