Capcom will be releasing its remake of one of the greatest video games of all time, “Resident Evil 4,” later this month. Originally released in 2005, the title has been ported to nearly every console imaginable with some extra content, control tweaks, graphical upscaling, and other small fixes. This upcoming remake though is just that, a remake, from the ground-up with the game engine thats been used for the last few “Resident Evil” projects. And while the finished product isn’t out yet, Capcom has released a free demo that we’ve played over the weekend and have formulated some thoughts about what to expect for the game proper.
Ever since “Resident Evil 7: Biohazard” Capcom has been using its RE Engine to develop the series, and it is one hell of a game engine. The performance is always consistently strong with graphics that can approach photo realism at times while also displaying sickening detail on graphic gore. The power of the PlayStation 5 helps bring out what the RE Engine is capable of to a greater extent, hence why Capcom previously issued updates to bring RE 7 and the remakes of 2 and 3 to make them PS5 compatible. And here’s Resident Evil 4 now, remade from the ground up on this technology, and it looks fabulous.
So if you’ve played any of the Resident Evil games from 7 onwards, you know what to expect in terms of graphical fidelity and performance. That said, the real question is, how does this version differ from the original “Resident Evil 4?” There has been a lot of talk and statements from the developers about this; like how Ashley can’t hide in dumpsters like she did in the previous version. There’s also some new enemies and other changes, but those aren’t the ones we’re going to be talking about. We’re going to discuss from the demo itself, what we’ve seen, felt, and what to expect.
The demo itself is a small chunk of gameplay that is made up of Leon’s approach to the first house he sees, like in the original game, the approach to the village center, and the battle that ensues there until the church bells ring. This is a perfect slice of the game to use considering how iconic it is, how it makes you use many of the game’s mechanics all at once, and how it introduces you to major enemies and threats. The areas have been slightly expanded; that first house you encounter is now a full on lodge with an expansive basement. The village is basically the same though, with some refinements but if you knew where to find the shotgun before, you’ll know where it is here too.
As for the gameplay, one thing that’s immediately noticeable is how Leon is a bit slower and bulkier than he was previously. While Leon can still quick turn with a combination button press, his overall movement is stiffer and he seems more muscular than lithe. This is mostly noticeable when moving around objects and trying to avoid enemies. If you’re playing it exactly like you did the original, you’ll probably end up getting hit more and getting yourself into potential trouble.
As if that wasn’t enough, enemies are also more aggressive and tactical. They are more likely to not just swarm you in numbers, but to flank you as well. While they could do this in the original version too, here they are much more aggressive. They don’t have as much delay in their attacks, nor are they as telegraphed as before either. Offsetting this is that Leon can move and shoot now, something he couldn’t do in the first go around. Granted, he can’t move and shoot very quickly, (it’s slower than walking) but it’s still something to help you get some distance between you and the enemy.
The tactical laser sight that was helpful in aiming your weapons is also gone. Sure you still have crosshairs, but that laser sight was a big thing in terms of giving you a good feel for where your weapon was and where your bullets were going. Thus, aiming is a bit harder and you’re more likely to miss shots than you were before. Additionally, the functionality of the knife has changed drastically. The knife now has a durability meter which can cause it to break after use. You can therefore potentially wind up in situations where you do not have an attack option. On the other hand, the knife can also be used to deflect certain attacks that you couldn’t before; like the one hit kill from a chainsaw.
Crowd control methods are also going to be a bit different. Leon can still do melee attacks on wounded enemies, but the effect of them is slightly different. In the original version, a roundhouse kick to a wounded enemy could stun or pushback other enemies in the area. While it still can do that in this game, the area of effect is smaller and not as pronounced. At least the grenades you can get seem to be more effective to counter that. Throwing a flashbang seemed to stun a wider radius of enemies than anticipated, and the standard hand grenade dealt more damage.
Ultimately, if you played a lot of “Resident Evil 4” back in the day, there are going to be some habits and tactics you’ll have to unlearn. That’s honestly quite welcome though. This game should feel different considering how long we’ve had the original version and its remasters around for. Whether it will be as enjoyable to play from start to finish as the 2005 “Resident Evil 4” remains to be seen but we’ll find out soon enough as March 24th approaches. In the meantime, here are two little secrets you can mess around with in the demo.
Mad Chainsaw Mode
Want to make the demo even more challenging? Well, completing it once will sometimes prompt a new difficulty mode to pop-up, “Mad Chainsaw.” This version ups the difficulty by making the enemies even more aggressive and makes them deal more damage as well as take more damage to defeat. You’ll also be in for a treat as the chainsaw wielding monstrosity, Dr. Salvador, has upgraded his weaponry. Now instead of a chainsaw, he has a flaming chainsaw. How does that make a chainsaw any more dangerous than before? We don’t know, just go with it. As of this writing, it was announced that someone discovered that there’s a code you can punch in that will take away the randomness of “Mad Chainsaw” mode popping up, and allow you to dive into it. If you’re playing on a PlayStation, hold L1 and R1 and press up, left, down, right, Square, Triangle, Circle, X, X. For Xbox, hold LB and RB and press up, left, down, right, X, Y, B, A, A on Xbox.
Obtain the TMP
In a secret that probably will not be carrying over to the main game, (but who knows for sure) there’s a way to secure a weapon that you normally wouldn’t have access to at this point in the story. The TMP is a sub-machine gun that might not be as powerful as your pistol or shotgun but makes up for with rapid fire and a larger magazine. And all you have to do to get it is to drop everything in your inventory before getting to the village square and don’t pick up any items on the way. If you do that and enter into the village, you can go behind the church tower and down into a well that you normally can’t access. Once you’re down there you’ll find barrels of ammo for the TMP as well as the weapon itself.
“Resident Evil 4” the remake will release on March 24th, 2023.