After the rather lacklustre release of Resident Evil 3 Remake (you remember the one that cut loads of content out of the game), Capcom had a lot to prove with its latest remake of Resident Evil 4. Not only is the classic one of the greatest horrors in gaming but the fact that you can go and play the remaster on almost every modern console under the sun meant this remake had to be good. Thankfully, it is beyond good.
Resident Evil 4 Remake not only makes for a rather spectacular modern-day action horror game but it also manages to piggyback off just enough of the nostalgia to make this trip worthwhile. So much so that even if you literally just finished playing the remaster of Resident Evil 4, I wouldn’t hesitate to jump into this remake right away.
I think most of the magic in the Resident Evil 4 Remake comes from how modern it feels. If you grew up playing the classics, you would know how tanky they were to get through. The combat felt heavy, the movement was restricted to shooting while standing still and at times, it felt like you had to start sprinting to get Leon to move just two feet away. The remake completely throws that stiff and dated system out the window for a faster, more accurate movement system that allows for much more freedom than ever before.
Leon can leap off ledges, melee enemies stunned by gunfire, dodge giant hammers that come his way and even parry attacks. Sure, the general control system in Resident Evil 4 Remake still has some stiffness to it but unlike the remaster and the classic game, I didn’t feel like it was an enemy I was constantly fighting.
Resident Evil 4 Remake starts off with quite an explosive first few hours. If you played the Chainsaw Demo, the beginning of the game is exactly that. Leon Kennedy is tasked to rescue the president’s daughter from a Spanish village where men walk around with axes and the woman aren’t afraid to stab you with a pitchfork.
The beginning portion of Resident Evil 4 Remake sets up the game for exactly what is to come – a constant fight for your life. Leon is equipped with a range of weapons and can purchase new ones later down the line from a vendor. The general classic gameplay returns here with upgrades that can improve the rate of fire, damage and magazine size. New weapons also allowed me to take on a different play style to the game completely.
The sniper, for example, allowed me to sit back and slowly take enemies out one by one before jumping into the larger horde waiting for me with knives and dynamite. When Resident Evil 4 Remake does action, it really goes balls to the wall and tossed the craziest encounters at me. We are talking about two dozen enemies flanking from every window in a house while bashing down the door and trickling in from the ceiling too.
I, of course, only had limited handgun ammo and some shotgun shells on me because I decided to buy guns and First Aid Spray without thinking about the lack of ammo I had for these new weapons. Somehow I survived with the use of a ladder I could climb down and stairs I used to get to the upper floor. In the middle I simply swiped at enemies, round-kicked their noggins’ in and picked up whatever resources they dropped.
Often, this would be a hand grenade which means kaboom and body parts flying a few seconds later. These moments truly make the Resident Evil 5 Remake shine for what it is – an intense action horror game where it’s literally you against a village of crazed mutant zombie freaks.
For the most part, Resident Evil 4 Remake doesn’t stray too far away from the original narrative in the classic. If you haven’t played the original game, you might enjoy this a bit more because even though I haven’t played it in decades, I still remembered most of the “best” story moments.
But outside of the story, this is a complete remake. Everything has been completely rebuilt and it looks stunning. Every environment has been carefully crafted to give off this horrific atmosphere in the game. The sound design is also worth appreciating. I got chills when I heard the villagers shouting at each other in the area ahead and felt a sense of calm as I ventured through the quarry during the rain.
I also enjoyed how much more open Resident Evil 4 Remake felt when it came to the exploration. Sure, there are parts of the game which completely locked me out from returning to a previous area. However, most of the time I was able to go back and forth to complete optional quests and unlock chests and drawers I didn’t have the keys for beforehand.
Revisiting these areas also took me by surprise thanks to the smaller details added in. Often, the area would now be in a different time of day and feature new enemies lurking about. Obviously, Capcom worked hard to make these trips feel like a risk in order to pick up a treasure.
Speaking of treasures, the game also felt great from a completionist point of view. New side quests urged me to run around an area mindlessly to shoot objects and collect items. There are also treasures-a-plenty to find in every area. They can also be combined for greater value. Often, I would have a few gems but not enough to fill up a crown. I would then have to risk selling it with an empty gem slot and miss out on a treasure bonus just to get some gear for the fights ahead.
My biggest gripe with Resident Evil 4 Remake is its HDR implementation. The review build I played seemed to have an issue on PS5 with crushed blacks in HDR. So much so that I would see dark blue shading across the game instead of black and darkness. I tried many times to correct this using the HDR settings in the game but the blacks were always crushed. Sadly, this took away from the game’s horror atmosphere quite a lot. The dark of night should be dark and black – not blue and crushed black.
Apart from the HDR issues, which will likely get fixed in an update, Resident Evil 4 Remake is an excellent game. Instead of it feeling dated and inspired by a classic from 2005, the new systems at work here add incredible value to this experience. You’ll unlikely have sleepless nights over the horror themes in the game but it is definitely a top-tier action game and I can’t wait to play the remaster in 2027 (joking).
I think the biggest takeaway from my time in Resident Evil 4 Remake is just how refreshing Capcom was back in the day and how the world still needs these games. Even if it is just a remake and you can play the remaster on the same platforms.
This Resident Evil 4 Remake review is based on a PS5 code sent to us by Capcom. You can pick it up starting at R1,199 on 24 March.
Resident Evil 4 Remake
It may just be another remake but Resident Evil 4 successfully evolves on its core foundations to deliver another refreshing horror action game and sets the bar for things to come.
New movement system is great
New added features
Incredible horror action