author: Kristian Smoszna
Resident Evil 4 Hands-on! 15 Mins Already Showed Changes
After the Dead Space remake comes another refreshed classic, which original was the main inspiration for the former. We have already had a chance to test it and can share our first impressions.
Fans of survival horror shooters can't complain about lack of exciting news early this year. Dust has barely settled after the highly successful remake of Dead Space landed, and the second of the refreshed classics, Resident Evil 4, is already looming on the horizon. Capcom is unlikely to postpone the game at his point, so the two releases will be separated by just 56 days. This is actually an interesting case, because the former game would probably never have been made if the creator of Dead Space, Glen Schofield, didn't go on a trip to Spain in 2005 with Leon Kennedy (the action of RE4 is set in that country). It's tempting to ask who will emerge victorious from this confrontation, although at the end of the day, it should be the players, as both games are set to be true genre representatives.
Unknown, but promising
While we already know absolutely everything about the remake of Dead Space, the general condition of the remaster of the fourth Resident Evil remains a mystery. Sure, I've already had the opportunity to test it (more on that in a moment), but it wasn't a large portion, so hardly any conclusions can be made. Besides, we've already had a chance to see the exact same excerpt of the game on a gameplay video published last year. It's worth noting that Capcom has quite recently uploaded another video, from episode five, in which Leon finds the president's daughter that was kidnapped by Los Iluminados. This is an additional tidbit for all those who are waiting for the remake of Resident Evil 4.
So, the demo only contained the first chapter of the campaign – that's a portion of gameplay, which will normally take you 15 minutes to complete. In the end, I played around a bit longer, but mostly because I was deliberately avoiding the story and tried to test out various aspects of the improved mechanics. The biggest surprise for me was that the new Resident Evil 4 begins in a different way than the original. The demo completely skipped the scene where Leon is driven to the vicinity of the village by two policemen, and after watching a short recap (made from scratch, let's add), we immediately land in the forest.
The road to the village in the remake feels a bit shorter, and I got the impression that there's a lot less going on (no truck scene, for example). The encounter with the first infected villager in the house is almost the same, but later, our walking about was curbed, and so were contacts with other opponents. The real slaughter doesn't happen until we enter the village. After burning alive a policeman at the stake, who – as per the 2005 original – was captured before Leon appeared; the locals disperse and we can start slaughtering the infected. For each enemy we kill there appears a new infected local, and after we mow down a sufficient number of opponents, the Chainsaw Man appears, triggering a boss fight that we need to win to complete the chapter. The same opponent is also spawned when we enter the hut with the shotgun, which is exactly like in the original. The entire sequence can therefore be shortened, saving ammo on the unnecessary scuffle with villagers.
During the events in the village, you can notice some important novelties in the mechanics. First of all, you can shoot while moving, which is generally not a huge surprise, as Capcom has been obeying this mechanic since the remake of part two, but from the perspective of the original RE4, this is a total novelty. A few surprises in the environment have also been added, leading to some interesting interactions. For example, there's now a lamp under the ceiling in the cowshed, which, when shot, sets the cow standing inside on fire, and the cow runs amok and tramples all opponents in front of it. The changes also affected the knife used by Leon, as it is systematically degraded as we use it. The knife is the last chance for effective defense, but at the same time it can be broken, and then we need to replace it. I assume that the first opportunity for that will appear in chapter two.
When it comes to fixed points of the story, changes are rather symbolic. As I mentioned, you can still barricade yourself in one of the houses for a while, and the slaughter in the village is interrupted by the sound of the bell. The difference is that the noise surprises Leon outside the building, so we can watch the mesmerized villagers begin to pass by the hero, completely ignoring him. At the end of this cutscene, the legendary bingo joke happens, which will surely please many of you. This issue has been considered cringe for years, but on the other hand, hardly anyone would be able to imagine part four without it. As for other interesting amendments, it's worth mentioning the snare trap scene that takes place at the beginning of the chapter, when Leon frees a trapped dog. In the remake, the dog is absent, and the hero falls into the trap himself. Removing the dog from the plot will probably affect his absence during the fight with El Gigante, unless we come across it in another situation.
Capcom has to deliver
It's hard to say anything more after such a short portion of the game. The demo actually gave me a taste of what's to come in March, but it's just an appetizer before the main course. Of the important things, Leon's increased mobility, the ability to shoot on the move, new interactive elements in the arenas, minor modifications to the plot and generally great visuals are all very pleasing. If we compare all this to the recently released Dead Space, which was greatly enhanced by such corrections, we should get a great remake.
However, let's also remember that among all the Resident remakes that Capcom has been delivering in recent years, part four will be the most challenging. In the case of Resident Evil 2 and 3, moving the camera to TPP turned the game upside down and thanks to this decision, we received a completely new experience. It will not be so easy with Resident Evil 4, not only because it's more similar to the original, but also because the original is often considered the series crowning achievement. Expectations are high and let's hope that the developers from Japan will be up to the task. So far, their attempts have been remarkably successful, and things shouldn't suddenly take a bad turn. Fingers crossed!