Resident Evil 4
Good: Stunning graphics, smooth controls, lots of extras
Bad: Sometimes-silly story, pushover final boss
Allí Está: ¡Mátelo!
Mark: It’s been four years since a proper Resident Evil game graced a Sony-branded console, four long years for PlayStation survival-horror fans. That’s four years of settling for spin-offs—the ho-hum shooting games like Dead Aim, the frustrating Outbreak online forays, the entire Silent Hill series (just kidding, SH fans! Letters won’t be necessary!)—but finally, the wait is over. Resident Evil is back on the PS2, better than ever.
To say that things have changed a bit since Code: Veronica X would be a massive understatement. RE4’s new behind-the-back camera may seem like a subtle alteration, but in practice it gives the entire experience a badly needed overhaul, allowing for smoother controls, pinpoint aiming, and a greater emphasis on the excitement of run ’n’ gun combat. Enemies no longer shuffle at you two or three at a time; they swarm you in packs, carry weapons (including dynamite and chain saws!), and even break into a sprint now and then. A new inventory system scraps the annoying item crates from old games, and weapon upgrades add strategy and another reason to happily behead your “undead” friends. And the spectacular graphics—originally built from the ground up for the GameCube—lose miraculously little in the transition to PS2. From 30-foot-tall bosses down to the tiny embroidery on Ada’s dress, the overall design and attention to detail is among the best in any game. Which really could be said for almost every aspect of RE4—don’t miss this game.
Crispin: Oh, presidents’ daughters, how many times have we told you to quit getting kidnapped in videogames and forcing us to overcome incredible odds to rescue your cutie patooties? But Resident Evil 4 takes this dead-as-a-decapitated-zombie plot device and resurrects it in the most compelling game of the year, because everything else here—from the behind-your-guy camera perspective to the improved controls to the lethally xenophobic shambling Spanish villagers—is so new and needed and polished (even if the plot gets silly at times).
But what if you, like me, already played the GameCube original to death? Even though the PS2 version is just as horrifyingly beautiful, and its all-new Ada Wong missions are a nice bonus, you can live without buying this game again. If you have yet to experience Resident Evil 4’s intensity for the first time, however, then you just haven’t lived at all.
Official PS MAG—Scooter: These guys are right—if you haven’t played RE4 yet, you simply must get this game. It takes the great elements of previous RE games and makes them better, while also sucking away everything that, er, sucked. The graphics look snazzy, the action controls well, and the disc practically splatters bonus content all over your face. But if you already have the Cube version, you might want to hold off, as the extra stuff isn’t quite worth enough for a double-dip purchase. Still, overall, RE4 is a great game that is no longer shackled to just one platform.
What’s New for PS2
Added to the PS2 version are the forgettable Ada’s Report background movies (recycled cinemas and information we already knew) and a series of side missions called Separate Ways (no Journey jokes, please). Though it mostly sticks to the same areas you already explored as Leon in the main quest, this side story does feature a couple excellent new levels, as well as two all-new, very awesome boss fights. If you’re a Cube RE4 lover, a rental is definitely justified.
The verdicts (out of 10)
Copyright © 2005 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Electronic Gaming Monthly.