It was not a good time to be Mikami during the start of Resident Evil 4. After releasing a lackluster demo of the gameplay, Capcom told him to produce something better, or they would cancel the entire Resident Evil series. The development team also had strong reservations about changing the series from horror to action. Fortunately for everyone involved, Resident Evil 4 is considered by some to be one of the best games in the series.
The plot is this: Ladies and gentleman, the president’s daughter has been kidnapped! (insert lighting strike here). Leon, survivor of Racoon City and overall macho guy, is sent in to rescue her. In the process, he discovers that an entire village has been taken over by an evil cult. We’re not calling anything zombies in this one, but considering what they turn into, we might as well.
I would say that Leon has the dorkiest haircut in the series, but I’ve started to play Resident Evil 5. That being said, every time I see Leon’s face on the screen I just want to grab a pair of scissors and trim off those bangs. Seriously Leon, cut your hair!
What sets Resident Evil 4 apart from the other games is two things: first of all, the level design is simply fantastic and you will almost always see something brand new as the levels progress: from muddy village to a lake to fighting in a lava-filled Mordor (for some reason) to eventually a lab.Secondly, very early in the game Leon and Ashley are injected with a mind-controlling parasite, so it’s a race against time to find a cure before they both succumb to the evil cultist’s will. This helps keeps things in suspense, although in retrospect this is probably one of the slowest parasites to ever work in the bloodstream. Oh sure, Leon is given some pills to help slow it down, but that was after he conquered three villages and a castle. And had a nap for six hours.
Since it’s not really connected to the overall confusing Umbrella plot, Resident Evil 4 is a great game for first-time players to jump into the storyline. So what are the negatives? Well I hate to say it, but one of them is Ashley with her shrill cries of ‘Leon, save me!’ Ashley cannot carry any weapon (must be an underage thing) but more often than not you will shoot her by accident. The game also ends if Ashley is carried away. Except, you know, when the plot requires her to be kidnapped again, which is every five minutes. Seriously, the girl gets kidnapped more times than Princess Peach. You will only play Ashley once in the game, and seeing how it was a very short time and not really relevant to the plot I wonder why they even bothered.
Gameplay-wise, the controls are pretty responsive, however puzzles are also relatively easy in the game. Overall it is a recommended game and I really couldn’t stop playing from start to finish.
FINAL GRADE: 4 out of 5. A fun roller-coaster only occasionally hampered by plot holes. For example, how did all those merchants set up camp in an evil cultist zombie society? And why can’t they sell ammo? And why is Ada in a red dress again?The worst part? Supposedly the Resident Evil series only goes downhill from here.