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Resident Evil 4 Review

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Evil has evolved...

Resident Evil 4
for Gamecube
By Mario Johnson

Resident Evil 4 is the game that won X-Play's "Game of E3 2004" last year and the highly anticipated first official sequel to the series since Resident Evil 3.  Going along with Capcom's Gamcube exclusive Resident Evil contract, the game is only for Nintendo Gamecube.  And now let me review what may prove to be the best game of 2005.

Graphics 10 out of 10
In the great tradition of all Resident Evil games, this one will set new standards for what a game should look like.  From the blood spewing off a decapitated neck to the rain and the night sky, everything about this game visualy will impress any who dare challenge the new evil.  Capcom has set a new standard with this game, which is by far the best looking Resident Evil on Gamecube, and that says alot.
Sound 10 out of 10
This is where I wish I could give more than 10.  As i've talked about in my E3 coverage before, the villagers will communicate to each other to try and ambush and surrround you.  But I had no idea that they spoke in SPANISH!  And whats more, it's all properly spoken.  The music in this game sets it apart from other Resident Evils in that it actually does more than just create ambience.  It sets the mood.  If you're about to be attacked, the music will tell you.  The ambient music helps to paint a creepy game experience.  The difference in gunfire is also easily distinguished.  Not much else to say, the sound is perfect in this game.  I particularly love the noise when Leon gets his head cut off.  He he he.
Gameplay 10 out of 10
Using the same control and camera system from previous games is what made RE0 seem not up to par.  Luckily this game has nearly completely scrapped that system.  The camera will now follow Leon from behind, creating almost a first person perspective.  The action button system that was created for Zelda: Ocarina of Time and used in many adventure games for Gamecube is also in the game.  Along with a little split second moment to react.  Some cutscenes will require you to pay attention and be ready to press certain buttons or button combos to survive.  This keeps the gameplay interesting and engaging.  One bit that always was annoying in Resident Evil games is the knife.  It won't appear in your inventory, rather Leon will wear it strapped to his chest, so you will always have it.  In other Resident Evils, fighting the "zombies" was boring.  The villagers who you must kill or be killed will react to damage with screams of aches pains, and blood spurts.  Decapitating an enemy is as easy as aiming for the head.  In previous games you would need a weapon designed for accuracy in order to do it, now it's all the more simpler as the weapons have a bright red targeting sight that will help you aim.  I think thats enough for gameplay...for now...
Difficulty 9 out of 10
This is where points are taken for lack of uniformity.  The complex puzzles of the past are gone for simplicity.  The most basic would be shooting a target to clear the path or blowing the lock off a door.  Boss battles are cakewalk thanks to the happy new anonymous merchant who will sell you a Rocket Launcher for 30,000 of the game's currency, but one before a boss, use it in the fight, and the battle is over in seconds.  The downside is a rocket launcher is a one time use weapon.  But bosses are now so much simpler to beat.  Being able to improve your weapon's performance specs and increase your health to more than twice the original amount really helps later in the game.  The hardest part of the game, and by far the most fun, would probably be crowd control.  In a large area, the villagers will appear from all sides to attack you.  They attack in a crowd, thus you must control them to survive.  But that's made easy what with all the weapons you can now carry and use, from the many handgun models to the many shotguns and your custom machine gun and sniper rifle, and even grenades.  Still, the game isn't too difficult, even on normal mode.
Playtime 9 out of 10
In comparison to the Resident Evil remake, this game is twice as long.  Previous games would have CG backgrounds, which probably took up alot of space along with the many CG videos.  With all those gone, Capcom could fit ALOT more game into both discs.  The first disc alone will take 10 hours the first play through.  And like Resident Evil 1, 2, and Zero before it, clearing the game once will unlock new modes of play.  In this game, you are given 2 new games, an alternate scenario starring a special guest heroine, and the loveable huggable Mercenaries mode which is simply an all-out massacre of enemy villagers to see how many you can kill and kill in a row before your evac chopper arrives and you leave the area.  Loads of fun.  Still, for a Resident Evil game, this one will have you playing for a while.  Took me three days to finish it.
Replay Value 10 out of 10
Unlike all other Resident Evils, this one has one important factor that gives it a perfect replay value, the mercenaries mode, which will keep you playing for hours on end.  It's fun to see how better you are than your friends at zombie hunting too.  Still, after beating the game once, you unlock round two, which lets you replay the game's story mode again.  I've yet to play that.  I mean, I just finished it today.
Story Concept 10 out of 10
While we all love our T-Virus infected brothers and sisters, the whole Umbrella Corporation and zombies and Tyrant was getting old.  With a new evil group at work, the story has gone beyond the simple T-virus infection in a populated area.  The story is brilliant, with sabotage, espionage as well as heart break and betrayal.  Not to mention conspiracy!
Story Presentation 10 out of 10
Unlike other Resident Evils, the story of what happened isn't presented with sheets of paper you find lying around.  It's told through wonderful cutscenes.  The presentation is really brought out with the evil insane speakings of the insane villagers who all are speaking spanish.  Oh right, not everyone is fluent in it.  Sorry, nevertheless, the presentation was incredible, truly cinematic.
Acting 9 out of 10
The one point taken away is for the annoying "help me Leon"s you hear from, well, a certain someone.  They just get irrating after a little while.  Still, more to the point, the voice acting was incredible.  Especially on the part of the villagers who are called "ganados".  Spanish for winners.  The ganados are always saying something to taunt you, like "te voya matar" which means "i'm goin to kill you", or "matalo!", meaning "kill him!".  The voice acting on the part of the non-villain characters is also amazing.  Leon is voiced the best of all in my opinion.  Tough, dark, and pissed off.  Ooooooooo, don't mess with Leon, he's so bad in this game it would make Claire go Googly Googly.  Anyway, you won't be let down when it comes to the voice overs.
Ending 8 out of 10
To preserve the sanctity and secrecy of the game to those who have yet to play it, I won't reveal what actually happens, but the ending is perfect for this game.  Well, nearly perfect.  Few loose details that maybe will lead to a Resident Evil 5...
Overall 10 out of 10
Overall i've hit the all the incredible ups and the minor downs.  I'm giving this game a 10 out of 10.  Well, 9.56346 if you wan't to be technical, but I hate technicality and decimals and i'm sure you do too.  So the bottom line is this; if you have a Gamecube, get this game, even if you've never played Resident Evil before.  The opening will take good care of you new to the evil.  So remember;
"Turn out the lights.  Lock the door....Live the nightmare only on Nintendo Gamecube."
-Ad for Resident Evil remake on the back of Tips & Tricks magazine
Take care!  And good luck.

"Yep, first day on the job.  Name's Leon Kennedy, nice to meet you."
-Leon Scott Kennedy (Resident Evil 2)