Most helpful positive review
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A must buy
on 21 May 2006
I do not normally enjoy this type of game, but owing to the glittering reviews Resident Evil 4 received, I felt I would give it a go. Resident Evil 4 turns everything about the series on its head and vastly improves every aspect of it - from the graphics and sound to fundamental gameplay mechanics.
Resident Evil 4 is a BIG game. Not particularly in its length, which, at roughly 20 hours clocked time (but much longer when you take into account how often you die and have to re-start an area!) isn't too shabby, but in this scope and ambition. This is near cinematic-quality, and is certainly the most involving and thrilling game I have ever played. The games graphics are perhaps its strongest selling point, and to the untrained eye, mine included, could possibly appear to be even so -called `next-gen' in quality. The amount of detail is astounding, and everything is made up of pixels, with not a pre-rendered background in sight. Atmosphere is everything, from the dark and dingy surroundings, with fog and damp you can almost touch, to the eerie soundtrack and sound effects, including gentle breezes, harsh downpours, and even the firing of the weapon you are using. The animation is fantastic, and everything feels like it could just be real, which makes it all the more unsettling. The three main environments in Resident Evil 4 range from a village, a huge castle, and island fortress, although it is surprisingly well-varied, incorporating laboratories, mines, sewers, lakes and even lava pits.
The story is not particularly complex, but is very neatly executed, and leaves the door to a sequel wide open. Basically, you play as Leon S. Kennedy, an ex-cop and now government agent, and must rescue the President's kidnapped daughter from a church in a creepy Spanish mountain village, where the inhabitants have a murderous, possessed glint in their eye... What unfolds is a conspiracy where an evil cult lord and his insane aristocratic lackey attempt to take over the world.
The everyday enemies in RE4 are amazing, particularly the insane chain-saw wielding villagers (who favour decapitation), but the bosses are out of this world. The first boss you come across is an enormous monster living inside a lake. You must dispose of it by throwing harpoons at it before it devours you. As I said earlier, the animation is second to none. When you shoot a villager in the shins, they fall to the ground and start dragging them selves toward you. If they are carrying a weapon, and you shoot them in the hand, they will drop it. The action is fast and furious, although there are quieter areas where you can save your progress and purchase or upgrade weapons, which range from a handgun to a rocket launcher. Ammo is generally plentiful, and now you can save wherever you see a typewriter, which is a vast improvement over earlier games in the series
RE4 is essentially an action game, combining elements of FPS, stealth and puzzles, with a satisfying difficulty level. The camera is focused behind the playable character, allowing for a good range of vision, and you become rooted to the spot when you aim at an enemy, with a handy laser. This works very well, and allows for effective and accurate aiming.
Resident Evil 4 is an amazing and engrossing game with tons of replayability (I completed it three times in the space of a month!), and four difficulty levels. It is a must buy. That said, it is extremely violent, and some of it is disturbing. Definitely NOT for younger gamers.