Resident Evil 4 First time playing RE4 in 2020

Jonipoon

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After my computer crashed last week I was left with nothing but my phone and PS4 to kill time with. I started swiping through my PS4 library in search for something to do. And then I saw it.

Resident Evil 4.

I had nearly forgotten that I bought the game on discount for less that 10 bucks last month in preparation for RE3R. Hear me now when I’m saying this: I’ve previously had little to none interest in playing this game. Even though I’ve never actually had the game nor its story spoiled, based on what others had told me I knew enough about it to form a basic opinion. In my mind, this was the game that took the series in the wrong direction. So, obviously I had to play it! Before starting it up, this was all I knew about the game:

1. Leon is the main protagonist
2. The plot is about rescuing the president’s kidnapped daughter
3. It takes place in Spain and features a different kind of virus
4. The game is much more action-oriented
5. The game is widely considered to be one of the greatest video games ever made

With this in mind, I decided to finally give it a try. After all, how bad could it be?

The first thing that hits me after playing the first few chapters in the Village area, is that this game has an incredibly well-made structure. It is FUN to play and everything you do feels very rewarding. The semi-open world that enables a sort of backtracking is impressive for such an old game, and I can only imagine how amazing this must’ve felt for players back in 2005. Its easy to get what’s going on, perhaps a little bit too easy, and the story leaves not much for the imagination. But all in all I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it, and how the urge to continue kept staying strong.

Unfortunately, my other less favorable suspicions about RE4 turned out to be true as well. The first time I saw Leon do an anime style jump in slow-motion I was like ”OK... That just happened.” This sort of over-the-top stuff continued to infest the game in countless of other ways, not to mention the story itself and all the characters kept on giving me some sort of strange fantasy vibe taken out of a fairytale horror book. Similar to Code Veronica, RE4 puts a bigger emphasis on supernatural horror rather than the more grounded sci-fi horror presented in the first 3 games. I saw this coming, but it was still kind of a letdown. I was also surprised and somewhat shocked to see that RE4 brought in elements from Paul W.S Andersons terrible films such as the laser corridor, this gave me bad flashbacks to when Silent Hill: Homecoming brought in elements from the Silent Hill movie in 2007.

Also, length and pacing. By the time I’ve reached the Island I’m starting to feel that the game kind of drags on for a bit too long. How many times is Ashley going to be re-kidnapped? The story is incredibly weak once you realize how everything is repeated and extended, and it shows. Characters like Salazar and Saddler are too one-dimensional to be interesting, just like in Code Veronica the bad guys come off as Disney villains. And what the hell does Ada Wong bring to the plot? I have a few chapters left but I’m not expecting any mind-boggling twists or revelations. So nah, its a fun game with many cool and interesting additions such as the parasitic infections, but all of that takes a backseat in an otherwise ridiculous over-the-top game that might as well be its own standalone title with no connection to the Resident Evil series.

Nevertheless, experiencing RE4 for myself has definitely been a huge eye-opener in terms of how it revolutionized gaming and influenced so many other horror games that came after it. Everything from the over-the-shoulder perspective which is still a staple in the industry to this day, to the game’s overall structure, atmosphere and environments that I now realize has been copied into other games I’ve played such as Deadly Premonition and The Evil Within. I don’t think I’ve really understood until now what a huge imprint RE4 has had on the genre and why it is so beloved by fans.

So even though my initial impression of RE4 still stands, and while I still consider it to be a too big departure from the first 3 games with a terrible story, I’ve gained massive respect for it. RE4 is undoubtedly a fantastic game, that’s something I cannot argue with.
 
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Mr.R

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I think it's interesting that you pointed up the similarities between RE4 and CV's villains. Over the years, I've seen Saddler, Salazar and such being criticised for being fantasy-like and one-dimensional but I always thought that Alfred and Alexia felt the same way, yet I hardly seen the complaints about them. Of course, it all boils down to personal preference (and my dislike of CV's story is known so...take that with a grain of salt). I also used the term Disney villain a lot talk about them, because the first time I've played, it quickly struck me as such. At any rate, I'm glad you had some fun with RE4!
 

Jonipoon

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Its good to hear that I’m not the only one who picked up those similarities!

Mission accomplished, the game is over and all I can say is - what a roller coaster in terms of over the top action. As expected the game ended without any twists or interesting revelations, and my final verdict is that the story sucks, A LOT. I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the game though... It’s kind of like watching a Fast & Furious movie, just turn off your brain and enjoy the fast cars and action sequences... :lol:

I also didn’t find the game to be scary at all. Most of the time I had to keep reminding myself that I was actually playing a Resident Evil game, because the horror was barely there. The first time I encountered the Regenerators was pretty creepy though, and they are definitely one of the scariest monster designs in the entire series. I just wish there was more stuff like that.

Near the end of the game there is a prison corridor where you can examine a metal box, and inside it lies some kind of body bag that’s moving. That was very unexpecting, and probably the most unsettling part in the whole game. Gave me Silent Hill vibes.
 
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UniqTeas

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It is unique to see the perspective of a long time fan during a first play through of the game. I think your criticisms absolutely make sense. The story is arcadey at best. Capcom knew they had a lot of great location and enemy designs and didn't think of any better reasons to get Leon to the end of the game than simply to keep rescuing Ashley. Of course, it is a blessing that she keeps getting kidnapped since escort missions are the WORST. There is the "Leon and Ashley and infected with Plagas" story line - but that is only a slight variation on the rescuing Ashley story line.

A lot of RE4 is ridiculous and introduced so many ridiculous things - The suplexes and jump kicks, the laser traps, the lava dragon room. But that game changed gaming forever. It directly influenced a number of games and here is a small sample of the series it has influenced over the year as taken from a venturebeat article:

"You'll find it in Gears of War, Uncharted, Grand Theft Auto V, Mass Effect, The Last of Us, and much more. Even action games like the Batman: Arkham series use an over-the-shoulder camera. You can trace that influence back to Resident Evil 4. Playing a third-person shooter that came out before it just feels weird "

I should finish by saying that for the time period, this is still my second favorite RE game narrowly beating out the original REmake.
 
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1995umk3

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I just tried RE4 after not playing it for a long time.. it gave me severe dizzyness and vertigo but I finished it with the worst time (more then 70+ hours)

Played it 2-3 years after its release on gamecube because when I first saw gameplay of it I ignored the whole thing because the way the game moves.

TBH the gamecube version is better.. I don't have it anymore since I sold it on ebay but I remember the music/sound fx was waaay better then the one I have on ps3.

I developed a new way of playing it (or any games that make me throw up) and got pretty far actually. I'm at the twin chainsaw sisters with ashley, when I move in the game I'm looking down away from the screen. When I aim I look at the screen.

Sadly I have to look away at the cut scenes too... I did this also on code veronica because the screen moves but I still beat it. I'm holding pretty well on RE4 but I DID die alot reaching the place where I'm at now.

Even with this play style.... the game is that good. It's worth it for me.
 
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UniqTeas

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Well - that is a tough way to play a game with a lot of tough segments. You a brave to conquer that kind of added suspense!

Do modern games with their accelerated frame rate help or hurt in comparison?
 

1995umk3

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It probably would hurt.. I never tried anything new yet. The newest game I played was world of warcraft in 2004 and well it was O.K I guess.

Protecting Ashley almost made me quit and forget playing.. but the whole game is just soo good. I mean I still remember my favoite track in this one.

Infiltration.. I'm already in Chapter 4,

 
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UniqTeas

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Yeah, I have two parts of that game I dread. I think they're well designed and intriguing, but man, do I hate to come up to them.

The one part in the castle where you have to protect Ashley while she turns cranks is nerve wracking. And then the part with the giant wrecking ball also just hurts my soul. haha. Glad to you could experience it though!
 

Jonipoon

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Motion sickness from RE4?
Apart from Salazar’s atricious clothing, nothing really hurt my eyes. :lol:
 

1995umk3

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Chapter 5 now.. I think it's easy because I'm on normal mode. I did try pro mode waay back then on the gamecube and couldn't get past krauser in the desert and quit.

Great game... but I thought it was suppose to be long, my first playthrough was 70+ hours many many years ago, this time I have 15.

Joining a website from games you play makes you play better.
 
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UniqTeas

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Motion sickness from RE4?
Apart from Salazar’s atricious clothing, nothing really hurt my eyes. :lol:
1995umk3 has had horrible motion sickness from playing games in the 3D space. But I am glad he is still able to find joy in the game despite the nausea!

It makes sense why 1995 is all about retro games now, huh? haha
 
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1995umk3

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I beat it late yesterday night. I give this game a 99/99.. I mean if it made me play the game even when I got dizzy right at the beginning of the start then its that good! Looking down while moving helped.. but when I had to use the sniper, had to look when protecting ashley and thats when it wen't bad.. REALLY bad.

I won't be playing this type of games anymore, its really bad right now.. and the vertigo.

I had someone else do the part where you have to jet ski through the waters with ashley.. I knew that part of the game I could never do.

gg.. I saw the extras after beating the game (Seperate Ways, Assignment Ada, Mercanaries) what a nice game!
 
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UniqTeas

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I'm glad you ended up enjoying the experience! I, too, give the game really high marks. Hopefully you find a better cure for the future and can at least enjoy some other RE titles too!
 

Steve

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Thank you for that fascinating write-up! A very fair assessment indeed... no arguments from me! It most certainly is a departure from the original formula - the plot seemed to border on almost comic-action and has always been quite jarring for me. There's no contesting that it's a corker of a title, though! Glad to see that despite it being among the older end of the series, you were still able to enjoy it.
 

UniqTeas

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I don't know if you've been told this before 1995umk3, but The Last Of Us 2 had a special setting to attempt to eliminate Motion Blur. I don't know how much it will help. But hey, if you want to try it out - you could have someone start the game and narrate what is happening until they get Accessibility Controls and then they can just switch Motion Blur off and see what happens!

Maybe that is the future of gaming. I'd love to see Capcom add these levels of Accessibility for all they can!
 

Romero

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Very good write-up indeed, Jonipoon! It's many years since I played the game so maybe I have forgot some of the less good things about it, but something I've not forgot is the cheezyness of Leon. I thought Leon was too cheezy but it was not a problem for me. No game is perfect.
Some of the action sequences I do still remember as ridiculous. There are worse things than Leon's martial arts moves, what about when Salazar sends him down a free fall that is very deep, maybe so deep that Leon achieved terminal velocity, or near it, then he shoots out a grappling hook and stop the fall? There are so many physical problems with that, I don't know where to begin. That's cartoon action hero right there. But I forgave the game for that too.

And there was a lot of molten lava.... I didn't know they have that in Spain. It gave the environment a bit of a fantasy feel but I was too busy enjoying the game so I didn't stop and think "this is wrong". Though I would have preferred more realism from A to Z.



TBH the gamecube version is better.. I don't have it anymore since I sold it on ebay but I remember the music/sound fx was waaay better then the one I have on ps3.
I wonder how it compares on SP3 vs PS2. I know everyone said the Gamecube version had better graphics than PS2, but I don't remember sound being mentioned. I'm surprised if the sound is not the same on all versions, I don't know why it should be different. More compressed sound files on the PS3 version? But why would they do that?


Grand Theft Auto V
What did GTA V get from RE4? They are very very different games.
 
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Awebb

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I don't know if you've been told this before 1995umk3, but The Last Of Us 2 had a special setting to attempt to eliminate Motion Blur. I don't know how much it will help. But hey, if you want to try it out - you could have someone start the game and narrate what is happening until they get Accessibility Controls and then they can just switch Motion Blur off and see what happens!

Maybe that is the future of gaming. I'd love to see Capcom add these levels of Accessibility for all they can!
The inability to change settings before starting the game is just plain unacceptable. I almost returned Monster Hunter World, because the game didn't let you change the Y axis until after the tutorial. They do this for the immersion, but ruin it in the process. Accessibility still has a long way to go.
 
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UniqTeas

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The Accessibility Menu for TLoU2 is somewhat amazing. They have options for color blind people, people who have a hard time seeing in the dark, people who have motion sickness, options for the hearing impaired, options for people with physical handicaps, options for people with mental disabilities, and even weirder, people who change the Y-axis! haha. The story may have divided a lot of people, but the accessibility is amazing. Kudos to Naughty Dog!

And I am not sure what effect RE4 had on Grand Theft Auto V or the series in general. I just quoted the article! Maybe it was about the camera or cover systems? I don't know. Haven't played a GTA since San Andreas.
 
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