Thursday, April 11, 2019

Horror Video Game Must Play: Resident Evil 4

Horror Video Game Must Play is a line of reviews showcasing the very best horror based/related/themed video games out on the market. All games are considered, so it doesn't really matter if the game is brand spanking new or old as shit. As long as it's enjoyable, the game of choice is considered a must play and should be in any horror fan's game collection. The review for each game is meant to elaborate upon all the details of the game (plot, audio, graphics, and game-play) to display why this is the game to invest in.

The greatest game of all time, often duplicated and never replicated, RE4 has been released on four console generations, with three different fantastic versions to play (Original GameCube, Wii Edition, and Ultimate HD Edition). It's a true video game's video game that hits all the spots, like getting a Tetris or understanding how to make arcade Donkey Kong your slave. Behold the iconic, defining masterpiece classic as we start with the best of the series of games that I've unofficially dubbed The Dead Strings Tetralogy.

The awesome thing right out the gate with Resident Evil 4, even though it's the fourth of it's series, is that the game sets it's self up as a new beginning. It gives summarized details of the events that took place before, and giving  backstory and character development for our hero, Leon Scott Kennedy. The one time cop is thrown by fate to survive the T-virus Outbreak in Raccoon City. Now a well trained, experienced U.S. government special agent, he's set on a mission to find and rescue the president's kidnapped daughter, Ashley. Trails and tip-offs lead him to a remote region of Spain where he finds himself in a familiar situation; discovering a community that has been overtaken by a terrorist cult called The Illuminati or "Los Illuminados" who have plans for world control by taking advantage of the parasite called "Plaga" which they've been researching for years. It's up to Leon to get Ashley out alive and put and end to Los Illuminados' ploy, but not without encountering ghosts of the past that may very well carry out what the sinister coup intended.

Sound is everything in Resident Evil 4. They have combined effects, background music, and voice acting, all to great quality. The B.G.M. will turn up, signifying enemies in the area. Enemies in the area will communicate with each other, calling out when they spot you, and will give off sounds when they're close to you for an attack (this is even helpful when you hear them coming up from behind). Even the sounds you make as you fire a gun or walk close behind them can alert them to your presence. One particular dangerous enemy called "Garrador" is blind and relies on the sound you make for it to attack, which makes for a tense situation when encountered. The voice work is all top notch and matched to what one would imagine these characters would sound like. The dialogue plays like that of an action movie at times, but I believe this is due to the pacing of the game.

Oddly, looks are said to not be everything, yet RE4 was a game released back in 2005 on a system powerful enough to produce 3D (as in images popping out of the screen) yet not as powerful as the best system at the time, the Xbox. If RE4 wasn't the GameCube seller besides games like Super Smash Brothers: Melee, Super Mario Sunshine, and Metroid Prime based on looks alone, then I'm glad it had everything else going for it in spades. Matching if not exceeding the ahead-of-its-time looks of Half-Life 2, Resident Evil 4 (especially with the Ultimate HD Edition) looks like a game that could have been developed fifteen years after its original release. A very impressive feat for a game on a system that a lot of people pegged as a babies' console. The gore is also done pretty nicely, from heads exploding and fire burning live bodies to disgusting looking mutations and disfigurements. The animation of the violence is done to great effect as the enemies react to pain in the best ways, grabbing the spot where you shot them and staggering back from the force of an explosion if not flying away by taking a direct hit from the strongest weapon you got. Really, this game looks amazing.

It's gameplay is provided in two flavors. Let's talk about regular controls, starting with how you move. The camera is set over your shoulder, giving third person view, which is the best way to trick people into really enjoying tank controls. The lack of odd camera angles used to induce fear in previous games makes for a good swap to be used in most recent Resident Evil games, and they even keep quick-turn. There's more of a shooting gallery feel now as there's actual aiming involved. You get major damage for aiming for the head, and as mentioned before, the enemies react to what body part you shoot. Your means of fighting your foes are provided by the Weapons Merchant who sells arms that can also be upgraded, and he offers a large variety. You gain gold to buy these weapons by killing enemies and the arcade feeling is enhanced even more with some treasure set collecting to turn in for big money. The real satisfying "Ahh... I'll buy it at a high price!" is just worth the listen if you complete sets to sell, if not getting whatever you'd like from the candy store, all topped off with some light puzzle solving. On to the second flavor: we have the Wii control style, which simply incorporates the Wii's motion controls to have the most accurate of aiming. I feel this is the most gratifying way to play RE4, just because of how smooth the control is here.

Resident Evil 4 is part of the elite line of classics that shall forever be part of the pantheon of video gaming. I highly advocate for this game to be in the Video Game Hall of Fame, which I don't doubt will happen (nods to video games Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Final Fantasy IV, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Mass Effect 2, and Planescape: Torment to be added as well) and if not, who cares? It's already part of the class of 2019's Horror Video Game Must Play.

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